While our very own gossip girl blogger Johnny has a week off, here’s Simon to tell you about our recent parkrun takeover in Brighouse over the Halloween weekend.

What else could be more scary than a group of zombies, witches, vampires, skeletons and pumpkins all arriving at Wellholme Park in Brighouse at 8am on a Saturday morning? 3 months ago it might have been a different kind of event, but on Saturday 29 October 2016, it was time for the first Brighouse parkrun Halloween event – run by the Northowram Pumas.

As always, Team Puma turned out in force to get involved and we’d have been lost without them. As part of our takeover and proving popular when we’ve done it before, we had pacers ranging from 20mins through to 34mins to help people round.

Spooky pacers ready to go
Spooky pacers ready to go

When reading so often about people wanting to beat a personal best (PB) but struggling to break the ‘glass ceiling’ on their own,I’ve always been a fan of running with others to get better. Well done to everyone that ran and thanks to our pacers. It was great to see so many Junior Pumas running but more importantly smashing their PBs!

We also had some amazing support around the course and on the finish line as well as creepy things hanging from trees, pumpkins marking the way on the bridge, spiders that dropped on your head (just for Matt Newton!) and an amazing array of cakes, buns, biscuits and sweets.

Here’s a run down of the runners and riders

Tim Brook was first Puma home with a new PB (19:50)

Tim - #FPH and a new PB
Tim – #FPH and a new PB

followed by Luke Cranfield (pacing 20mins) who as well as being complete with meat cleaver, was a little bit ahead of time and so was spotted hanging around for a while before crossing the finishing line at exactly 20:00.

Luke - meat clever and devil mask and still managed to pace 20mins (sort of)
Luke – meat cleaver and devil mask and still managed to pace 20mins (sort of)

Next in was Andrew Tudor (linking Luke’s pacing to his new PB of 20:52). Junior Pumas George Eastwood was first Junior Puma home at 21:36 followed by Adam Standeven (pacing 22mins) and Richard Baker (22:47). The next two were Juniors Ryan Moore (23:24 – first timer) and Jude Kenny (23:37) beating last week’s PB. Matt Newton pacing at 24mins breezed in next along with his new running friend who was delighted she’d got under 24minutes.

Adam and Jude
Adam and Jude

Paula Snee (24:04) and Rachael Helliwell (24:06) came in effortlessly next, closely followed by another PB – this time from Junior Noah Lumb (24:43). Shaun Casey (25:28) arrived next with Junior Reuben Bartkiw one second later (25:29) making his debut parkrun appearance with Dad Antony (25:48) who might have hinted he got the running bug again! Another first timer Junior Puma was Sam Bell with an impressive debut time (23:43). Neil Coupe with his orange pumpkin trousers, brown wig and mask (he says it was a mask) paced in just under his 26min time followed by Juniors Freddie Baker (26:44), Finley Canning (26:58), Jessica Cameron (27:13) and Amelie Baker (27:22) closely followed by Joe Baker (26:45) and Elizabeth Cameron (27:31).

Rick, strong contender for best Puma costume of the day
Rick, strong contender for best Puma costume of the day

Well done to Freddie, Fin (who must have got his 30min pacing calculations wrong!) and Jessica who all smashed their PBs. Next in was our very own blogger Johnny Meynell who beat the 28min pacer (himself) by 15seconds. Just pipping the 30m time was Amelia Jackson and Ian Marshall followed by Ally Canning arriving bang on time (pacing at 30m) followed by Mike Hartley and Lady (the dog complete with her very own bat wings) and another parkrun debut appearance, this time from Jeremy Bartkiw (32:27) accompanied by Mum Charlotte (32:38).

Jeremy and Charlotte crossing the finish line
Jeremy and Charlotte crossing the finish line

Cathy Heptinstall arrived at (34:59) doing some great pacing in her scary cheerleader outfit. Next Puma in was Eileen O’Brien at 36:50, followed by some more first timers in Junior Pumas Miles and Elise Williams (38:14), Lana Brook (38:25), Elise Brook (38:50) with Mum Simone (38:54). Wendy Hewitt had the most important job and made sure everyone got home safe and sound – thanks Wendy!

For full results please see: http://www.parkrun.org.uk/brighouse/results/latestresults/

Pacing to success

We also had lots of great comments after the event about our pacers: “Helen asked to thank Ally and Ian for pacing her to her first ever sub 30 parkrun” and “Having the pacers meant I slashed my PB by 25secs – thanks Pumas” – great comments to receive!

Remembered to bring your barcode?

We also couldn’t have done it without the fantastic Pumas who took the opportunity to leave their running shoes at home for one Saturday morning and help with the finish line tasks so that everyone got their results – Carine ‘skeleton’ Baker and Sarah ‘witchy’ Haigh doing the very important job of keeping everyone in line to get their finishing position token and Paul ‘vampire’ Bottomley and Jo Allen for the most important job of scanning. Our Puma support out on the course was fantastic – Gabby and Orlagh Kenny with their cow bell which could be heard in Northowram, Julie, Rob and Hollie Bowman, Melissa ‘jilted bride’ Hall and team, Alison ‘witchy’ Pearce and family as well as Nicola ‘sporty’ Pennington.

Scary Pumas cheering the runners round
Scary Pumas cheering the runners round

Cakes, cakes and more glorious cakes!

And whats the most important thing a runner wants after a run (after uploading Strava and checking their time!) – yes, cake! And our spooktacular cakes certainly didn’t disappoint – from scary brownies to pumpkin krispies, these were definitely the best bloodtinglying treats around.

Devilishly good cakes
Devilishly good cakes

Thank you to Ally Canning, Ally’s sister, Victoria Owen, Nicola Hartley, Louise Lumb, Katie Lumb, Ian (and Mrs Marshall!), Charlotte Bartkiw and family, Carine Baker and family, Julie and Hollie, Elizabeth Cameron plus anyone who else who brought sweet treats and carved some amazing pumpkins for the bridge. Although there was no competition, the Northowram Pumas logo on pumpkin from the Bartkiw residence and the Junior pum(a)pkin from family Baker were definitely high contenders for the top spot!

A huge thank you…

As always these events don’t just happen and so there are a few special thank you’s we need to make – to Jude and the team at Brighouse parkrun for letting us ‘takeover’, Nick Windsor for taking some amazing photos for us, Neil Coupe for helping out with transport and a massive thanks and well done to Ally Canning and Victoria Owen for organising the takeover, buying props and coordinating cakes!

So what are you waiting for?

If you haven’t yet been to a parkrun, why not join in the fun? Just get yourself registered for free, print your barcode off and decide which of our local free, weekly, timed events you’ll go to next – you’re bound to spot a Puma there and it wont be the last time you go!

Team Spooktacular team
Team Spooktacular team

If you don’t fancy running, or want a change of scenery one Saturday morning, your local parkrun relies on volunteers to be able to do what they do. As part of our takeover at Brighouse and the amazing number of volunteers we brought along, some of the core team were able to run the course for the first time since the event has started – so thank you from them for ensuring that parkrun continues week in, week out!

Our fantastic running commentator Johnny Meynell gives us the low down on the first ever (well, first ever for the Pumas) WYWL race!

Football Vs Running

As the start of the new football season brings with it much excitement and anticipation, then so does the opening fixture in the West Yorkshire Winter League. Added to the fact that Northowram Pumas were entering this particular event for the first time, why, it’s likely that some of our runners hardly slept the night before.

But whereas the football season usually kicks off in baking hot sun, the would-be runners on Sunday awoke to a cold and dreary October morn. Still, undeterred, they dragged themselves out of bed and made for the meeting point up at the club. Most of us travelled in relaxed style aboard the minibus kindly loaned to us by Salterlee Primary School, and driven with due care and attention by Neil Coupe, donned in 1920s fashionable flat cap. Our destination was Lower Hopton Cricket Club, Mirfield, the venue chosen by hosts Dewsbury Road Runners, and we arrived in good time. The journey over gave me chance to reflect upon days of yore; I hadn’t really done anything like this since my cross country days running for Todmorden Grammar School, though the two-lapped course of Savile Park and Manor Heath I tackled on my last outing in March 1978 was pretty tame in comparison with the route we were set to endure.

We were met at the course site by our lovely team organiser Tracey, who supplied us all with our race numbers (and safety pins) that we would need for all six races (Lest anyone loses or destroys theirs, the culprit must apply for a new one AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE, we were warned!). There had been several late withdrawals for varying reasons, so our team was twenty-three-strong. Those that had made the trip in cars joined us in the carpark.

Most of the Pumas team - plus mini Puma mascots
Most of the Pumas team – plus mini Puma mascots

Thereafter, we spent much of the waiting time milling around the edge of the cricket field along with runners from the other clubs before making our way further up the road to the start and herded into a field populated by cow pats (the story goes that Neil lost his cap and tried on at least three before giving it up as a bad job).

At the start line

Clustered together, was anyone else slightly startled when the starter, seemingly without any prior warning, simply shouted “Go!”? Before we knew it, we were off:

Milling around the start line
Milling around the start line

Up around the field which served not only to spread out the field of runners, but also to indicate how tricky conditions were to be underfoot. Mud, mud, and more mud. One lap of this field

A bit of downhill around the field before the hills started
A bit of downhill around the field before the hills started

then back down the tarmacked road before being directed right for the first real test, a steep uphill climb through the woods. Little did we know it then, but as bad as this seemed, things were going to get a whole lot harder. We were less than a mile in, but already those around me were having to walk.

Tim - looking a bit wary at the sight of the first hill
Tim – looking a bit wary at the sight of the first hill

I managed to pass Matt Newton (who was seemingly to endure a torrid time) and Johanne Clay, though I was passed in turn by Jenny Hopkinson. I later caught up with her once we’d reached the top of the hill and snaked our way across the top of the woods before descending down through muddy fields. There were several hold-ups at these stiles we kept having to negotiate, but if it meant getting the chance to catch up with others then I wasn’t complaining. Every little helps. Jenny soon enough pulled away and I wouldn’t see any more Pumas until the latter stages of the race. What was going on ahead of me or behind me, I had no idea.

“What goes up must come down,” sang the aptly named Blood Sweat and Tears in 1969, and the downhill stretches were most welcome, even if they were, in parts, quite hazardous. We negotiated our second serious climb, then it was flat and downhill once more. Over vales and hills, with Dewsbury Golf Club apparently to our left. This was the life. We must have looked an impressive sight, too, as we wound our way through the woods. We were directed to a flat section of track, but this was so muddy that I found myself zig-zagging for where the grass looked greener.

We’d run around four miles of the 5.3 mile course, I reckoned, and our descent from here gave us a chance to stretch our legs once more. In the distance I could hear cheering. Blimey, we were almost home, I thought. Soon enough, I could spy the cricket field and the finish, and as we were reacquainted with tarmac I recognised the field in which this ordeal had begun. Any minute now, I reckoned, we’d be directed left towards the finish. Suddenly, there was a spring in my step.

Hills. Hills. HILLS

It proved to be a false dawn.

As we made our way along the road, the next thing we knew, we were directed right and began climbing once more. How deflating was that? “We’re not going round again?” I joked with a few spectators, but believe me, this was no joke. I’ve no idea if this particular section has a name, but I could certainly give it a few choice ones. Behind me, Neil Coupe and Paul Hopkinson were closing, but this was in some strange way quite heartening for me, as I’d assumed they were well ahead of me by this stage. Perhaps I was running better than I thought. But there’s irony here, for by now, nobody was running up this hill. We were almost at breaking point, and this path seemed to have no end. Neil and Paul in turn passed me with their faster and in some cases, longer legs (Paul’s, obviously) but I kept them in sight. The happiest sight, however, was that of the top of the ‘mountain’. There was a sense of relief as we turned left and began the charge down the track which, as it happened, was the first hill we’d climbed. It was a whole lot easier going back down, that’s for sure, and I even managed to gain a couple of places. I also found myself making up ground on Neil and Paul, and there was hope of joining them on the run-in.

That soon disappeared as we returned to the road and headed for the finish. Tired legs found it hard to push themselves up this gentle incline and the gap between me and the runners in front steadily grew. We were directed off the road onto a path which led to the bottom side of the cricket field, and then there it was, in the distance, the finish line.

Luke #FPH coming into the finishing field
Luke #FPH coming into the finishing field
Johnny - enjoyed it more than it looks
Johnny – enjoyed it more than it looks

As I turned into the home straight, someone shouted, “Don’t let him catch you,” and I gave it one last push, only to discover that there had been no one there at all! I could hear fellow Pumas shouting me in, and I crossed the line in a near state of collapse. Did anyone else feel the same?

An outstanding performce by Simon
An outstanding performance by Simon
Jenny - the first female puma home
Jenny – the first female puma home

Results roundup

In total there were 337 finishers from the thirteen participating clubs, so Luke Cranfield’s position of 29th was noteworthy. Tim Brook’s 54th-place finish was also commendable, and the third top scorer for the Pumas was Adam Standeven, who came in 85th. Our first female Puma home was Jenny Hopkinson, who finished 192nd, beating husband and Super Vet Paul by twenty-eight places. Paul, in fact, had beaten Neil Coupe in a sprint finish. I recovered sufficiently to see other Pumas finishing, and as we waited, many took up the opportunity to grab a drink in the adjacent hut. We were on our way back by 12.50, after Jo had redeemed her winning ticket in the raffle – a pair of yellow football socks, obviously not first prize. Back in our home village, many of us congregated in the Yew Tree, where we could relax and contemplate the race. The general feeling was just how much they’d enjoyed the day, so much so, in fact, that club secretary Johanne Clay has it on record that she didn’t want to go home!


As the Winter League suggests, we are in competition with other clubs, but I won’t go into the vagaries of the scoring system. It does seem quite complex, but all we need to know is that, as Neil Coupe put it, “We ain’t bottom.” And there’s a long way to go. We’re officially ninth at the moment, but with many other runners to join up with us, we could climb higher. And that’s the point; it’s not necessarily about the top competitors. The more runners a club enters, the more points they stand to get. I would encourage anyone at Northowram Pumas to give one or more of these races a go. Just ask any of those who took part last Sunday. They’ll tell you just how much fun it is (those pained expressions as they crossed the finishing line were just for show anyway).

Full list of Pumas who were on duty, with finishing places;

  • 29 Luke Cranfield (M)
  • 54 Tim Brook (MV)
  • 85 Adam Standeven (MV)
  • 149 Richard Ogden (MV)
  • 166 Tom Moran (M)
  • 177 Richard Baker (MV)
  • 192 Jenny Hopkinson (FV)
  • 220 Paul Hopkinson (MSV)
  • 221 Neil Coupe (MV)
  • 229 Jonathan Meynell (MSV)
  • 239 Jane Cole (FV)
  • 250 Simon Wilkinson (M)
  • 251 Johanne Clay (FSV)
  • 255 Ally Canning (F)
  • 265 Matt Newton (M)
  • 268 Shana Emmerson (FV)
  • 271 Carine Baker (F)
  • 285 Mike Hartley (MV)
  • 294 Nicola Pennington (FV)
  • 297 Vicky Owen (F)
  • 298 Jo Allen (FV)
  • 308 Jennifer Lees (FV)
  • 328 Tiffany Lewis (FV)

The results for the league place pumas in the following positions out of the 13 clubs taking part:

  • Overall club position: 9 / 13
  • Mens team: 10/13
  • Ladies team: 8/13
  • Vets team: 10/13
  • Super vets team: 9/13

Read all about the Pumas half marathon fun, excellent words by Johnny Meynell

Sunday morning – early o’clock

There can’t be many reasons for wanting to crawl out of bed at 6.00am (or even earlier depending on where you resided) on a Sunday morning, but the call of the Manchester Half Marathon was probably about as good a reason as any. With instructions sent out to all Pumas to be at the club by 6.45 ready for the coach to leave at 7.00am prompt, there could be no dallying.

All told, there were thirty-six who boarded the coach, made up of the nervous, the worried, the excited, the plain mad, and in the case of Helen Jackson, the exhausted, so much so that she needed an extra forty winks. The numbers were made up of 31 running Pumas, one Stainland Lion in Claire Louise (who obviously wanted to travel in style), two other guests and two family members who were there to support. Frivolity abounded, anything to take the minds off the thought of having to run 13.1 miles.

Pumas looking ready to run
Pumas looking ready to run

We arrived in Salford around 8.10, the coach driver pulling up on Warren Bruce Road, leaving us with a decent walk to the starting pens (0.7 miles was the distance quoted), but on the plus side, it did give us all a chance to limber up, as well as take advantage of the handily placed loo stop en route.

The startline

The starting pens were just around the corner, on the top of Chester Road. Numbered A-G, we funnelled into our own designated areas, the elite runners (Luke Cranfield, Andy Haslam, Liz McDonnell near the front), the rest, mingled somewhere between them and the back groups. There were just a few moments to gather one’s thoughts as they set about achieving their own personal goals. For those who had run this distance before, perhaps a personal best (hitherto referred to as a PB) would be uppermost in their minds. Many that I came across were looking to run under two hours, then there were those who were happy just to get round. One runner was asked what he was hoping for and the answer came back, ‘To finish.’ (This story I know to be true; I was that soldier).

A selection of our start line selfies:

The crowds towards the back of the startline
The crowds towards the back of the startline
Simon, Grace, Holly and Julie...all smiles before the pain...and rain
Simon, Grace, Holly and Julie…all smiles before the pain…and rain
Pumas raring to go
Pumas raring to go

Set for a 9.00am start, sure enough the gun exploded on time leading to an inevitable charge from the front… as well as the downpour from above which had looked threatening for a while. In layman’s terms, yes, it threw it down just as we started. The field of runners in turn shuffled its way to the start line (in my case, a good three and half minutes) but the personalised chips attached to our running numbers meant our start time (and finishing times) were accurately recorded.

And so we were off, all eight or nine thousand of us, along thirteen miles of tarmac which we were all told to enjoy. The course took us around the Salford area, up the A56 named Bridgewater Road and looping all around Stretford via East Union Street, Henrietta Street, St John’s Road, King’s Road, Seymour Grove, Talbot Road, then rejoining Chester Road for the long run due south west all the way to the Crossford Bridge and into Cross Street and Washway Road. Then we negotiating several back streets to join Hope Road, Broad Road, Dane Road, before run for home back down Chester Road. The course veered off into Talbot Road to the finish line just outside Lancashire County Cricket Club. Written down like this, it all seemed so easy.

The first few miles

I can’t speak for everyone, but the first three to four miles seemed like a breeze. By then, of course, we’d looped around Old Trafford and were now on the long haul out down Chester Road. We were cheered on by several thousand local residents, something which always helps, particularly when you hear your name being called out, as the spectators identified you from the name on your running number. Nearing five miles in, I was passed effortlessly by Claire Louise, well on the way to a sub one hour fifty in what was her ninth half-marathon, the first sign, perhaps, that I wasn’t moving as freely as I would have liked. Just after the five-and-a-half-mile mark, the elite runners, having looped their way around the Sale area, were now heading back for home the opposite direction down Chester Road, which made me wonder just how far ahead of me they actually were. A quick look at the route planner suggests the distance was, in fact, nearly five miles!

Johnny scoping out the crowds
Johnny scoping out the crowds

Somewhere between the six and seven-mile mark, I was caught up by Jane Cole, who despite telling me she was feeling (in her words) ‘knackered’, you wouldn’t have guessed it. We ran close to each other for around four miles, but at the ten-mile mark, my legs were beginning to feel it and she pulled away. Ah, the ten-mile mark. Only three more to go. That’s just a parkrun equivalent, and the thought should have given me some heart, but the muscles in my legs were beginning to tighten, and in all fairness, the run for home became something of a struggle.

Liz and her now infamous green shorts
Liz and her now infamous turquiose shorts

The end is in sight

We’d just done our own trek around the back roads of Sale, and rejoined Chester Road with two-and-a-half miles to go. But as far as I was concerned, the finishing line couldn’t come quick enough. I knew I was nearing it because the crowds got bigger and louder, though the cry of ‘You’re almost there’ wasn’t exactly helpful – they were shouting the same thing over the last mile. I wanted more clarity. We turned into Talbot Road and suddenly, in the distance, I could see the finish line. The only trouble was, as much as I put the effort in, it didn’t appear to be getting any nearer. The fact I managed to pass a number of runners suggested they were in a worse state than I was, but eventually, the line was within touching distance, and I, along with others around me, crossed it in an exhaustive state.

It was then time to join the throng collecting their souvenir goody bags which included a weighty medal, and catching up with fellow Pumas to see how they’d done. We were funnelled into the grounds of Lancashire County Cricket Club, then it was the walk back to the coach. It was still 0.7 miles away, but with legs now feeling much heavier, it seemed twice as far. At least it had stopped raining, and even the sun was contemplating putting in a guest appearance. By 12.30 we were on our way back home.

Homeward bound

Of course, the journey home gave us all time to reflect on our own particular runs, and swap stories. Each had their own. Luke Cranfield took the honour of being the first Puma home in 1hr 28:18, whilst Andy Haslam, in his own words, was ‘quite chuffed’ to finish in 1hr 31:20.

Andy crossing the finish line, in an amazing time
Andy crossing the finish line, in an amazing time

Of the girls, Liz McDonnell was first past the finish line in 1hr 39:20, though not far behind her was Kirsty Edwards in 1hr 43:48. Julie Bowman, who’s had her own injury problems of late, excelled herself with a time of 1hr 51:06, crossing the line hand-in-hand with Matt Newton and Catherine Sweeney. Ally Canning was keen to get a time sub 1hr 50, but she should still be pleased to have completed the course in 1hr 54:01. And whilst I don’t have everyone’s personal tales of satisfaction or other to hand, there are some runners who deserve a mention. Vicky Owen, running her first half marathon, was so delighted with her time of 1hr 58:49 that she rang her mum. Also running inside two hours in what were their first half marathons were Holly Parry, Shana Emmerson and Debbie Fox. And what of Simon Wilkinson? Proving that if you put the effort in over the weeks and months leading up to the event, you too can be rewarded with an amazing time of 1hr 57:32. Further down the field, special mention should be given to Laura Fairbank, who’s made great strides since she joined the Pumas. She was helped in no small way by Alison Shooter, her running buddy, who contrived to sing her way around the course. Well, it helps to take your mind off what’s in hand. There were other personal success stories, of course, and the overriding thought from everyone was that they were ‘Proud to be a Puma’.

We arrived back at the club at 1.50pm and posed for our post-run photo, one that would fit nicely alongside the pre-race one we’d had taken on Warren Bruce Road (don’t you just love these before and after shots?)

Pumas still looking happy...possibly the thought of a beer though
Pumas still looking happy…possibly the thought of a beer though

before we clambered the steps to the bar. Evidently, Matt Newton and Simon’s job wasn’t finished as they gleefully served the drinks. Neil Coupe had kindly put on a decent spread of pizzas, chips and (for those watching their weight) salad, followed by cakes galore. Appreciated by everyone.

I got away at 3.00pm, shuffled into my car and drove home. What a day. Most of the rest of the afternoon was spent in a slumber, though as I ran the course over in my head once more, secretly satisfied that I had run my second half marathon almost three minutes quicker than my first, I couldn’t help but think there must be easier ways of spending a Sunday morning.

Scrabble anyone?


Complete results for all the Pumas;

1 Luke Cranfield 1:28:18

2 Andy Haslam 1:31:20

3 Chris Ellis 1:39:16*

4 Liz McDonnell 1:39:20

5 Kirsty Edwards 1:43:58

6 Julie Bowman 1:51:06

7= Matt Newton 1:53:31

7= Catherine Sweeney 1:53:31*

9 Ally Canning 1:54:01

10 Jane Cole 1:56:28*

11 Neil Coupe 1:56:38

12 Simon Wilkinson 1:57:32*

13 Holly Parry 1:57:44*

14 Johnny Meynell 1:58:22

15 Victoria Owen 1:58:49*

16 Shana Emmerson 1:58:54*

17 Debbie Fox 1:59:07*

18 Paul Bottomley 2:03:22*

19 Melissa Hall 2:05:16

20 Mike Hartley 2:05:39*

21 Helen Jackson 2:05:56

22 Jo Allen 2:09:13

23 Alison Wilkinson 2:09:29

24 Nicola Pennington 2:13:16*

25 Lisa Garland 2:19:21*

26 Joanne Hotham 2:20:28*

27 Nicola Hartley 2:24:43*

28 Susan Burlison 2:24:45

29 Laura Fairbank 2:27:21*

30 Alison Shooter 2:27:22

31 Caroline Reynolds 2:31:50*


* Denotes Half Marathon First Timer.

When: 9 October 2016

Where: Good ol’ Yorkshire (York)

Who: Alison ‘crazy marathon runner’ Shooter

Why: Just for the sheer fun of it!

Alison tells us all about her Yorkshire marathon experience. So if you’ve got a ‘No’ from London why not see if Yorkshire could be the 2017 marathon for you!

Marathon Morning

6am alarm calls in my house can only mean that it’s race day, this morning , it is because it is the Yorkshire Marathon.

This isn’t my first Marathon, but there were a couple of firsts for this race; first time a friend (Erica) had flown in from the USA to run this race and the first time I had a running partner at this race.

There was also a non first; not the first time I have run a Marathon without sufficient long run training (not recommended – see later)

Prior to getting a foot injury – which contributed to the lack of long run training, I had hoped to break 5 hours for the Marathon. Paul Hopkinson had offered to pace me to a sub 5 hour. Which considering his usual pace was probably more like a steady Sunday morning stroll for him.

Anyway, to reduce the stress on the morning of the race, Erica and I went to the Park and Ride facility at Elvington Airfield.

Early morning, at an airfield , somewhere outside York
Early morning, at an airfield , somewhere outside York

Once we parked up, we ate our porridge and bananas and headed for the bus. Erica was hoping we would get on the double-decker bus but it didn’t happen. The journey to the race village at York University was short and the weather was fine .We went to the Macmillan Charity tent and met Paul, then moved along to the start zones.

At the start line

We started in zone 5

Alison, Paul and Erica at the start line
Alison, Paul and Erica at the start line

with so many runners it took a while  to actually cross the start line, then there was a brief downhill towards the City of York.

After a mile or so we entered the city walls

Still all smiles at this point...
Still all smiles at this point…

across the cobbles and passed Betty’s Tea Rooms . Erica wanted to stop for a scone but we managed to convince her to carry on towards the Minster . The crowds here are usually large and vocal and the approach to the Minster always makes me proud to be a Yorkshire lass. We soaked up the atmosphere and managed to find a friend in the crowd who took our photo.We moved on and then the team from channel 4 who were making a documentary about the race stopped Erica to interview her. Not long after that Paul and I said bye to Erica to follow our own agreed race plans. The course is pretty flat and we headed out into the countryside . At about mile 5 you pass through the village of Stockton on Tees , where the Vicar stands in the road and high fives the runners if you need any spiritual support.

In the Countryside

The countryside is beautiful but in some parts support is scarce so it is good to have a running partner to help stay motivated .At half way  we clocked 2 h 31m and were feeling good. At 14 mile there is an out and back and I hate those. There is then a long straight stretch to a turnaround at mile 18 with a 2 mile out and back. I kept motivated by trying to run away from the guy in a Minion suit , which rustled as he ran and by cheering all the other Macmillan Runners as they came towards us.

Just before we turned off to the 20 mile mark we saw Erica, she was doing ok, enjoying herself and making friends on the way round. Paul  and I hit mile 20 around 3h 55m, so if I could pull a 65 minute 10km then the dream time would be mine. Unfortunately, by the time I got to mile 22 the “wall” that you hear people talk about came to meet me, the next 2 miles were very tough and I was wandering across the course at times (this is what you get for the lack of long run training). By the time mile 24 appeared I was getting it together but the pace had dropped massively. At around mile 25.5 there was a hill and it was a battle to get up there but then it was a steady downhill to the finish.

Happy that there's a downhill and also a finish line in sight
Happy that there’s a downhill and also a finish line in sight

The Finish

Paul and I finished in 5h 25m. I was very relieved and thankful for Paul’s support.

We collected our medals and bags and then went to get coffee and biscuits at Macmillan tent before returning to meet Erica.

A well deserved finishers medal....and foil blanket
A well deserved finishers medal….and foil blanket

Erica finished in 6 h 30m which was a massive achievement  given that due to issues with her Transatlantic flight  she only arrived on Friday morning.

On the return to the Park and Ride, Erica got her wish, as we winced our way upstairs onto the top deck of the bus, followed by much laughter from all the other marathoners on the lower deck!

So, would I do run this race again….you bet your life I would.

Next time I hope that I will be able to prepare better and that I can achieve that sub 5 hour target, but If I don’t, it doesn’t matter. Running a Marathon is a huge accomplishment and that make me a member of an elite group and you could be too!

If Alison has inspired you to take on 26.2 countryside miles, sign up for next years Yorkshire Marathon

When: 24 September 2016

Where: Northowram Community Sports and Activity Club

This awesome round up of events was captured by Olivia Culpan, age 13. Thanks Olivia!

Week 2 of the Saturday Tokyo 2020 kicked off with a fun and energetic game of scarecrow-tig. The game involved two teams: The Chasers and The Scarecrows. The Chasers’ job was to turn the opposing team into scarecrows by catching them and saying ‘tig’. Once caught, it was up to your own team members to set you free. What a great way to get us all warmed-up for the next challenge!

Ever popular scarecrow tig
Ever popular scarecrow tig

After the warm up

Afterwards, Ian split us up into three teams for a relay race. Every team member had to take it in turns to run as quickly as possible (with their batons) through the two slalom poles, round a hula hoop and back to their team to pass on the baton. It was great to see every team cheering on their team members and it definitely brought out the competitive side in some!

Awesome running techniques on show
Awesome running techniques on show

To get our muscles nicely stretched, Gabriella and Paula kindly led some exercises, including the plank, jogging on the spot and mountain climbers. Everyone joined in, even the little ones were keen to take part.


Next up was the Obstacle Run. This included a hula hoop (phew, no demonstration from Ian this week, ha ha!) some hurdles and step ladders. Once wiggling your hips on the hula hoops, tackling the sneaky hurdles and tip-toeing along the step ladders, we all did five speedy star-jumps and whizzed back off to our teams. Both teams were top-notch, each winning at least a round each.

Phew…after all that running it was definitely time for a drink!

To finish the morning off nicely, we enjoyed a game of Shark Attack! The scary sharks ran after the frightened fish. Each finned-friend was only safe at the three islands… but you couldn’t hang around too long!

We all enjoyed a fun and active morning that definitely started our day off nicely. Luckily, the weather was being equally as pleasant with the sun shining and a bright blue sky- a great day to take a team photo!

Great to see a variety of ages and wonderful team spirit! Thanks to Ian for organising this family event. We look forward to Week 3!

What: Stainland Trail

When: 25 September 2016

Where:  The hills above Halifax

Distance: 10k

Terrain: Killer hills and trails

Johnny Meynell recounts the events of the Stainland Trail.

Last Sunday (25 September) the Stainland Lions hosted their own Stainland Trail, an event designed to push each and every runner to the limit. Personally, I hadn’t given this much thought, but when Luke Cranfield was asking on social media if anybody else from Northowram Pumas was up for doing this with him (he was also after a lift!) I stuck my neck out and agreed to give it a go. Expecting a flood of other willing participants, they sadly were not forthcoming. Yes, it was just the two of us. Many fellow Pumas had already pledged the long run on the canal in preparation for the Manchester Half Marathon, whilst others either simply didn’t fancy the Stainland Trail, or perhaps they’d done it before and decided better of it this time around!

Yes, it’s a toughie, but the clue’s in its name: trail. What would you expect? When Ian Marshall’s using descriptive words such as “killer”, then the warning was clear enough.

The morning of the race

Nevertheless, I’d committed myself to it, duly picked up Luke at Stump Cross and headed up to Stainland Recreation Ground. I must quickly interject at this point to say that at any given time, I could have had second thoughts; after all, by 9.30 (an hour before the start time) I hadn’t even registered. That soon changed, however, and in the comfortable settings of the 1885 bar (formerly the Red Lion) and amid the wafting scent of freshly ground coffee and bacon butties I filled in my application, handed over a wad of cash, then took twenty minutes trying to fix my race number to my running shirt – where’s Tracey when you need her?

Outside, I bumped into someone I knew from junior school (that’s over forty years); Wayne Ogden. He wasn’t running, nor there as an interested spectator. He was, in fact, part of the Calder Valley Mountain Rescue Team, which I can assure you, was very reassuring to know, if not a little foreboding.

The racing conditions were near perfect; slightly overcast but dry, and in time, the runners were called to order at the top of the park above the cricket field. The field was 128 strong, made up of the elite, the hopeful, the nervous, the hardy and the foolhardy, and after we’d all been briefed, it was time to go. No turning back now.

And they’re off…

The best runners were off in a flash, and as we headed down past the cricket field, I noticed Luke was already up there with them.

Luke leading the field
Luke leading the field

Actually, he’d told me that he had a score to settle with a certain runner who’d beaten him in the Helen Windsor 10k, and I did wonder throughout how he was getting on. For my own part, it was a case of settling down and facing whatever the course threw at me. The early stages seemed easy enough, down through the fields then into the woods. Often we had to run single-file, but once we’d spread out, the major obstacle to negotiate wasn’t so much the steep inclines, more the MUD. Loads of it, big thick mud, and none of it glorious. Trying to run at speed whilst staying on your feet isn’t easy in those conditions, but just as I thought I’d managed it, I stepped onto a stone as we passed through a broken wall, lost my footing, and fell. A faller at the first fence, you could say, but for those of you who run regularly with me, the sight of myself landing on my backside isn’t necessarily an unusual one. Still, I picked myself and carried on. We’d gone less than a mile.

Luke and a lot of Lions
Luke and a lot of Lions

The race application form suggests a 10k multi-terrain “through the stunning Yorkshire countryside”. This may be true, but believe me, when you’ve another five miles to go and the course proving as daunting as it was, you’ve no time to enjoy it. And not being familiar with these parts of Calderdale, I’ve no real idea exactly where I was at any given time. I guess the first wood was Fall Spring Wood; next we had to negotiate, Milner Wood, which I think was a tough climb. At some point we came back down onto land and my favourite bit of the course; flat tarmac.

Johnny loving the tarmac
Johnny loving the tarmac

There was also a watering station and the Mountain Rescue team. Soon, we were back climbing up the woods before a long stretch of open road, though this was still testing as it was a gradual incline. There were times when I’d look ahead, see a marshal and willed them to signal left down the hill rather than right up it. And it’s always nice to see a friendly face, in this case Tim Neville, a runner with Stainland Lions of similar age to myself but of rather more ability. Here he was acting as a marshal about to direct me up the steps into the next woodland, a particularly hilly section. Hey, I surpassed myself. I actually overtook someone, though, I hasten to add, it was at his bequest. “You know you want to,” he said, invitingly. (Needless to say, he later overtook me and I never saw him again).

Mountain Rescue

We must have run some sort of loop, because eventually in time, we were back at the same watering station, and the Mountain Rescue team was directing us back up the woods. I was on familiar territory, but this was the hardest part of the course. Limbs were aching and the thought of climbing and climbing must have tested even the most resolute, let alone myself. Many of us took to walking. I wasn’t on my own. We climbed to the top of the woods and into a field. There was one kilometre to go and my legs were just about moving. As we approached Stainland Recreation Ground, I could hear the crowds cheering runners in, a heartening sound, but as we still had to run up the side of the wall to the top of the rec, there was still a quarter of a mile to go. Behind me, there were two girls, chatting and giggling, clearly enjoying the run far too much. Nobody in those spirits was going to beat me. As I entered the top side of the rec, I managed to speed up, down beyond the bottom side of the cricket pitch, then up the other side to the finish. There was a cluster of runners in front of me and I made up some ground but not enough to worry them. As I entered the finishing funnel, Luke was there with his camera to capture the moment for prosperity, and then my race was over, just as near exhaustion overtook me.

The results

Luke, to his credit, had finished a commendable fourth, and had vied for third place around halfway before losing ground. His time was an impressive 48:52, some two minutes faster than his previous year’s effort. And hard on his first sub nineteen-minutes Parkrun at Brighouse the day before, it made for a satisfying weekend for him. As for me, I finished 75th in a time of 66:42. Good or bad, I’m not sure. But I gave it a go and that was the most satisfying part.

Johnny smiling as he knew it was over
Johnny smiling as he knew it was over

I must end by congratulating Stainland Lions on organising the event. Superbly marshalled, there was little hope of anyone getting lost, even if they’d wanted to in favour of an easier way back home. Who knows, perhaps I’ll see you all next year. I can still hear it now: You know you want to.

Where: Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

When: Sunday 18 September 2016

Who: Junior Pumas

Distance: 2 miles

Awesome race day report by Amelie (Age 9) and Freddie (Age 7).

Before the Race

On Sunday the 18 of September we went to Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds to take part in the 2 mile under 17’s Kirkstall Abbey 7 race.

We all met before the start and had a team photo.

Junior Pumas Pre-Race
Junior Pumas Pre-Race

We were all super excited and raring to go, including our cheer-leaders Orlagh, Jaxon, Olivia and Barney the dog.

There were 11 Junior Pumas taking part in the race (Tegan,Tailla, Zachariah, Jessica, Harriet, Jude, Finley, Henry, Maia and us two).This made up a quarter of the runners, so there was a sea of yellow at the start!

For the race we had to do one small loop and two big laps through the trees. It was sweltering, we were all sweaty when we had finished. There were people aged from about 6 to 17. It was hard keeping up with some of the older ones!

There were some much bigger kids running
There were some much bigger kids running

We all absolutely flew around the course though, trying hard not to slip in the mud or trip over the tree roots.

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Poor Tegan fell near the beginning, but when she had received first aid she was there to cheer her brother, sister and team mates on. Maia also had a little fall on the last lap, but managed to get back up and finish the race.

When we had finished we got a goody bag and a funny ‘Monk’ medal.

Junior Pumas with their medals
Junior Pumas with their medals

Thankfully, Tegan was feeling better and was able to celebrate with us.

Everyone went home after a little play in the park and we waited for our mum to finish the adult race.  When mum got back she was even redder and sweatier than us, but luckily she got a cold beer in her goody bag to cool her down.

Carine taking on the adults 10k
Carine taking on the adults 10k
Carine enjoying a well deserved beer

You can check out how well we did on the following link:


As part of the West Yorkshire Sport drive to get people involved in sporting activities the Northowram Pumas Running Club hosted our very own Olympic games. Following the amazing success of this event, we’re hosting a series of six Tokyo 2020 warm up sessions to get everyone inspired to take up sport!

The sessions are open to all ages and are taking place every Saturday morning from 10.15 to 11 at Northowram Community Sports and Activity Club (until the 22 October 2016) . And what’s best of all they’re completely free of charge!

The First Session

One of the attendees to our very first session, Tegan Green-Moore, gives a run down of the mornings activities.

We arrived at 10:15am at Northowram Community Sports and Activity Club (NCSAC) ready and raring to go and take part in Tokyo 2020.

Ian, Sarah and Ally started the warm up by splitting us into 2 groups for the domes and dishes activity. We frantically turned the domes into dishes whilst the other team undid our hard work by turning them back to domes! Thirsty work and our jackets came off ready for the obstacle race.

Staying in the same teams, we had to race through hoops, down the ladder, star jumps and a sprint back to our next team member. Ian made us all giggle as he demonstrated how to hula hoop!

A quick drink and we split into 3 teams for the relay race. Batons at the ready, we were determined to win (especially the adults!) High fives all round after some fab relay races.

The sun was shining and 2 old planes were flying above whilst we were having a fantastic time.

Sharks were chosen for the next game. The fish had to stay safe whilst swimming between the 3 islands.

Skidding into a 'safe' zone for shark attack
Skidding into a ‘safe’ zone for shark attack

When the Sharks were full we finished off with a team photo, including 2 mascot dogs who wanted in on the action!

The Puma Olympians
The Puma Olympians

A big thank you to Athletic Ally, Sporty Sarah and Inspiring Ian for a marvellous morning of fun and games.

Northowram Pumas were founded in 2014, and each ensuing year will bring its own anniversary. This week, the club celebrated its second ‘birthday’ and on Wednesday 14 September, we hosted our Second Anniversary Run. Lots and lots of Pumas turned up and everyone seemed really excited.

Thanks to Johnny Meynell for his awesome account of the evening! Even if he looks slightly less impressed in the last photo (keep reading to check it out!!) – maybe he’s just reminiscing about his old university days.

Inviting some friends round

And of course, with it being a special occasion, what better than to invite a few friends round? Happy to take up our invitation were the fledgling Sowerby Bridge Snails, who arrived en masse.

Snails and Pumas - an unusual but winning combination
Snails and Pumas – an unusual but winning combination

Mm, Snails. It rather gives the impression that these are folk who move perhaps just a tad faster than walking pace, but don’t be fooled, they are Snails in name only. I have it on good authority that one attendee last night has run six parkruns, each time a personal best, with his last outing recording a time of 20:37. And he has a friend, another Snail, who’s even faster than him!
The Sowerby Bridge Snails can’t have failed but to be impressed at how organised we were pre-run time. With so many extra runners, it was decided it’d be best to assemble on the cricket field with poles to indicate the different groups. What a splendid idea.

An ingenious cone and pole system to sort out running groups
An ingenious cone and pole system to sort out running groups

The plan worked, and how simple it must have been for Simon Wilkinson to take the customary group photos when everyone was ready at their stations.

Customary Group Photos

The plan was to set off prompt at 6.45, so right on cue the respective leaders Luke Cranfield and Adam Standeven (Group One)

Group one - with Adam and Luke
Group one – with Adam and Luke

Andy Haslam (group two)

Andy's group two
Andy’s group two

Phil Turner and Nicola Pennington (group three)

Phil and Nicola taking the reigns with group 3
Phil and Nicola taking the reigns with group 3

Ian Marshall and Paul Hopkinson (group four)

Group 4 with Ian and Paul
Group 4 with Ian and Paul

and Ally Canning, Wendy Hewitt and Sarah Rushforth (group five)

Group five with Ally, Wendy and Sarah - Ally has also forbidden Simon from taking any more photos
Group five with Ally, Wendy and Sarah (Ally has also forbidden Simon from taking any more photos after the worlds worst pose was captured)

led off their troops.

The Running

I went in Group Two, which was a cosy run up through Coley, Shelf, all the way up Giles Hill Lane to Brighouse/Denholmegate Road, down Syke Lane to Green Lane, then home via Blake Hill End and Upper Lane.

A lovely stretch of quiet backroad
A lovely stretch of quiet backroad

It was a warm evening which made the going even tougher than already expected, and we hope that the Sowerby Bridge Snails appreciate the terrain we have to negotiate on a weekly basis, the general rule being that you either start up a hill or finish on one.

We love a good hill do us Pumas
We love a good hill do us Pumas
Group 5 looking pretty happy mid run
Group 5 looking pretty happy mid run

The general feedback on the routes undertaken by our guests in the various groups seems to be that they enjoyed it. The exact figure of how many Snails were actually in attendance cannot be verified, but in the words of the late BBC news reporter Brian Hanrahan, “I counted them all out, and I counted them all back.” Later, it was put to me that there were forty orders from the Snails for meat pies, and one veggie pie, which in anyone’s book would be roughly forty-one.

And some more hills for our Snail friends
And some more hills for our Snail friends

Whilst the Snails came through largely unscathed, sadly the same cannot be said of the Northowram Pumas. If Strava is to be believed, then Group One (Luke’s!) ran a distance of anywhere between 6.3 and 7 miles.

Luke's group - before losing half this contingent.
Luke’s group – before losing half this contingent.

Not only that, but a contingent also managed to get lost! Still, nobody was hurt in this group, unlike in Group Four, where Joanne Davison’s unscheduled route took in the A&E after she fell shortly into her run. Accompanied at hospital by Jane Henley, it turned out Joanne was none too seriously injured, and escaped with bruises on her knees and legs.

Time for Pie

For the rest, it was a run to the finish back at the club, and runners sprinted/ran/ jogged/staggered* (*delete as appropriate) over the line, happy in the knowledge that the BAR was open. Yes, it is a measure of how the Northowram Pumas have grown that we now have fully trained bartenders, and happily after each run, we can now socialise with a bevvy.

Back to the club for pie and drinks
Back to the club for pie and drinks

The runners piled into the bar, where they were served by the Three Amigos, namely Simon Wilkinson, Matt Newton and Tom O’Reilly. Ally Canning was also seen serving so waiting time was kept to a minimum – great service. I’ve never been served so quickly since I ventured into the Long Chimney circa 1988 (though in their case they poured me a drink before I changed my mind). And as it was a special occasion, food was also being served; the aforementioned meat and veggie pies. I chose the Cornish slice, which evoked memories of a holiday in St Austell some twenty years ago! Here, thanks must be given to those who helped prepare and serve the food, and we are most grateful for the behind the scenes work done by Tracey (who made sure the pies arrived on time), Holly, Andrea and Ian Marshall. And let us not forget those who took time to bake cakes, etc which topped off suppertime.

Thanks to Tracey, who gave up her evening run, to make sure we ate all the pies
Thanks to Tracey, who gave up her evening run, to make sure we ate all the pies

Most of us stopped for well over an hour, giving Nicola enough time to present Jessica Edwards with her Uni Survival Kit in front of a packed house. Jess, who’s been with the Pumas since the formative days, has helped in various capacities and now leaves for University with our good wishes.

Saying a really sad farewell to our awesome committee member Jess as she goes away to get drunk - sorry to go to uni
Saying a really sad farewell to our awesome committee member Jess as she goes away to get drunk – sorry to go to uni

All-in-all, it was a pleasant evening and thanks must be given to those who made it possible, as well as to all the Pumas and Sowerby Bridge Snails who turned out in force to make the event such a success. Dare I say it, here’s to the next one….

As part of the West Yorkshire Sport drive to get people involved in sporting activities the Northorwram Pumas Running Club hosted our very own Olympic games. There was a variety of different events for all ages that both young and old could join in –here is a roundup of the days events!

BY JUDE (age 9) AND ORLAGH KENNY (age 7)

Saturday 10th September 2016 saw the first Northowram Puma Juniors Olympic games!!  

Me and my sister arrived early to “help” set up, this meant that we got to test the bouncy castle! We did this extensively and had around 30 goes just to make sure it would be ok for all the kids that were going to take part!!

1 Hour later……

The Opening Ceremony

All the kids had arrived and were getting ready to walk around the field, waving their flags, following the torch bearer, Tailia Green-Moore. All of the mums and dads, grandmas and granddads, friends and family were all clapping and cheering. Everyone was speed walking because they were all very excited about the upcoming races.

Getting ready to start the opening ceremony
Getting ready to start the opening ceremony

The first race was the obstacle course – Three, two, one….BANG!

The first set of four had started, round the first bend they went, over the hurdles then through the slalom poles towards the ladders. After the ladders they went to the cone jumps, then to the hoola hooping area – we were hoolaing like we were in Rio!!

Tackling the hurdles
Tackling the hurdles

Next we had to run full pelt to the cones then it was best for last…the bouncy castle, you had to take your shoes off as fast as you possibly could then sprint through the holes then round the inflatable cylinders and up the inflatable climbing wall then down the slide. After the bouncy castle you had to grab your shoes and do a sprint to the finish line.

And the best part.....
And the best part…..
...The bouncy castle obstacle course
…The bouncy castle obstacle course

The 100 metres

After about twelve goes on the obstacle course it was time for the relay race. Teams were being sorted out between adults and children. Here are some of my favourite names “The three men and the little lady, Team Fox, Team Puma, Team GB and just to be sneaky, Team Kenny.

Closest race was heat 3 starring Team Fox, Team Kenny and Team Alpha Wolf Squadron. The first people set off and team Alpha Wolf Squadron were leading followed by Team Kenny in second and in last was team Fox. Team Alpha Wolf Squadron had passed the baton as did team Kenny and so did team Fox. It was the last person now, Team Kenny were in last with team Fox in first. Team Kenny had to close the gap but in the end they could not quite manage to. And as they say it’s the taking part that counts! Today we really believed this as it was such good fun with everyone shouting each other on.

Jude perfecting his starting position
Jude perfecting his starting position – Paul and Georgia didn’t stand a chance!
No one was more competitive than the adults!
No one was more competitive than the adults!
On the 100m start line
On the 100m start line
Pure determination
Pure determination


Next up was the tug of war. What you had to do was get the other sides blue marked point to the middle which was marked with spraypaint. The final results were 1st Team Fox 2nd Team Flash 3rd Team Alpha Wolf Squadron.

And PULL! the tug of war competition
And PULL! the tug of war competition
Even the adults got involved
Even the adults got involved
Everyone using all their strength
Everyone using all their strength

After the mighty tug of war we had the closing ceremony where all the children that took part walked up the stairs inside of the building which was next to the field. Upstairs you had to go out onto a balcony and you could claim your shiny, gold medals. Photos were taken downstairs and all the parents were loving the medals.

Team Fox with their medals
Team Fox with their medals
Loving their medals
Loving their medals
Proud medal winners
Proud medal winners

When we had claimed our shiny, gold medals, we played on the bouncy castle with our friends. After all our tiring activities we were starving luckily there was a bbq so we had hotdogs and burgers made by John the best burger flipper Marshall!

John 'the burger flipper' Marshal
John ‘the burger flipper’ Marshall

After that lovely day we went home, happy and exhausted!

Thank you

As well as the army of helpers on the day, the Pumas Olympics wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of one man. Ian Marshall.

Ian organised the funding for the event, came up with the activities and worked tirelessly (and nearly drowned everyone in WhatsApp messages) to make sure the event came together.

Thanks to Ian, everyone had a smashing time!

Ian - the man behind the Olympics
Ian – the man behind the Olympics