Author Archives: Marian Lowther

February 2020: Cross Country Season Update

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Cross Country was introduced to the club by Daniel Floyd in the autumn of 2017. Daniel managed to enrol the club in a new league organised by the Derby Runner, which was open to clubs from Staffordshire and Derbyshire. It’s a closed league, so only members of running clubs can take part. Guest runners can enter, but they cannot score team points.  Although races can be competitive, they are fairly low key events with a good, friendly club atmosphere. They  are well organised, with clubs taking part in the league encouraged to take on marshalling and timekeeping duties at one event per season. The league is made up of 6 rounds with your best scores from 3 events counting towards the final results.

Whilst cross country is seen as an event for just fast runners, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a team game and very inclusive. The idea is to get as many runners in our team as possible. Yes, it helps to have fast runners, but it’s just as important to have mid-packers and tail-enders. It’s a numbers game. For each race we need a bare minimum of: 8 men (including 2 vets) and 4 ladies (including 1 vet). There is also a mixed team event consisting of 7 men (including 2 vets) and 2 ladies (including 1 vet).

Unlike other races, the results of cross country are based on your finishing place, not time. The finish places are added up and the team with the lowest number wins. Even if you don’t finish in the top 8 men or top 4 ladies, you are still helping the team by pushing our competitors down the finishing order. Therefore it is vitally important we put out full teams, but it’s made much easier for everyone if there are greater numbers involved as there is no maximum limit to a team.

The team spirit that has developed over the course of this season is something we are all very proud of. The team event lends itself to developing a good social aspect to racing that a lot of our runners have thrived on. If you thought that all you needed were a pair of trainers to go running, think again. Cross country demands that you bring with you a mug for your post-race hot drink and cake or biscuits for us all to share. We also have runners who bring their own camping chairs, tables and gazebo to provide more comfortable surroundings for pre and post-race chats.

We have witnessed some very good performances this season. Matt Orford, who has managed two wins from two races, Esther Hunt and Joseph Goodwin who have both consistently finished in the top 10 have been stand out individual performers. Collectively we have all shown great improvement as the season has gone on, something that has put Lichfield Running Club in the mix for trophies that will be decided at the last event of the season at Sinai Park, Burton on 8th March.

So, if you want to try something different (and it will be different), give it a go. The season runs from October to March. Races are all off road, between 5 to 6 miles long and cost £5-6. The events are properly marshalled and courses are always well marked out. There is a good team spirit going and it will definitely help improve your fitness over the winter months, regardless of running ability.

19th January 2020: Awards Presentation

Friday 19th January saw the annual LRC awards evening, after competition results were announced at the December AGM. The evening also saw the club say an official thank you and goodbye to outgoing president Dave Nason, one of the founding members, as he moves away from the area. We are all massively grateful for Dave’s contribution.
The two surprise awards of the evening were those voted for by members. Claire Wheat won greatest running achievement for her amazing feats as someone who has come to running in later life and excelled in her age category over all distances this year. Andrew Parker won greatest contribution for the second year, for the significant work he has done around coaching and development across the club, and current work with new members and beginners.

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January 2020: Chairman’s Update

Happy New Year to all!

Here’s a brief summary of the AGM, held in November:

It was confirmed that we have 161 members, which is excellent.

There have been a few changes in personnel at club director level, the main one being our previous chairman, Alan Pritchard, leaving and me, Martin Shortall, taking on the role. Ann Schwarzenbach was elected as secretary and Andy Parker has replaced Ann as membership secretary. Our current president, Dave Nason, confirmed he was stepping down as he and his wife are moving out of the area. Dave was the last of the original members and will be dearly missed. He doesn’t like a fuss, so I will just say, on behalf of the club, a big ‘thank you’. Chris Cox will take up the position of president and Cliff Cartwright will become vice president. Finally, I want to share our thanks to our current committee, without whom we could not run the club, and a welcome to Jon Wolfe, Jo Palmer, Maria Brown and Marian Lowther. The majority of the new committee members, together with others, run the ‘Comms Team’, which continues to do a fantastic job.

The results of the club competitions were confirmed and winners’ trophies will be handed over at the presentation night, Friday 17th January. Well done to everyone.

It has been agreed by the committee that the club should join the Burton & District League for the 2020 season, in order to add variety to the coming year.  This in turn will change our Grand Prix (GP) events, leaving out some popular local races, and introducing some new ones. The full list of GP League races, as shared at the AGM, is now published on the website. As a result of feedback about the changes, we have revisited the list and tried to fit in a couple of the popular local races. Aldridge 10km was added, but it was decided not to include Lichfield Half as it is only one week after another half marathon at Uttoxeter. This does not stop anyone from entering the Lichfield Half, which we know is very popular.

Moving on from this, we also added league tables for members to assist in running and providing friendly competition against our peers. It will be interesting to see how this performs this year. We will increase from 4 to 5 leagues to tighten the ability of the runners into smaller time gaps. More information will be shared on this by Jon Wolfe.

We had a full update from Cass and the 10km Race Team Crew, as the race grows in popularity every year and provides invaluable income and good press for our relatively small club. A big ‘thank you’ goes to Cass and the team for all their hard work.

Due to the increase in England Athletics subscriptions, which form 50% of your actual club membership payments, it was voted to increase our subs for all members by £5.00, which means that 2020 subs will be £35.00. This will be payable by end February.

The Monday run, which has been starting from Saxon Hill, will return to its starting point of Morrison’s car park in Lichfield in due course, as numbers have not increased as a result of the change.

Finally, a Lichfield 5km parkrun will start in January. Although the club doesn’t manage this event, we may occasionally ask for volunteers so please help if you can.

Martin Shortall

3rd November 2019: Flying Fox

There was a great turnout for the club at the final Grand Prix event of the season, the Flying Fox. No medals but everyone deserved the beer at the end after braving 10 miles of hills and more hills in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside. Great performances by all – special mention to Matt Orford who came second.

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6th October 2019: Shelton Striders 10k

What a turn out for LRC at Shelton Striders 10k road race: the penultimate event in the club’s Grand Prix series. Huge congratulations to everyone who took part. The course is pretty flat with PB potential; many of these were achieved today!

First back for the men was Rich Bravington; for the women, Jojo Palmer! Thanks to the support crew out there today and for all these fab pictures!

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September 2019: Chairman’s Update

I thought I’d just write another few lines to keep members updated as to what’s currently going on within the club and what has been happening over the last few months.

I have to firstly mention our club 10km road race and thank all those involved in the setting up and actually running of the day. An especially big ‘thank you’ goes to the 10km committee, which is a stand-alone group, separate from the normal club committee. I’m aware they have already started planning for next year’s race. It was very good news that Emma Fennon has stepped up to assist Cass with the main Race Director role. If you fancy getting involved in any small way with the race committee, contact Cass direct. (

Hopefully most of you are aware that our current Chairman, Alan Pritchard, has stepped down, and I will be Acting Chair until our Annual General Meeting (AGM). One for the diary is this year’s AGM, which will be held at Saxon Hill Café on Tuesday 26th November. This is your chance to have an input on how your club is run, and who is making those decisions. All members are welcome. An announcement will be made a month before the actual date.

A shout out for more members to become run leaders (LIRF); the club pay for your training. If you are interested, speak with any run leader, and ascertain what’s required; it really isn’t too onerous.

Our intention is to hold a survey, which all members can take part in, so they can give their opinion on how the club goes forward and develops. Hopefully this will be sometime around Christmas; more to come over next month or so on that.

Lastly, a gentle reminder that winter and the dark nights are closing in. Please always wear your reflective, and in due course, if you have any lights, wear them. Everyone has a responsibility for their own safety, not just the run leaders.

Martin Shortall

8th September 2019: Lichfield 10k

Almost as if the weather had been pre-booked, the running conditions were perfect on Sunday for hosting the 24th Lichfield 10K and Family Fun Run. Another pre-race sell out, over 1200 runners took to the Lichfield and Whittington streets, each with their own personal targets to fulfil and many running with some inspirational stories and for very worthy causes.

For Pool House in their first year of sponsorship, the build-up and the day itself had been a fantastic experience, creating a lot of buzz amongst the staff. With over twenty of the team involved, either running or marshalling, the company put in a lot of effort to ensure the success of the event. “We have loved being part of this” commented Operations Director, Fiona Haigh. “It is a wonderful community race which has brought together our clients, staff and families. It is great to see everyone enjoying it today”.

The 10K race was started by a special member of Lichfield Running Club, retiring Chairman, Alan Pritchard, who is about to relocate to Swansea with his wife, Adella. Alan first joined Lichfield Running Club in October 2006 and since then has committed himself fully to the membership, supporting as first Secretary and then Chairman, enabling the club to offer the varied opportunities and training sessions that it does today. A seasoned marathon and Ultra runner himself, Alan’s expertise, devotion and company will be sorely missed by all. “It felt fitting that he started the race for us this year,” said the 10K committee team.

The 10K Winner and first male, Simon Birch from Hinckley Running Club, finished the race in 32:29 mins, the fastest time in seven years. Simon commented that he loved the course. “I did the race a few years ago but have been doing some proper training since then, so I am delighted”. Jonathan Carter from Tipton Harriers came 2nd for the second year running, at 33:19, followed by Dominic Priest who came in 3rd in a time of 33:57. The course record of 30:16 mins remains intact.

The first lady, Juliet Potter, of Charnwood AC, finished the course with a clear lead of over three minutes, crossing the finish line in 37:16. It was her first Lichfield 10K as she wanted to try a new local race. “The course was tough in places as it can be quite hilly, however the marshals were great and I enjoyed the run, ” she said. Oliva Harris and Vicky Baddick came home in 2nd and 3rd place.

Aldridge Running Club were thrilled to be called out as the winning male team overall and Chase Harriers took this title for the ladies. Both teams demonstrated some excellent running times on the day against tough competition from a number of strong clubs.

The 2019 Fun Run had a variety of entrants and it was great to see so many family teams, including Hatty the elephant, running for the line together. Tamworth AC were the club of the day, with their member, James Mensham as overall winner and his fellow club member Lottie McClaren as first lady. It was James’ first time in the Fun Run and Lottie commented that she had been doing a lot of running recently. Fabulous effort by all and lots of promising athletes for the future!

There were also some truly inspirational run stories out on the course. Local and now national business, Busy Bees Nurseries, were running to raise money on behalf of their charity partner, Child Bereavement UK. The team had been training together. “I am so proud of everyone,” said CEO Cheryl Creases. “We love to do these events in order to raise awareness and a lot of money to help others in the future and make a difference.”

Finally, Maggie Smith, who was the last entrant to finish the 10K this year, was welcomed by a field of applause. “I have lost fourteen stone in four years” said Maggie proudly. “Once I struggled to walk to the shop and now I have just completed this race. Everyone has been brilliant today. I feel amazing”.

The Lichfield Running Club is grateful for the support from all of their helpers and sponsors, including; Water Logic for providing water for runners, Go Ape Cannock for handing out bananas, Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Trust, Running Form and Lichfield Lions for their support on the day. Ebrook Osteopathy were also on the field all day, providing free massage for entrants and their tired muscles.

For anyone inspired to try running, the Lichfield Running Club is open to members of all abilities. Please check the club website, which contains more information about joining and weekly training sessions. New members are always warmly welcomed so please come along. 2020 will mark the Silver anniversary of the 10K so the time to start training is now!

Lorraine Amos

2019 Start Retiring Chairman Alan Pritchard Pacers 2019 Fun Run Winners 2019


11th August 2019: Burton 10k

What a great morning for the club at Burton 10k! Members who braved the storms were rewarded with several hot and hilly miles, finishing with a loop of the track and a torrential downpour. There were some amazing results with prizes for Richard Bravington, coming in third overall at 34:55, Jo Palmer, who was first lady for the club and first V35 and Claire Wheat, first V65!! Elsewhere there were some great performances, PBs and debuts all around.


24th July 2019: Staffordshire Knot 5 Miler

LRC runners were out in force for the Staffordshire Knot 5 mile off road race on one of the hottest days of the year so far.

The men weren’t lucky enough to take home the team trophy this year, finishing in third place, but both Richard Bravington & Steve Rivers won cash prizes: Richard finishing 5th and Steve winning his age category. The first club female team also came in third. Not only was there beer at the finish, all runners took home a gym towel, which probably came in handy on the journey   home!

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June 2019: Chairman’s Update

Alan Pritchard has now stepped down as our Club Chairman, as due to his wife getting a job in South Wales, he will have to leave the area to settle there. I’m sure you all wish him and his wife, Adella, all the luck in the world in their new adventure.

This sadly meant him stepping down from his position, so until the next AGM, and in order to keep taking the Club forward, I will take on that role, whilst Ann Schwarzenbach will take on Club Secretary role, and Andy Parker will take on the Membership Secretary role. Tim Thacker will continue in his current role a Club Treasurer. All new positions will be reviewed and voted on at our AGM.

As part of taking on the Chairman’s role, I will try to keep members updated with all the hard work your Club Committee and other members are continuing to complete.

So see below for this period’s update:

This month, we paid £1000 as a charity donation to Saxon Hill School. This was raised from last year’s 10km Road Race. We continue to need help from all members, so if you haven’t volunteered yet to assist on the weekend of 7-8th September, please do so.

We had a great turnout of 13 teams at the Showground Relays; although it was very wet, all still enjoyed the night, with special mention to two teams finishing in top ten finishers. Full results will be posted when we have confirmed them. But bear in mind there were issues with the results due to wet conditions, so we don’t have them yet.

Approximately 50 club members attended the nutrition information talk on June 18th, held at Saxon Hill. Lots of good information was passed onto our members. Thanks to Dan Floyd for sorting; be aware we may put on more talks if members want, so make sure you pass on your feedback to Club leaders.

Martin Shortall