The Shropshire Shuffler SS21

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Contents Getting Older Getting Faster


The Injured Runner


New Members


Weird Running Facts


Running Playlist


Contributors Nick Pollock Chris Clarke

Origin of the Shropshire Shufflers


Who’s Who?


Pete McGuinness

Shuffler Bingo


Kate Bentham

Virtual Around the Coast Challenge


Jan Cook

Racing During Lockdown


Birmingham 2022


Favourite Route: Haughmond Hill


Mental Health Champions


Graham Evans

Yoga for Runners



A Cultural Diversion


Coaches Corner


Magazine available online at:

Thomas Vaughan Caroline Cross Ron Morgan Kelly Booth Deb Armstrong Sally Brocklehurst John Short Richard Bishop (cover image)

Editors Caro Dalton Mark Leahy Debbie Armstrong

CHAT FROM THE CHAIR Welcome to the Spring 2021 edition of the Shuffler Magazine. Despite very little club running taking place recently, it has been a busy time behind the scenes. Since I last wrote these musings we have completely updated the Club constitution, so it now reflects the needs of a club as large and diverse as ours. We’ve also taken the opportunity to move the club year and to develop better welfare policies to better support members. Although all that may seem a little tedious, it’s so important that the Club is organised properly. I would like to thank all the committee members and those club members who took the time to contribute to the process. As we can finally (Note: desperately hoping Covid is finally under control!!) look forward to some proper club training and events this year, I am happy that the club is in a good place. We have a new coaching leadership team in place and that will help us respond better to your training needs and wants. We’re still a little way off being able to hold large training sessions, with the exception of the track, but it feels like it’s in sight now. I’m so glad that things are opening up in time for the Club to celebrate its 40th anniversary this year. Our club has been an important part of so many people’s lives for such a long time now, it will be great to be able to recognise that the club, which started in a small way in the summer of 1981, has flourished into 2021. Having spoken recently to some of the founding members, I know they are pleased with how the Club has turned out. Thank you for being a part of our club. Whether you race or if you just want a social way to get a bit fitter, the Shropshire Shufflers aims to be a great and welcoming running club. So, if you’d like to contact me about club matters – positive comments or suggestions for improvements - you can do so through the website or via Facebook. Happy running and take care of yourselves! Nick Pollock Chairman

Getting Older Getting Faster - Running through the Lockdown Graham Evans kindly e-mailed me and asked if I could write something about how my running times had improved during lockdown. At my stage in life, despite the drugs, my age and fitness graphs are going in the opposite direction at an exponential rate. Firstly, before explaining how I have benefited because of the current situation, I need to give you a brief analysis of what happens to your body as you enter the SAGA stage and watch afternoon TV and get bombarded with adverts about paying for your own funeral!! In April 2017 I developed plantar fasciitis which stopped me running for about 4 months. In August 2018 I had a prostate operation which kept me out for another couple of months, the benefit post op being that I could go out without a mental map of where all the toilets were in town! Finally, in March 2019 I had back surgery to free a compressed nerve which was giving me serious grief. As all runners know it is hard coming back from injury, especially as you get older you do not have the residual fitness of younger athletes (anyone under 60); in fact sometimes you have to start from scratch. I was making slow progress, running twice a week with the Shufflers, and struggling round the Parkrun on a Saturday. Iain Day and Alan Morris always gave me lots of encouragement to keep going and gradually things improved. By the end of the year I was running 25mins for the Parkrun and was, for once, not running with an injury. In early 2020 I ran the Shawbury 10K in horrible conditions in 52mins and finished with the Shrewsbury 10k in March in 50.41mins having been paced by Emma Preston, so things were looking a lot better.


Then came the lockdown! In 2019 I had only managed to run 532k for the whole year as my back slowly repaired itself. In the first 3 months of 2020 I was up to 300k by the end of March and was not looking to do anything spectacular and was happy just to be out there at all. After the lockdown on March 23rd I ran three 10k loops from the Column to Meole Brace on my own and found it difficult to push myself and was absolutely knackered at the end of each run, as it was non-stop without any turnarounds to give you a breather. Eventually things changed and the rule of six appeared. This meant we could form a bubble of people to run together. Our bubble consisted mostly of the same four runners , three of them being quicker than me so the onus was on me to keep up and not slow them down. Eventually we were running 4 times a week with each session being anything between 10k to 20k with a three day recovery period. Wednesday sessions consisted of a 5k run to the Weir and back, followed by blasting the 6 hills in the Quarry. I hate the hill by the playground! Each month was between 170k to 190k so the distance had increased and I was running 10k without feeling too exhausted at the end. During this period I knocked 27 secs off my 5k time, nearly 10mins off my half marathon best and finally ran a sub 50min 10k. I think any runner who knocks a couple of seconds off a p.b. knows how hard you have to work in order to do it and there are plenty of pitfalls to be avoided

along the way. Staying injury free has had a lot to do with it and being careful with your diet. The extra mileage this year has resulted in me dropping half a stone and I now weigh the same as I did in my 40s. Running with quicker Shufflers four times a week has definitely made my running easier, combined with the extra distance over 12 months (2016k in 2020) which has put miles into my aging legs. My “improvement” is down to the working with a small group of people who share the same obsession and enjoy running whatever the weather throws at you. I know from my younger days that you only get out of any sport what you put in, so I suppose the question to ask yourself is, “is the marginal gain worth the effort?” In my case I have to say “yes”: the only disappointing thing is that my new were not recorded in a race. I was told to slow down as I was risking “burn out” but in the words of Neil Young, “ it’s better to burn out than to fade away”. Chris Clarke

The Injured Runner Anyone who has been out injured for a long period will know that the effects can extend beyond the physical impact of a strain, sprain, fracture or tear. For ‘obsessed runners’, those of us who are totally immersed in our running lives, the uprooting of our daily routine and loss of a physical outlet inevitably affect the mind, eliciting a range of negative emotions. When injury strikes we are fighting two battles; physical and emotional, yet the latter is rarely acknowledged. While it is almost impossible to prevent the anxiety, self-doubt and frustration from creeping in, I have found it therapeutic to reflect on each negative thought and try to reframe it in a more constructive manner.

“Everyone else is still running; they are getting fitter whilst I am losing fitness” This enforced break will give your body respite from many months of regular running; it could help you to stave off new injuries. Regaining fitness is a challenge to look forward to.

“Being a runner was part of my identity” You are still a runner, that part of your identity is expressed through the time and energy you are putting into your recovery. Perhaps this is a chance to spend more time on other activities or try something new. By cultivating more rational and positive thoughts, I find that I am better able to cope in difficult moments.

“I shouldn’t have done that session/workout which caused the injury”

To my fellow Shufflers who are going through similar injury setbacks, I wish you a strong recovery, in body and in mind.

You have a chronic injury which probably developed over many months. You cannot blame that one session, nor can you change any of it. Focus on what you are doing now to recover.

Disclaimer: This technique is based on personal experience of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)z however it is not a substitute for professional mental health treatment.

“Will I ever be able to run pain-free again?” You simply don’t know the answer to this. However you have already made good progress and your pain is much-reduced. All you can do is focus on recovering as best you can.

“Everyone else is still running; I have to face this on my own” Every runner faces injury at one time or another. Friends and club mates know exactly the same sense of frustration at being unable to go for a run. Even uninjured runners have experienced similar isolation from the lack of social running during lockdown. Talk to others and share your struggles. 6

Thomas Vaughan

New Members It was a pleasant surprise to see that we are still getting new members joining during lockdown. I asked a couple of them why they joined Shufflers.

Leah Well, a few reasons I suppose. I took to running (again) during lockdown to keep physically active and mentally sane. I challenged myself to run 100 miles in April, I needed a reason to run and a goal to work towards (and what a great month for running April was - I did 101) Joining the Shufflers was that extra boost of motivation and encouragement, particularly on the Facebook page. And for such a lonely time for a lot of people, I felt it was really important to feel like I belonged to a community. Looking forward to the restrictions gradually lifting, and to be able to meet and run with people. I’m off for a run :) Leah Leah mentions the Facebook page, it has been a great way of keeping in touch for all of us. Make sure you check it out at:

Gareth Hi, my name is Gareth. I have ‘cold-weather-induced’ asthma, which was handy as I hated running, I started running during the first lockdown in 2020. There were lots of people on social media starting to run with ‘Couch to 5k’: I thought I would give it go, so I downloaded the BBC app. I completed the 9 weeks and found I had been bitten by the running bug . I carried on running and can now run 10K in good time; my asthma has also improved. I joined Shufflers for the coaching that’s offered as I want to be a better runner, as well as for the social aspect. I volunteer at Shrewsbury Park Run and now I stand a chance to run it in a decent time. Gareth

Return to Running Some of us have struggled to keep motivated and active during lockdown. To help with your return to running, we will be organising a ‘Returners’ programme. Hopefully, it will help you get your running mojo back. It will be open to club members only and start once larger running groups are allowed. Remember, you can join the walk-jog sessions that are running now. Booking form is on the club’s website -


Weird and Wonderful Running Facts I have to admit that I fell down a google wormhole whilst looking for these… Researchers from the University of Portsmouth in England found that breasts don’t just bounce up and down during running; they move in a complicated figure-8 pattern and, without support, could create ‘saggy maggies’! Following on from point number one, sports bras did not exist before 1977. Imagine how it was like for female runners back then, right? Anyway, the garment indeed aided in the improvement of running apparel for women. Your feet can produce up to a pint of sweat each day. A study of 300,000 Chicago marathon finishers by Eric Allen and Patricia Dechow found women are more likely to negative split than men due to running conservatively in the first half. Some runners tend to look forward to new shoes more than sex. Jason Fitzgerald, a marathoner, describes these reactions as something called ‘Shoegasms’. I have to say that there is something quite exciting about a box-fresh pair of sneaks… Under 600 people have completed a marathon on all 7 continents. (and the current female world record holder is from Shropshire). Instead of ‘running,’ the activity was known as ‘pedestrianism’ during the late 19th century. The Shropshire Pedestrianisers doesn’t have quite the same ring to it though… I ate three chocolate Lindt balls whilst researching this list. Even a short run can increase productivity by 23% Humans are superior to other animals when it comes to running. Humans can outrun almost all the animals in the world over long distances. A few exceptions include cats, rabbits, and kangaroos. The treadmill was not always a piece of workout equipment. In the past, prisons have used this machine for punishment purposes. Even Oscar Wilde experienced the torment of having to run on the treadmill in the duration of his 2-year sentence. Caroline Cross


Running Playlist As the time comes closer for me to start longer runs as part of the marathon training plan, it’s clear I’m going to need something to get me through those troughs in motivation that we all get when out plodding. There is only so much mindfulness, being aware of your surroundings and marvelling at the beauty of nature that can be done before your lungs, legs and head remind you that what you are doing is lunacy. I will therefore be looking to music to drag me round and get me through the worst of the doldrums. I know that there are probably hundreds of running playlists already defined out there and I could use those, but where’s the fun in that? I haven’t yet complied my definitive list yet as I intend to develop and refine it over then next few months through trial and error to see what works best. The key thing for me is that the music must have a strong beat to it that acts like a metronome. I find that my cadence automatically falls into sync and then running becomes effortless (massive exaggeration!). It’s something that I noticed when taking part in the Vierdaagse in Nijmegen - a Dutch 4 day long distance walking challenge. Here individuals walk with and alongside squad walkers (military and civilian) of all nationalities. Much of the route is on interminable featureless dykes and staying sane is really the challenge. It was always a relief to come across a squad as they would walk in step and you’d find yourself doing the same. Just the sound of their feet hitting the ground in unison was enough. Even better though when the marching songs and chanting started - most far too rude for this publication!

So below are 10 of the tracks that I’m going to trying for size to see if they fit the bill and will make it to the final playlist. Quite a diverse list!

Take on Me : A-ha Ghostbusters : Ray Parker Jr Uptown Girl : Billy Joel Alright : Supergrass Seven Nation Army : The White Stripes My Generation : The Who Whole Lotta Love : Led Zeppelin Sultans of Swing : Dire Straits Red Alert : Basement Jaxx Better Off Without You : Becky Hill Hot Right Now : DJ Fresh / Rita Ora

Those who have Spotify can find my list at: Pete McGuinness


Origin of the Shropshire Shufflers Information is based on noted from a phone call between founder member Ron Morgan and current Chair Nick Pollock on Friday 5th March 2021. Notes produced by Nick Pollock.



Ron applied to run the inaugural London Marathon during January 1981. He was living in a rented house on Mount Pleasant Road at the time and, noting that the form asked for a club name, called to Wendy about creating one. The club did not exist at this point, but Ron considered putting “Shrewsbury Shufflers” down on the form. However, Ron felt the name needed to be bigger than that and the name “Shropshire Shufflers” was born.

Later in 1981, the fledgling Shropshire Shufflers tried to affiliate with the Amateur Athletics Association (a forerunner of England Athletics). The club were repeatedly rebuffed as they, in Ron’s view, didn’t fit the accepted model of a running club. Shropshire Shufflers were formed as a fun running club, without the formal coaching structures and the AAA didn’t believe this was acceptable. Ron says he thinks there was only one other similar club at the time, Burnham Joggers, and the two clubs did communicate in their efforts to get attitudes to change.

The first London Marathon took place on 29th March 1981. Sadly, as the club did not yet exist, let alone have affiliated status, Ron is recorded in the results of that race as “unattached”. The founding members, who set about creating the formal club are considered to be, Ron and Wendy Morgan, Keith and Christine Ivison and Janice Navas (née Barrett).

Creation The first time club “members” ran an event together was the Shrewsbury Carnival 5 mile on 25th May 1981. The race was run by Ron Morgan (29m 23 secs), Keith Ivison (30m 24 secs), Steve Wellington (28m 32 secs), Steve Hatton (29m 6 secs), Bob Parker (29m 18 secs): Ron also recalls a Rob Jones but has no time recorded for him. I can’t find the full results for that race but Tony Power’s (Telford AC) “Power of 10” profile records him finishing in 19th place with a time of 23min 55secs! Ron considers that event to be the first club event and, he thinks, explains why the constitution is recorded as being conceived in May 1981 (with no specific day). The inaugural club meeting was actually held on 27th July 1981, when the constitution was actually drawn up. The meeting was attended by Ron, Keith, Chris, Wendy and Janice. Membership numbered just five at the time and only increased very slowly initially. More runners joined the club in subsequent years as the 1980s saw a boom in the popularity of running. 10

The turning point in the Shufflers’ attempts to affiliate came in January 1982. The club entered teams into the Shropshire Cross Country Championships and the ladies team won! This meant the AAA had to take the club’s athletic credentials seriously and a third attempt to affiliate was made. This attempt was voted through by a narrow majority and the Shropshire Shufflers became affiliated. Ron notes that for the 1982 Carnival event we entered 20 Shufflers including 4 ladies. Janice Navas née Barrett recorded a time of 31min 11 secs. Since then the club has thrived and seen membership numbers increase enormously. Ron is rightly proud that the club has flourished in the 40 years that have passed since its inception.

Many thanks to Ron and Nick for this fascinating piece. When the club first started, there were 3 women and 2 men. Today there over 700 members and the ratio is roughly 4 to 3 in favour of women. 24 percent of members were born after 1981. 13 members were born in 1981. As it’s our 40th anniversary, we are trying to get as many interesting Shuffler facts, myths and legends together as possible. How long have you been a member? 3,10 or even 25 years? What has your journey been like and what memories have you

made along the way. How many Shufflers have you met over the years? Do you have a memorable race experience, or have you captured one of the funniest moments with your shuffler friends? We are looking for photos and memories to document the clubs incredible 40-year journey. Please get in touch about how to contribute to the club’s scrapbook and help tagline the clubs history. newsletter@shropshire-shufflers. org?subject=Scrapbook%20Content To save you keying that address, you will find the link in the Shufflette sent on 16 March from newsletter@

W E L FA R E O F F I C E R WA N T E D The club has recently appointed a new welfare officer – congratulations to Bob Turner! We are looking to identify another welfare officer to work alongside Bob, managing the club’s safeguarding and welfare process. This role sits outside the committee and would support the safe running of the club in a flexible way. The welfare officers are expected to regularly attend club sessions, ensuring that all members including coaches, volunteers and parents feel at ease and know how to make contact should they require any guidance or need to raise a concern. They are required to have a clear understanding of the UKA Safeguarding policies for Adults and Children and the England Athletics guidance on how to establish if a concern meets the reporting threshold (training is provided – see below). They work closely with the membership secretary to ensure that all appropriate volunteers within the club (including coaches) are appropriately licenced and hold an up to date DBS check. The welfare officers also act as verifiers for the DBS application process. The successful candidate will be required to complete an online ‘Safeguarding in Athletics’ training module and a 3 hour face-to-face or online ‘Time 2 Listen’ course. Training costs will be reimbursed by the club. If you are interested please get in touch by emailing Liz Malpass If you have a safeguarding or welfare concern, please get in touch with the club welfare officers via


WHO’S WHO? In the last Shropshire Shuffle Des Lee nominated Kate Bentham for this issue’s ‘Who’s Who?’! Kate will then in turn nominate another shuffler and carry on the chain…

What made you join the Shufflers? I wouldn’t be a shuffler if it wasn’t for Shrewsbury junior parkrun, which is odd as that’s an event for 4-14 year olds. I took my son to the first junior parkrun and, within a few weeks, started marshalling. That’s where I met lots of lovely shufflers who were also volunteering and they told me about the shufflers beginner’s course. My husband and son were also doing ‘Big Parkrun’ together on a Saturday and I was left holding the coats. I didn’t want to be the mum who held the coats, I wanted to be the one also taking part, so in April 2018 I signed up to the beginner’s course. What’s your favourite run or race ever? My favourite has to be Mad Jacks, which I did on a freezing, sleety, wet November in 2019. Sat in the car beforehand I would have backed out in a flash. I was dreading it, especially the water at the end. One mile in, my dread faded, and I found myself enjoying the ridiculous conditions. The course was really muddy and there were two extra water sections because of the bad weather the week before. When I got to the final water section, already soaking and up to my knees in mud, there was nothing left to fear, plus there were lots of lovely shufflers cheering and shouting from the side-lines, which made all the difference. What’s your biggest achievement in running? When I first started going to Big Parkrun I used to do only one lap – as I was coming past the finish for the first time, my then 11 year old was just finishing (that’s how quick he is and how slow I am!) The first time I made it round Shrewsbury Parkrun without stopping was a big achievement. I didn’t think I would ever make it up parkrun hill twice, but it’s amazing what you can do when one of the marshals is shouting motivational abuse at you from the bottom. What are your future goals and aspirations? I’d just like to keep running. I’m not the best – but then I don’t know how that’s measured. For me being the best isn’t based on ability. It isn’t about being the fastest runner (people walk quicker than I ‘run’) or coming first in a race (never gonna happen). It isn’t about being able to cover x number of miles in x amount of time. Running is about the friends I’ve made along the way, the benefits to my overall wellbeing, and the feeling it gives me. These can’t be measured in PBs or medals but to me hold greater value. Best bit of kit or equipment? I have a watch that monitors everything, much of which I don’t understand, and it also tells the time. Favourite post run food or drink? Tea and toast – it’s the cure for lots of things. If you could race anywhere in the world where would you go?

Name: Kate Bentham Age: 47 Occupation: Local Government Officer

After the year we’ve just had I’d go anywhere, Barkley, Marathon des Sables, egg and spoon race, even the Ludlow 10k. If you could run alongside anyone dead or alive who would you choose? I recently read an interview with Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, and admire all she has done for women’s running. She was steadfast in her belief that women had the right to take part, on equal terms as men have, even when this put her at risk. Or failing that, one day my family might slow down enough so we can all run together, that would be nice. Nominate the next Shuffler to be interviewed and your reason why: I’d like to nominate Sharon and Rick Garcia, I adore and admire them both.


Shuffler Bingo! If someone had said to us 12 months ago, “Hey, for the next 12 months you will take part in a variety of virtual challenges, these will help to keep you motivated”, we’d have all laughed. Many of us have taken part in virtual running challenges, either for a good cause or for a shiny bit of bling, but never could we have imagined they would take the place of our club night runs and the social elements that so many of us love. Over the last year we have put together a variety of different challenges usually involving the Shufflers collectively running together for a common goal whilst remaining apart. The idea for Shuffler Bingo actually came from two different people, Laura Birch who set up a very similar challenge during the first lockdown for a running community and Kate Bentham who suggested it after a friend had taken part in a similar challenge. So, Shuffler Bingo was born. It required members to get involved in a number of running or active tasks such as run a trail, run a 3k for time and PB on a segment. But it was also aimed at getting the family involved by cycling, walking, dressing up and, of course, one of our favourite things, taking selfies and sharing them with our running community. One of the tasks was to capture photos spelling out SHUFFLERS and this is where people really got creative, we had pictures of udders (cows), ears, goal posts, horses, sheep, flowers, recycling, sand and of course the river to name a few. Shufflers delighted in yoga and stretching sessions and ran together in pairs doing what we do best, chatting and putting the world to rights! People wore their shuffler kit and ran along the river, sometimes in freezing conditions, all in the name of crossing off the next box. Steve Whitaker was first to complete a line and currently is the only member to brave running in fancy dress. This virtual challenge was always about having fun, the opportunity to be a little silly and sharing experiences within our running community. Kelly Booth


Virtual Around the Coast Challenge Buoyed by our collective 18,000 mile circumnavigation of the globe completed in slightly more than 80 days on 1st January 2021, and faced with another long lockdown, we started a brand new virtual challenge at the end of January 2021. The aim was to complete the 3,665 miles of coastline of England and Wales, taking in all the inlets and islands en route, as well as all of its many ups and downs! 57 shufflers took part and we completed the challenge by the end of February after 31 days of running. We started at Minehead in Somerset and headed anticlockwise, completing the 630 miles of the beautiful South West Coastal Path in the first week as a nice warm up. We then continued via the route of the proposed new England Coast Path along the historic southern coast of England, including the Isle of Wight; around East Anglia and up the North East coast as far as the Scottish border. We ran back down the North West coast to the Welsh border


where we joined the 870 mile Wales Coast Path. Our final leg took us from the Severn Bridge back down to Minehead. We had a full variety of weather on our tour, including sub-zero temperatures, snow, ice, torrential rain, wind and floods; however, it was nice to finish the journey in bright spring-like sunshine. The England Coast Path is a new National Trail that officially opened in 2020, although not all sections are as yet open. When finished, the path will stretch for 2,795 miles and be the longest coastal path in the world. Over 600 active days were recorded during the challenge, with some runners managing to record an activity every single day for the month. We hope it provided some incentive to get out and stay active during the dark lockdown days. Well done to all those who took part! Jan Cook

Racing During Lockdown In October 2021, after steadily training throughout lockdown for the inevitably cancelled autumn Chester Marathon, and in need of a new target for my training, I decided to enter one of the few “covid secure” events that were still taking place. I searched the options and chose the Half Marathon at the Oulton Park Running Grand Prix on 6th December 2020. I didn’t actually enter the race until the week before to be sure it was actually going to go ahead, but I started to gear up my training with this date in mind. I was really lucky that the November lockdown finished just 4 days before race day. As race day came, I had the normal race day nerves; but it also felt particularly strange, not just because it was my first race in nearly 10 months, but because the idea of driving to a venue a hour away felt quite alien after the months of lockdown. You were asked to travel to the event alone and, on arrival, it was clear that the event was well organised and good covid protection measures were in place. This was made easy by the spacious venue and relatively low numbers of participants. So much so that I did start to wonder if I had the right start time, no queues for picking up my race number or for the loo! There were 6 different races going on that morning, all running around the same grand prix circuit but with different start times. The 150 or so marathon, 20 and 16 mile race runners were already part way into their race when we started, so were well spread out over the course. At the allotted time I lined up with about 200 other half-marathon entrants, and we really did line up; in 2 closely marshalled lines with 2 meter spacing between each runner, rather than the usual sardine-like pack. We moved forward slowly, two by two, until we reached the start line when we were allowed to start running. With the wide motor racing track available it was very easy to quickly find your own space and so I started my 5 laps. There was plenty of space to overtake people, although when the 10k participants started half an hour later, it was slightly busier; but I was able to

keep at least 2 metres at all times. It was a course of two halves, one slightly downhill with a tail wind where I felt good and on course for my race target. As it was an elliptical course it is not hard to can guess what the other half was like. I had not run a circuit race before, I quite enjoyed knowing what was to come (apart from the uphill stretch into the wind!). Although there were no spectators there was a convivial atmosphere, with some participants in fancy dress and the organisers has put a saxophone playing DJ at one point on the course which was a highlight to look forward to on the next lap. The end of the race was probably the biggest difference to a normal event. No cheering crowds, no groups of runners encouraging and congratulating each other; the chap on the PA system was doing his best, but there was just no atmosphere. After collecting my drink, medal and tee shirt I did have a brief chat (suitably distanced) with fellow Shuffler Phil Jones, but hanging about was not encouraged and, in contrast to the usual drink and natter with support crew or club mates, after a brief warm down I was on my way back to the Shire. Was I glad I entered? Yes, I managed to knock a minute off my PB, and felt safe throughout. Would I want all races to be like that? No, the lack of supporters and opportunities to socialise after the race made for a rather functional outing. I look forward, as I am sure we all do, to the safe return of our sociable local events and I hope to see you at one of these very soon. Jan Cook


I love volunteering, I love being part of a community for the same common cause, bringing people together to do something for the greater good. Yes it sounds cheesy, but that’s me and I love it. I wasn’t fortunate enough to get a place volunteering at the London Olympics, due to my work commitments, but since then I have taken every opportunity to volunteer where I can. I love volunteering, whether its parkrun, or litter picking in my community. Seeing my friends and colleagues be a part of London 2012 was something else, Super Saturday, also known as 4th August 2012, was inspiring! It made me feel patriotic, and proud. It also made me want to find some way to get into athletics; who knew that running would be my thing?! So fast forward to 2020, and I found myself registering my interest with the Commonwealth Games to be a volunteer at Birmingham in 2022. It’s really easy to express an interest, it’s literally filling in a simple form. They will get back in touch with applicants soon. They will try to understand our skill setin order to match us to the appropriate roles that they have to fill. So come on Shufflers, let’s register and give something back. Deb Armstrong

Ed. – You’ve inspired me. I know a number of Shufflers have already volunteered to help at the games. Wouldn’t it be good if we could be the running club with the most volunteers at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth games?


Favourite Route: There and Back Again, to Haughmond Hill I would call this a long run (for me) and it consists of a little bit of everything. The distance is roughly 11 miles. Starting in the Quarry by HMS Beagle, heading towards the toll bridge, the first kilometre or so along the river path is always a gentle warm up. The Quarry is usually filled with lots of dog walkers and little children on bikes; I love the feel of running in the park as it has a very sociable feel to it. It is also a good place to start a run because of the public loos, in case you need an emergency ‘panic wee’ pitstop. I head out of The Quarry towards the English/ Welsh Bridge (I have lived in Shropshire for most of my life and I still forget which one is which) and on towards the weir. The path narrows and sometimes becomes a little more congested. This is where, if I am running with my dog, he goes back on the lead. He is a good boy and doesn’t run off, but he seems to have a death wish when it comes to cyclists and loves nothing more than to threaten to hurl himself under their front wheels at the last second, creating much panic all round! What fun! Out past the weir. It is lovely to run next to the water; obligatory comments on the colour, noise, speed of river flow and debris are to be made when passing. Have you ever seen a salmon trying to jump up it? No, me neither, but I will always have a look just in case! The trio of goats are also worth a quick glance too. Apparently, their favourite food is grapes – who knew?! Once past Sydney Avenue the route is a bit narrower, winding, green and you have to watch your footing. There are a few minor hazards here; it can get a bit squelchy underfoot and there is the odd bramble to dodge. (See pics A and B. B was in retaliation for A although I firmly maintain that he tripped and wasn’t pushed!)

Follow this track, under the bridge until you reach the canal path. This section is less muddy, more fire track and quite gentle underfoot. Once you arrive at the periphery of Haughmond Hill, there is a gentle winding climb up to the top. I never really know where I am going when I get there, I just follow a path uphill which leads eventually to the summit. Once at the top, it’s a must to head towards the café for refreshments and another pit stop. The most nutritious and restorative snacks I find to be are, a Magnum, a cup of tea and a slice of cake. All the serious, dedicated runners refuel in this way I find. Once sated, it’s time for a slower, more down’y’hilly return back to the town. This is generally when I start to feel a bit of fatigue. When this happens, I find I turn my mind to what I am going to have for dinner. This is a good distraction from the heavy legs. Before I know it, the Quarry is approaching and 11 miles are in the bag. I enjoy this run because it ticks all the boxes. It is mostly flat but with a touch of elevation in the middle. As with all runs for me, it’s not the speed or the distance, but that blissful warm legged feeling at the end when you know that you’ve put in a good effort! (and apologies for the multiple micturition references!) Caroline Cross


Mental Health Champions #RunAndTalk This year we are renewing our support for England Athletics’ #RunAndTalk programme. As part of the commitment, we have appointed eight new mental health champions. Congratulations to Caroline Brom, Kate Cunningham, Elaine Dean, Steve Kilroy, Pam O’Carroll, Richard Paddock, June Pickersgill and Aimee Woosnam! The club’s mental health champions are our main point of contact for mental health matters. Their role is to encourage and promote conversations about mental health, organise #RunAndTalk campaign events and build links with mental health organisations in our community. They also hold crisis contacts for signposting members to additional support where appropriate. With support from the committee, they are undertaking online training in mental health awareness for sport. You can reach out to them by emailing or speak in person at a club training session when restrictions allow.


Garmin Connect Just to let everyone know; if you use a Garmin watch there’s a Shropshire Shufflers Group on Garmin Connect – which you can search for via the Groups tab on the main menu.

Our Mental Health Champions Name: Caroline Brom Years a Shuffler: 2 I am lucky to have made amazing friends through running and I firmly believe in how our community can support each other. Running has had a positive impact on my own mental health; I love that it comes with no clear expectations and you can just control your pace, distance and environment!

Name: Steve Kilroy Years a Shuffler: <1 Witnessing first-hand the effects of mental health within my family, I have seen how alongside working with mental health professionals a person can enhance their healing with activities such as; running, yoga, mindfulness, and community support. -

Name: Kate Cunningham Years a Shuffler: 2 I have experienced a #RunAndTalk campaign and would love to be able to help others benefit. I am involved with Shropshire Training, co-leading workshops on women with Asperger’s and their mental health.

Name: Pam O’Carroll Years a Shuffler: 4 I have long had an interest in mental health and I am a retired teacher. I started running just after going through a low patch and know that it can really help with both physical and mental health. Name: June Pickersgill Years a Shuffler: 2

Name: Elaine Dean Years a Shuffler: 3 A parent of an adult son with mental health illness, I’m passionate about reducing stigma, promoting inclusion and enabling people to improve confidence, self-esteem, emotional and physical well-being through running/walking. Name: Richard Paddock Years a Shuffler: 20 A club coach, I have experience of these issues from a personal perspective, and I am a voluntary mental health champion in my workplace.

I started running 2 and a half years ago as a way to maintain a healthier lifestyle, manage stress levels and just enjoy the exercise and chat with people. Recently retired from a 30 year career in mental health. Name: Aimee Woosnam Years a Shuffler: 3 I spent 18 years under the care of mental health services, then I discovered running and the friendships I’ve acquired helped me to recover from chronic Anorexia. I would love to be able to offer help to others who are struggling.

Strava Also we have a group on running Strava (running app & website connecting millions of runners & cyclists worldwide) which you can search for via the Explore menu. So why not join and see where other Shufflers are running. (and how well they are doing too!)

Yoga for Runners: Unlocking the Hips As a runner, just the mere mention of ‘hip stretches’ may have you running for the hills (literally!). But before you race out of the door, Speedy Gonzales style, please read on to see how incorporating a few simple stretches into your post-running routine could really benefit you as a runner. There are many muscles around the hips that contribute to your movement as a runner- hip flexors, abductors, adductors, glutes, hamstrings, quads etc etc (the list goes on and on!), and for many runners these muscles are often tight and restricted. However, if you dedicate a little bit of time to unlocking these areas it could boost your running performance by creating a more fluid stride, and significantly reduce your risk of injury by returning the muscles to their natural resting length. When lengthening the muscles around the hip, it can be beneficial to use a ‘gliding technique’. This is when you take a muscle on and off stretch repeatedly, followed by short hold, in order to prepare the muscle to become more flexible. The focus of the stretches in this article is on the hip flexors; however, the same principles could apply elsewhere. 18

Hip Flexor Lunge

Reverse Nordics

The iliopsoas are one of the hardest working muscle groups in runners, literally lifting the leg with each step. The hip flexor lunge targets this common running hot spot.

The rectus femoris muscle flexes the hip and extends the knee. This dual action can fatigue and tighten the muscle resulting in the pelvis being pulled into an anterior tilt, which causes compression in the lower back. Try these movements to restore the muscle back to its resting length.

BENEFIT- Stretches the anterior chain (front of body) including the hip flexors. MODIFICATION- Rest your hands on the front thigh. EXTRA CHALLENGE- Add a side bend over front knee to target the abductors. 1. Start on all fours. Step right foot up in between your hands and sink into the lunge by dropping your hips forwards- you will feel a stretch across the top of your left hip. 2. Extend arms above your head to increase the stretch through the front of your body. Lift your chest and find space between your ribs. 3. Keep your tail bone tucked under to avoid causing compression in your lower back and to ensure the stretch is felt in your hip flexors and not your abdominals. 4. Now swing your arms back as your straighten your front leg.

BENEFIT- Lengthen and strengthen quadriceps, including the major quad rectus femoris. Strengthens abdominals. MODIFICATION- Try with toes tucked under or with the top of your feet flat and resting on the ground. EXTRA CHALLENGE- Extend arms in front in you. 1. Start in a kneeling position with your body upright. 2. Tuck your tail bone under and draw lower ribs down, engage your abdominals. 4. Cross arms over chest and lean back in a straight line from the knees to the shoulders, keeping your head in line. Be careful not to arch your back or come into hip flexion. 5. Rise back up. Repeat.

5. Continue to flow through the two positions slowly, linking your breath to the movement (inhale as you extend arms above you, exhale as you swing them back). Follow by a short hold.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article, I hope you enjoyed it. Sally Brocklehurst | Movement Base Sports Yoga Specialist (Yoga Alliance) 21

A Cultural Diversion In Shrewsbury we are lucky to have a fantastic selection of watering holes that we can run to. In Covid times this can be tricky, but on the plus side, the other patrons are very happy that we sweaty runners are outside. This cultural route goes from the Quarry to Montford Bridge, then on to Nescliffe, and back, if you are really hard core. Starting at the Quarry, you have the beautiful Boathouse which serves good beer and food as well as looking so picturesque. Next up the road, is the Bricklayers, perhaps the friendliest pub in the town. It serves Joules beer and big portions of proper pub food. You then get to the best view of any pub in Shrewsbury at the Bull in the Barne on the Mount. I hope the view isn’t going to be spoiled by the NWRR. You then have some enjoyable off-road running out to the Wingfield Arms at Montford Bridge, currently closed, but looks as if it’s about to open. It might not be the best beer you have ever tasted, but by the time you have run the 4 or so (occasionally muddy) miles on the Severn Way from the Bull in the Barne, it will taste like pure nectar. Food is available too. The next stage takes you to The Old Three Pigeons at Nescliffe. It is a mix of on and off road, again following Severn Way, but turning right at Wilcott and over the bypass on the pedestrian bridge. If you have made it this far, you deserve to eat and drink as much as you want from their excellent menu of food and beer. You can then have a quick jog up to Kynaston’s cave or further. I suggest that you get an understanding friend or partner to pick you up from the Pigeons. If you can’t persuade somebody to pick you up, it’s a long run back to Shrewsbury. Follow the Severn way back to Montford Bridge and then stick to the road to get back at a sensible time. The Four Crosses at Bicton has a nice garden, as does the Oxon at the top of Shelton Road. At the time of writing both of these were closed. Hopefully, they will be open soon. You can stop for a quick one at the Beacon (normally good for watching sport) on Copthorne Road. You will then get to the numerous hostelries in Frankwell, all of which serve good beer, but I suspect you may not have the most discerning of palettes by this time. 22

Good luck and good running. All of the places mentioned do serve soft drinks, coffee and tea, but do try (in moderation) some of the excellent local ales they serve. Graham Evans

Coaches Corner I’d like to start by offering my thanks to, and highlighting to all the membership, two people who work so hard to get the running rotas out and bookings made every week. Debs Armstrong works very hard every week to get a rota of run-leaders set up, and then Thomas Vaughan advertises and runs the booking system to get runners safely to these groups. These two between them are keeping the club going and making sessions available to members whilst we struggle to follow the ever- changing Covid guidelines. Debs and Thomas, along with the Coaching Team of Euan, Norman, Kelly, Debs (again) and myself, have been working since January to ensure that, when we are able to return to open-running groups, we have sorted out and agreed as a team the way the club will go forward with several issues. These include new run-leader training, mentoring existing run-leaders, supporting new running initiatives to help runners wanting to do more specific training for future events, and what running around Shrewsbury will look like in the summer and beyond. Most importantly how we do this safely as we slowly come to terms with living with Covid. One of the great things about the Shufflers is that we are a very large and diverse club, but that also brings with it many challenges. As the third biggest athletics/running club in the whole Midlands there are few clubs our size that we can learn from and compare ourselves with. Over the next few months, it is likely that we will attract yet more new members. So this is an invitation to old and new members to come forward and offer suggestions on how we support you all with your running. When I joined the club over twenty years ago, we were only about a third of the size we are now and a lot of us ran with the same runners and run leaders/coaches each week. As we return to bigger groups and sessions, this is becoming less likely and so hearing from you about how we offer you support is really important. Do message the coaching team with your ideas on One of the biggest challenges we face is how to offer support across the whole range of abilities we have at the club, from beginner runners to event athletes, we need to ensure that the sessions and advice we offer is meeting your needs. We also need to support runners who want to progress and improve their running (nobody is too old to improve and run better and injury free – a lesson I have learnt from taking the daytime groups over the past two years) as well as those who just want to run with their friends and not be ‘coached’. Run leaders and coaches, and we have over fifty at present but will be looking to train and support more members through this training when we return to something like normal again, are all trained to manage safely groups of different abilities and to take groups through basic warm-ups, main sessions and cool-downs. Do this too rigorously and some members think we are turning into an athletics club but not helping members run safely.Doing exercises can lead to more injuries and not enable members to benefit from the expertise of their run-leader/coach. So the next time you are out with a group and you hear the shout to start skipping or knees up, or end with a session doing stretches on a busy main road, it’s not a run-leader trying to embarrass you but somebody trying to help you become a better runner and one who can run for many more years. In doing this we are helping to set a great example to those sedentary car drivers of Shrewsbury who seem to find this funny but who are missing out on one of the best things about Shrewsbury – keep running and be proud Shufflers! John Short