Stourbridge Stagger (03/02/2013)

Oliver Kirkland reports:  Bournville was out in numbers on Sunday for Stourbridge’s annual Stagger, with 14 club representatives taking part in the 10.3 mile race (and Suz West opting for the more civilised Ladies-only 7k version).
I’d been looking forward to this one for ages because it was supposed to have been my first race 12 months ago, but for a multitude of reasons (with cowardice and laziness at the top of the list) I had decided not to take on the snow. Nothing was going to deter me this time around.
Multi-terrain events are more difficult to pace than road races (especially if you haven’t done them before) because you never know (but can apprehensively guess) what lies around the next corner. I had, therefore, decided that if I could keep Stuart in sight for the first few miles, I wouldn’t be too wide of the mark. Stuart, however, had other ideas and was alrady more than 100 yards ahead within the first half mile. That was the last I saw of him until the end. Time for Plan B…which I hadn’t really thought about until that point.
Fortunately, there were a number of Harriers of a similar standard to keep one another company for the rest of the race, with John McKeon setting and maintaining an excellent pace for the rest of us to follow.  We had been warned at the start that the course was ‘muddy’ and that proved to be something of an understatement once we had left the roads and fields of Stourbridge and headed out onto the rural tracks. I soon learnt a couple of important lessons. Firstly, that my so-called trail shoes were not equipped to deal with shin deep mud; and secondly that, when confronted by seemingly endless muddy trails, it is better just to run through them rather than attempt to go around them. Regrettably, this second lesson wasn’t actually absorbed by my brain until after my third fall when I managed to land on my knees. Thankfully, the aforementioned mud was thick enough to cushion my fall and avert serious injury.
Half way around I started getting congratulated for being the leading lady. Well, I like to think I’d made a bit of an effort in the bathroom before I left home, but I had thought my androgynous days were behind me. Before I got too carried away with the compliments, though, the mystery was solved as a young BRAT lady sped past me on a downhill stretch. We swapped places a few times over the next couple of miles with my strength being on the uphill sections, but I couldn’t compete with her away from them, especially after my knees got clattered.
After a very tough middle section, the last couple of miles of the Stagger were extremely forgiving with a long downhill homecoming. While this provided an opportunity to make up for lost time, it also provided an opportunity for others to overtake me, with one guy in particular finishing at a speed that suggested he might have been hiding behind a bush for the previous hour and waiting for a suitable moment to leap out and re-join the race.
Stuart had run an outstanding race to finish in 7th overall and 1st in the V40 category and was standing at the last bend encouraging the rest of us as we headed for the line. John came in 23rd, having been too strong for the rest of us to match. I finished 27th, with Brad, Simon, James, Andy and Linda (who was 3rd lady) in close pursuit. There were 8 Bournville Harriers in the top 40 positions, highlighting the strength in depth the club has away from its elite runners (no other club had more than 4 members in the top 50). Richard, Sarah, Mike, Graeme, Leonie and Jude also all put in great performances. Suz was apparently well placed to finish 2nd in the 7 k…but took a wrong turn and finished 6th.
Results and photos can be found at but here are the Bourrnville Harriers times and positions:
7th      Stuart Pearson        1.09.02 (1st Vet 40)
23rd    John McKeon          1.13.02
27th    Oliver Kirkland         1.13.29
30th    Bradlee Tod             1.14.29
32nd   Simon Goodwin       1.14.42
35th    James Collins          1.15.08
38th    Andy Hall                 1.15.23
39th    Linda Howell            1.15.31 (3rd Lady)
68th    Richard Rollins        1.19.41
75th    Sarah Rock              1.20.21
121st  Mike Scotney           1.25.31
175th  Graeme Beavers     1.31.11
202nd Leonie Clitherow      1.33.52
230th  Jude Glynn              1.36.39

3 Replies to “Stourbridge Stagger (03/02/2013)”

  1. well done im sure i will do the stumble in august,as i possibly wont get lost being ahead!!Still it was an enjoyable run around stourbridge and finishing 6th with a detour wasnt too bad really 🙂

  2. Some great running by all BvHers. I had a great time marshalling and cheering you all on. Stourbridge never fail in putting on a fantastic race

  3. Congratulations to all the BvHers who successfully completed the Stourbridge Stagger.Some impressive performances. Good `warm up` for the XC this coming weekend!