The Shropshire Shuffler SS20

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Contents Advice How To Run Safely In A Pandemic


Looking After Your Mental Health


Corona Corner Training Paces

Contributors Nick Pollock Dr Grace Roberts

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Yoga For Runners


Nutrition Simplified


Thomas Vaughan Ed Colin Lancaster Sally at Optimal Movement Bill Cork Sharon Williams Euan Balmer Geoff Black Bob Turner


Niki Wilkinson Heather Fras

Cross Country League


Chris Clarke

Daytime Shufflers


Richard Bishop (cover image)

Who’s Who?


40 by 40 Challenge


Marathon Tales


Thomas Vaughan

Night of the 5K PBs



Magazine available online at:

The Optimal Movement Team

Editors Graham Evans Helen Grime Lucy Grime

CHAT FROM THE CHAIR Welcome to the Spring 2020 edition of the Shuffler Magazine. I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the high standards the editorial team maintain and find plenty of interest to read (after this bit!). Following the AGM in February there have been some changes to the committee and I’d like to welcome Kelly Booth, Jan Cook, John Short and Aimee Woosnam on board. I know all three are committed to helping the club develop. The latter part of 2019 and early 2020 marked Shropshire Shufflers first attempt at taking part in a Cross Country league. And what a first attempt it turned out to be. The Shufflers team was superbly organised by Euan Balmer and both the men’s and women’s teams won their divisions by some margin. It wasn’t just the league position which was so pleasing though; for me it was wonderful to see up to 50 Shufflers turning up to run and even more on the sides supporting. The conditions weren’t always great, in fact some of the courses were politely described as ‘extremely muddy’ but Shufflers of all abilities ran and played their part in our excellent finishing positions. I hope even more of you will join in next season. It’s a rather strange time to be the chairperson of a running club. As I write this, I’m mindful that the road-racing season we also normally look forward to at this time of year is looking like it will be, at best, restricted. Covid-19 presents an unprecedented situation for all of us and, while there are bigger priorities to consider, hopefully we’ll be able to continue to enjoy our group running soon. Now the days are lengthening we can perhaps use our solo exercise time to enjoying running local trails to maximise our chances of maintaining the proper social-distancing. There are lots of beautiful paths across the fields within easy reach of even the centre of Shrewsbury. 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 contact me through the website or via Facebook. Happy running and take care of yourselves! Nick Pollock Chairman

How To Run Safely In A Pandemic As both a runner and a virologist I thought I’d give my advice about running in our current situation, and how to do so as safely as possible. At the time of writing, we’re still allowed to go outside once a day to exercise in the UK – general rules are: Exercise should start at your front door - travelling for exercise is deemed non-essential and is currently forbidden Exercise should be done alone, or with people you already live with At present, there is no defined time limit to how long you can exercise for, but in general, it is best to stick to your normal routine I can’t stress enough how important it is to adhere to the government guidelines. We all have a part in preventing the spread of the virus and protecting the most vulnerable in society. Also, if we all stick to the rules - we all get to keep running outside! If too many people ignore the guidelines we may end up with further restrictions. So now the serious bit is over, let’s get into the top tips for running safely outdoors in this situation:

1. Wash your hands! Make sure you wash your hands before you leave the house, and immediately upon your return. This means you’re protecting yourself, your household and others out and about. We know that people are able to spread the virus before they get any symptoms. This means that we should treat everyone as potentially infectious – this includes yourself!

2. Avoid touching your face Touching contaminated surfaces then touching your face is the main way people get infected with respiratory viruses (a handy little guide here). This is why washing your hands and avoiding contact with your face is so important. Allocate one hand to be your ‘clean’ hand, the other to be your ‘dirty’ hand. Avoiding touching your face is super hard for the average person at the best of times – even harder on a run! I always want to adjust my glasses, headphones, hair etc. Now when running, I’ve started consciously using only my right hand to touch my face, water, gels, headphones etc. The left hand for things like pressing the button at pedestrian crossings, using bins etc. Think right hand = clean, left hand = dirty, and stick to this throughout your run. Doing something simple like this massively reduces your chance of infection. If you are lucky enough to have hand sanitiser then you can always take this with you and use each time you touch something outdoors. Always remember to wash both your hands thoroughly as soon as you get home.


3. Remember to keep social distancing

5. Don’t take risks!

Try your best to keep 2m apart from others. There has been an increase in people taking to running or walking at the moment, meaning our favourite routes may now be quite busy – making two metres impossible! I’ve personally started avoiding our local canal, and instead choosing roads that are wide or less busy so I can give any other pedestrians a wide berth.

With the NHS now heavily burdened and hospitals are a hot spot for infection, you really don’t want to end up there. Limit your risks where possible such as Avoiding busy roads, Using designated road crossings, Avoid unfamiliar routes Avoid pushing yourself too hard It is important to keep up your fitness and running in times like these. But sticking within your limits and reducing risks will avoid incident, and reduce burden on the NHS and our emergency services in this busy time.

4. Wear your normal gear but be a little more prepared Wear your normal running gear – there is no need for any protective gear. The only difference I’d say is make sure you have everything with you that you need. If you like to have snacks/water whilst running, it is best to take these items with you – this avoids unnecessary interactions in shops. I’ve had a few questions about wearing buffs over faces when going outside. Studies have shown that face coverings made out of cloth offer little protection (see here for a study on influenza). Viruses are super tiny (the Covid19 coronavirus is 100x smaller than a red blood cell), and would easily get through the weave of standard fabrics. Also, wearing anything around your face may make you touch your face more, giving rise to more opportunities to accidentally selfinoculate yourself. Though if you think that wearing a buff will remind you not to touch your face, then by all means give it a go! It’s also important to know that the virus isn’t just floating around us in the air by itself – it’s spread via droplets of saliva that are produced when infected people sneeze/cough, these are too heavy to stay in the air for long, and quickly fall to the ground (see tweet below). If an infected person sneezes or coughs directly on you – you’re likely to get infected whether you wear a buff or not. Remember the main cause of infection in open spaces is touching contaminated surfaces, then touching your face – which is why points 1 and 2 are so important.

If you’re new to running, then firstly – welcome! Take it easy and listen to your body. Programs like the NHS’s Coach to 5k are specifically designed by professionals for beginners to gently build up their running over a 9 weeks.

6. Remember to enjoy yourself! Times are hard, and they’re going to be hard for a while. Going out once a day is so great to lift the spirits, have a bit of freedom and normality to our days – remember to enjoy it. I’m trying to smile and wave to every runner I pass, and say ‘good morning’ to walkers. Sometimes a smile can brighten someone’s day! We may have to stay 2m apart, but we’re all in this together. And finally... Thanks for reading! If you have any specific questions that you think I might be able to help with, then please do get in touch! I’m trying to make some infographics for the general public so knowing what people are unsure about is really helpful for giving me direction, as well as (hopefully) giving everyone some sensible advice. Dr Grace Roberts You can see Dr Grace’s original post at: 17c38944


Looking After Your Mental Health In these unprecedented times, it is understandable that many of us will experience increased anxiety for our own health, and that of our family and friends. A lack of social contact puts everyone at greater risk of loneliness and mental health issues, but some of us are particularly at risk. Before joining the Shufflers I went running occasionally on my own, and found this to be a useful way of managing my mood. As an autistic person I was very isolated and experiencing mental health problems including anxiety and depression. I did not have the social confidence to join a running club, nor do a parkrun. In early 2016 I met a friend who told me he was a member of the Shufflers. He invited me along and this gave me the confidence to attend a club run for the first time. Since then I have not looked back – I am now a regular at club training sessions, a qualified run leader and guide runner, as well as a Shrewsbury parkrun fanatic! Despite a lot of selfdoubt, I have entered various races and competed with the faster local runners. Sometimes I struggle with social interaction and communication. With the help of friendly club members I am able to socialise and bond with others over our shared love of running. The Shufflers and Shrewsbury parkrun communities are so welcoming, 6

and it feels like I have found a place where I belong. This experience has boosted my confidence and given me a sense of achievement, making an immeasurable difference to my mental health. I know that I will always suffer spells of mental illness, and that running is not a substitute for proper treatment. I still take medication and follow other coping strategies, but running is an important part of the ‘toolkit’ which keeps me on an even keel. There are many runners like me who nurture their mental health through running, and some of our own members rely on the regular club runs as their main social interaction during the week. I am fortunate to have the support of family at home, but others may not be in this position. Now more than ever, it is important that we stick together and support everyone in our community. We aren’t able to run in groups, but (at the time of writing) we can still hit the pavements and keep in touch by phone, text or social media. If you know anyone who could be struggling, please reach out to them, and if you are the person who is feeling cut off from the world, please remember that the Shufflers community is there for you. Reach out to family and friends if you can, or contact one of the various mental health support organisations for help and advice. Stay safe everyone, and happy shuffling Thomas Vaughan

Corona Corner In these strange times it is important that we follow government advice. At time of writing ( ), it was: - Stay at home - Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home) shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible. one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household. any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person. travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home. - Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people - Wash your hands as soon as you get home - You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms. - Staying at home and away from others (social distancing) We are incredibly lucky to be part of a sport that can be done as a group or very importantly individually. It’s recognised by the government as one of the forms of exercise that can be undertaken safely. We live in a beautiful county and whether you live in the heart of the town or in a remote hamlet, it is easy to access lovely quiet footpaths and runs. We don’t need to get into a car and drive miles. The Shuffler editorial team encourage you to keep running (alone or with a member of your household) whilst we are still allowed to. We look forward to seeing everyone back at all the Shuffler sessions that will restart as soon as the government say it is safe to do so.

Coaches - If you are struggling to keep your coaching mojo, take a look at the England Athletics site, there are some excellent webinars as well as the usual online courses.

Runners - If you are working from home, a lunch time jog is a great way to get away from that PC and come back refreshed for your afternoon shift.

Parents - Take a look at By the time this edition of Shuffler comes through your door, we will all have been affected either personally, through friends, colleagues or family by this virus that is stalking the world. We care about our Shuffler, our Shropshire our World community. Keep Safe Ed


Do You Know Your Training Paces? To improve as a runner it is essential that you are aware of what pace you are running at. Training plans, published in magazines and online, use various terms such as steady, hard, tempo and easy but these mean different things to different people. It is better to use terms that are related to the physical responses your body makes to exercise. Listening to your body is the most accurate way to train as we all notice changes in our breathing, and how we feel, as we move up the paces and run faster. The terms 5km, 10km, half marathon and marathon pace will involve different paces for different people. For example, a 10km pace for an elite runner is how fast they can sustain a 30 minute run. For a beginner, a 10km pace will be the pace they can sustain for around 70 minutes. The two paces are naturally very different. I have put together the following description of training paces which can be used by everyone and are related to competition time rather than distance.

Gentle Pace, ‘Chatty Running’ This is the first and most important training pace for any runner. It is your normal every day running pace. It is the pace where you can talk comfortably in full sentences and where your breathing is no faster nor much deeper than when you are at rest. Often runners believe that this pace must be too slow to have any real benefit. This is not the case however. Because it is the volume of running you do, not the speed you run at that makes you faster and at a ‘chatty’ pace you can build up the volume of running and not feel tired. At this pace, your legs will get stronger and your heart will get bigger, as it is a muscle and will be able to pump more blood with each beat. Your body will adapt by increasing the number of mitochondria in the muscles, where energy is made, and this gentle exercise will stimulate new blood capillary growth. These huge adaptions happen at gentle running speeds, there is no need to go any faster. In fact, I am always amazed at how quickly the new


runner can go from no running to being able to run 5km in just ten weeks. As long as they keep the runs conversational and gradually build the length of time they can run for. When you slow down and run chatty, you will enjoy your running, be able to gradually do more and your fitness will improve. Your chatty running pace will soon get faster too. Guide - For those that like to use heart rate, chatty running is 60 to 75% of your maximum heart rate, or at least 60 seconds a mile slower than your marathon pace. Often called easy, gentle, steady, recovery running.

2 Hour Competition Pace Run just a little too fast on your everyday runs and you will probably be running at your two hour competition pace; the next pace up. Put simply, two hour competition pace is the pace you could run for a two hour event. For some people running at this pace feels good, but you will be breathing deeper and perhaps a little faster. You will be able to talk in full sentences but not comfortably. In fact, you will probably take in a little gasp of air at the end of each sentence which people around you can hear. This is why we call it ‘breathy’ running. ‘Breathy running’ makes you just a little too fatigued to be done every day and if you run at this speed after a faster running session, for example a track session, you will not recover as quickly as if you had run at a gentle, chatty pace. The fatigue from running at this pace builds over several days and you will start to feel tired at the beginning of runs and, unless you rest, you risk injury or illness. The crucial thing to remember is that there is very little physiological gain to be made by running at this intensity over running gently at ‘chatty pace’. The extra fatigue that is caused will mean you run less and so your fitness will not improve as quickly as if you had been chatty running. Guide – this pace is around 75-80% of your maximum heart rate. Often called- marathon pace or steady running.

1 Hour Competition Pace This next pace has been given many names over the years but if you listen to your body it is quite straightforward. At your one hour competition pace, you will be needing more oxygen and so you will be beginning to breathe deeper and faster. This is the pace where you can talk only in part sentences. Run at this speed and conversations take twice as long. It is the pace you could run at for an event lasting one hour. At this pace, your body will start dipping onto its anaerobic energy system which begins to contribute a little more to your total energy. If you run at this pace, your body will do something amazing! Because your anaerobic energy is contributing a little more, you produce a small amount of lactic acid. At this low level, your body can break down the lactic acid and use it as a fuel. It is as if your body has its own turbo. Unfortunately, if you run just a little too fast, the lactate will start to build up and running will feel harder. The trouble with one hour competition pace is that it takes discipline and practise to run at the correct speed. It is tempting to go just a little bit faster than you need. If you get it right, the first twenty minutes of an hour long race should not feel too difficult, so running at this pace should not be too tiring. Train at this pace and your body will get better at using the lactate as a fuel, so you will again get faster for the same effort. Be aware that you will have to recover fully before you run at this pace again. Guide -1 hour competition pace is only 30 seconds a mile faster than marathon pace. You will find your breathing changes anywhere between 80 – 90% of maximum heart rate but you will notice a difference quite easily. Often called – tempo, lactate threshold, OBLA pace.

15 minute competition pace This can be a very productive pace to train at for experienced runners. It is the speed you think you could just maintain for an event lasting 15 minutes. You will not be able to say more than one or two words but breathing, although faster and deeper, is still controlled.

Be careful! Once you go above this pace, you reach a level where your body uses all the oxygen available. Your body will have no choice but to turn the anaerobic energy up to full power and your legs will get heavy as the lactate acid quickly builds up. Stay controlled at 15 minute competition pace and you will keep out of this anaerobic minefield. This pace is best used in interval or repetition running as it is arduous. Experienced runners should run efforts at this pace for no longer than four minutes. Even elite athletes only run at this pace for a maximum of five minutes. A runner trying these efforts for the first time should do no more than two and a half minute efforts at this pace. Recovery time should always be the same as the time it takes you to run the effort. Guide - Your heart rate at 15 minute competition pace is at maximum or very near to maximum. Often called- interval or repetition running. Running quicker than 15 minute competition pace is best described as event pace. For example, 1500m pace or 800m pace. This training is the icing on the cake and is best saved for another article!

10 Second Sparkly Running If you run fast for 10 seconds, or less, and give yourself at least two and a half minutes recovery in between, your body will be able to use stored energy already created for this short intense burst. No oxygen is needed, no bi-products are produced and you will not get tired. These sparkly runs should be done at least once a week, all year round, by all abilities, four to six times during a run. They are great fun and will make you stronger, give you more flexibility and teach you how to run fast with better form and efficiency. Every time you go running you should know what pace you are going to run at and why. However, knowing when to use these training paces is the subject of another article!

If you would like more advice on training paces please contact Colin Lancaster at



Runners LOVE to run, we live it, breathe it, talk about it, read about it, dream about it...ok, maybe the last one is just me? That’s great right, I mean it’s a whole lot more interesting than talking about the weather (unless its in terms of race conditions). Running can bring so much joy and happiness into our lives and it should be celebrated and shared with others. Even if the unexpecting victims of your running ‘stories’ look like they want to run for the hills. Let’s be honest, we have all received that glazed-over look from someone before, whether it be a work colleague, shop assistant, dentist or your 3-year-old child! Running offers so many tremendous physical and mental health benefits, from a great cardiovascular workout to reduced feelings of stress. Whether you run with others, are attached to a club, or even just like to rock up to your local Parkrun on a Saturday morning, running allows you to find your ‘tribe’. You know, the fellow human beings in compression tights and hi-vis attire that actually want to hear about your latest trainers or running gadgets! The flip side to this is when it starts to go wrong, when we start to be plagued by niggles, or worse still, get a full-blown injury. A runner that is unable to run can feel absolutely crushed, trust me I have lived with runners my entire life. Their spark begins to dim, and they can experience a real sense of identity loss. Not a place any of us want to be! So what contributes to the high risk of injury and what can we do about it? During the course of a mile, your foot will strike the ground on average 1,000 times with a force of two to three times your body weight, yikes!. This alone can be felt, to some degree, through your entire bone structure, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Add to the mix the repetitive nature of running, which causes the same muscles to contract over and over again, while underusing other muscles. Is it really any wonder that the majority of runners will at some point face an injury? But before you hang up your trainers for good, please read on! Runners need to be able to move efficiently to avoid injury and perform well, and adding a regular Yoga practice into your weekly training programme will aid you in doing just this. It is well documented that professional athletes have


been turning towards Yoga to enhance their physical performance, prevent injuries and extend their careers. For example, Ryan Giggs credited his longstanding, successful football career to the regular practice of Sports Yoga! As a runner, you don’t need the flexibility of a gymnast, but you do need your joints to be able to move through their full ‘normal’ range of motion. You also need good core stability (the ability to maintain spinal and pelvic alignment) in order to support the movement forces from your arms and legs and to maintain an upright posture. At Optimal Movement our “Yoga For Runners” classes are first and foremost ‘functional’. Meaning that every posture has been carefully selected to specifically target common problem areas found in the majority of runners. Our classes will provide you with the opportunity to lengthen tight restricted muscles, build strength in vulnerable and high-risk


areas, realign joints and improve core stability. Yoga for Runners will improve your balance and proprioception, focus and concentration, and your overall recovery. While Yoga is by no means a ‘fix all’ solution, it will certainly aid in restoring your musculoskeletal system back into balance, reduce your risk of injury, and make you feel good from the inside out! So why not come along and try out a class with us? At the very least you will have a new ‘story’ to share with your fellow runners! Thank you for taking the time to read this article, I hope you found it useful. Sally Yoga Instructor at Optimal Movement


01743 292 622

Churncote Route A fairly flat easy route with a mixture of fields and lanes. Onslow Park at the beginning is particularly pretty. We went to the Churncote cafe afterwards but actually used Saffron Cottage Curry House to park as it’s shut during the day. If you have a favourite run you would like to share please let us know with a helpful map and brief description for the next edition.


Nutrition Simplified Nutrition for runners is not only a vast topic encompassing fuelling and hydration strategies for before, after and during training or racing but it can also be rather a divisive topic too. We runners all love to eat! We have our favourite foods, or sports nutrition, that we believe makes a difference for us. A few of us are lucky enough to know what works for us, some of us are happy to try anything and the rest of us…well, it’s all a bit hit and miss. With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to offer a Nutrition Cheat Sheet for Shufflers offering a few broad guidelines for nutrient timing which might be useful. I would like to add at this point that nutrition is most definitely not a one size fits all. Low Carb/highfat diets, intermittent fasting, dietary requirements due to personal, ethical or medical reasons will all impact on the food choices for runners and each could easily fill an article on their own. This article is all about keeping it simple and is aimed at the majority! We are runners. We are more than happy to lace up and get out there whatever the weather and do the miles we need to take the next step towards our goals or even to be out as long as it takes to catch up with our running friends. But while we are ticking off our miles, we should also be aware of what our body might need.


Pre-run How many times have you arrived at Shufflers on a Monday night and realised you haven’t eaten since lunchtime? It’s good to get into the habit of having a snack or meal two to four hours before running. Depending on the intensity and duration of your run, you can adjust the carbohydrate to suit. Most runners need carbs. There. I have said it. The poor carbohydrate receives such bad press but it is our body’s favourite fuel. Our brain relies exclusively on glucose to function. We need carbs! But there are more to carbs than pizza and pasta. If in doubt pre-run, opt for a balanced meal or snack that contains a nutrient-dense mix of carbs, protein and fats. Some examples might be porridge with milk and a banana, a small jacket potato with baked beans or a whole grain chicken sandwich with salad.

Take home: If the session is very long or very intense, eat more carbohydrate. If it is short and easy, you can eat less. Simple!

During Your Run

After Your Run

We have enough stored carbohydrate (known as glycogen) in our muscles and liver for up to 90 to 120 minutes of easy-moderate intensity exercise.

It is a really good habit to get into refuelling within 30 mins after a training session. This requires a bit of forward planning but it is totally worth it. Opt for real food if you can, rather than engineered sports bars or drinks. In the interests of once again keeping it simple, also keep it balanced; carbs, proteins. Try foods such as a tuna and sweetcorn sandwich or eggs on toast, chocolate milk is one of my favourites. Have something small to kickstart recovery and make sure you are ready for your next run, reduce your stress hormones which will be elevated from training and increase your energy levels. Make it non-negotiable. Just do it!

For your normal Monday night training run, there is no need for caloric support. You shouldn’t need to eat or drink anything providing you have fuelled appropriately during the day. Even then, if you are on an easy run, whilst you may feel a little more fatigued, you would be fine. For runs longer than 90 to 120 minutes, you may want to consider taking on some calories. These calories commonly come in the form of gels or chews but you can train with normal food too. It’s all down to personal preference. Consuming calories during running takes some practice and it isn’t for everyone. But if you find a food that you can tolerate you may be able to postpone fatigue by up to 30 mins. Choosing to not take on these extra calories would force your body to utilise more fat of which we have enough stored to run many marathons back to back. Becoming fat-adapted however sits out of the remit of keeping it simple for the majority of us and although has many benefits, there are also some shortcomings. As an aside, the studies available have only been done on men and because women need more carbohydrate than men during daily living. Without knowing more about individual runners, I would be inclined to suggest most runners would benefit from taking on a quick gel for longer runs.

As runners and people with busy lives, it is always good to remember we are not just fuelling for training and racing. We are also fuelling for performance in everyday life as well and if we are not eating the right foods to support our running, this will most definitely be having a negative impact on the rest of our life too. So having said that, here are some simple but general nutrition guidelines for every day: - Eat enough to support your training load. - Choose nutrient-dense food – the more goodness and nutrients you can cram into a meal or snack the better! - Focus on healthy lifestyle habits that are sustainable rather than fad diets. - Enjoy everything in moderation (including chocolate and maybe a glass of wine!), you are allowed a life!


North Wales Cross Country League It was the morning of the Shropshire Shufflers first ever race in the North Wales Cross Country League, and I was worried. Not the usual pre-race nerves or sudden toilet obsession; not the quadruple check of kit (running the Belfast half in a make-shift towel skirt after forgetting my shorts makes this one legit); nor even the watch panic, because a run’s not a run if it doesn’t get onto Strava. No, this time my fears were serious: what if no one turns up! And why would they? I’d done my best to gauge interest for the season and make communication clear and positive, but reading between the lines the race instructions amounted to little more than: meet me in a muddy field in Wrexham, on a cold blustery Saturday in October and then get ready for a lungbursting run into the unknown! But, as I turned into a school car park my meerkateyes spied an abundance of red, white and blue and the familiar accompanying smiles. Twenty, plucky Shufflers later we were a team, and as it turned out, a force to be reckoned with! The rest, as they say, is history. Division 2 Titles for the Men’s and Women’s Teams and a string of individual awards. Most importantly, it was the collective effort, fun and friendships formed that made the season for me. So, instead of race reports, please take a look at some of the best photos from the season. Oh, and it would be remiss of me not to mention our greatest adversary: mud. If the Eskimos can have 50 words for snow, cross country runners might have 50 adjectives (and a few swear words) for mud. The energy-sapping, shoe-eating, tenacious, sticky, treacherous, gooey, deep, glorious mud. As we learnt, sometimes the best and only way to deal with it is to take a dive. Really. Euan Balmer 14


Daytime Shufflers: Does What it Says On The Tin! In early January, I started a four week long experiment to see if there was a demand for a ‘daytime version’ of Shufflers. The idea was to get a small number of coaches together who were prepared to set aside an hour on a Thursday or Friday morning to lead whoever might turn up. The background to this was that I was approaching retirement at the end of 2019 and wanted a project that would not only fill a few interesting hours but also have a social benefit. At the time, I was a member of the Shufflers’ Committee and floated the idea to the other members. It was approved in principle and I then used social media to create surveys to establish whether there might be a demand and, if so, which days and times would be most popular. Thursdays and Fridays were out in the lead, and a 9.30 am start seemed ideal for most participants. Not wanting to commit the Club to something that was untested as an idea, I launched the experiment with a start date of Thursday 9th January. I sent a request to the club coaches to see who might be available and was very encouraged to get very positive responses from a small but dedicated group who had time available. On the first day, I was nervous on two counts. What if no one turned up, and what if half the membership arrived? I didn’t have to worry, as a ‘perfect’ number of 39 runners congregated at the monument by Greyfriars Bridge, a location chosen due both to its familiarity to Parkrunners and its ideal proximity to quiet routes both around the Quarry and the river 16

and also with easy access to the ‘quiet’ south of town. It was very clear from the start that this was an idea waiting to happen. The combination of a run with a strong social element, who regularly meet for coffee afterwards, and always including a ‘social’ running group to ensure inclusivity proved to be an immediate hit. It was available to those, particularly in the winter months, who might not be able to attend the usual club nights for reasons such as poor weather and visibility, childcare or work patterns. I was able to go back to the committee in early February with overwhelming evidence to persuade them to make it a permanent feature of the club’s offering, and they agreed unanimously. At the time of writing, nearly 150 individual Shufflers have come along, of all ages and abilities. The size of the groups has been manageable, being divided into the previously mentioned social group and also an ‘all ability’ group covering a greater distance with some efforts thrown in.

I’d like to thank not only the 2019/20 committee for backing this initiative but also the great team of coaches: Kate Bentham, Laura Birch, Amanda Cartwright, Martyn Jackson, Amy Nodder, John Short, Claire Sproston and Aimee Woosnam. Geoff Black

WHO’S WHO? In the last Shropshire Shuffle Mami Laird nominated Bob Turner for this issue’s ‘Who’s Who?’! Bob will then in turn nominate another shuffler and carry on the chain…

What made you join the Shufflers? I did Kapow with a friend and discovered that I could run further if someone was running with me. I then asked on FB and discovered that the Shufflers beginners’ course had just started. The rest is history. What’s your favourite run or race ever? All the run Disney races at Disneyland Paris. the support is amazing and includes character stops if you want them sadly, I could only walk the races due to injury but plan to go back and run them next year. What’s your biggest achievement in running? Not dying whenever I run! What are your future goals and aspirations? To complete Virgin London Marathon. Favourite running song? I don’t listen to music as I normally have Debbie Armstrong talking at me! If I had to pick one it would have to be ‘Livin’ on a prayer’ playing at the halfway point of any race! Best bit of kit or equipment? My Tikiboo Little Miss Princess leggings they stay put and everyone can see me coming! Favourite post run food or drink? Cooked Breakfast after a race followed with prosecco in the Hot tub! If you could race anywhere in the world where would you go? I would love to do the Castle to Chateau which is a half marathon and Disneyland Paris followed by a half in Disney Florida. If you could run alongside anyone dead or alive who would you choose?

Name: Bob Turner Age: 50

I would love to do a 10k running all the way with Kate Cunningham. She may not be famous, but she keeps trying to crack this running business! Nominate the next Shuffler to be interviewed and your reason why: Des Lee. Des is amazing I hope that I am able to run like Des when I am his age! He is a real inspiration to everybody especially those that say they are too old to run!



40 by 40 Challenge A year has gone by since our last 40 by 40 update. For those of you who may not have read our previous articles, we (Heather Fras and Niki Wilkinson) are attempting to complete 40 half marathons by the time we reach 40 years old. Running alongside this challenge is an attempt to make our way through the alphabet of half marathons as well. In the last 12 months we have completed the following half marathons.

Niki: Number 17 – Anglesey 1:51:25 (March 2019) – I joined some of my Shuffler friends for this one, so a thoroughly enjoyable race with a roast and a glass of wine (or two) at the end. Number 18 – Wigan 1:50:17 (March 2019) – A solo run to get my ‘W’. Number 19 – Rhyl 1:53:20 (June 2019) – An incredibly windy race with a long stretch along the coastal path, thankfully the wind was pushing Heather and me in the right direction for the last few miles. Number 20 – Two Tunnels, Bath 1:55:04 (August 2019) – I thankfully enjoyed running through the tunnels, but I didn’t enjoy the mile after mile after mile along the canal afterwards! Here is where I hit the halfway point of our challenge, it’s downhill from here! Number 21 – Yabba Dabba Doo 1:54:07 (September 2019) – Not my favourite at all, but that’s probably because it was laps of Chasewater and four of the damn things! To make matters worse, I tripped at the end of the third lap and came uncomfortably close to the ground. Saying that I had a holiday to Jamaica to look forward to afterwards. Number 22 – Oulton Park 1:46:59 (February 2020) – First half marathon of 2020 and I almost didn’t make it due to really bad flooding on the roads en-route, but made it with 20 minutes to spare. This race was six laps on the race track, make of that what you will... “I’m reining in the number of half marathons I’m running this year, so I don’t hit 40 too early, still six and a half years to go! That said I’ve signed up for Derby, X (thankfully found an ‘X’ in the UK after having to cancel our Xirivella plans at the end of 2019), and Kenilworth. I’m also considering running Shrewsbury in October for the second time, why not it is the hometown after all!”


Heather: Number 23 – Potters Arf 1:58:26 (June 2019) – A very hilly one which I took steady, and not too far from home. Back to our challenge after my first marathon in Manchester in April where I achieved good for age. Number 24 – Rhyl 1:53:20 (June 2019) – Nice to run one with Niki and keep each other company for 13.1 miles. I was first in my age category, but I left before the presentation and missed out on my prize. Number 25 – Two Tunnels, Bath 1:45:58 (August 2019) – Although I enjoyed running through the 2K of tunnels, they played havoc with my watch! Number 26 – Yabba Dabba Doo 1:52:25 (September 2019) – Had been hoping for a PB at this event but not the course for it. Fab medal with free ice cream at the end which is always a bonus on a fairly hot day! Number 27 – Abersoch 1:52:25 (September 2019) – Anniversary weekend away with the hubby which is never complete without a run. Managed to convince him to run his first half and he got an amazing time considering the lack of training. Number 28 - Shrewsbury 1:54:29 (October 2019) – I had the opportunity to pace this event (1:55) which I thoroughly enjoyed despite the pre-race nerves, just a touch quick. Number 29 – Oulton Park 1:44:18 (February 2020) – In the middle of marathon training so I used this as a preparation race for London. Strangely I enjoyed this one despite the many laps. “Almost the same as Niki – Derby, X, Kenilworth but I’m doing Manchester instead of Shrewsbury. Again, I’m trying to reduce the number of halves I’m doing but it’s easy to get carried away booking them!”

Niki Wilkinson & Heather Fras


Marathon Tales When I was in my late thirties I gave up playing competitive football but continued to run just to keep myself fit. At the same time, a school colleague called Dave also finished his playing career and joined me jogging for about 4 to 5 five miles a couple of times a week. This was the start of our 5 year obsession with running when we ran 26 marathons, about 50 half marathons and numerous other distances. During this time we were running consistently under 1hr 30min for a half and 3hrs 30min for a full marathon. Also, as we were of similar ability, we always tried to finish races together, unless one of us was having a bad run in which case we invoked the runners creed by saying “see you later” and leaving the other to struggle in by themselves. These tales are just some examples of the many things that happened during our formative running years.


by Chris Clarke Tale 1: The Banana 1987 London Mars Marathon Finish time 3hrs 38 min 30 sec At this stage in our running careers it was Dave’s 2nd London run and my first as I had failed to get in the year before on the ballot. Being trained and disciplined athletes we had limited ourselves to four pints in the pub the night before, as you do. As you well know during a marathon all sense goes out the window, you lose the ability to work out split times and your thought processes become somewhat blurred. We finished together on this run and, wrapped in our mars lunar foil blankets, we went and sat on the embankment waiting for my wife, Brenda, who was going to find us and drive us back to Chester. So, wrapped in our tin foil, like oven ready turkeys, we took our goodie bags and collapsed on the grass alongside the river. Both of us emptied our bags on the floor and examined the contents. There was the usual energy drink, adverts for other runs, a mars bar and the wheat biscuit that made your mouth feel like the bottom of a budgies cage after you tried to eat it. I then looked across at the contents of Dave’s bag and spotted that he had a huge fyffes banana in his, complete with logo sticker on the side. I then looked in my bag and was horrified to discover that I hadn’t been given a banana of any variety at all and so I asked my so called friend if he would share his with me! No chance! He sat there and ate the whole thing in front of me, with what I thought was a, somewhat, hostile attitude towards my reasonable request. What followed was a very childish squabble between two adults on the banks of the Thames which only ceased when Brenda arrived and gave us a good talking to before things got totally out of hand!

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.

Tale 2: I’ll Get My Coat

Tale 3: Bri-Nylon Man

1988 The Snug of the Griffin public House

The Snowdon Marathon (1988) Finish time 3hrs 33min 32sec

To understand this tale you have to remember the Fast Show in which the chap always lets the cat out of the bag and has to leave saying “I’ll get my coat”. Anyway, my fellow runner Dave liked a pint and a smoke in the pub (remember those days) and would meet his mate Gordon to peruse the Racing Post and try and pick a winner. So, there they were in the snug, pints and fags in hand, looking at the horses form for the next day race meeting. In the midst of this serious deliberation a friend of Gordon’s came in and sat by them for a chat. This guy was dressed in the full running monty, head band, wrist bands, expensive trainers and a full shiny shell suit (remember them). Gordon, to be polite, asks him how he is and what he is doing dressed like Keith Chegwin. The guy answers that he is in full time training for a marathon which he hopes to complete in under 5 hours. Dave says nothing! Gordon asks how the training is going and gets a 10 minute lecture about diet, carb loading, gym work, running fartleks etc, Then the guy, who doesn’t know Dave from Adam, says to him as he downs his pint and puffs on his woodbine “even someone like you could run a marathon if they did the same training as me”. Gordon, who knew that Dave was a good runner turned to him and asked casually “what’s your best time for a marathon Dave?” Dave answered “Oh, about 3hrs 25mins” at which point the poor chap choked on his drink and, like the old “News of the World” reporter, made some excuse and left.

The route for this run is quite difficult so Dave and I thought that as we were approaching the elite status (only in our minds) that this would be a good test as we seemed to be OK on the flat so how hard could a couple of hills be. The race starts in Llanberis and climbs steadily for 6 miles up to Pen-y-Pass and then descends for 7 miles into Beddgelert. After that it’s a bit up and down until you get to Waunfawr when it suddenly becomes serious and goes up very steeply. Just before we got to Waunfawr, which was about 21 miles into the run and we were feeling it a bit, we were passed by a runner, not unusual I hear you say. Don’t forget that we were elite runners at the start of the run before a gradual decline as the race progressed. Anyway, the runner passed us on the approach to Waunfawr and really put us in our place. Remember we were in our early 40’s at the time and this chap must have been pushing 60, at least, by the look of him or else he was having a very bad run or had lived a hard life. He was dressed as follows: a Van-Heusen bri-nylon shirt complete with chest pocket, a pair of holiday shorts with side and back pockets, long ankle socks and a pair of loafers. The only thing missing was a cravat! As he passed us he reached into the back pocket of his shorts and retrieved a map of the course and proceeded to check where he was on the run (no garmin in those days). Having worked out where he was he carefully folded the map, replaced it in his pocket and left us trailing in his wake as he accelerated away. Now this was enough to put anyone off running for life. The only saving grace was that he wasn’t carrying a ladder or dressed in a fancy costume. I tried to find out who he was after the race but didn’t see him at the finish and didn’t see his number as he passed us.

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!)

Thursday 25th June 2020

Night of the 5K PBs A Shropshire Shufflers social night at the track celebrating 5000m running. On Thursday 25th June 2020, between 5:30-9pm, we’d like to invite you to our inaugural Night of the 5K PBs at London Road Sports Centre, SY2 6PR This will be a great, social night to meet up with your friends and bring your family. Here you will have the opportunity run a timed 5K on a flat track to chase down a PB (this will count towards the Clubs Championship 5K category), cheer each other on, grab something tasty to eat and help create the perfect club running atmosphere.

Key event features: A fun and inclusive running event for all abilities. We will have you running the 5k in your timed ability range, as explained further below. A unique opportunity to get an officially timed track 5K that will count towards the Club Championships: lots of PB potential! There will be tasty pulled pork or mushroom and halloumi rolls + drinks available to buy on the night provided by Catering at Crewe Street. Optimal Movement will provide professional warm up or cool down massages for competitors, and no doubt a bit of expert advice! Access to changing facilities at London Road Sports Centre The 5K timed runs are for Shropshire Shufflers membership only, but the evening is open to all Shufflers friends and family who want to attend and support. Club Membership who book for food will be given a £3 discount caterers food voucher when they arrive and check in at Registration (Club Shelter). Also, we would like to support our Club President in raising money for Muscular Dystrophy. The 5K timed run is free, but we would love you to bring some cash to donate and support the Club President’s Charity. We’ll have charity buckets.

For full details: Check the email ‘Night of the 5K PBs’ you got from on 10 March. You will need your Park Run Bar Code to record a time. If you haven’t got one, go to register/

Register for the event: Reply to the email titled ‘Night of the 5K PBs’ you received from on 10 March. Euan Balmer Event Organiser Supported by Optimal Movement