Alex Montgomery: Avenger 2015 Deputy Race Director

                                                            Alex Montgomery

Up to five years ago I had never volunteered to help in any races or events as I was an active runner for my club Leamington Cycling and Athletic Club. Then it all changed – I tore my gastrominus and soleus muscles in my right leg resulting in an enforced time out of competition and training. It also coincided with a change in my personal life which left me with way too much “spare” time on my hands and with a slow increase to my weight it was time to get out there and do something about it.

I had run a few of the early Raceway events and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and “fun” associated with racing and when Martine asked me to help out in one of the Moreton Morrell races I said yes without giving it much thought – a decision I am so glad I made.

Over the following years, in between trying to recover from other injuries, I got more involved and even when I was fit to run I chose to help out, marshalling, course dismantling, feed stations and registration, in fact anything to be involved.

This gave me a different view of (running) races, seeing from both an organisers standpoint and as a volunteer. A question – What comes first, runners or marshals? A bit like the chicken and egg conundrum and one impossible to answer as without the runners there is no race and with no marshals there would be no race – we are as one.

Moving on, in 2013 I was ask to help out at the first Avenger Triathlon at Ragley Hall near Alcester. As a runner and definitely not a swimmer or cyclist I assisted as a marshal on the final discipline – the running. Again, part of the job is to encourage the athletes and even when some could hardly walk never mind run there was a great sense encouraging and good humour. As triathlons take several hours to compete, many of generations of the athletes come to support which further enhances the atmosphere on the course. I also did the same job in 2014 with the same sense of satisfaction plus a nice sun tan as the temperatures got up to 30 degrees.

Early in 2015, Jo (sorry to say she has moved on to pastures new) asked if I would be a Deputy Run Director at The Avenger and incorporating the Ragley Run, a separate 10k race. Over the following months I made several visits to Ragley Hall to help design a new 10k and 5k run around the grounds rather than have multiple laps like in the past. This was a new experience for me and all went well up to the weekend of the event in June.

I still work full time but, being self-employed I can arrange my diary as I want, with me taking the Friday off plus camping overnight then two full days Saturday and Sunday it was a very tiring weekend. What made it special was the group of volunteers who were there and a great time was had by all. My role as Deputy Run Director was elevated due to Martine suffering with a bad back restricting her movements for the Saturday and Sunday. However, with such a good team of experienced and first time volunteers all went well and I am sure that we can all build on this in the future.

In a way, getting injured in 2011 was, although painful and annoying, it has opened up a new way for me to stay involved in the sport I love even at the expense of not running when fit. I have even been Deputy Race Director for the Inter Counties XC event for the past 3 years (and on Sky TV) and at present am organising a new 5 mile race for my athletic club.

I would urge everyone to give volunteering at go, there are so many positives – working as part of a team, encouraging athletes who all appreciate the role of marshals, being out doors rather than at home (or worse going shopping!). Working with Raceways is always an enjoyable experience, join us any time – you do not have to commit every time – but it will give you a different prospective on race day.


Seco Tools sign up as headline sponsors of the new Alcester 10K running race on 11 October

Alcester cutting tool specialist Seco Tools has signed an agreement with promoters Raceways Events to be the headline sponsor of the Alcester 10K. They join other race day sponsors Strong Arms Gym, Sanders and Sanders Estates, NFU Mutual, Alcester Food Festival and Morrison Insurance solutions.

Seco Tools UK Managing Director, Richard Jelfs, was delighted to have teamed up with Raceways and to be able to contribute to the Alcester community.

“Having been located in Alcester ever since the company was first established in 1964, we take our corporate social responsibilities seriously, and our staff can always be counted upon to help the vulnerable and the disadvantaged, and to lend their support to worthy cause.”

“We had no hesitation in co-sponsoring the Alcester 10K run in October organised by Raceways in conjunction with Alcester Community Trust – and I am confident that Seco staff will make a significant contribution to the event’s success and raise much needed funds for a number of local, regional and national charities as a consequence.”

The race will start and finish in Alcester and the route passes through the villages of Walcote and Great Alne. There will be rolling road closures.

Raceways has partnered with the Alcester Community Trust to promote the event.  There will be

chip timing, bespoke finishers’ medals and goody bags for each competitor.

Inspired to take part in the event? Or want to find out more about any of the other events hosted by Raceways Events? Then visit or follow the team on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Hundreds take part in last weekend’s Avenger Triathlon events

Hundreds of athletes descended upon Ragley Hall in Warwickshire last weekend, for a third instalment of The Avenger Triathlon.

Athletes were able to choose between three race distances – Sprint, Olympic or Middle distance, all located within the scenic and historical grounds of Ragley Hall in Warwickshire. Starting with a swim in Ragley Hall Lake, the rolling bike course then weaves through the beautiful Worcestershire and Warwickshire countryside before finishing back in the Ragley Hall estate. The off-road run course consists of a mixture of paths, fields and trails; making it a tough course of varied terrain. And it takes in some areas of Ragley Hall that are not normally open for public access, making it an extremely special route.

Tom Greeves dominated the Sprint men’s event, finishing in a time of 1:08:14, over six minutes ahead of second place. And there was a sprint finish for the women’s podium with last year’s Middle Distance winner, Emilie Verroken taking first place in 1:14:09, closely followed by Kelly Weall only sixteen seconds later in 1:14:25.

In the Olympic race, Richard Shephard was the clear men’s winner, finishing seven and a half minutes ahead of second place in a time of 2:16:00. And in the women’s race Ali Moult was the clear women’s winner, finishing in an impressive 2:35:03.

Jon Mansfield won the Middle Distance event, less than a minute off second placed Mark Styles in 4:28:43. In the women’s event, Kate McNeill was the clear winner – finishing in 4:48:17, nearly 24 minutes off second placed Claire Murphy, who was a podium winner in last year’s event.

Full results can be found here

Written by Kate McNeill of Compete PR

5 tips for your first triathlon

With The Avenger looming, we thought we would give you first time triathlete’s a few tips before the big race. We hope we can settle any nerves about the Ragley Hall event and the legendary ‘Heartbreak Hill’.

Get Plenty of Rest

It’s really important to let your body rest from all your training. Your nerves may affect your sleep the night before The Avenger, but ensure that you get some good rest the week before. Don’t change your sleeping patterns and don’t be tempted to take a sleeping aid regardless of how tired you are, as it could make you feel drowsy on the race day.

Avoid last minute changes

Don’t change your choice of equipment or diet. You may think that some new goggles look cool, but in reality if you haven’t practised with them they may leak with water during use. Also try not to change the food that you eat because it may unsettle your stomach.

Practice getting your wetsuit off and changing a flat tyre

It can help to add a lubricant to your lower legs and arms beforehand, as this helps a tight fitting suit to slide off easier. If you have a long run to the bike, then get the wetsuit down early on and you can concentrate on running to your bike. It may also help to practise changing a flat tyre.

Prepare for race day weather

Have a look at the five day forecast to see the appropriate clothes to wear for The Avenger. It is likely that the weather will be warm, with the event being in June, but you can prepare for this by training in hot weather or running on a treadmill in a warm gym.

Have a hydration plan in place for your race

Knowing your sweat rate will help you plan your triathlon hydration strategy. Drinking at a rate close to your sweat rate and aiming not to lose more than 2% body weight from sweat will help you to maintain hydration from training session to training session.

7 tips for the perfect 10K


Are you still unsure how to pace yourself on race day? Here’s some pointers for achieving your fastest 10K yet. The hard training and dieting should now be over and it’s just time to perfect your running strategy.

Tip #1 If you haven’t ran a 10K before, double your 5K time and add on two minutes to get your target 10K time

Tip #2 At 3 – 8 Kilometres you should be hitting your target pace

Tip #3 Resist the urges to chase down the runners ahead of you at 3 – 8K

Tip #4 Run the second half of the 10K faster than the first half. Start the 10K by running 5-10 seconds slower per mile than your target pace

Tip #5 Plan your pacing strategy before the race and don’t try to change things on the day when the adrenaline is flowing.

Tip #6 Finish the last mile as quickly as possible. If you’ve paced yourself right during the rest of the race then you should be able to finish strongly.

Tip #7 Always review how your performance was. Did you warm up long enough? Could you have started quicker? Did you drop off the pace in the middle of the race?

New Raceway’s events in Alcester and Leamington for 2015

Raceways Events will be hosting two new events for the autumn of 2015; The Alcester 10K and the Leamington Spa Sprint triathlon.

The Alcester 10K, 11th October will be the third event Raceways are hosting in Alcester, with the Avenger and Ragley Run also being held in the local area.

The UK affiliated race is likely to attract serious competitors because of its flat course, but also less serious runners who are keen to enjoy the quaint market town of Alcester and the various scenic views in neighbourhood villages.

Runners will set off from Alcester High Street which will be closed for the duration of the event. They will then head towards Alcester, Oversley Green and then the village of Walcote.

The route continues following the River Alne into Great Alne, before returning back to Alcester where there are expected to be plenty of spectators watching.

The Leamington Spa Sprint triathlon, 13th September will be held at Newbold Comyn Leisure Centre. Competitors will complete a 400m swim, 19.5km cycle and 5km traffic free run.

The swim takes place in Newbold Comyn Leisure Centre’s 25m pool.

The bike course then takes athletes out of Leamington Spa and into the surrounding countryside, with a few inclines along the way to test the competitor’s stamina.

The run is all off road following a similar route to the Leamington Park run course and its traffic free nature will make it great for spectators and supporters.

There are 500 places available for each race. Competitors can expect bespoke finisher medals and goody bags/T-shirts as rewards for finishing races. Enter into the race via Rider HQ

Young Midlands runner’s take first place at Raceway Events’ Spring Shakespeare

Promising young runner’s Alex Eykelbosch and Sam Lloyd-Perks both secured first place last weekend in their 10 Kilometre races at the Spring Shakespeare 2015.

Sam Lloyd-Perks 10k Winner

Undeterred by the strong Long Marston winds, Lloyd-Perks was first to cross the line in the Men’s 10km race. The 19 year old Halesowen runner achieved a personal best, finishing in a time of 33 minutes and 29 seconds.

Eykelbosch also finished first with a personal best of 37 minutes and 44 seconds, two minutes ahead of second place in the Women’s 10km race. Both runners have promising futures ahead of them; Birmingham University runner Eykelbosch finished second earlier in the year at the Hertfordshire County Championships and Lloyd-Perks recorded a first place finish at the Dudley 5 mile Sprint in February.

The other big headline was the performance of Tom Cornthwaite who ran the fastest UK marathon time of 2015. The Salford Harriers Club runner finished Raceway Events’ Spring Shakespeare marathon in 2 hours and 28 minutes.

100 Marathon Club runner Sally Ford performed convincingly in the Women’s marathon race to finish 11 minutes ahead of second place with a time of 3 hours and 10 minutes.

There was a pulsating finish in the Men’s Half Marathon as Daniel Chan finished three seconds ahead of Matt Adcock. Barnsley runner Chan will be delighted to have edged this close race, having finished just outside the top three at the Long Marston course in the autumn.

Thames Valley runner Victoria Carter also finished strongly to secure first place ahead of Sarah Morwood in the women’s Half Marathon.

Special mention should be given to the following runners who finished just behind 1st place for their respective races; Lewis Chalke, Stuart Holloway, Diane Roy, Alison Boyle, Matt Adcock, Richard Simkiss, Sarah Morwood, Natalie Bhangal, Nick Hardy, David Dew, Laura Gale and Kathryn Lovelock.

The Spring Shakespeare was hosted by Raceways Events and is popular because of its flat course which is perfect for personal best potential and London Marathon practice. Raceways next event will be the Avenger 2015 triathlon held at Ragley Hall in Alcester. More information can be found on the company’s website.