Elvet Striders Clamber, Houghall Woods and Low Burnhall, 27th July
|1||89||Michael Joyeux (Quakers Running Club)||30.54||M30||1st overall/M30 1st|
|3||80||Stephen Jackson||32.29||M30||3rd/1st male strider/M30 2nd|
|4||52||Liam Emmett||32.35||MSEN||2nd MSEN|
|5||99||Michael Mason||32.39||M40||1st M40|
|10||136||Alex Sneddon (Jarrow & Hebburn AC)||35.04||FSEN||1st female/1st FSEN|
|24||9||Elaine Bisson||38.40||F30||1st female strider/2nd F30|
|25||164||Tamsin Imber||38.50||F40||F40 2nd|
|27||11||Penny Browell||39.08||F40||F40 3rd|
|40||153||Louise Warner||41.02||F30||3rd V30|
|49||8||Mike Bennett||42.03||M60||M60 2nd|
|59||82||Laura Jennings||44.42||FSEN||2nd FSEN|
Coastal Run, 24th July
about 14 miles
|striders pos||Name||Cat||Chip Time|
|||Carl Avery (Morpeth Harriers)||Senior M||1:13:34|
|||Johanna Gascoigne-owens (Alnwick Harriers)||Veteran F35||1:27:17|
|1||Stephen Jackson||Senior M||1:22:41|
|2||Michael Mason||(M) Veteran40||1:23:51|
|3||Andrew Hopkins||(M) Veteran40||1:31:56|
|4||Jack Lee||Senior M||1:35:22|
|5||Jon Ayres||(M) Veteran40||1:37:18|
|6||Graeme Walton||(M) Veteran40||1:37:35|
|7||Simon Gardner||(M) Veteran40||1:39:32|
|8||Penny Browell||(F) Veteran40||1:40:43|
|9||David Brown||Senior M||1:42:50|
|12||Michael Bennett||(M) Veteran60||1:50:25|
|13||John Hutchinson||(M) Veteran60||1:50:35|
|14||Malcolm Sygrove||(M) Veteran50||1:58:44|
|15||Lesley Charman||(F) Veteran40||2:05:06|
|16||Ari Hodgson||Senior M||2:05:13|
|17||Jean Bradley||(F) Veteran60||2:06:50|
|18||Dougie Nisbet||(M) Veteran50||2:06:52|
|19||Stephanie Piper||Senior F||2:07:26|
|20||Eric Green||(M) Veteran50||2:07:27|
|21||Karen Jones||(F) Veteran40||2:08:05|
|22||Nicola Whyte||Senior F||2:08:20|
|24||Dave Robson||(M) Veteran60||2:10:59|
|25||Frances Timson||Senior F||2:12:46|
|26||Debbie Jones||(F) Veteran40||2:12:51|
|27||Kathryn Sygrove||(F) Veteran50||2:13:50|
|28||Sue Gardham||(F) Veteran40||2:13:50|
|29||Sarah Fawcett||(F) Veteran50||2:14:40|
|30||Lesley Hamill||(F) Veteran40||2:15:14|
|31||Camilla Lauren-maatta||(F) Veteran50||2:16:56|
|32||David Case||Senior M||2:17:49|
|33||Anita Clementson||(F) Veteran40||2:23:35|
|34||Katherine Preston||(F) Veteran40||2:25:14|
|35||Kate Macpherson||(F) Veteran40||2:25:14|
|36||Gillian Green||(F) Veteran40||2:28:50|
|37||Robin Linton||Senior M||2:33:18|
|38||Aileen Campbell Scott||(F) Veteran40||2:34:45|
|39||Stan White||(M) Veteran50||2:37:37|
|40||Mark Herkes||Senior M||2:41:12|
|41||Katie-Louise Finney||Senior F||2:41:13|
|42||Jill Young||Senior F||2:42:11|
|43||Debbie Mcfarland||Senior F||2:42:12|
|44||Lucy Herkes||Senior F||2:42:13|
|46||Kelly Collier||Senior F||2:54:51|
|48||Neil Jennings||(M) Veteran50||2:55:17|
|49||Margaret Thompson||(F) Veteran60||2:56:29|
|50||Alan Smith||(M) Veteran60||2:57:00|
Sunderland 5K, 13th July
I had been looking forward to this race following my great experience in 2015. This race is a very fast 5k course. On this night the sun was out and the wind up slightly, but no conditions to make the pb seekers fear their results.
Ladies and M50's were the first group of people to charge down the 1k hill at the very start of the race. Elbows all out hoping that you don't trip.
Once reaching the bottom of the hill a crowd of spectators greeted the eager runners as they started their small lap of the park.
Clearly marked kilometre signs were positioned en route for those keeping to a set pace.
As you finished the first loop of the park you approach the supporters again, Simon, Allan, Graeme, Mark, Stephen and Gareth were shouting loudly. Next is a larger loop where runners do a loop of the lake, at this point the wind was certainly making its point in slowing me down.
A lady who I often race against at the NEMAA ran past me which bucked me up a bit, I knew I was on par with her so my new aim was to keep on her.
A little mistake I made last year was that I didn't push on the winning 'straight' (I was unaware where the finish was) and this year I was determined not to repeat my mistake so I started to pick up my pace and give my all.
A nasty little incline on the finishing straight certainly finished each runner off nicely!
Excellent times from all Striders, Stephen Soulsby, Elaine Bisson, Louise Warner, Lesley Charman, Fiona Jones and Karen Byng, Louise Barrow, Catherine Smith and Victoria Stott.
In the second race Strider men running were Gareth Pritchard, Stephen Jackson, Mark Warner and Graeme Walton, all men gave their all as the vast group of runners flew down the hill causing a big draft of wind to hit the spectators. Fabulous runs from all.
This race is a brilliant, cheap local race which can be entered on the night and also an offering of a good chance of a pb. See you next year Sunderland 5k!!
IRONMAN UK, Bolton, 17th July
2.4 miles swim, 112 miles bike, 26.2 miles run
I was so happy to have even made it to the start line of this event after six months of hard training and a knee injury which meant that I hadn’t run for more than six miles since January. For the last week I’ve lived on a diet of ibuprofen and practically bathed in alcohol hand gel so I didn’t pick up any last minute nasties.
This event is logistically complicated in that it’s a split transition. This means that the bike start and the run start are in different locations 12 miles apart and the finish is in a further location in Bolton town centre.
I travelled down 2 days before the event to take my time registering and setting up the two transitions. My Tri club buddy and twice Ironman himself, Tim Matthews, was my domestique for the weekend and was tasked with the challenging job of keeping me calm!!!
After registration and the welcome party on Friday, we spend Saturday setting up the two transitions and I was able to get into the Lake (Pennington Flash) for the practice swim session as luck would have it with my coach Sorell. The lake was much better than I expected – fairly warm and reassuringly murky (I am not remotely interested in knowing what lurks beneath!!). We also managed to meet up with my fellow Durham Tri competitor Bob Hewitson and have a hearty carbo loading breakfast and a nervous chat about the upcoming challenge awaiting us the next day. So off to bed for an early night for an extremely early start but not before applying the ever important race number tattoos (so damned cool!!).
So race day arrives – up for a 3am breakfast in the hotel then onto the shuttle bus to the lake for a 4am and pitch black arrival to the start but thankfully no rain. Wetsuits donned we arranged ourselves in the chute to enter the swim in predicted swim time order. On my way down to the water I spotted my wonderful supporters from Durham Tri club – Tim, Lesley, Amanda and Olivia which gave me a nice little boost. At about 6.25am I was off!! The swim course consists of a 1.9K lap of the lake then an Aussie style exit from the water to run around a channel of about 50m to the roar of the crowd before jumping back in for a second lap. I exited the swim in a satisfactory time for me of 1hr 30mins. Into the T1 tent which unfortunately had a surface underfoot of thick squelshy mud (but made my cross country soul feel rather at home!) On to the bike and off I went to tackle the 112 mile ride.
This bike course is rather challenging featuring over six thousand feet of elevation. The route consists of a 12 mile trip out to the village of Adlington then two 50 mile loops. The two most legendary climbs are entitled 'Sheephouse Lane' and 'Hunters Hill' which are obviously done twice each. The support of the crowds was fabulous around most of the course but most notable on these two aforementioned climbs. Huge crowds lined both sides of these hills, music was blasting in places and encouragements being shouted – a real Tour de France feel. There is quite honestly nothing like the sight of a man in a mask, cape and mankini dancing to the tune of ‘Uptown funk’ to lift the spirits when the legs are getting tired.
I did find it quite challenging to eat and drink enough to keep well fuelled – very surprising for those who know me well!! The taste of isotonic Powerbar energy drink after 4 litres, chia bars and sweets can become very tedious. I took up the option to have a ‘special needs’ bag available to me at mile 88 and experienced a moment of sheer ecstasy when I extracted and devoured my packet of salt and vinegar square crisps which I had cunningly placed there earlier. I even managed to eat a couple of ham and cheese croissants to make sure I had something in the tank for the ever approaching marathon.
I saw my own family twice on the bike route at the most remote part of the course which was fantastic and the Durham Tri support crew cycled their way to two vantage points to cheer me on. Tri club coach Ian MacKenzie also made two surprise appearances on the bike route which again gave me a great boost. All was going rather well pacing and timing wise until disaster struck at 100 miles – a rear wheel puncture, arrgh! Now to put this into perspective, in 10 years of cycling I have never had a puncture – what a cruel world this is. Thankfully I had practised this in the week before the race so tried to stay calm. I had been introduced to CO2 canisters which inflate the tyre to 100PSI in 3 seconds – a god send. About 20 mins later I was on my merry way again and before long found myself at the finish of the bike leg 8 hours and 20 minutes later in T2 at the Macron Stadium to the welcome cheers of my fans. Unfortunately my Durham teammate Bob had fallen off his bike earlier in the race and fractured his wrist, so his racing day was sadly over.
By this time of the day the sun was well and truly shining so I lathered on the suncream, donned my fresh tri suit and socks, said a quick prayer to the God of injured knees and I was off to face the most challenging part of the event. The run course consists of a six mile run from the Macron Stadium then a hilly six mile loop of Bolton town centre which is completed three times. I set off on a 4 minute run (which very quickly became a shuffle) followed by 1 minute walk strategy with the aim to keep this up throughout. It started well and the route was fairly pretty along a canal path which offered some welcome shade and a blissful stretch of off road surface, yippee! This only lasted for 1km unfortunately before it was back to soul sucking tarmac. I then joined the three loop part of the course where we were rewarded with a different coloured hair scrunchy to proudly wear on our wrist on the completion of each lap.
Again nutrition was a major challenge and my stomach had simply had enough of trying to digest vile food options whilst competing with the muscles for a blood supply to enable this. I managed to get down a few gels, bananas and tortilla crisps washed down with lashings of coke and water. Jules Percival had bought me a packet of polos on the assurance that they were marvellous for warding off nausea in endurance events. Wow was she right and I rewarded myself with one after every 5k of running completed.
By the time I started on the loops I felt absolutely cream crackered and can honestly say the support of the crowd and other competitors got me through. The lovely people of Bolton were out in force for the whole route; their enthusiasm helped no doubt by the sunshine and for some ice cold beers in their hands. My tri family were along the route and also my coach and her colleagues from Tri Training Harder which was wonderful. The real saviours of the day, however, were my Hubby and kids which had positioned themselves half way up the long drag of a hill. They proceeded to take it in turns to run with me for short stretches, hold my hand, give me hugs and encourage me that 'I had this'. My son Rhys later told me that watching the marathon was like watching an episode of the zombie drama 'The Walking Dead'. Never was a truer word said as I definitely felt like I was starring in it at some points. On each loop when you hit the town centre part, you are faced with the roar of crowds driving you on and a trip past the finishing shoot which gives you a taste of what’s to come.
At long last and 5 hours and 49 minutes later and a total time of 16 hours and 5 minutes it was my turn to hit the red carpet and do my victory dance to the sound of the yearned for words of the PA “Debs Goddard you are an Ironman” – it was an awesome moment and one I won’t ever forget.
Summer Handicap, 13th July
|pos||bib||name||finish time||actual time||handicap for July||handicap for August|
A Challenging Day!
Wasdale Horseshoe Fell Race, 9th July
AL / 21.1 miles, 9022ft
On your marks, get set, GO!
Come with me across the 21 miles and 9,000ft of the Wasdale Horseshoe Fell Race traversing the roughest and most famous fell country in England. It's raining, windy and the mist is down to about 1,000ft. The race starts along a runable stony track before switching uphill onto the steep, grassy, tusocky and boggy fell side of Illgill Head. We're all walking now, because of the steep gradient, and we quickly enter a world of mist and rain. The gradient eases near the summit and a 'sheep trod' takes us left of the top and on to the first check point atop of the next fell: Whinn Rigg. Visibility is down to about 20 metres and so there is no possibility of seeing the wonderful view down to Wast Water and across the fells of Lakeland. The first checkpoint is reached after about 45 mins (cut off time 1 hour) and the steep descent begins back to valley level. I start well on the thick grass underfoot but lose places on the steeper, stony, eroded path through the bracken. My well worn knees only allow a certain speed and I've no desire to take a fall on a day like this.
We're now on the only 'easy' section of the race which takes us through fields and woods across the wet Wasdale Valley to Greendale - the home of fell running legend Joss Naylor and his wife Mary. They are both there on the bridge giving out orange juice. "Well done lad, how was that?" says Joss to me. "Not too bad" I reply "do you think it'll fair up today Joss?" He scowls "oh, there's a lot of low stuff still due to come in". I thank him and Mary and head off. He's dead right about the weather of course!
Nonetheless it's mild as I begin the upward plod back onto the fells and to the next checkpoint of Seatallan (2266ft). I think of taking off the 'cag' I've been wearing from the start. As if on cue, the rain peps up and the wind increases by a few knots so the cag stays on - for the rest of the race. I cross a stream that's now in semi-spate. It matters little as I'm already soaked to the skin. The occasional runner comes and goes in the mist although a lady runner stays nearby all the way to the summit of the steep, grassy and boggy hill of Seatallan. Two marshals huddle around the exposed trig point with the wind and rain howling around them (this is why they have cut off times!) I pass over my token, tell them that number 25 has dropped out (as requested to do so by the Greendale marshals), thank them and head off towards Pillar; the next check point and some 4 miles distant.
An easy, grassy descent takes me into a boggy area glorying in the name of 'Pots of Ashness'. Navigation now becomes a real challenge. With a few other runners I pick up a trod through the thick mist and mire. With careful route finding I know I can avoid climbing the hill of Haycock, and even Scoat Fell, if I get it spot on. Ignoring others that climb up to my left I head onwards on a bearing. I do mange to miss out Haycock but the steep ground pulls me up to Scoat Fell and onto familiar and easily navigable terrain so no matter. Rocky ground is now the norm causing my foot placement to become more measured and my pace to slow. Two runners ahead of me veer off onto a narrow rocky trod that I know avoids a bit of climb so I follow. One of them is uncertain: he turns & shouts his doubts to me. I give the thumbs up and he carries on.
The narrow col between Scoat Fell and Pillar is extremely windy and it's hard to keep one's feet. I hold onto the wet rock as I begin yet another steep climb. Other runners are struggling with the conditions and the navigation but I'm confident of the route and just battle on against the elements - at least it's not cold! The summit of Pillar (2'7ft), the next check point, arrives and I'm around 15 minutes inside the cut off. The marshals have some shelter here so are fairly cheery. I hand over a token, they glance at me, establish I'm fit to carry on and off I go.
It's a wet, rocky descent from Pillar down to Black Sail Pass and, because of the conditions; I can't see the easier lines that I know are there. Descending becomes slow, laborious and frustrating. Two runners pass me and I vent my frustrations into the screaming wind! Finally I arrive at the pass and look around in the mist for Susan, who I know should be there, and there she is! She gives a little jump as she's been waiting for some time and is pleased to see me! I take a drink, tell her I'm ok and head off on the traverse of Kirk Fell. This is one top we don't have to go over. Some of the runners around me though are unsure of where they are and whether they're on the correct path (or trod). I re-assure them that they are indeed at Black Sail and that this narrow, rocky trod; on this steep fell side running with water is exactly where they should be!
The traverse is out of the teeth of the gale and gives a little respite although the wet and the rock continue. I calculate that I have 55 minutes to reach the next checkpoint on the top of Great Gable and conclude, as I'm still feeling ok, that it is just about doable. The familiar ground of Beck Head is reached (the col between Gable and Kirk Fell) and the steepest, wettest, rockiest, crapiest climb of the day begins. The route finding through the rock however takes my mind off the conditions and I pass a couple of guys before reaching the top of Gable (2949ft). I'm very pleased on my arrival as I'm 13 minutes inside the cut off and, although there's still a long way to go, there are no more cut off times to contend with and I'm reasonably confident I'm going to finish!
A couple of other guys are faffing around with bearings but I know the way off and I don't want to hang around in this gale. Off I go down across the boulders onto the paved bits of path with the wind getting even stronger! On a rare grassy bit, where I'm going reasonably quickly, a big gust nearly sends me crashing into the surrounding rocks. I manage to keep my feet and crouch down until the wind subsides a little and I'm able to move again. I finally reach Sty Head pass where the wind is being funnelled between the massive mountains of Scafell and Gable. I can barely hear myself think let alone hear the comments of one or two walkers who have ventured out today - they just get the thumbs up instead! I seem to be on my own now as I head upwards to Esk Hause the next checkpoint. There are a few streams to cross and they are all raging with white water although I'm never in above my knees so there're no bother and it's still fairly mild. Because I can't be bothered with the faff of extracting map from bum bag I add a couple of hundred meters to the route in finding Esk Hause. No matter, I'm still ok. I force a bar down my neck and press on to Scafell Pike - England's highest mountain!
No runners around me now but I'm happy with that. I know the route well so the mist is no problem. The wet rocks are a different matter though and I have a few slips and a few scrapes. Nearing the top I catch a few runners up and a couple more appear behind me so, at the summit (3210ft), there's a queue at the checkpoint! I follow a bearing off the top and descend the rocky, boulder strewn path. The rain and wind continue as I hit the grassy slopes of Lingmell. My foot goes down a hole and I just about stay upright - I curse the conditions. There are a few runners around so it's a race down the final steep descent. I overtake a couple but a searing pain from cramp grips my leg and they overtake me again. Further down I recover and take a few scalps in the last half mile. I'm feeling ok and the relief on approaching the finish is tangible. Susan's there to cheer me in and take my photo. I'm moving quickly as I cross the line and have a great sense of achievement on finally finishing.
What a day! 6 hours 27 minutes - a bit slower than 12 years ago but conditions are so much more challenging today. The Wasdale Horseshoe is a race many fell runners aspire to do. It tests your fitness, experience and fell craft to the maximum. Have a go by all means but please, as the FRA requires "you must be confident you are capable of completing any race you enter"!
Blaydon Race, 9th June
In my head, Blaydon 2016. A very personal view.
Running well. Feeling good. Pre race 17 min durham parkrun pb. Reality check at club track mile race on Wednesday. 2nd place strider last year. Wanting to be competitive this year. Please let it be close. Massive doubts. Deep breaths. Catching up with strider friends. Feeling relaxed. Squashed in at the start. Stood like sardines for 20mins. When will we start? So many people, 4000+ runners with 100+ striders. Feeling very northern at the Blaydon start line.
Down hill start, must start fast, must be leading after 5k, please don't let it be close with 2k to go, I won't stand a chance. hoping club member achieve their goals, where is Catherine? Can I really push myself that hard at the start. Stick to the plan. Concentrate concentrate and relax.......... Was that the start horn?
Go. Zero to race pace in a flash. Find some clear road. This is nuts. Accidentally barge people out the way. How did they get so far up the field? Control ur pace Gareth but push push push. It's down hill, push. 1k @3:21, fast but need to pick it up. Be brave. Get that gap, get that lead Gareth. I know that runner? Yes, hi mate. Looking good, wrong way man? Yes that's my Washington 10k bud. So glad he won that day, now show him your true speed. Help I can't breath. Push push push.
K splits 3:13. 3:16. 3:17. 3:13. Can't breath. 16:19 5k omg. Keep it together. Relax, maintain stride, don't look back, you have your lead. Hope it's enough, I want to stop. I know him? Push past and say hi just. Expect them to try keeping up as you pass, just push harder. I know the hills are coming. Don't look back. Turn, then dash back up the hill. Time to see who is close. Where is he? Please don't be just behind, I need a gap. I'm slowing. can't see them.
Yes yes yes, still can't breath but I have my gap. Surely he can't catch me now. Still passing people. Spot More striders running. Try to say something, but I can't breath. Fly over ahead. Pushing and still passing people. Getting so so hard. Big shock on the coaches face. Into Blaydon, I know this course well. Keep pushing Gareth, you got this.
More surprised strider supporters. So happy to see familiar faces. Hold it together, push. Last hill, know it's coming. Grass and sprint to the line. I did it.
Check watch, 2 mins off last years time. Definitely First strider home. In disbelief. Taken down Rosie, just. Turn and support. I love this race. That was hard. Now I can breath.
|pos||bib||name||category||gun time||chip time|
|-||2||Peter Newton (Morpeth Harriers & Ac)||19-39||27:11||27:09|
|-||32||Alyson Dixon (Sunderland Strollers)||35-39||29:48||29:44|
|3||714||Michael Littlewood||(M) 40-44||33:35||33:14|
|5||606||Andrew Hopkins||(M) 40-44||34:47||33:58|
|7||474||Simon Gardner||(M) 45-49||35:23||35:02|
|8||1118||Paul Swinburne||(M) 40-44||39:56||37:15|
|10||875||Mike Parker||(M) 40-44||40:33||39:21|
|14||1477||Sarah Davies||(F) 45-49||42:56||40:58|
|18||753||Michael Mason||(M) 40-44||43:34||41:54|
|20||1204||Martin Welsh||(M) 50-54||43:41||42:00|
|21||984||Michael Ross||(M) 45-49||45:28||42:27|
|22||368||Colin Dean||(M) 55-59||43:48||42:36|
|23||978||Lindsay Rodgers||(M) 45-49||45:22||43:05|
|24||1722||Karen Jones||(F) 45-49||46:02||43:17|
|25||1415||Lesley Charman||(F) 40-44||46:06||43:25|
|29||1076||Ian Spencer||(M) 55-59||45:33||43:46|
|30||1761||Roz Layton||(F) 60-64||45:48||43:49|
|32||431||Stephen Ellis||(M) 60-64||46:18||44:16|
|39||356||Andrew Davies||(M) 40-44||48:53||45:36|
|40||851||Richard Hall||(M) 50-54||48:56||45:49|
|41||1840||Karen Metters||(F) 40-44||48:52||45:52|
|42||546||Jonathan Hamill||(M) 40-44||48:16||46:02|
|45||1627||Lesley Hamill||(F) 40-44||49:46||47:22|
|47||2000||Jenny Search||(F) 40-44||49:50||47:48|
|49||1723||Debbie Jones||(F) 45-49||50:58||48:14|
|50||1790||Kate Macpherson||(F) 40-44||51:08||48:25|
|52||2025||Catherine Smith||(F) 40-44||51:35||48:55|
|53||2088||Helen Thomas||(F) 40-44||50:47||48:57|
|55||2136||Faye Ward||(F) 40-44||51:47||49:22|
|56||1534||Janet Ellis||(F) 50-54||52:18||49:37|
|61||1513||Jane Dowsett||(F) 45-49||53:14||50:28|
|64||270||Gareth Cardus||(M) 40-44||53:41||50:45|
|71||1710||Sue Jennings||(F) 50-54||54:34||51:52|
|72||1331||Louise Billcliffe||(F) 50-54||54:40||52:10|
|73||1674||Karen Hooper||(F) 40-44||55:02||52:13|
|74||2105||Ann Towers||(F) 55-59||53:10||52:13|
|75||1142||Andrew Thurston||(M) 55-59||54:59||52:40|
|76||411||Andrew Dunlop||(M) 40-44||54:57||52:43|
|79||1996||Aileen Campbell Scott||(F) 45-49||55:24||53:19|
|82||1707||Julie Jarratt||(F) 45-49||59:01||55:51|
|83||1461||Lindsay Craig||(F) 45-49||59:01||55:52|
|85||1408||Karen Anne Chalkley||(F) 50-54||58:32||56:13|
|87||2009||Alison Simms||(F) 40-44||1:00:03||57:58|
|89||1533||Pauline Elliott||(F) 50-54||1:00:22||58:21|
|92||2124||Bev Walker||(F) 50-54||1:01:20||59:15|
|93||1548||Amy Farquhar||(F) 40-44||1:02:34||59:46|
|94||1743||Alison Kirkham||(F) 40-44||1:04:08||1:01:16|
|100||1290||Jane Baillie||(F) 40-44||1:07:18||1:04:09|
|103||1844||Elaine Mills||(F) 45-49||1:08:51||1:06:01|
|104||1773||Helen Lintron||(F) 55-59||1:09:25||1:06:32|
|109||1765||Rachel Leigh-firbank||(F) 40-44||1:15:06||1:12:12|
|110||646||Neil Jennings||(M) 50-54||1:15:09||1:12:14|
|111||1709||Elaine Jennings||(F) 50-54||1:15:10||1:12:16|
Red Kite Trail Race, Dipton, 3rd July
This 8 mile undulating, circular route was brilliantly executed by Derwent Valley Trail Runners, a relatively new club dedicated to running the trails and whose website proclaims that: "we are all free spirits and adventurers at heart and the countryside is there to be enjoyed by everyone", well said that club.
Parking was organised swiftly, and numbers collected in the community centre. I proceeded with my usual pre-race warm up of wandering aimlessly around the place, and missing the group photograph. Decent chats with fellow Striders, until we were huddled onto a grass verge for our get set go.
The race starts along a street and in mild confusion of not knowing which direction we were going I found myself in the middle of the field. We swiftly took a sharp left turn and immediately bottle-necked as there were stiles to cross. I frustratingly watched the lead pack disappear into the distance as I danced about like a coiled spring.
I spent the rest of the race attempting to move up the field, but without room to manoeuvre along the overgrown single-tracks I was held back, which became annoying especially on the downhills, and whilst trying to pass runners wearing headphones. The route opened up through tracks and fields so I was able to overtake, picking runners off along the way.
The first half is relatively downhill, with a flatish bit, and then the last few miles climb ever onwards to the finish. I was able to slowly catch runners on the incline and work my way further up, but not as far as I would have liked. Due to the recent British summer the route was muddy, so my choice of fell over trail shoes sat well, especially as I pranced through the woods and rivers.
There was great encouragement from families and locals who had wandered out to shout us up the final climb, we joined the street on which we started and ran it home. Finishing in 16th positon out of around 160, I was fairly pleased. Refreshments by way of hot drink, soup, and cake were available in the community centre, donations welcome.
This is a brilliant route for both experienced and novice runners, with a chance to run some fantastic local trails at £4 a pop this is one not to miss.
Cronkley Fell Race, Holwick, 26th June
10.5 m (or 11 miles for some)
Sadly it didn't. And it didn't appear to show any of the fences I'd passed so I decided to go for my usual technique when lost - keep running and hope it's in vaguely the right direction. After a few minutes of gradually getting more worried I eventually spotted some people running a couple of hundred metres away from me so I headed over to where they were. The marshals looked bemused as I arrived at a checkpoint from completely the wrong direction. I was relieved to see them but the competitor in me had to ask "How many places have I lost?". "Five" they said "but you're still first lady". That was some compensation but I knew my chances of a PB were slipping away.
After a slightly disappointing patch in my running due to minor injuries and tiredness I wanted this to be the race where I proved to myself I could still run well. The first half had gone reasonably well - I felt strongish on the climb and the descent seemed less difficult than last year (recent runs in the Lakes have obviously affected my perceptions of what a steep hill is). But then came the river. The river crossing in this race is really not pleasant. You have to get all the way across the Tees in water up to your thigh (on me anyway) and the rocks are unbelievably slippy. It took me forever to get over to the crocodile and back so by the time I was out of the river I'd almost been caught by the guy behind me and I knew I was losing time.
Sadly it was soon after this that everything went wrong. Having lost 5 places and several minutes it was hard to stay motivated; I managed to get past 3 of the 5 but was still a long way off where I wanted to be. The long track to the end seemed to go on forever and when I finally crossed the line I was greeted by looks of "what happened to you???".
Results aren't out yet but according to my watch I was about 12 seconds slower than last year. I have to say I was somewhat gutted but the disappointment soon passed with a drink in the pub and a couple of goodies for being first lady (this is a very small race so being first wasn't a massive achievement!). Tom and Susan also picked up prizes for winning their categories and Steph was given a spot prize for her unusual way of crossing the river... So all in all a fun day out. It's a great race but for me it has a bit too much road and track at the start and end. And obviously they need to make the route a bit less complicated!
Hadrian's Wall Half Marathon, 26th June
This is the third year I have run this race, it is a particular favourite of mine. It has it all, it's low key, (race limit is 600, with only 350 racing on the day,) it is a circular route on mixed terrain, it has nearly 1000ft of climb, a few stiles/gates to open, in beautiful surroundings, with great support. It is not a half marathon PB course. It starts on Edges Green, a field close to Hadrian's Wall, near Once Brewed. It is best to allow plenty of time (to account for getting lost en route) and to park where you are less likely to get stuck! Race headquarters is a tent, always buffeted by strong winds, there are a few portable toilets and one food outlet selling good food at a premium. The views to all sides are spectacular.
The race starts at 10am, there is a fast and furious downhill as we follow the race organiser in his car. After the first mile the road climbs and climbs and when you've just about had enough, it climbs again. By mile 4 we take a left down a track and from now until the last mile it's all off road, with a mixture of good trails, rutted farm fields, a beautiful field covered in buttercups, onto moorland...always boggy, (along part of the Penine Way), then again up and up and up for a big climb at mile 7 onto the trails of Wark Forest. I always think this will be a welcome relief but the camber is quite painful and the rocks prevent me from picking up to top speed. It continues to undulate with a few nasty hills to come.
We pass the huge radio mast then the path generally drops until I hit tarmac. I finally shift up a gear knowing that I can finish strong after my slow start. I pick up the pace and mark out two men I've been trailing for much of the race. 'Drumstick' man is passed on the first hill. The second needs a good catch, he's about 400m away but slowing and there is still a good mile left. The last half mile is downhill with short sharp hill at the end...this always fills me delight (I know I'll get him on that hill). He slows at a cattle grid, as do I but I pick up my pace. My daughter is now running alongside, with a little "get him mummy" I manage to speed up again, my legs are burning as I reach the top but the finish is in sight and I've left him behind. A last push and I'm there.
Previous weekends of racing (Swaledale) and supporting a BGR with a long walk in the lakes have scuppered my plans to feel race ready for this event. However I scrape a 50second course PB, am fourth lady and 24/349 and I win a prize for my age category. I promise myself I will attack those hills better next year....