On 15 January 2018 In Running News

Nathan SmithKevin Oakes 2Welcome to the first articlew in our new series "Marathon Monday". Every fortnight you can read an article leading up to spring marathon season including Brighton / Milton Keynes / Manchester and "the Big One" the Virgin London Marathon on 22nd April.


Over the next few months we are going to cover a range of topics including training / nutrition / race psychology as well as a VLM course preview for both participants and spectators.


We have two BRAT's, Nathan Smith and Kevin Oakes, who were lucky enough to be allocated the clubs places for the Virgin London Marathon. We are looking forward to hearing from both as to how their training is going, the highs and the lows as well as understanding a bit more about why they are undertaking this challenge.


So, which other BRAT's are planning on taking part in a spring marathon in 2018? What are your hopes and aspirations? First Timer? Looking to complete or compete? Do you have a target whether its raising money for charity or achieving a personal best?


Let us know by replying to this post below or email  us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that we can get in touch and find out a bit more about you and let all of your club mates know about your targets and goals.

On 10 November 2017 In Running News

Do you run? Come and run cross country for BRAT this season! It’s as simple as that.


Why on earth would I want to do that? Isn’t that used as punishment at school?

  • Races are free: BRAT covers the entry costs for all team members.
  • It’s genuinely fun to do something as a club and be part of a team.
  • It really doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow, old or young. No, really.
  • It’s great for your running, pretty much whatever speed, distance and surfaces comprise your normal territory.
  • You don’t have to commit to lots of events: even if you just take part in just one race over the whole season you’ll be welcome.
  • There’s usually cake.

Ok, the cake convinced me. What do I need to do?

  • Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Ladies team) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Men's team) to be added to the mailing list.
  • Check the 2017-18 dates and put any suitable ones in your calendar.
  • Make sure you have some shoes that won’t let you down in *whispers* mud (cross country spikes, fell or trail shoes). It can be muddy!
  • Make sure you have or can borrow a BRAT club vest. As these are club events, these are compulsory kit (but you can wear longer sleeves underneath it as needed).

How far do I have to slog through this maybe mud?


Mud levels vary: some courses can be disappointingly dry.

Anyway, the distances also vary and there’s usually a course map issued beforehand that says how far it will be, but changes on the day can happen (generally to shorten!).

Most of the women’s races are around 6km and the men’s 10km. For added excitement, there aren’t any mile or kilometre markers on the courses.


How the does it all work?


You don’t need to know this, you just need to turn up and run. However…

Women, men and juniors have separate races. Sometimes they are on the same day at the same location with different start times (which is nice because we get to support each other), sometimes they are apart.


The scoring for cross country works on runners’ finishing positions. If in a particular category the first four (women's) / six (men's) team members to finish “count”, their finishing positions will be added together – for example if one BRAT came 3rd, the next was 10th, the next 15th and the next 37th the team score would be 65. The team with the lowest score wins.

Four races are part of a league, so the totals are kept across the season.


Over 35s (‘masters’) run in the same race as the seniors, they can score for both the senior team and the masters team. The masters positions are scored separately, so if a BRAT over 35 is 20th overall but 5th of the over 35s, the 5 would go towards the masters team score.


Do I need special kit?


Well, it would be tricky to run the courses in road running shoes: ideally you need a good grip. Many people wear cross country spikes which are a lightweight shoe into which you can screw metal spikes of different lengths (according to the amount of mud). Other people run in trail shoes or fell running shoes. If you have existing off road shoes, you will be fine to use those.


The other thing that you must own or borrow is a lovely BRAT club vest: this is mandatory kit in the rules of all the races. If it’s chilly and you like to have more layers you can wear it over other things. You can’t wear any other type of BRAT kit instead; it has to be the official club vest.


Depending on your personal preference you’ll want shorts, capris or leggings. If you do go for full-length be aware that the bottoms will get wet and muddy on some courses.

A waterproof shoe with a decent grip is handy for the walk from the car park to the race, wellies work well too. And some warm layers for before and afterwards.


The captain/s will have your number and some safety pins for the first race. If you do more than one of the four league races, you’ll need to keep hold of your number and bring it next time. Other races all have individual numbers.


Anything else I need to know?

  • You need to be a current BRAT and have us as your first claim club.
  • Unlike big city races they don’t give out any water or goody bags.
  • Lifts can usually be arranged so don't worry if you don't drive.
  • The teams usually have a small tent or gazebo for bag storage, but leave valuables somewhere safer if you can.
  • It’s brilliant to have people cheering us along if any friends or family want to watch.
On 26 October 2017 In Running News
Saturday 21 October marked the beginning of the 2017-18 cross country season. In a slightly damp field in Wolverhampton the BRAT team set up camp for the Midlands XC Relay Championships. It was probably the largest team the club has taken to the event and the team spirit was running high. With several members making a debut in cross country running, there was an air of apprehension and nervous excitement in the BRAT tent. 
With 3 men’s teams and 4 women’s teams there was plenty of BRAT support around the compact course, and when the going got tough there was no opportunity to slow down as just around the next corner another BRAT would pop out and give you a cheer. With Storm Brian in full flow, the weather was true to cross country form – wet and wild. As 2pm approached 7 A leg runners stood anxiously on the start line and the gun sounded. 
Chris flew home in 2nd place for the A team, with Ben fresh from his Birmingham marathon (B Team) and Andy (C Team) hot on his heels. Ashley, Toby and Damian were off next working their way around the windy course to pass to Simon, Huw and Kevin. Brilliant runs were had by all and in no time the anchor legs were off. Richard brought the A team home in 13th, Rob in 25th and Paul in 34th; with 59 senior men’s teams competing, all three BRAT teams did extremely well! Top team managing and supporting from Martin Ludford as always! 
The women’s race was going on at the same time as the men so there was definitely some inter-club rivalry! On leg one Sheridan, Ellen, Sophie and Helen had fantastic runs – Sheridan smiled the entire way around, Sophie and Ellen looked like naturals on their first XC race and Helen proved she’s got some speed in those endurance legs! On leg two we had Eloise, Megan, Katie and Margaret who all ran extremely well. Eloise following her trend of obliterating last year’s times in recent races came charging home with the team now in the bronze medal place. Megan had a great run gaining places and looking very good in the process, Katie bounced back from her half last weekend having a great run and Margaret put the Masters team in top 10 contention with a fine middle leg! The master’s team were brought home by new member Liz who had a fantastic run to end the team in 8th place out of 26 which is just brilliant. Hannah showed she is made of tough stuff and was more than a match for cross country, having ran a great race she brought her team home in 18th place. Danni again, had a fantastic start to her cross country season bagging the team a 10th place finish. Set up perfectly by Sheridan and Eloise, Molly was able to chase down the leading women (and Huw) and bring Team Turquoise (coincidental matching coats) home to claim the silver medal. Despite a time-trial style last leg, Molly ran the fastest female leg of the day. 
All in all the start of cross country could not have been better. To come away with a silver medal was incredible, but what was the icing on the cake was the enjoyment had by everyone and those new members trying XC for the first time vowing to sign up to more, and even saying they couldn’t wait. It was one heck of a great afternoon to be a BRAT. 
If you are interested in running in one of the upcoming XC races then just contact: 
Martin (Men’s Captain) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Eloise and Molly (Women’s Captains) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Full results can be found here: http://www.midlandathletics.org.uk/xcrelays.html
13 B.R.A.T. [A] 1:31:49
Chris Silver (2) 20:56
Ashley Fawke (9) 23:39
Simon Lanckham (8) 22:08
Richard Gray (13) 25:06
25 B.R.A.T. [B] 1:39:58
Ben Beaumont (24) 24:08
Toby Close (23) 25:06
Huw Jones (24) 25:12
Robert Dowse (25) 25:32
34 B.R.A.T. [C] 1:45:00
Andy Kenchington (27) 24:50
Damian Cartland (31) 26:20
Kevin Oakes (34) 26:56
Paul Cannon (34) 26:54
2 B.R.A.T. [A] 1:15:16
Sheridan McWilliams (7) 25:20
Eloise Lee (3) 26:24
Molly Browne (2) 23:32
10 B.R.A.T. [B] 1:24:49
Ellen Waterman (15) 28:32
Megan Artemova-Thomas (9) 27:40
Danielle Bogue (10) 28:37
18 B.R.A.T. [C] 1:44:05
Sophie Dalley (28) 34:29
Katie Bowyer (19) 34:37
Hannah Ludford (18) 34:59
Women Masters
8 B.R.A.T. 1:33:02
Helen Pike (5) 27:23
Margaret Kenchington (7) 28:53
Liz Painter (8) 36:46
On 19 October 2017 In Running News
Sunday 16th saw the inaugural Birmingham International Marathon and the 10th year of the Great Birmingham Run (Half Marathon) with nearly 100 BRAT's racing both the morning and afternoon, with many more on the water station and along the course.
Chris Ashford was the surprise the winner of the Birmingham International Marathon finishing in a time of 2:33:46, with both himself and Dan Robinson (3rd overall 2:36:39) having run Chester Marathon and both breaking 2:30 only the weekend before. He surprised both himself and the commentators when crossing the line and the announcement of "this wasn't the athlete we were expecting" was heard to ring out at the finish line. Well done Chris and Dan - now for some time off for both of you!
First female BRAT marathon finisher and age group podium contender, was Helen Pike (3:24:10) setting a new PB, but would normally be found running 26.2 miles as a warm up for one of her many ultra races with which she has had great success over this year. 
In the afternoon Steve Dunsby (23rd 1:18:03) led the BRAT's home in the Great Birmingham Run stepping up from a fantastic season of track, 5k and 10k races this year. Claire Keene (01:39:21) was first female finisher for the club proving her ability at a new race distance and setting a new target for herself at future races.
Special mention should go out to "crazy Stewart Grainger" who was taking on a challenge of 40 by 40, completing both the marathon (26.2 miles) plus the half marathon (13.1 miles) and a short jog warm up (0.7 miles) to hit his target. Great work Stewart!
Thanks to all those BRAT volunteers at the waterstation and the support out on the course. As ever the BRAT's showed how to race and support in an event that we hope will grow over the coming years! Well done all!
A wall of fame of every BRAT runner can be found here: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1518546678241349&id=132721093490588
Pictures can be found here and more will be added as we receive them: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1518941084868575&id=132721093490588
On 11 October 2017 In Running News
By Dan Robinson
On a blustery day a small but intrepid band of BRATs tackled the might of the top running clubs in the country. Despite the team being seriously depleted, both in terms of personnel and management, a fine effort was produced by all and we came within 60 seconds of beating local rivals Coventry who had many more of their top runners on display. 
Steve Dunsby led the team off superbly on the frankly terrifying first leg and, on paper at least, must hold the record for the biggest improvement from the midlands event as he took 6 minutes off his official time. Kelton Aldridge set off after a textbook changeover and delivered an impressive PB. Adam Western put in a gutsy performance on leg 3 before Abayomi delivered an extremely impressive finish to his leg and another PB. Mark Woodus continued to improve our ranking on the penultimate leg, and Colin Bailey took the responsibility of the anchor leg on board and refused to lose any places. 
As ever this is an extremely high quality event and it was great to see some fresh faces get the opportunity to race amongst the big boys. Everyone gave a tremendous effort and no one was phased by the quality of the competition. All things considered we finished a very creditable 73rd. Thank you to all 6 guys for giving such a great effort and representing the club so proudly. 

73 Birmingham Running Athletics & 2:04:43

        Steve Dunsby     (77) 19:50
        Kelton Aldridge  (76) 20:09
        Adam Western     (82) 22:00
        Abayomi Adedimeji (78) 20:20
        Mark Woodus      (73) 20:10
        Colin Bailey    (73) 22:14

Pictures from the event can be found at:

Toby Gosnall's Flickr


Stephen Lee's Images

On 03 October 2017 In Running News

Saturday 23rd September saw three teams of eager BRAT ladies descend on Sutton Park ready for the Midland Road Relays. With four runners per team, BRAT had 3 teams competing! 

Leg 1 saw Anne Kenchington bring it home in a superb 4th place for Team 214, clocking the quickest BRAT short-leg for the road relays on record! Sophie Dearn was in next in a fabulous 24th for Team 215 and Hannah Ludford had a fantastic run to lead Team 216 off to a great start inside the top 100 teams (92nd). 

Sheridan McWilliam was up next for Team 214 with an amazing run clocking almost a minute quicker than last year, Sheridan passed over to Beccy Tipping who kept great momentum and had a brilliant run on her return from injury. Securing the finish was Eloise Lee who sped around the 4.33km course in a time which obliterated her 2016 time. Team 214 finished an amazing 8th place – and with the fastest finishing time of any BRAT ladies team ever!!

Team 215 went from Sophie to new member Kate Franklin who became a pivotal member of the track and field team this season. Kate had a fantastic run and sent Danni Bogue off with a good bunch to chase. Chase she did, Danni had a great run and passed 6 runners along the way. Leading Team 215 home was Christine Bertram who stepped in last minute due to an injury. On the injury comeback herself, Christine had a superb run with a fantastic sprint finish to give the team 27th place overall! 

Following from Hannah, up next for Team 216 was Helen Pike – who swapped the miles for speed! A brilliant run from Helen put the team in a great position when handing over to Rosie Forster. Despite running the Great North Run two weeks before, Rosie definitely had a turn of speed with a fantastic run to hand over to Katie Bowyer. Katie battled hard and brought Team 216 home in an amazing 75th place. For all 3 teams to be in the top 75 is amazing, and it was great to see everyone smiling (okay, perhaps once it was all over) – and even enthusiasm for the next BRAT outing over the mud. 

A massive well done to each and every runner who did their BRAT vest proud! Thank you to those who came along on the day, and to the men’s teams for supporting. Finally, one big thank you must go to Eloise, who despite being in the middle of a new house move and decorating, took on the challenging role of team captain two days before the deadline. Without Eloise we wouldn’t have had any teams entered, and her organisation on the day was fantastic. 

If reading this has got you eager for more races, or you are new to running with BRAT and want to know what is on offer over the winter then drop us an email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

On 30 September 2017 In Running News

By Richard Gray

Hello BRAT mates.

Well what an eventful day, where to start?

10th place A team.

On a pleasant day in Sutton Park, we all turned up with four teams to race The Midland 6 Stage Road Relay Champs. It was going to be challenging as we no longer have our top two athletes, Jack Gray and Ed Banks, although Dan Robinson was not about to accept that description !

All junior age groups, senior and masters men and women’s races were being held, so quite a few people, with the senior men’s race alone having over 100 teams and 600 athletes.  Near to the start the road became gridlocked with nobody being let into the park for a while. Now then, our A team first leg was Dan, who after a long journey was stuck in the traffic, he just sat there and sat there. With 15 minutes to the start I received the call on the BRAT phone. (I would like to point out I am not BRAT Man nor Robin. Robin wasn’t there).  Quick as a flash I thought, thank goodness BRAT club offers a valet parking service. As I flew down to meet our beleaguered No1 (actually I ran), we swapped places and Dan ran off shouting “bring the dog”.

I eventually grasped what he had said, looked round expecting a hound from hell, but no just a surprised puppy. Thank goodness BRAT now also offer a dog walking service !

Off we went, never in a straight line, and then I discovered what those small black plastic bags are for. Oh shit I thought, quite literally.

To the race.  Dan led off The A team, Mark Woodus the B, Jack Noble the C, and Nick Seagrave the D.

Brilliant run into 9th place and his course pb by Dan, keeping Ed Banks of Birchfield behind him, hoorah !  (What did I say about top two, no offence Ed).

Mark leading off the B team also had a great leg.  Dan handed onto Steve Dunsby, or so we thought. The problem was, Steve did not see him, and did not get the marshal call (or was reading a comic with headphones on, we shall never know, but next time I will appoint a helper). Consequently he was waiting for minutes, possibly hours, possibly days !

Meanwhile Mark had handed on to Kelton Aldridge and the C team were now ahead of the A team, courtesy of a Jack Noble sprint for the line.  A dilemma indeed. Quick thinking was required by our merry band of men, and like lightening the solution was discovered: swap the remaining A and B legs. Simple solution it would appear, but with 15 minutes before leg 2 arrived back, finding everyone and swapping numbers was a bit of a challenge. We BRATs are quick thinking resourceful people, well some of us some of the time, when the sun is shining in a leap year.

Success, we were back on the chase, but unfortunately Dan’s smoky time now counted for the B team. On the bright side, Kelton like Mark also had a stormer, both now counting for the A team.

Simon Lanckham was fired up trying to make up time. As a result he felt he died in the latter stages, but I think the time was good and he gained twelve places !

For the B team, Abayomi’s impressive improvement continued, running a pb and the second fastest B team time (or is that A ?). Martin Matthews was solid as ever for the lead team, not yet back on top form he still gained two places. New boy Sam Barber followed on from Abayomi, in what may have seemed like a distance too far for a middle distance athlete, but no blow-ups so well done and improvement to come. Mr consistent Chris Ashford took over from Martin in the lead team, copying him within one second, albeit one second slower (room for improvement Chris), but gaining another place up to 15th. Similarly consistent Adam Western ran well and gained places for our second team. Final leg with Mark Ince, the man to claw back the time with a 200m finish in the bag just in case. Having to skip around slower traffic from lapped teams, Mark overhauled Shrewsbury and Taunton, closing ever so quickly on Heanor, but he ran out of road. We moved up a further two places finishing in 13th and 10th A team, Mark running 2nd fastest BRAT time of the day behind Dan. Chris Grimley followed on from Adam to finish the second team, stepping into the team last minute without current fitness, but only dropping two places to bring the team home in 50th.

Consistency was the in abundance from the C team, all within less than a minute of each other. Jack Noble for the C team produced a killer sprint finish and was fastest for the C team (hope you had not saved too much !). Handing onto close rival Chris Burrows, who although losing out to Jack gained five places. Iain Squires had planned to move house today, but the love of us all was too great, and he was not far behind Chris’s time. Andy Piddington kept the closeness of team order, losing just one place before handing onto Colin Bailey, who not to be outdone beat Andy by a massive two seconds clawing one place back in the process Finally Robert Dowse thought enough was enough, quickening the pace and gaining a further two places to finish 59th.

Nick Seagrave was fastest for the D team, handing onto Nathan Smith who not to be outdone by the C team, gained six places. Chris Anthony liked the trend, quickening the pace he took another three places. Robert Rose was obviously in a rebellious mood and reversed the trend by losing a few. Finally Simon White restored order and gained five places, ending up 75th,ten places higher than where they began. Four of the five all within 31 seconds of each other. Unfortunately we were unable to fill that last leg and were incomplete. Apologies to Simon White who had turned out heroically to ensure we did complete the team.

The muck up did not cost us too dearly, losing around two minutes, but only two A team places, namely Heanor, Coventry Godiva (Shame I like to beat the big names), and Bristol B team. At the front, Cheltenham led all the way from leg two, a club that has gone from strength to strength over several years, Graham Rush also winning fastest leg of the day. You never want to have Bristol too close behind, because inevitably they will drag you in, and that is exactly what they did on the last leg to take victory. Birchfield is a team who have struggled over the last decade, failing to get athletes out, but they have made big changes in turnout and performance, finishing 3rd, also entering three and one incomplete team. Tipton lack the quality but not the depth, finishing 4th and their B team 5th.  BRAT always have one of the best turnouts, which hopefully we will see carry on into the country, along with Tipton, Halesowen and Cheltenham, the latter completing six teams !

Well done to everyone and the supporters. National team to follow. Weakened as we are due to international duty and other commitments, we will fight for every place (team please note). Congratulations to Dan Robinson and Chris Ashford who have won an England vest in the marathon.

Richard Gray.

Birmingham Running Athletics 'B' 1:59:39  (Effectively became A team)  13th place, 10th A team

1 Mark Woodus (35) 20:12

2 Kelton Aldridge (30) 20:26

3 Simon Lanckham (18) 19:39

4 Martin Matthews (16) 20:01

5 C Ashford (15) 20:02

6 Mark Ince (13) 19:19

Birmingham Running Athletics 'A' 2:11:39.  50th place.  Became B team after leg 2.

1 Daniel Robinson (9) 18:35

2 Steve Dunsby (59) 25:36  (Unknown time, as missed 1st leg runner)

3 Abayomi Adedimeji (51) 20:32

4 Samuel Barber (51) 22:42

5 Adam Western (49) 21:52

6 Chris Grimley (51) 22:22


Birmingham Running Athletics 'C' 2:14:44  58th place

1 Jack Noble (63) 21:55

2 Chris Burrows (58) 22:13

3 Ian Squires (61) 22:28

4 Andy Piddington (62) 22:54

5 Colin Bailey (61) 22:52

6 Robert Dowse (59) 22:2

Birmingham Running Athletics 'D'

1 Nick Seagrave (85) 23:23

2 Nathan Smith (79) 23:54

3 Chris Anthony (76) 23:38

4 Robert Rose (80) 25:48

5 Simon White (75) 23:43

  1. Incomplete

First three teams

1 Bristol & West Ac 'A' 1:48:33

1 Miles Chandler (11) 18:40

2 Tom Merson (3) 17:59

3 Jack Millar (2) 18:26

4 Dan Studley (2) 17:37

5 Jarlath Mckenna (2) 18:00

6 Stephen Mitchell (1) 17:51

2 Cheltenham & County Harriers 'A' 1:49:05

1 Daniel Owen (3) 18:17

2 Dave Roper (1) 18:18

3 Graham Rush (1) 17:35

4 Phil Beastall (1) 17:53

5 Ben Price (1) 18:23

6 Oliver Mott (2) 18:39

3 Birchfield Harriers 'A' 1:50:09

1 Ed Banks (10) 18:38

2 Alex Tovey (4) 18:06

3 Rory Grant (3) 18:30

4 William Richardson (3) 17:53

5 Jonathan Goringe (3) 18:40

6 Thomas Dodd (3) 18:22

Fastest of all legs

1 Graham Rush Cheltenham A 17:35

2 Dan Studley Bristol&We A 17:37

3 Thomas Mortimer Stroud&Dis 17:45

On 28 August 2017 In Running News
Saturday 23rd September - Sutton Park
Men 6 x 5.88km starts 1:15pm
Ladies 4 x 4.3km starts 1:40
bring the family and kids - it's a park after all.
This is an event for everyone as runners will be put into teams of similar ability.
The more teams the better. There is no selection or standard for this event.
A great way to meeto lots of fellow BRATs.
Entires need to be in by 3rd September
Men contact

Richard Gray This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." style="color: #333333; text-decoration: underline; font-family: Times; font-size: small;">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Ladies Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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