On 27 September 2015 In Running News

On a lovely day at Sutton, conditions were perfect for PB for those on form.

Jack led off as usual, along with Toby Spencer of Coventry opening a gap to the chasing pack. Finishing in 2nd place in a course best and 5th fastest overall. Ed had the daunting task of not slipping down the order, and Ed was indeed undaunted holding onto 2nd and handing the pressure onto Nick. Now Nick’s tactic of weaving to prevent any overtaking was faulted and despite a really good time and PB, we were inevitably overhauled slipping to 8th. Could we build on this and snatch our best ever finish?

Dan the builder said “yes we can”, storming round, just missing out on sub 19, but BRAT were up to 7th (he isn’t a builder so don’t ask for free quotations). Mark Lawlor was on good form and another PB was achieved; however, he was ambushed by a fast charging Notts on their way to 5th, and that was the B team! Mr “last leg” (he has all his legs) Martin Matthews never says never, racing side by side with Birchfield the full 5.8K, pushing into the lead at the latter stages, but just being out sprinted at the end. A great finale.

[Fastest midland times (although not course pb) also for Dan and Martin, with Ed’s a second fastest time]

The B team were led off by ever present and reliable Kevin McMillan taking a PB on the fast first leg, in 40th. Thanks to Adam BH not feeling at all well, who had stood in absolute last minute late Friday when several changes had to be made. Chris Grimley, although not back on form yet, pulled back a place, handing onto Eliot who made a place gain a habit. A fantastic debut for Andrew Robbins who couldn’t be messing with one place, but stormed round gaining 8 places and we were back in 40th! Robin, not to be out done, ducked under Andrew’s time finishing in 38th.

Well done team with last minute changes.

Our C team was led off by Ben smashing previous times to a PB. Stuart Male had a stormer gaining 15 places, overtaking the B team and showing up the manager. A debut saw a good time for Pete Matthews, handing onto new boy Ben de Laune running well. Abayomi was not going to miss out on some glory, racing really well to yet another PB (told you it was PB weather). Finally “long time no race” Richard Carney finished the team on home ground.

Thanks C team for accommodating the absolute last minute (literally) changes.

Thanks to all the teams and supporters. Sorry I did not get chance to speak to a lot of you, but I was out on the course supporting, and as I had to walk, it took a long time to get back !

Hope to see you on the mud in November.

Richard Gray


On 06 September 2015 In Running News

Several B.R.A.T. athletes were in action over the weekend at the Wilne 10k and the Stretford 10000m festival.

Wilne is known for its fast course and strong field and this year was no exception. Jack Gray was 7th in a season's best of 31:10; Tim Carter also managed a season's best of 34:09. Many others ran PBs, including Karl Welborn (33:49), Mark Lawlor (35:54), Thanos Tsolakis (36:28) and Jonathan Winlker (37:00).

The BMC's last race of the track season, the 10000m festival, took place in Manchester on Saturday. Dan Robinson, in a pleasing return to form, was just outside his PB finishing 13th in the B race. Ed Banks was in the A race and norrowly avoided finishing last, setting a PB in the process.

It's great to see so many of our athletes coming into form with the Midlands Road Relays less than two weeks away!

On 16 August 2015 In Running News

Hello B.R.A.T. mates, long time no see.

Yep, the Summer is still here, so you have more time to work on the speed I am confident you have acquired through the Summer. Five weeks to stop plodding at the same 10K pace and get more speed work in.

Saturday 19 September, 1.40pm, Sutton Park as usual.

6 legs x 5.85K. We can enter as many teams as we like.

Qualification to The National is on Sat 3 October for the top 25 teams including B teams, so it is a selection race for the fastest qualifiers. Potentially we could be qualify two teams if we have a good entry. Put the date in your diary.

I have to enter the number of teams before the 6th September, but you only need to let me know if you are a definite, probable or possible as I can enter one squad with more names than places.

Please include a recent time or estimation for a distance between 5K -10K, or indeed what you think you would do on this course 5.85K (longer than 12 stage)


Richard Gray   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  07973 502531

On 16 August 2015 In Running News

Results from last week's BRAT 5k should now be available in the attached file

On 13 August 2015 In Running News



A record entry at this year’s BRAT 5k road race saw 238 finishers cross the line on a glorious evening at Rowheath. The bumper turnout was in part due to the race being included in the popular Warwickshire road race series, as well as being the county road 5k championship race, but there was also a big BRAT presence this year with over 30 members taking part which was very encouraging to see.


The race was won by Rory Grant of Birchfield in 15:33, closely followed in by Ed Banks of BRAT in 15:43. First woman home was BRAT’s Daisy Wilson in 18:57. Congratulations to both and well done to all the other BRAT finishers, there were quite a number of PB’s being claimed after the race.


Many thanks to race organiser Richard Carney and all the marshals, volunteers and officials who did a sterling job round the course and at the finish as the hordes came through in quick succession. A really well organised event and a great advert for the Club. Well done all.


The results will be available shortly on the results page and photos have been posted on the Club’s Flickr account




or follow the link on the BRAT website homepage.



Martin Ludford



On 21 June 2015 In Running News

BRAT athletes proved that age comes before beauty, which comes before age again, as Martin Matthews (pictured), Tim Carter and Kevin McMillan produced a respective one-two-five at the 2015 Malvern Half Marathon. Martin's time of 75:29 was enough to secure victory and a course record as he edged out Tim in a sprint finish; the pair of athletes unable to break each other over the preceding 13 miles. Kevin, who had a phenomenal run after a week blighted by illness flew home four minutes later, just once again missing out on a PB, to complete the team prize. The course was undulating but kind as the front running BRAT pair set a blistering initial pace to whittle down the field, before trading stints on the front to attempt to diminish a cruel wind which took its toll in the second half. Local runners Tim and Kevin also claimed first and third respectively in the Worcester County Championships in what turned out to be a semi-embarrassing prize haul on the sun-basked Three Counties Showground

On 08 June 2015 In Running News


The Comrades Marathon is an institution. In South Africa, it is the biggest national sporting event of the year - televised for 13 hours, with over 30 pages of coverage in the Monday newspaper.


Worldwide, Comrades is considered a rite of passage for any serious marathon and ultra distance runner. The scale, significance, and antecedents of this race cannot be overstated.


Cass Chisholm had been training hard for this race for over six months, under Russ Hall's coaching, and so was on top form and raring to go. Those who know Cass will be aware that this race has been her dream for many years.


I had originally entered but more recently had not been expecting to run at all due to injury. However, a promising run day earlier at the Durban North Beach ParkRun suggested that I might still be able to cover the 87km despite injury.


Anyone familiar with the Comrades 'Up run' route ascent profile (link) will know, that the first 45km is all uphill. The latter 42km then flattens out a little, with the exception of the notorious Polly Shortts hill 8km from the end.


The general advice given to first-timers and would-be finishers is to walk the hills over the first half and save one's legs for the second half. But we knew that such a timid scheme would not do, if a truly good time was to be achieved.


Instead, our plan was to hit the hills head-on. So we decided that I would pace Cass through the uphill slog to Drummond within a sub-9hr schedule, and Cass would then increase the pace for her second half of the race from there. My main goal was therefore to get Cass uphill to Drummond on time and feeling good.


So at 05:29 hours on Sunday morning we stood in our starting pens with some 16,000 other runners, singing refrains of Shosholoza while waiting for the start. Then the South African National Anthem was sung, Chariots of Fire played, the fabled cockerel crowed, and the race began with a bang.


Only 1km in, the pre-dawn air was already a balmy 18'C and we were sweating buckets before the sun had even risen. But we didn't have time to consider what this foretold, as almost every local runner around us was asking where we were from and wishing us well. This was by far the biggest and friendliest ultra-marathon we had ever experienced.


We began ascending Cowies Hill just as the sunrise crested over it, before entering Pine Town as the route became even more crowded with supporters shouting constant heart-felt encouragement. Cass' Union Jack vest proved priceless, as cheers of "Well done Brit girl", and "Go on pommy lady" rang out in good humour and genuine support.


We continued to pass scores of walkers on the uphills, and arrived at Drummond in 4:15 - comfortably within schedule. It was now time to part company, and Cass took care of her nutrition before pulling away to pursue her faster 42k split. I was then able to take stock and consider whether my injured leg would still allow me to finish.


The late morning heat was bearing down in earnest on everyone now, and the business end of the race had only just begun for us. As Cass pushed up Inchanga Hill in the distance, a friend and fellow Brit cruised up alongside me and asked where Cass was going. "She has gone to get her Bill Rowan medal", I replied.


Cass went on to make tidy work of the next 34km, before even running all the way up Polly Shortts where many a pro runner has opted for a short walk. Her last 8km were the fastest of her whole day - finishing with gusto and heart, in true ultra-runner style.


Cass crossed the finish line in 8:53 to receive a Bill Rowan medal and a place in history as a Comrades finisher. I arrived home 37 minutes later in 9:30 to receive a bronze medal and the satisfaction of having simply been able to run and finish.


Congratulations are also due to BRATs Dan Robinson for finishing in 8:04, and Mark Ince for his 9:35 finish.


Comrades totally exceeded our expectations and we can now see why it is such an honoured and iconic event.


We have run longer races. We have run hillier and more mountainous races. But there is something about the Comrades run which is so unforgiving yet so exhilarating.


The event organisation is unbeatable, the race at both an amateur and elite level is competitive without parallel, and the atmosphere throughout is unforgettable.


We believe Comrades more than lives up to its tag-line of the 'Ultimate Human Race', and we are planning our 'Back to Back' 2016 'down run' trip already.


Cass' run at Comrades 2015 shows that hard work, dedication, and expert coaching, all pay off and enable dreams to become a reality.



On 21 May 2015 In Running News

What a great day of athletics. We were there for two medals, secured one and were close to a second. The first National Masters Road Relay medal in our history. We had realistic aims and everyone was fired up to beat their targets. The result was great performances and great races. I am proud of everyone, thank you team mates. Thank you to our supporters, but we could have done with a few more!

Four short race reports below!  Full results at www.joelee.co.uk

M35 Race.

The youngsters were our team medal hope, and if the emails bouncing back and forward were to be believed then silverware was a certainty. Our tactic was to start and finish strongly, keeping things consistent throughout the race, while other teams front loaded and dropped off at the end.

On form Mark Ince led off with a target time and position of 7th  to attain. Well he delivered 7th, but easily beat my target; and so……race on.

Kevin was given a tough task by me, having to follow a great opening position on the ever fast second leg, but although predictably dropping a few places, we were still ahead of schedule. Super Vet Jon Jennings is on form, he followed the plan pulling back four places. Dan Robinson looked at his target with disdain. I thought too many races, London Marathon legs….?  He smashed it, taking the fastest leg away from Mark by a massive one second and shooting us into fourth. Oh yes, I love a plan coming together, feels like method not luck. Surely only 34 seconds to our perceived destiny would be easily attainable as the others dropped back?

Mark Lawlor gave his best, easily beating my target, but what were the other three teams around us playing at, their expected slow fifth leg did not materialise!

Martin Matthews, very fresh from his brilliant London Marathon dismissed the so called “marathon legs” tag, but ended up with a solitary race against the clock. His determined run was impressive, and the team beat the manager's total target by 18 seconds which would have given us bronze last year. So much for stats. Our competitiveness was obvious in attitude and performance, and we finished in 5th in Britain, our highest ever finish. Well done team.

We will add strength to the squad next year and the following year. If we are prepared to put more emphasis on this race and 5K training, then we will win silverware.

M35-44 A team. 3mile legs x 6  Time 1.37.13, 5th

Mark Ince                15.27

Kevin McMillan       16.53

Jon Jennings            16.20

Dan Robinson         15.36

Mark Lawlor            16.42

Martin Matthews.  16.05

M35 B team.  

Toby Close led off on the fastest and very busy first leg with another 92 athletes.  A good solid run as I expected. This always gives a good B team the opportunity to chase. New boy Stuart Male, a more than welcome asset from Tipton had a real stunner gaining 16 places.  Ed Barlow followed Stuart’s trend gaining a further twelve places and pinching fastest leg from Stuart by 3 seconds. Rene Vergo on his way back from injury showed his quick improvement getting closer to form and taking another 4 places. Derek Hardy had expressed his hope that his endeavours were not required, but they were and I think it was a good time mate. Harry “the kit” Fowler was back, and what a brilliant come back time on another solitary leg, with only the tumbleweed and me to offer support.  Well done team.

M35-44(or any age) B team. 3 mile legs x 6   Time 1.56.43.  37th.

Toby Close       18.05

Stuart Male     17.24

Ed Barlow        17.21

Rene Vergo      17.37

Derek Hardy    25.29

Harry Fowler   20.47

M45 team

Huw Jones in his own words “was raring to go”, and go he promptly did with a stunning time of 17.20 and 13th place. Good to have Andy Kenchington back racing with a good solid time as ever. Jort always keen to beat everybody, but this time fresh from surgery to replace both legs and feet, ran remarkably quickly. Finally, now officially old at was 50 Rob Ryan, who has also been under medical scrutiny, produced another very quick time, holding onto 28th place.

Well done team.

M45-54  team. 3 mile legs x 4   Time 1.15.50.  28th.

Huw Jones                 17.20

Andy Kenchington    18.14

Jort van Mourik        20.28

Rob Ryan                  19.48

M55 team.

And so to the elder statesmen, the true masters of something, if only I could remember. So elderly in fact, they make us race earlier so the debris of trikes and Zimmers, can be cleared, and those lost who forgot to turn at the cone, could be retieved.

This was our second medal hope of the day, but this time an individual. As the tem manager I nabbed first leg with no thought of any democratic decision.

It all went off a bit quick up the hill, but trusting in my tactics, they nearly all eventually dropped back as I moved through with Mike Hager. Unfortunately I was unable to prevent a small gap opening, and despite closing fast at the finish, left me trailing by 6 secs in second. Andy Sargent bore the brunt of the quicker teams' 2nd leg onslaught, but did well and we were still up in 13th. Finally Martin Ludford, and despite a bit of illness, his carers had given him the green light and his medication obviously helped him have a stormer moving us into 10th slot.

So a Silver medal for me and the club’s first Masters National medal.  Well done team.

M55-64  team.  3 mile legs x 3.   Time  55.58.  10th.

Richard Gray       17.09

Andy Sargent      20.06

Martin Ludford   18.45

Richard Gray