This weekend saw a bit of a change from the usual Shabba road races that have become very much a fixture of this spring. A sizable group (Baz Nicholls, Kev Rowley, Phil Box, Byron Maidens, Garry Craddock, Gary Homer & Greg Meacham) met on Cannock Chase to conquer the Dirty Dozen trail run - not only do we run towns we also run national parks!
A group of very excited Shabbas met at the race rendezvous not really knowing what the run was going to throw at them. It was a slightly delayed and cold start, and the day really did throw 4 seasons at them.
Earplugs in, because this is going to be loud…..
Kev Rowley: I chose to do this event as I've never done any trail running before, and I thought it would be very challenging and fun, and I was peer pressured into it by Baz Nicholls and Gaz Homer! Ha Ha!
Baz Nicholls: Thanks to Gary Homer who came up with this mad idea and I must say what a great idea it was!
Phil Box: I chose this event because it sounded like a fun challenge and because a load of the other lads were doing it, so thought it would be good to see them.
Byron Maidens: I thought it would be a great Shabba team challenge as I have never been mad enough to do a trail run before.
Gary Homer: I've been doing a couple of trail runs here and there, so when Run and Ride announced this, I thought this would be great as they always put on a good, well organized event. Plus it was Run and Ride's first major trail event, so I wasn’t going to miss it!
Greg Meacham: I was feeling fresh on Sunday morning and up really early so decided to go down to the Dirty Dozen on the off chance of a place being available on day or would just support the Shabbas if not. I was told there would be places so hung around a bit. The atmosphere started off really strange as there was nobody there who knew if I could actually enter on the day for ages - even still at 10.20 on a race meant to start at 10 am I didn't 100 percent know! However I met up with Shabbas Baz, Kev, Byron, Phil, Gaz C and Gaz H and it was great to see Ian Glover come to support. There was a carnival atmosphere amongst the Shabbas and there was a sense of fun in the air.
As I planned to go last minute my Shabba top was in the washer from Saturdays parkrun with my dog but Baz insisted I be in Shabba colours and kindly lent me his spare.
I think then I made my best decision of the day as Phil asked "are you gonna run with me and go for it or with the Shabba pack!" I decided I'm gonna stick with the pack and be part of the group running together!
Phil: The atmosphere was a bit boring at first because it was cold but the other Shabbas soon changed that lol! We were all running round like little kids. I really though this would be my kind of event and really enjoyed the course and some of the hills were really challenging. Actually all the hills were ;)!
Kev: The start and finish was brilliant, everyone was cheering and supporting each other which made for a great atmosphere. My highlight was the 15 minute hail storm which came down as we were running into up a steep incline, absolutely fantastic! Hahaha.
We ran as a SHABBA wolf pack and time didn't matter, it was all about supporting each other and having fun, which is exactly what we did. (Especially when I pushed Byron through a huge puddle and he landed on his face!!! Haha. Sorry Byron! Ha)
Byron: The atmosphere was electric with all the Shabbas raring to go. Gaz C twisting his knee and Greg in the tree.
Greg: As the race started there was a laugh a minute with the group and I felt I was part of something really special. The terrain was a right mix with some challenging hills. Gaz H chose this tough course to run his longest ever distance so hats off to him.
I think it was the best decision I made to run with the pack a it hit home to me the reason I run and the philosophy of the Shabbas, although it was probably the slowest pace run I can remember doing it is up there with the best! We ran as a group supporting each other. Some tough times for some of the group along the way who soldiered on WELL DONE GAZ C!!
I decided to have a bit of fun along the way and so did all the Shabbas. I ran off from the pack a bit quicker as I started to feel the cold to warm up. Baz told me afterwards that he had just said to the pack "we won't see him again now, he will be gone!" Then as he turned the corner and I had climbed a tree to wait shouting "COME ON SHABBAS" haha!
There was a waist high swamp which I decided to go through wearing only my shorts! (This seemed only fair as it want even my top to dip in a swamp ha!). The route also included a few headstands and a great Shabba link across the finish line with a forward roll each on the bricks to finish!
Gaz H seemed to be a bit leggy until there was some free caffeine gels at a station he had one and eyes bulging out was off like a man possessed!
Garry Craddock: it was cold wet and windy so it was fantastic! I twisted my knee on the last mile and in true Shabba form the lads picked me up and off we went lol!
Gary H: The atmosphere was great as expected even though the trail run was delayed for a while everybody kept smiling, warming up and chatting #freezing!! The highlights for me were to trail run in the Chase as a group of Shabbas with no pressure. Totally enjoyed every minute was great fun. Byron’s fall was class too.
Baz: When we got there I was buzzing but then an announcement came saying the race was delayed by 30 minutes. That was a long wait because the weather was freezing.
During the race we went through all weathers, didn't think it was possible to have every season in an hour and a half. After 2 miles Greg sprinted off from the pack and I told the other Shabbas that's it we'll see him at the end.... Quarter mile later we turned a corner and low and behold there was Greg up a tree shouting us on haha!
What a laugh it was running through puddles and mud like big kids, while being entertained by Greg doing handstands and gambols, Byron falling over his shoe laces in a pool of water and not forgetting carrying Garyr Craddock who hurt his leg, this must have amused Kev Rowley because on the video all you can hear is him laughing!
Have to mention Gary Homer who was high on caffeine gels at the water stations then sprinted off in front of us.
Phil: Now the results I never expected at all. I thought I had blown it at the beginning by going too fast but I tried to stand my ground and kept 8th place all the way to the final hill where I decided I've got to put my foot down and dig in. I managed too take 3 blokes in front in no time, then I saw a marker saying 11km to go. I then picked myself up and went for it like I was scared of those behind me :)! RR note: Phil finished in 5th place! Proud of you Phil. Phil is also running the London Marathon as his alter ego Morphman. If you can spare a pound to support the 'Round Table Children's Wish Limited' then text 70070 morp61 £1
Byron: PBs weren't the goal, it was a Shabba team effort and we were all coming in together no matter what so as Gaz C twisted his knee this is what we did carried him home. Phil was on a mission and smashed it Shabba style.
Greg: I was really happy I did this with the gang. I started off only half knowing some of them and feel I shared an experience with them all and know them all better! It was a great moment crossing the line with the Shabbas!
I liked the idea from Byron that we should earmark one race a year where we all go and run as a group as fast as our last Shabba! Food for thought?
Me and Baz managed to get a little work out using the big hills to sprint up and meet the gang at the top much to the amusement of the more serious runners having us fly past them on the hills!
I was glad to get this race done it was my 5th consecutive week of official racing yet one of a kind! I have now completed 7 since the turn of the year towards my 20 plus. RR note: Greg is attempting to complete 20 official races in 2014 to raise funds for Birmingham Children's Hospital. Read more about his journey so far here
Baz: Even though Phil Box didn't run in the Shabba pack what a fantastic achievement finishing in 5th place. In this race, time was not a factor it was about running as a team and getting through it and we all crossed the line in Shabba fashion.........together as a family.
Special mention to the supporters.... Paul Ross, Ian Glover, Billy Jones, Sharon Rowley, Gareth Jones, Charlotte Kuczmyjiw and Mr & Mrs Box
Garry C: It was for fun and it was the Run and Ride's first one but the time was good. Thanks to all the Shabbas
Gary H: Finishing time was great couldn’t be happier especially with Garry’s knee twist.
Kev: Dirty Dozen was a great event which has give me a new interest in trail running and I did it with a great bunch of lads!
Kev: My next race is the Pelsall 10k which is right on my doorstep and I'll be doing it with a number of fellow SHABBAS! Keep on Running!!!
Byron: Next year I'm sinking Baz and kev revenge will be sweet for pushing me in the puddle and bushes but that's what its all about. But next I'm saving myself for Pelsall 10k
Baz: next race Pelsall 10k 13th April
Garry C: More fun with the Shabbas!
Gary H: More trail runs, to mix in with the parkruns and track training. A good mixture of running which can only (hopefully) improve fitness, and times in general. It would be great to get more Shabbas to have a go as well. Maybe organise something so we all go and do a trail run one Saturday morning with Run and Ride. See what people think?
Ian Glover: Turning up and supporting when you’re not competing in an event is a big part of what being a Shabba is all about, I would have liked to have taken part but my big day (marathon) is looming. The guys were really up for this run, and were all bouncing at the start with lots of shouting and adrenaline.
As a spectator there were two standout moments for me. Firstly was Phil Box’s sprint finish in the hail storm to finish in an excellent fifth place. Secondly was me and Rossy stood trying to pick out the rest of the shabba’s arriving en mass in the distance, not really being able to see them, but WOW could we hear them ….It was a typical loud and proud Shabba roar!
Paul Ross: What I liked about the race was the venue and what a beautiful place the chase is to run. Great start and finish with a nice feeling (and the burgers and hot dogs smelt nice but me and Ian resisted ).
When the Marshalls began walking back with the course signs we were a bit worried about where the lads were. Eventually we heard a lot of shouting and the na line of blokes in red tops appeared in the distance carrying Garry Craddock lol! They put him down and ran the last 200 metres all of them shouting and covered in mud.
What I loved and noticed they was all laughing and joking and seeing them cross the line together.
RR note: Paul managed to capture this on video,, which I'm going to leave you with. Enjoy! (not for children's ears!)