June Newsletter

Hi everyone and welcome to our third edition of the DRR newsletter. I hope you all enjoy reading these and catching up on all the activity going on within the club. If there is anything you’d like to see featured in one of our newsletters, please get in touch.

Phoenix Running 24 hour Challenge

I’d like to start this month by saying a massive well done to Nathan Jennings, Samantha Watkins and Charlotte Oakley who all completed the Phoenix Running 24 hour challenge on the weekend of the 20th and 21st June. The challenge was to run 1 mile every hour on the hour for 24 hours, starting at 8 o’clock Saturday morning and continuing through the night until 7am the next day. A fantastic achievement!

A quick mention to Chairman Daniel and Social Media Secretary Becky for joining the ladies for their 1am mile. I think Daniel must be missing the 24 hour weekend events, either that or lockdown has sent him crazy.

Nathan has upped the ante, by setting himself the challenge of run 4 marathons worth of distance (104.8 miles), during the month of June, to raise money for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. At the time of writing this newsletter he’s 3 in with 1 more marathon to go. If you’d like to donate to the charity, the just giving link is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/susan-jennens. Head on over to Strava to check out Nathan’s progress and give hime some well deserved kudos.

Northants Virtual Summer 5K Road League

Week 1 After huge success in the last month’s Virtual 5K series, several DRR members took up the challenge again, with 13 members heading out for week 1 of the summer series. Fastest male was Daniel Clarke with an impressive time of 17.46, putting Dan 6th fastest overall. Our fastest female was Kate Bond, who ran a brilliant time of 21.17, an even more impressive was that this was Kate’s second sub 22 minute 5K of the weekend, due to a slight miscalculation on elevation in the first attempt.

Special mentions to Sam Weaving who currently finds himself inside the top 10 and Damien Baker in 14th. Also, well done to Stuart Clarke who ran a PB effort of 20.21. I’m sure it won’t be long until we see that sub 20 run!

Nichola Smith (17th) sits inside the top 20 in the women’s category, and kudos to Becky Wheaver who achieved a new PB of 26.39 and also to Jill Jelley for completing her 5K in a time of 26.45.

DRR 1 Mile Challenge

Hopefully, you all saw Neil’s 1 Mile Challenge on our Facebook page and looks like we had several attempts last weekend. The idea is to run 1 mile as fast as you can and then attempt the same 1 mile route in 4 weeks time in the aim of beating your time – a little competition against yourself in a way.

Feel free to have a go at this if you wish, just make sure you use the same route for both attempts to get a true comparison.

Just for fun...

To try and help ease the lockdown boredom and as a little bit of fun, why not have a go at finding the 6 differences between the two photos below taken at the Badger’s Atherstone 10K race last year. Answers are at the end of the newsletter, but no cheating!

Getting to know... Eilish McColgan

British Double Olympian and Scottish 10,000m Record Holder


As you know, each month we like to get to know a bit more about some of our members, club legends and unsung heroes. This month is ever so slightly different, as I’ve had the incredible opportunity of speaking to British middle-distance athelte, double olympian and Socttish record holder Eilish McColgan.

Eilish, is the daughter of former 10,000 metre World Champion and Olympic silver medalist Liz McColgan and some of you may have seen her at this year’s National Running Show. Eilish took a break from her training for next year’s Tokyo Games, to kindly answer some of our questions and give an insight into the life on an olympic runner.

How did you get into running from an early age? Your mum was an incredible athlete, did you always wish to follow in her footsteps?

It was actually my PE teacher at school who put me into a local cross country race. I absolutely loved it and begged my parents to take me along to the local club in Dundee. I just absolutely loved it and have never looked back. In all honesty, I wasn’t really aware that my mum was the level of athlete that she was. I was very naive and just assumed that everyone’s parents kept fit and went for runs. She never had her medals on show or anything around the house. We were all very sheltered to it. It wasn’t until I got to around 16 that I started to realise and also appreciate the athlete that she was!

Who was your inspiration/idols growing up?

My mum is definitely a huge inspiration. I know first hand how hard she worked to realise her dreams. And the fact that she became a World Champion, less than a year after giving birth to me, shows what an incredible athlete and woman she is.

What would you say are your main strengths as an athlete?

I’m naturally quite strong so if I can nail a session in training - I’m usually able to knit it all together when it comes to race day. I always seem to find that extra few percent when racing rather than leaving it all in my sessions.

If you hadn’t become a runner, what do you think you would be doing instead? Would you still have been involved in sport?

I studied maths and accountancy, so I assume I would be doing something to do with my degree. But in all honesty, I’m so passionate about athletics that I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Me and my partner coach a host of runners online through our business ‘Running Made Easy’ and that’s something we would both love to continue with - even after I’ve retired from a competitive racing.

Looking at your Instagram, you’ve been to lots of different places to train, what has been your favourite?

St. Moritz in Switzerland is incredible for running. I would live there in a heartbeat if I could.

Aside from running, how else have you been keeping busy during lockdown?

Nothing has really changed for us! Our daily life is a form of quarantine as we don’t really spend time doing anything other than training or relaxing in the house together. Training takes up the majority of my day with running, stretching, massage, drills, cross training, gym work etc. The rest of our day is spent answering emails or watching Netflix!

A lot of our members love the weekly parkrun, do you have any tips on how to improve your 5k time?

Focus on a specific 5K interval session one day a week. It’s important that you practice running some reps at the pace you hope to race at. The body only gets faster with practice.

Have you ever done a parkrun and if so which one and what was your time?

I’ve never done a parkrun! I’m sure I’ll do it one day but for now I’m enjoying my track racing.

What does a normal training week involve and how many miles do you run?

For the last few years, I haven’t gone above 50miles a week but this year we’ve increased to 60-65. I have a rest day every week, a long run and then two quality track sessions. Everything else is either cross training or easy running.

Do you have any pre-race nutrition tips?

I like to keep it simple! Peanut butter and banana bagel always works well for me.

You’ve suffered a couple of serious injuries during your career, was it hard to stay motivated and come back stronger?

It was really difficult to come back from both serious fractures I’ve suffered. Both times I was out the sport for almost a year and now have 7 screws and a metal plate in my left foot. However, when I stand on the start line, it’s given me an added motivational boost. I know everything I’ve gone through to be there so I try not the let the opportunity pass me by.

You represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics in London, what was that like?

Incredible. There is nothing better than competing in front of a home crowd. It’s an experience that will stay with me for life.

Last year at the Great South Run you set a new Scottish 10-mile record, beating the previous record held by your mum, how did that go down?

My mum was adamant that I was in shape to beat her record but I didn’t feel confident about it at all. But she’s never been wrong yet! She is always very honest as my coach and what she feels we can achieve together so it was nice to get that record with her full support.

You’ve won medals and smashed records, but is there anything that stands out that you would say is your biggest achievement or one that you’re most proud of?

Making London 2012 after having surgery on my broken foot is still the thing I’m most proud of. My performance at the Olympics was far from ideal but for me, standing on the start line when I was told I would never race again was a bigger achievement than any PB or medal.

Your mum was also successful at the marathon distance, winning London in 1996 with an impressive time of 2.27.54. Do you have any aspirations to move up to the marathon?

I’m definitely eyeing up a move to the marathon but realistically it will be from 2022 onwards. I have some unfinished business on the track at the moment and want to aim for the 10,000m at the next Olympics before making the switch to the roads!


I would personally like to say a huge thank you to Eilish for taking the time to talk to us and I hope you all enjoyed reading her answers.

Eilish is currently using the lockdown period in between training, to try and raise some money for a couple of charities, Diabetes UK and Cancer Research UK. If you would like to make a small donation to help suppor her, please click here.

As always, I really hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s newsletter. If you have any suggestions for things to include or if there’s anything else you would like to see in our newsletter, please feel free to message me on Facebook or email me at joseph.shirley@yahoo.com

Joseph Shirley

Club Captain

Spot the difference answers...

1. Water bottle colour. 2. Neil’s sunglasses. 3. Paul Barker missing from back row. 4. Nicholas Kasberger’s race number. 5. Jade Lett’s watch. 6. Josh Graham’s name on shirt.


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