Fleckney & Kibworth Running Club in Lockdown

As a Club we were lucky to be able to host the Kibworth 6 Race on Sunday 8 March, a couple of weeks before the Lockdown was announced. The second event in the LRRL Calendar is a valuable source of income for the Club as well as raising £200 for the Local Air Ambulance Charity.

Just over a week later the committee decided to suspend all Club Nights and Training, having realised what was coming. As details were announced on 23 March we were relieved to hear that we could still partake in daily exercise, albeit on our own. Although we couldn’t see each other or organise runs together we still kept in touch through our active social media groups. The initial restrictions of running from home did mean a lack of variety for routes, and brought the added challenge of social distancing on the move. A combination of gym closures and warm weather meant the local trails and canal paths were much busier than usual. Still, it was good just to get some fresh air and head space, especially for those who were working from home and/or home schooling.

VE Weekend 30 Minute Challenge

After a few weeks it became clear that local league races and bigger events nationwide simply wouldn’t be going ahead. We held our AGM in early April, a first time for many using Zoom and not having a family quiz on it! The Club came up with the idea of a Virtual Team Challenge, with the Club Captains Jim Hawley and Bernie Owen each having a team of runners, and everybody running as far as they could in a 30 minute session. We anticipated there would be maybe 15-20 signing up for it, but were overwhelmed to have 40 runners joining in the event over the VE Day Holiday Weekend. And what a weekend it was, with scorching sun beating down on most of the runners as they pushed themselves to their limits. Teams were drawn from 3 groups, allocated based on expected pace, and it was a very tight affair, all the way through to the deadline of 8pm on the Sunday. The lead changed hands several times, and there was some late panic and a substitution for a non-runner before victory was clinched late on Sunday for Team Jim, clocking up 71.57 miles against Team Bernie’s 70.81 miles. 20 Runners in each team, and less than a mile between them!

Spring Bank Holiday Weekend 45 Minute Challenge

Everyone enjoyed that event so much that we held another one over the final weekend in May, this time as 45 minute challenge. This meant new tactics for some, including finding a reasonably flat route! Another hot weekend saw runners heading out early or leaving it until later in the day. The nature of a virtual event meant runners could take part from all around the county and we even had one club member posting a run from Australia. It was another tight affair, with Team Bernie posting a total of 85.28 miles from 17 runners, with Team Jim on 55 miles from 11 runners. Thankfully there were no late substitutions required this time and another close finish saw Team Jim claw their way back into a narrow victory with 86.27 Miles

Both events gave runners something to focus on and put in a bit of extra training for, as well as digging out their club vests for a bit of race day feeling.

Leicestershire Road Running Lockdown League

The events have put runners in good shape for a whole series of virtual League Races, created by the Leicestershire Road Running League when it became clear that the regular events would be cancelled

This all started on the 20/21 June with the Barrow Honesty 10k taking place on the weekend that Barrow AC would have hosted the Prestwold 10k. 15 of our Club Members signed up for the event, involving almost 600 participants across the county, all helping to raise over £5,000 for the Rainbows Children’s Hospice. As the title implies, runners set out to complete the 10k distance wherever they like, but ideally completing a loop rather than finding a fast downhill point to point. They are responsible for clocking their own time and submitting it to the organisers who then compile results for individuals and clubs. Team results are not yet known but we had some impressive individual performances. Lorna Muskett was quickest overall for the club in 45:47 and 6th of over 100 in the F40 category. Bernie Owen completed her distance in a time of 49:36 and was the fastest of over 20 in the F60 category. The men also acquitted themselves with distinction, Kirit Patel taking 3rd spot in the M60 category from 26 runners. Fastest Male for the Club was Russell Blake who clocked a time of 47:50.

The Lockdown League will continue with similar events over a variety of distances in the coming weeks, with each Club in a regional league, culminating in a Grand Final at the end of August.

Future Events

Next up for Club Members is a multi-distance team challenge over the weekend of 26th to 28th June. Runners can choose a distance of 4, 7 or 10 miles and teams will have equal number of runners over each distance. Total times will be combined to decide the winning team. Numbers are still being gathered for this but Bernie will be hoping it’s third time lucky for her team at this one.

The next LRRL Lockdown League is a 5k distance on the 4th / 5th July

Alan Gibson