Phil Johnson 5k, Barrow Haven, Lincolnshire, 1st September

Steph Piper

Clan PiperThis was a one-off race by Barton and District Athletics Club in memory of Phil Johnson, a local athlete who sadly lost his battle with cancer this year. I was down visiting the family for a few days and had taken my running gear, expecting to go for a training run with my dad and his club, the Wold's Veterans. Formal training wasn't on due to the Bank Holiday and dad decided to save his legs for the race on Tuesday evening.

I hoped there might be EOD, but dad said Phil had been a popular chap, and the 100-capacity race had sold-out with a long reserve list. Still, as we headed out the door dad to race, and the Piper girls to spectate I grabbed my running gear on the off-chance there might be a number going spare. At the registration desk, as dad picked his number up, I asked if they might have had a no-show and I could transfer. Even better they had a single number spare! For £3 (profits to the Brain Tumour Society), I was in. As they say up here Shy bairns get nowt!

We lined up on the start and, with a very brief announcement and thanks, were off along the flat country roads of Barrow-upon-Humber. The course was a simple triangle out from the pub with a couple of sharp left turns and back again. A couple of gentle inclines between the second and third km markers allowed me to leave several Barrow AC girls behind (I overheard several of dad's Wolds Vets team mates lamenting these 'hills' at the finish line! Ah, the flatlands!).

I kept a steady pace round the course and the final mile towards the finish felt long, but with the Humber Bridge on the horizon resplendent again the sunset, it felt good to reflect on all that running is, and does. A lovely run out, and a befitting memorial race.

Tynedale Harriers 10 Mile Jelly Road Race, 30th August

Dougie Nisbet

Louise spies the finish I wasn't really sure what I was meant to do, and across the car park I spied a similarly perplexed looking individual. Wandering over I asked his advice. He shrugged in a relaxed manner, said it was his first race too, and we assumed, rightly, that by following everyone else, things would sort themselves out.

That was 8 years ago and the stranger in the car park was Phil Owen. Neither of us knew at that time that Elvet Striders existed but even then the purple presence in the race was unmistakable.

NatalieBack to yesterday morning and lying in bed a reminder on my phone told me that it was Jelly Tea time. I hadn't planned on doing this event as, being a point to point, I remembered it being a fiddly business. But closer reading showed that it now started and finished at the same place, and, importantly, there were entries on the day. I could feel another impulse purchase coming on.

It was hot and calm at Hexham Racecourse and the drive up and up from Hexham to the venue were an indication of what we were in for. Much is written about specificity of training and this event has often been a favourite pre-taper 10-miler for those doing the Great North Run. However, as far as specificity goes, it shares little with the GNR. It's hilly. My word is it hilly! This all new course scours the quiet lanes south of Hexham, where there are an abundance of quiet, steep, endless hills.

Striders Sticking Together After a ropey season I'm still treating races as fact-finding missions, testing myself to see how my form is and what I might expect in the GNR in two week's time. I didn't feel lightning quick or fit but I didn't feel too bad either so I settled down and had an enjoyable 10 miles in the sunshine.

I'm not sure what I think of the all-new course - I think I like it - and as long as you enter in the knowledge that the chances of a PB are negligible, there are far worse ways of spending your day.

Results

position name bib cat cat pos club finish time chip time
1 Tadele Geremew Mulugeta 321 Ages16-39 1/105 Elswick Harriers 00:56:10 00:56:08
14 Justina Heslop 192 Ages35-39 1/34 Elswick Harriers 01:03:07 01:03:04
94 Elaine Bisson 42 Ages 35-39 5/34 01:15:57 01:15:49
104 Matthew Archer 18 Ages 16-39 52/105 01:16:45 01:16:39
235 Helen Todd 456 Ages 35-39 11/34 01:29:36 01:29:11
271 Victoria Brown 60 Ages 16-34 22/63 01:33:50 01:33:12
278 Jean Bradley 50 Ages 55-59 5/10 01:34:23 01:34:00
279 David Spence 421 Ages 65+ 4/10 01:34:37 01:34:05
323 Anna Seeley 402 Ages 16-34 31/63 01:38:14 01:37:39
348 Dougie Nisbet 535 Ages 50-54 32/41 01:42:02 01:41:38
396 Louise Barrow 31 Ages 16-34 47/63 01:49:32 01:48:41
439 Laura Gibson 522 Ages 35-39 33/34 02:02:42 02:01:51
440 Karrie Eilles 138 Ages 16-34 61/63 02:02:42 02:01:52
441 Natalie Johnson 231 Ages 35-39 34/34 02:02:43 02:01:53
445 Jaqueline Wright 500 02:03:21 02:02:30

450 finishers.

The Beer Belly Fun Run, 30th August

Pam Kirkup

Very Jolly Hockey Sticks!At first I thought this a ridiculous concept - run 5 x 1K laps around a pub, drink a half of beer after each lap plus a disgusting "snack" or canapé - I'm a Celebrity style - and then down a pint after the final lap. Apparently, such events occur all over the country - mainly as a fun way of raising funds for charity. And this is exactly what the Beer Belly Run was all about.

The Grey Horse pub in Consett has been supporting the fundraising for Parkinson's UK, organised by Ian Pratt of Blackhill Bounders since early this year after a local teacher was diagnosed with the condition. This was the latest event and Paul & I decided to enter - and run in fancy dress which was "positively encouraged" on the entry form.

We turned up at the pub yesterday - a St Trinian's schoolgirl and a pirate - for the 3pm start. There were 3 Elvis impersonators running, a gangster and his moll, Batman and a fat bloke dressed as a baby to mention just a few of the costumes. There were also quite a few Blackhill Bounders who clearly meant business! Some of them had disappeared for a half hour warm up session - and then there was the "pre-race stretching". A mystery to most of the spectators! Paul striking a dignified pose

So we set off at a leisurely pace - Paul & I were running together! Hampered by a hockey stick and a boater that kept blowing off, I think I slowed things down a bit but then it wasn't really about the time. First lap done and the half to down and the "snack" to face - drivers (me) and "schoolgirls" (also me) were excused the half pint - not the snack - but had to do a 10 second penalty. Well, by the time Paul had drunk his half the 10 seconds were well over! And so it continued until we finished and the landlady gave me a well-earned glass of wine. The fasted male was a Blackhill Bounder in 21 minutes, his wife was fastest female and oddly enough the fastest team was also the 'warming up' brigade from Blackhill Bounders. There are no 'results' or times but it was a great afternoon. £757 was raised for Parkinson's on the day. The Rag Pickers band played to entertain the troops all afternoon and they were fantastic - they even did a lap playing their instruments.

Ian Pratt tells me that Blackhill Bounders might put out a challenge to Elvet Striders for next year's team event ... so if you're interested in a really good day out you might consider getting a team together. Five runners to run 1 leg each!

Grand Prix Race. Sprint Champion Race.

Darlington 10K, 9th August

Gareth Pritchard

This is what a PB looks like. Darlington 10k has to be one of my favourite races of the year without question, it's fast, local, easy to enter and a very high standard to push everyone onto that all important PB. Last year this was a great race for me, I was in the best shape of my life and flew round in 35:45 which was still my 10k pb as I stood on the start line a year later with 51 fellow striders.

The number 1 strider support crew were in full force with Catherine Smith and Flip leading the cheers on the day, this is a real boost for races like this and a big help and greatly appreciated by all. They managed to capture some fantastic pictures and made the day even more special for us runners, so a big personal thank you from me.

I travelled down with 3 other fellow striders, parking up was easy and everything is very well organised. Good changing facilities, easy bag drop and central location for start/finish. Had a catch up with fellow striders then hit the road with speedy Rob and Simon for a good warm up. Not sure if its just me, but I felt a real buzz in the air, the weather was dry, no wind and the smell of PB was definitely in the air.

My running lately has really started to improve due massively to the input of my coach Allan who has invested his time and effort into my training. This is something as a club that we are really blessed with as Allan also successfully trains many striders like me in the club. After the London I knew my normal/typical running low was on the way and Allan's 10k training program really helped boost my spirits with Darlington was my end goal.

I had a plan for this race which almost worked to perfection, the first 2 miles were the key for a chance at that PB. 10 sec below 35:45 pace for those first miles, next 3 trying to pick people off and really go for it to the end. So off we went and 5:47 average for first 2 miles, a great start. Time to start picking up the pace and chasing people down. The plan worked well but the course really is not that flat and you can see this clearly in the mile split times. The down hill sections do make up for it very well but it is still challenging at times. Running the course last year really helped, so i knew the finish was down hill and very fast, as you enter the shopping high street its really time to push hard for the line. I spent the whole race passing people and had a great battle with a Durham Harrier lad to the end and was a big buzz leaving him behind as I shot for the line.

Now I kept a eye on my splits so knew it would be close to a pb, but had no real idea of my time in that last mile or as I crossed the line. A very happy and big shock as I saw 35:30 on my watch and a massive sense of joy with another fantastic PB I really did not expect to get any time soon.

I was very shortly followed by rob everson @36:24 with another PB and showing great form over a distance that I know is hard for him. 49 striders were left to follow and all had a great run, comeback pb for coach Allan who somehow managed to fall towards the end and got spoiled rotten by the friendly first aid people after the race. Starting to learn this is standard for the coach and not his first trip .

PB runs also for Michael Littlewood @ 38:10, Catherine Elliott @ 48:44, Andrew Davies @48:26

Turning Darlington Purple. All showing great form and surpassing their tentative pre race predictions. Strong runs from Lesley Charman and Simon Gardner also, showing real running form at a tough distance.

So another strider GP race done and I must admit to a sly happy grin when the nameless GP point hunter was unable to show. This due to being on an amazing holiday and really no contest when you have to decide a holiday or a GP run.

Fantastic race and will definitely be here again next year.

Results

position bib name club cat finish time chip time
1 1425 Marc Scott Richmond & Zetland Harriers Senior M 0:30:42 0:30:42
23 1344 Justina Heslop Elswick Harriers Vet Ladies 35-39 0:34:45 0:34:44
29 642 Gareth Pritchard Senior Men 0:35:32 0:35:30
44 1556 Rob Everson Senior Men 0:36:26 0:36:24
63 1965 Simon Gardner Vet Men 45-49 0:37:10 0:37:04
85 1039 Michael Littlewood Vet Men 40-44 0:38:13 0:38:11
221 1238 Paul Pascoe Vet Men 45-49 0:41:51 0:41:44
427 1240 Fiona Jones Vet Ladies 35-39 0:46:29 0:46:03
442 1097 Michael Ross Vet Men 40-44 0:46:41 0:45:56
457 1219 Greta Jones Vet Ladies 45-49 0:46:58 0:46:23
459 1281 Philip Connor Senior Men 0:46:58 0:46:43
465 1509 Danny Lim Senior Men 0:47:02 0:45:05
504 1557 Martin Welsh Vet Men 50-54 0:47:41 0:46:43
536 1224 Karen Jones Vet Ladies 45-49 0:48:14 0:47:39
569 887 Andrew Davies Senior Men 0:48:53 0:48:26
576 1640 Catherine Elliott Vet Ladies 35-39 0:49:00 0:48:44
587 199 David Spence Vet Men 65-69 0:49:10 0:48:11
611 1028 Lesley Charman Vet Ladies 40-44 0:49:35 0:48:48
622 1288 Richard Hall Vet Men 55-59 0:49:46 0:47:49
652 1205 Victoria Brown Senior Ladies 0:50:26 0:49:56
693 1642 Craig Elliott Senior Men 0:51:19 0:51:03
725 599 Katherine Preston Vet Ladies 45-49 0:51:56 0:51:10
786 626 Lindsay Rodgers Vet Men 45-49 0:53:01 0:52:15
805 1124 Stephen Ellis Vet Men 60-64 0:53:21 0:52:35
899 1011 Kate MacPherson Vet Ladies 40-44 0:55:01 0:54:15
1013 1053 Robin Linton Senior Men 0:57:19 0:55:06
1071 1364 Louise Hughes Vet Ladies 35-39 0:58:32 0:56:02
1077 1313 Rebecca Devine Senior Ladies 0:58:37 0:56:37
1104 1232 James Potter Senior Men 0:59:05 0:57:01
1170 1237 Angela Coates Vet Ladies 40-44 1:00:06 0:59:19
1195 1125 Janet Ellis Vet Ladies 50-54 1:00:45 0:59:49
1228 1559 Clare Metcalfe Senior Ladies 1:01:29 0:59:16
1260 920 Jill Young Senior Ladies 1:02:02 1:00:03
1278 1287 Helen Hall Vet Ladies 45-49 1:02:32 1:00:43
1307 342 Sophie Dennis Senior Ladies 1:03:29 1:01:40
1362 1030 Joanne Thompson Senior Ladies 1:05:09 1:04:13
1368 891 Laura Chapman Senior Ladies 1:05:20 1:04:24
1427 1245 Laura Gibson Vet Ladies 35-39 1:06:46 1:05:50
1473 894 Rebecca Embleton Vet Ladies 35-39 1:08:22 1:06:22
1491 1431 Lisa Hall Senior Ladies 1:09:28 1:07:29
1492 914 Neil Jennings Vet Men 50-54 1:09:28 1:07:29
1513 994 Joanne Richardson Vet Ladies 40-44 1:10:24 1:07:25
1514 1037 Mike Elliott Vet Men 65-69 1:10:25 1:07:26
1556 815 Alison Simms Vet Ladies 40-44 1:13:13 1:11:11
1563 905 Rachel Leigh-Firbank Vet Ladies 40-44 1:13:33 1:11:33
1606 2125 Rachel Wilcock Senior Ladies 1:19:25 1:17:24
1608 2112 Natalie Gillon Senior Ladies 1:19:36 1:17:34
1628 916 Rachel Toth Vet Ladies 40-44 1:24:29 1:22:27
1629 915 Elaine Jennings Vet Ladies 50-54 1:24:35 1:22:33
1630 444 Katharine Bartlett Vet Ladies 45-49 1:24:35 1:22:33
1634 2117 Kerry Ellis Vet Ladies 35-39 1:26:02 1:24:00
1635 2133 Donna Austin Vet Ladies 35-39 1:26:02 1:24:00
1636 628 Allan Seheult Vet Men 70-74 1:26:17 1:23:06

1649 finishers.

South Tyneside Trail Series Race 3, Old Marsden Quarry, South Shields, 9th August

3m

Dave Robson

I fancied a change from the Darlington 10k this year and so I went along to the third of these trail races which are all held in Marsden Old Quarry. I never realised this area existed and it is very close to Marsden Grotto which is where the parking is for the event.

It is a very low key affair, you can register online prior to the event (a maximum of 50 people can do this) or enter on the day. The cost of entry is £6. There are no race numbers to wear, you are given a number which you have to remember and give it at the finish.

Marsden Old Quarry is a nature reserve and it is a good place to run. The course is two laps and a little bit. It has a few hills which are a bit testing and there is a great view from the highest point. It was pretty much all trail with a small section of tarmac path. It was well marked and marshalled and there was water at the finish. All the runners waited and applauded until everyone was back.

Many of the runners went for breakfast at the Marsden Grotto afterwards. At the moment, this is the last race of the series, but the organiser is hopeful of putting on the race once a month, at least in the summer months.

If you fancy a local, cheap, friendly trail race I would recommend this one.

Club Run and BBQ, 5th August

If anyone would like to share their thoughts, and/or links to more photos, ... send it in.

Fuzzy Striders

Tour of Fife, 2nd August

5 races in 5 days - 29 Jul to 2 Aug

Dave Robson

The Tour of Fife consists of five short races in five days at various locations in Fife. The races are all a bit different. I have done the Tour once before in 2011 and loved it and I had always planned to go and run it again. There are no prizes for each individual race, it is the overall times which count towards the prize giving after the last event. The number of entrants is limited to about 180, but only about 155 turned out. The five races can only be done by Tour entrants, so you start to recognise most people after a few days.

Race 1 The Chariots of Fire 4.2m

This year the Tour started with a classic race, the Chariots of Fire race along the West Sands of St. Andrews. I loved it last time I did the Tour in 2011 and I loved it again tonight. There was a great view of St. Andrews from the beach. The amazingly big stands from the Open golf tournament were still there, but I guess they will go soon.

A can hear the a bit of Vangelis over the waves.

After three days of running and walking the lovely Fife Coastal path, we were a bit unsure about how we would do, would there be much left in our legs ? Before the start we had the music from the film coming out of loudspeakers ! We started very slowly on this out and back route entirely on sand. We found our legs weren't too bad so after the first mile or so and we gradually started to increase our pace and overtook people. However, we were slowed by the sand getting softer and softer.

We turned the corner at the end of the beach and to my surprise the turn around point this year wasn't in the sea, so I need not have put on a pair of old trail shoes.

On the way out the breeze had been in our faces, but it was behind us on the way back and we made good time on the way back on the firm sand.

A can hear the a bit of Vangelis over the waves.

Everybody was very friendly and the first person who approached us used to work in Durham and lived in St. Marys, where I now work ! The next person recognised us from the Northumberland Coastal Run !

A lovely way to spend a summer evening

Race 2: Hill of Tarvit 3.1m

This race was in the schedule when I last did the tour in 2011. Then it was 4.25m and three laps. This year's race was 3.1m and one lap which sounded more attractive. However in 2011 we didn't go up to the top of the big hill on the estate.

We met a friend of Jon's tonight who also did the Elvet Striders Clamber last week, it is a small world. Then somebody who also did the Northumberland Coastal run just over a week ago. The runners were are very friendly and welcoming.

Dave hanging in there.

The first couple of miles were fast and furious and hardly undulating at all. Melanie was setting quite a pace and I couldn't keep up, so I was slowly losing ground as we turned into the woods and started the very large climb to the top of the hill. There was a stile to cross and long grass to negotiate and some very upset sheep, but once we got to the top the view was fantastic. The plunge down to the finish was steep and potentially dangerous, but we had no problems and finished with a reasonable time considering the hill.

Race 3: Uphell Time Trial 1.4m

This is only the second uphill time trial I have ever done, the other one being the same event four years ago.

The logistics are a bit complicated. Everybody has to park at the top and run down to the bottom of the hill to start in pairs at your published start time. Last I underestimated how long it would take to run down and I was a bit late - they managed to slot me when someone didn't show. I made sure I got there with time to spare this year.

The weather was awful when we parked at the top, driving rain, windy, it felt like November. Luckily as we set off down to the start, the rain stopped and wind dropped a bit.

Melanie was starting 4min after me and I half expected to get caught, although she was a bit anxious about a hip problem which she could feel on the way down the hill.

I started slowly, at least I thought I did. My partner slipped behind and that also made me think I was possibly going too fast (we were paired roughly according to speed, but the faster and slower pairs were spread evenly between the first and last starting times). By the time I got to 800m (the distances were chalked on the road), I was blowing hard and I continued like that until the finish.

There was great support from runners running down to start their race, the two fastest runners were particularly encouraging. I decided to just hang on and keep running even if I slowed right down. Faster runners were going by me making it look very easy.

As we got closer to the finish runners who had already finished were shouting, clapping, ringing cowbells, clattering pans and blowing whistles, a great atmosphere. There was also a piper and the race organiser on a PA.

Dave pretending to be an aeroplane when he should be racing!

I managed to get to the finish without being caught by Melanie, but she did come in with a faster time than me - her hip wasn't an issue on the way up. I was about 45 sec slower than 4 years ago, but I don't think I had done so much exercise during the week as we have been doing this time [I think it's something to do with pretending to be an aeroplane, personally. - Ed.].

A relentless event, but definitely worth doing (but only every four years !)

Race 4: Cambo Estate 4m

This race was only about a mile and half from where we are staying so it was great not having to drive too far. It was a very warm day although there was a steady breeze to cool us down.

The route was two laps through the Cambo Estate grounds. It was mainly on narrow trails through woods, although there was one section through a field of cows who got a bit scared on the first lap. They were nowhere to be seen on lap 2.

Melanie looking determined.

We started steadily and once through the cow field we started to pick up a few places. However, after about 1.5m I suddenly felt there was nothing much left in my legs. Almost certainly the cumulative effect of one of the busiest weeks for exercise that I have done for some time. This morning's relatively fast parkrun was probably not a good idea, but I wouldn't have missed it. People who I had overtaken started to pass me and all I could do was plod on as best as I could for the next 2.5m (except for a little showboating for the cameras), just waiting for the finish.

Jazz Hands!

A nice feature of the Tour is that there are three or four photographers there every day who post their pictures on FB and Fife ACs web site and they are happy for them to be copied.

Melanie did much better than me, I lost places to people I had been close to before today, but Melanie gained places on people she had been close to. She also hit the wall like me, but much closer to the finish.

Race 5: Mega Monirail Marvel 4.2m

Melanie
The final race, 4.2m. Basically up a quiet road for 0.5m before turning onto a track which climbed and climbed for the next 1.5m or so. After a while the track turned into grassy fields and we made our way to the highest point next to a radio mast.

Then it was almost all downhill on track but with a few muddy patches before it turned into tarmac for the finish.

I started pretty much at the back as I didn't think I had much in my legs. I did overtake a few, but I ended up roughly where I was yesterday 116th out of 153. Melanie did great 80th. Over the five races I was 108th and Melanie 91st and we were both happy with that after a busy week.

At the finish almost all the runners had stayed to cheer everybody in and there was a great atmosphere. We were lucky with weather again, it started to rain just as the last runner came into the finish. This seems to have happened just as we have finished our runs, walks and races this week. Not to hot, just perfect weather for exercising.

Dave on Dave Five

We then went down to the Village Hall for sandwiches and cake - we had all been asked to bring a contribution to the food, a great idea, and there was lots to eat. This was followed by the presentations and spot prizes - we weren't lucky this time. One woman who had been doing well but had felt a bit dizzy and unwell had had to walk into the finish. If she had continued she would have been third woman but lost her place because of feeling unwell. They gave her bottle of wine which was nice gesture.

The whole event was lovely and we enjoyed it. Hopefully we shall be back for my third Tour

Burton Leanord 10K, 19th July

Robin Linton

Robin the lone Strider.So I keep saying I am a new strider but I have now been part of the group since May so it's probably time to take away my newbie title and give myself the 'guy who brings the cake' title (courtesy of my girlfriend of course). I have never written a race report before but since I was the only strider to take part in Burton Leonard 10k [and indeed, the first race report on the site for this race. Excellent! - Ed.], it seems like I should write a race report as it is a race I would recommend in the future.

So I entered this race because I only had 2 Sundays off in the month of July and I was itching to get more 10k competitions under my belt. So I had a look around and there was nothing within the distance I could compete at as the Beamish 10k had been cancelled, a race I thought would be excellent around the grounds but never mind I booked up to this one instead!

It only cost £10 with a UKA number and it was only about 70ish miles away just outside Harrogate on the 19th July. I couldn't find race reports online off anyone who had done it apart from the fact in the description it described a few obstacles on the route. So I entered with a good friend of mine who doesn't do a lot of competitions or even has the need to train but is a good runner and definitely had the capability to do it. So we drove down with our girlfriends and showed up to this little village and when I say little village, it was tiny. The whole place was shut down for this race, I think it had been going on 4 years but it was amazing to see a community come together like this to stage this race, everyone in the village must have either been competing or helping out.

So we collected our numbers and made our way to the start line which was a little unnerving as the weather was just starting to change but it stayed good throughout the race. The marshal sounded the horn and off we went, immediately my friend and I could tell we were losing time as we started right at the back and I mean out of 350 people-ish we were 2 from the back. We decided to take it easy at first as there was limited room to pass and we didn't want to get too pushy and obstruct people.

Red and Yellow and Green and Blue, and Orange and Purple and ...We got up the first 1k in a reasonable 5:16 and then as the group spread out we started making some keen and aggressive overtakes. The first part of the route was old country roads, pretty standard to run on no problems at all. We came across a ford and there were two routes, the foot bridge (the sensible dry option) or run through it and it was quite a big ford. By the time we had realised we could use the foot bridge we were half way through splashing water and mud everywhere.

After this we started an uphill climb, just gradual nothing to sinister, my friend started to pull away and honestly I could have kept up but normally I exert myself too early in races and come across the finish line on my hands and knees. So I let him go and proceeded to continue with my own strategy, it got very cross country very fast around the 4k mark, running through fields, down long sloping muddy paths which were very claggy and liable to slipping. As I came out the woods as I would call it onto 8k I was feeling good. I started to pick up the pace, it was back on good solid roads and paths so I really turned the wick up and attacked a hill the best I could. I could now hear foot steps behind me and I was being chased by 4 club runners in the same group and they were gaining on me quite quickly. The competitive side of 'these 4 from Harrogate harriers' I think it was are not going to pass me came out. So I pushed hard for the last 2k with a 400m sprint finish. I was happy that I managed to pull out a gap to them and they didn't even get the chance to pass me, I didn't set a PB but with the tricky terrain I felt I did okay with a 56:32 only a minute and a half of my latest PB.

At the end we got water, a banana, a sports bag and a medal quite a good little reward for the price I paid to enter and for such a small event the support from such a tiny village was great. I would definitely do it again!

Borrowdale Fell Race, 1st August

AL / 16.8m / 6562ft

Aaron Gournley

The scree is calling.For a moment I feel on top of the world. I'm certainly at the top of England as for a brief second I stop to savour the moment. I'm 2hrs21mins into the race making slow, but steady progress, but I'm not here to break records, and certainly not Billy Bland's record of 2hrs34mins set some 30 years ago. That being the fell running legend that has, back at the foot of the first peak of Bessy Boot, held the gate open to allow us through unimpeded - I feel privileged.

I'd longed to run this race since my very first hike to the summit of Scafell Pike and subsequent celebratory pint in the Scafell Hotel bar where, engraved on a wooden tablet hanging on the wall, are the names of all the winners of this classic fell race.

Standing on the start line I felt a mix of excitement, nervousness and awe. I was now part of this race. I'd made the cut having ran the requisite qualifying races but I still felt a little out of place. Danny Lim has made the grade too and briefly joins me on the start line. The weather is kind as we set off.

The field quickly spreads as we make our way along the Borrowdale valley floor before turning off for the steep ascent of Bessy Boot. My heart rate hits 91% so try to slow the pace but I also need to ensure I will be going fast enough to meet the cut offs.

Checking in at the summit of Bessy Boot the race swings west along the ridge heading towards Esk Hause. It's undulating and following a period of heavy rain, the ground under foot is soft and boggy, so much so that guy in front sinks to his waist. This makes for hard running as we contour the ridge around Glaramara and Allen Crags.

Eventually, Esk Hause is reached and we can make our way to Scafell Pike. The ground changes from soft, wet bog to hard, uneven boulder fields. This section requires a high level of agility and concentration to make it safely across.

The summit of Scafell Pike is as busy as a local park and a thick mist briefly obscures the view but my main concern is the infamous scree shute that leads us back onto the corridor route towards Styhead Tarn. At the top I look down and there's a line of runners tentatively making there way down which restricts my desire to bound down wildly for fear of dislodging rocks that could potentially do significant damage to anyone in the way.

Despite my reserve it's still a fantastically adrenaline filled descent but my shoes are filled with debris so I join the many others who've taken a moment to empty their footwear at the bottom. Once I've laced back up I head off down the corridor route which, can be treacherous in all conditions before cutting off and following a faint runners line towards the Styhead checkpoint.

From here starts the solid climb up to Great Gable. The race line is straight up as we pass walkers zigzagging up the path. It's here I start to feel the strain and realise that I need to get more fuel and water into me. Checking in at the summit the route swings East towards Green Gable and across to Honister Hause. This section is a real struggle and a group of runners pass me as I begin to slow down. Thankfully as I reach the head of the ridge before the steep drop down to the slate mine at Honister I pick up but it's still painful.

Honister Hause has a 3:30pm cut off, I get there with 10mins to spare. I'm happy to have made it but now have to tackle the 1mile uphill climb to the summit of Dalehead. I have issues with Dalehead after my visit here during the Teenager with Altitude fell race earlier in the year. The climb zaps me but my main concern is how my legs will hold up on the near vertical drop off the side to the tarn for the final run in.

As expected, the descent is painful and I can only watch as those in front of me seem to glide away into the distance. But before long I'm back on level ground as the race snakes its way back through the farm at Rothswaite and into the finish field. As I turn the corner Danny is walking in the opposite direction which confuses me but then I realise he's not made the cutoff at Honister.

I'm cheered in by quite a reasonable amount of people and it's only when I'm handed my race time print out that I realise just how long it's taken me to complete the race. I was thrilled to have got round, my body was battered, every muscle ached and I was covered in mud but I'll never forget the pleasure I got from having been part of a truly classic race.

Sewerby parkrun, 1st August

Jan Young

parkruner: Jan

parkrun: 1/8/15

location: Sewerby Hall, Bridlington, East Yorkshire. Georgian house built 1720, additions 19th century, now open as 1910 restoration.

course: 2k out and back along clifftop, final 1k through Sewerby Hall gardens and woods.

terrain: fast, slight gradients; winning time 16.39. I ran 26.5 on grass next to tarmac paths, woodchip in woods.

atmosphere: welcoming, being a seaside resort they're used to visitors, marshalls gave lots of encouragement, all inclusive, the usual running buggies, juniors, walkers. They even have a visitors/comments book.

attendance: 167.

victuals: Clock Tower tea rooms; parkrun favourites - bacon/ sausage baps/ latte.

parkrunner: Jan Young

St. Andrews parkrun, Fife, 1st August

Dave Robson

We were up here for a week's holiday and could not resist taking in the local parkrun. This event is held a bit out of St Andrews at Craigtoun Park. It is a beautiful park and it looked great on a sunny morning. There are lots of things for children to do in the park - swings, slides, zip wires, boats, a short train ride.

Lap 3
The park isn't very big so the course is three and a quarter laps. We probably shouldn't have been doing this with running the Tour of Fife as well, but we could not resist. I am glad we did it though, it is definitely recommended if you are ever in the area.

We started off fairly steadily and we were surprised how much was in our legs after a tough uphill race the previous night. We sped up a bit, too much, and we finished quite a bit under our target of 30 minutes. We paid for this later in the day when running our second race.

Afterwards we chatted to the first female finisher, a Tyne Bridge runner who was also up here on holiday.

2015 Charity Relay, Pennine Way, 24–26th July

Anita Clementson

Northern Section: Friday Leg 2 - Byrness to Bellingham - 15.5 miles - with Diane Watson

Anita and Diane running toward the finish of their leg on Bellingham Bridge As we waited for the arrival of Kerry & James, our northern leg 1 runners, we took the advantage of having tea in the local inn and gaining some inside knowledge on the route ahead. On asking the rather grumpy woman at the inn, she took a long breath and turned her head slowly to the clock, then looked back at us: "are you planning to do this today?" We were obviously not giving her the impression of experienced fell types that were capable of tackling 15 miles of the boggiest part of the Pennine way (a feature she was also keen to warn us about).

Luckily we managed to regain some positivity and returned to wait patiently at the checkpoint. Text messaging allowed us to get some idea of Kerry & James' progress. In the meantime we had a leisurely chat with a guy who had nearly finished his 18-day walk of the whole PW and then there were Kerry & James, bounding along looking quite fresh after their epic 25-mile first leg trek.

So Diane and I were finally on our way! Navigation was required for the first half of what was a fairly undulating but not too hilly route. Luckily there had been plenty of time to study our OS map and so we had more or less memorised the route ahead.

Due to the delay and the fact that we didn't want to arrive too late for Scott, who was waiting to take over at Bellingham (we were nearing 3 hours behind schedule) we took the option of missing out the boggiest part of our section (we were also warned about this by two people we met) but had to add an extra half mile of easier ground. It wasn't an easy decision, and it would have been nice to just follow the course of the PW but common sense took precedence. As a result, the 'baton' [or 'map' as it also known - Ed] was passed on safely at the bridge over the North Tyne in pretty Bellingham, pausing only to take some photos, before Scott was on his way…our job was done!

We encountered only beautiful scenery and a slightly surreal sense of being a little part of a much bigger event knowing that all of our friends in the club were with us in spirit and that we were making our mark in the history of the club.

Karen Hooper

Central Section: Sunday Leg 5 - Sunderland Bridge to Palace Green - 10 miles

Elvet Striders Relay Runners on Palace Green at the end of a successful 2015 Charity Relay We ran through armpit-high thistles with our arms in the air, got rashes from foot to shoulder from the long grass…I spoke to Striders I had never spoken to before…I turned round and saw a whole tribe of purple behind me in the beautiful countryside…I weed in a field with someone I'd only spoken to once before who I'm now proud to call a friend…I talked about the sadness of losing babies and the support that 4Louis provide to bereaved families with a total stranger…I cheered Striders running further than they've ever run before…I enjoyed meat pie and a pint with new friends in The Elm Tree and shed a tear at Paul's speech. Thank you Striders - it was just what we all needed! X

Dave Shipman's white van

Southern Section: Friday, Saturday & Sunday - Support

Dave and Jan about to set off the leg to Pen-Y-Ghent Thursday 6.30 am: Contents being removed including old lawnmower and box of unsold car boot stuff which I have carried round for ages. Must be an expedition coming soon? Parked up next to house, suspect we will head off after work?

Thursday 5.30 pm: I was right: all surfaces hastily cleaned and bags of kit thrown in.

Thursday 6 pm: 'Driver D' joined by 'Kiwi Mike' (with no dog this time, but several more bags and a tent). Off we go!

Thursday 6.30 pm: Durham City, pick up 'Lady J' (must be in for a long trip if the number of bags she has are anything to go by!).

Thursday 8.30 pm: Got through all the road works (and avoided running out of petrol) to Woolley Edge services. Joined by Driver D's double, known as 'Our Kid' apparently - and yet more bags!

Thursday 9.30 pm: Fiddly, wiggly roads to the campsite. Abandoned in car park for the night - typical!

Friday 5.30 am: Kettle on - bloody hell, this is an early start! Joined by what looks like a black coffin -carrier but on investigation it's a multi-purpose removal estate car on its way back from an end-of term university visit - my sympathies, done that run a few times! Mobile catering function required for several sleepy campers after what they describe as a snore-interrupted night (nothing to do with the beers they drank before bedtime then?).

Friday 5.55 am: Bleary-eyed bloke carrying two rucksacks approaches; also has what he calls 'a tent'; looks more like a full-body condom to me! All goes in through the back door; he sets off running and away we go!

Friday 12.00 noon: After several hours hurtling over hill and dale, parked at length on the end of Saddleworth Moor. No sign of Kiwi Mike. Eventually he arrives after losing his way but by then I've moved on to Yorkshire where I'm joined by a red Honda Jazz and two more runners with lots of kit bags.

Friday afternoon: Yippee! Into Calderdale relay country after 'Pirate Nige' (the driver of the black coffin-carrier) and Lady J (she of the many bags) have been off-piste looking for hairy sausage caterpillars! Familiar roads and hills that I've been round a few times.

Friday night 8.00 pm: Make it to Malham before nightfall as required but then drive backwards and forwards on narrow, stone-walled lanes looking for Moon's Farm campsite. Find two campsites but not of that name and eventually work out that it's the one at the foot of Malham Cove. Joined by a red Golf and red Polo, so relay convoy status is now established. No room on the campsite but Mrs Moon kindly lets me use her car park, assisted by red Golf moving over to give me breathing space which I need after the last 24 hours!

Saturday 7.00 am: Mobile catering required again: runners seem even more bleary-eyed but still enthusiastic. Bags, damp tents and sweaty kit thrown in the back, along with an assortment of food and drink.

Saturday 8.15 am: Runners set off in beautiful sunshine. I get my insides swept out and Kiwi Mike beats my carpets - first time in a long time!

Saturday 8.30 am: Off for a beautiful trip round the Dales: up to Arncliffe, down both sides of Pen Y Ghent seeking runners on the move with no success. Then to Horton where I'm left in a pub car park but am eventually rescued by Kiwi Mike.

Saturday 2.00 pm: After being abandoned for a couple of hours in Hawes, found by Driver D and 'Chatterbox Jan', both looking sweaty and weary but with bags of food and drink and off we go again.

Saturday 6.00 pm: On the road for ages, over Butter Tubs Pass, people in and out, stops at Tan Hill, a tunnel under the A66, supposed to be heading for near Middleton but left parked next to a barn: sign says "To be kept clear at all times" so I will probably get towed away by a tractor! Passengers seem intent on standing in a field with cows, staring for over an hour at a distant horizon. Farmer arrives and doesn't tow me away, instead gives friendly advice about how savage cows can be then, once the red Polo has been moved, farmer drives off up track. Eventually runners appear, pause briefly for water from my diminishing supplies then head off up the track after the farmer.

Facing up to 'savage' cows was all part of the challenge!

Saturday 8 pm: At last! A campsite instead of a car park! Company of other vans and tents; passengers have all gone to the pub; night may not end well!

Saturday 10 pm: As I suspected, a crowd of folk have returned to use my lounge facilities: Kiwi Mike brings out cake; 'Party Jean' finds a bottle of Amaretto left over from Xmas; rattling bags of cider and beer come from cupboards and rucksacks. Remarkably, peace and quiet by midnight.

Sunday 7.30 am: Breakfast time again: folk seem more bleary and tired, less energetic until joined by 'Tigga Till' and Joan who set off up the hills. Random packing follows before I head for Wolsingham Station via Bollihope Common and across the moors. Apart from our convoy, there's hardly any traffic and no people.

Sunday 12.00 noon: Tigga Till and Joan arrive at the station, no trains running, so join us for a drive to Witton Park where I am left on my own for hours by the side of Paradise Park (an over-generous description when compared to the scenery I have been through in the last 48 hours!). Seemingly, Bleary-eyed Paul, Pirate Nige and Lady J got lost in the long grass!

Sunday 1.00 pm: Diversion to Newton Cap Viaduct seeking 'Captain Anna', who in turn was seeking Kiwi Mike; no sign of either so on to Willington...

Sunday 1.20 pm: Willington: amazing crowd of runners, all waiting for Kiwi Mike, none with bags and none needing a lift thank goodness! All say they are running to Durham.

Sunday 2.30 pm: Sizeable group head for Durham; party atmosphere. Kiwi Mike leaves me near Durham Rowing Club and heads off with Bleary-eyed Paul to do yet more running.

Sunday 5.30 pm: Kiwi Mike and Driver D return in pouring rain but good spirits. Appears that the trip has been a great success!

Sunday 5.45 pm: Parked up in Chester-le Street; over 450 miles covered; job done! Kiwi Mike and Driver D remove a few bags of kit and walk away. Wait a minute! Come back! What about the bags of wet and sweaty kit? What about the soggy bananas and left over cake crumbs, half-eaten sandwiches and water bottles? And who do these red boxer shorts belong to?!!

Penny Browell

Southern section: Friday Legs 5 & 8; Saturday Leg 1; Sunday Legs 4 & 5

Penny, Paul & Steph come together for an almost nocturnal 'selfie'.
Friday, Leg 8 - Ickornshaw to East Marton - 9 miles - with Paul Evans: having said I probably shouldn't run at all (dodgy ankle making me whinge a lot), I decided I wasn't content with the 10-miler earlier with Steph and Paul so volunteered to take on what turned out to be the final leg of the evening. I was told it was easy-ish and not too long (which I guess is what 9 miles and 1,250 feet is for Paul Evans!). But even he was tired (after more than 20 miles) and the climbs seemed bigger than they should have been and whilst it was lovely to see the sun setting from a perfect viewpoint it was also a bit nerve-wracking as we had no head-torches and there were still a few miles to go.

More worrying though, were the cows, one of which seemed to take a dislike to me and after a little lurch, started heading towards me. Paul recommended jumping over the fence but as it was about shoulder height for me - with barbed wire on the top - I didn't rate my chances! To cut a long story short, we managed to escape unscathed but still had to race the light to reach East Marton by nightfall.

When we got to the canal we knew we were nearly there but when a slight edge of doubt crept in to Paul's voice I was beginning to get a bit concerned. Then I spotted a lonely beam of light flickering in the darkness ahead - it was Steph! Come in search of us! And so, just before 10.00 pm, our leg was done. Sadly too late for the pub dinner I'd promised myself but still leaving me with a very content smile on my face.

Juliet Percival

Southern section: Friday Legs 2, 3 & 7; Saturday Legs 4, 5 & 6; Sunday Leg 2

Juliet in a 'weary legs' phase! As I write this, the three days of the southern legs are now a blur of…chilly dawns…hurried muesli…squeezing wet tents back into bags…driving…plodding…eating cake…driving…running…wonderful views…eating cake…running…endless views of rolling green hills and patchwork fields…waiting…cheering and clapping for smiling Striders out in force…drinking coffee…wonderful company…running…weary legs…waiting…runners' heads bobbing up over the horizon…dreaming (of a hot shower)…drinking coffee… "there they are!" …running…COWS!..."what if it's a bull?"...slow to a walk…eyes down…be invisible… beautiful, peaceful countyside…lovely banter…"how many more miles?" …getting late…pitching tents in the dark (hilarious!)…racing to the pub (too late for food)…crisps and alcohol for supper again!…"another round?"…"why not!" …returning to campsites in the dark…no showers…grim…feeling stinky…sleeping bags…overtures of snoring…chilly dawns (again)…hurried muesli…"off we go"…"

Roz Layton

Northern section: Saturday Leg 3 - Knarsdale to Garrigill - 14 miles - with Debs Goddard & Jean Bradley

Nothing could be nicer than standing in the middle of unfamiliar countryside on the Cumbrian/Durham border on a warm day, surrounded by orchids, harebells, cranesbill and buzzing insects. Just a nagging worry affects the mood: where are they? Are they OK? Have I missed them?

Thank goodness for a good phone signal and Debs' clear decision-making (…leave Alston, come and meet her and Jean further up the route at Knarsdale). This turned out to be an abandoned station on the old South Tyne railway, with platform, an old ticket office and signs threatening forty shilling fines...

It wasn't long before Debs and Jean came trotting along the track, cheerful but a bit frustrated by the disappearing Pennine Way 'acorns' [motif that indicates the Pennine Way trail - Ed]. So much for the Pennine Way becoming an eroded motorway then - even when we could find the route it was often overgrown!

Jean and I could only admire the map and its reader as we were 'spectacle-free' and so we continued, skirting Slaggyford happily enough but losing time as what 'acorns' there were led us over stiles and into fields with no apparent exit. On one occasion we found ourselves face to face with a herd of cows and their calves and - yes - climbing to his feet as we approached, a big creamy bull guarding the gateway!

Alston to Garrigill had less drama but was just as pretty. We anticipated 'lashings and lashings of ginger beer' but a wonderful half-pint outside the newly refurbished pub won out, underscoring the satisfaction of running twice as far as I'd expected and the 'Striderly' pleasure of running with good friends.

Mike Elliott

Northern Section: Saturday Leg 6 - Cauldron Snout to Holwick - 9 miles - with Andy James.

Mike makes the awkward descent of the waterfall of Cauldron Snout.
After doing 'Park Run' in the morning I checked my OS Teesdale map of early-60s vintage that didn't even show the Tees being dammed at Cauldron Snout to form Cow Green Reservoir (luckily the contours were in the same place however). I then joined Andy at Ebchester for the drive to the start of the final northern leg of our charity relay, arriving there about 4.00 pm for an estimated start time of 5.30 pm. No other Striders were in sight but it was early days...

The weather was sunny: 14 degrees with a gentle breeze but then a black cloud appeared, bringing heavy vertical, then horizontal, rain and HAIL! (Was this July?). So, like the sheep around us, we sheltered behind a stone wall (baaa!). The storm passed, the sun came out again and we soon dried out.

By about 6.00 pm we concluded that with no one else was going to join us, and that we might have missed a 'relay running late' message. Miraculously, we found a sign near the dam which said 'GOOD MOBILE PHONE SIGNAL HERE' (move one yard either way - no signal!) and called Steph who said Jon Ayres was on his way from Dufton and should be with us in an hour and a half. Being the good civil and electrical engineers that we are, off we went to explore the dam and its water pressure measuring boreholes, generators and anything else we could find (howay, it filled in the time!).

To our delight, Jon arrived a tad early from his magnificent solo effort across the tops and after sharing info and pleasantries, his legs then had the luxury of driving Andy's car to Bowlees visitor centre.

Still no more troops, so off we went, down the side of Cauldron Snout and onto the rock-strewn paths of the Falcon Clints' boulder field (could have been on the moon) along with the odd board-walk then eventually onto something vaguely runnable. This was not going to be a 10K PB!

The first half of the leg was on the north bank of the River Tees (the south bank appeared to be marked on the map as an MOD training area). After the tribulations of the Clints and Holmwath Escarpments, we arrived at Widdy Bank Farm where we could at last make good progress after our mountaineering experiences. Then we saw the sign that said it all: three and a half miles back to Cauldron Snout, three and three-quarters to High Force. HEY UP - we thought this was a 10K!

Across ditches, and through stones walls via little wooden gates, across the bridge over Harwood Beck, then crossing to the south side of the River Tees at Cronkley, then onto a wide track for 400yards (which made us look like models on a cat walk).

Next was a trip around a farm yard (no Old Macdonald or quarter-pounder's to be seen) where we encountered a problem due to the lack of way markers: options were to follow a boggy fence line, climb a steep hill covered in gorse or back-track towards the MOD area. We chose to climb the hill (probably a short cut to dry ground but slightly longer) until we hit the PW again.

Next obstacle was a barbed wire-topped fence where we put our high jump skills to the test (gold medals being awarded to both participants). Then it was back down to low ground to see some friendly faces albeit a flock of sheep (who decided not to follow us due to the fact they were not as fit as us athletes!).

At last we hit a reasonable track, so, putting more coal on the fire, we reeled in the miles to High Force. What a long three and three-quarter country miles that was (must have been all those photo stops)! A quick decision not to dive into the cold, fast flowing, peaty waters at High Force then we pushed on to Low Force and Wynch Bridge (a suspension footbridge built for lead miners in 1830).

Here we saw a poster nailed to a tree saying Strathmore Arms, 1 mile - nectar! In the heather we caught a glimpse of a young 'Monarch of the Glen' [a deer - Ed] scratching its lug at the sound of these two explorers; he then showed us how to cope with cross county hills by bounding away.

Onwards across the quickly darkening fields with Andy's phone shattering the quiet of the countryside. It was Paul asking if we are still alive and what our favourite tipple is! Back to tarmac and the comforting lights of Holwick (or IS it Holwick? - No sign of a pub and only a few well strung out houses - have we got the wrong village? - We stop and knock on the door of a house at 10.00 pm - "Where is the Strathmore Arms?" - "Just there love" - relief!).

Finally, after two-and-a-half hours, we receive the most rousing of receptions from the locals and many of the lads and lasses who ran the Southern and rest of the Northern legs. Then it was into the pub with just enough time to embrace everyone in sight, hoy a pint down our necks (courtesy of the landlord) and enjoy the band.

The campers then made their way to bed so they could be fresh, waiting for Paul's foreign accent to ring out at 7.00 am: "Hi de hi campers, your breakfast is ready and no cooking required: IT'S IN A CAN!".

We intrepid explorers continued our adventures: a one-and-a-half mile cross-country walk to the car (thanks for the torch Nigel) and then over the dales to Ebchester. I never knew rabbits came out in such numbers at night, with the journey being a rabbit slalom course (we managed it without harming any, so rabbit pie was off the Sunday menu).

Hope you enjoyed the above tale. It could have been the tail of Peter………..Oh come on, they don't get any better!

Joan Hanson

Central Section: Sunday Leg 1 - Holwick to Wolsingham - 16 miles - with Till Sawala.

Me and Tigger Till strike out for Wolsingham Today I picked up a total stranger that I met via a Facebook message then got quietly freaked out on arrival at the campsite at 8am to be told by fellow bleary-eyed striders that Till can run...didn't you realise Joan?.. really quite fast...sub 3-hour marathon actually. Till then proceeded to run 'really quite fast' although he referred to it as 'relaxed social pace'. He was certainly able to converse with ease as he bounced along beside me in his Hokas (quite a lot like Tigger) consistently up a big hill, then on tarmac (that's another first). Words of encouragement were offered by a convoy of the aforementioned striders in their cars before we struck out over the moors and down into Weardale. We took slightly longer than the 2 hours on the original schedule for this leg but had a great morning out and we didn't get lost.

Club Handicap, Houghall Woods, 29th July

2 laps

Results

position name bib handicap finish time actual time
13 Adam Walker 207 27 56.47 29.47
27 Jerry Lloyd 202 27 58.12 31.12
28 Chris Wade 204 27 58.13 31.13
35 Paul Swinburne 187 24 59.36 35.36
11 Graham Dalgleish 201 21 56.41 35.41
12 Innes Hodgson 144 21 56.46 35.46
15 Richard Stollery 172 21 57.10 36.10
25 Sarah Davies 165 21 58.01 37.01
41 Mike Bennett 203 24 61.20 37.20
33 Michael Ross 161 21 58.46 37.46
42 Andrew Podmore 183 24 61.51 37.51
19 Alex Collins 126 18 57.30 39.30
26 Andrew Davies 127 18 58.03 40.03
5 Adam Bent 206 15 55.11 40.11
7 Peter Hart 115 15 55.15 40.15
2 Toni Sowerby 66 9 49.40 40.40
8 Debs Goddard 34 15 55.42 40.42
44 John Hutchinson 162 21 62.43 41.43
16 Jan Young 122 15 57.14 42.14
17 Helen Williams 121 15 57.14 42.14
4 Robin Linton 80 12 54.28 42.28
20 Jill Rudkin 119 15 57.40 42.40
36 Sarah Fawcett 116 15 59.51 44.51
39 Steve Ellis 114 15 60.45 45.45
21 Clare Metcalfe 72 12 57.48 45.48
29 Andy James 74 12 58.17 46.17
31 Barbara Dick 104 12 58.26 46.26
34 Katie Finney 90 12 58.51 46.51
9 Rebecca Divine 60 9 55.53 46.53
43 Francis Timson 200 15 62.04 47.04
10 Louise Simpson 68 9 56.20 47.20
18 Phil Todd 29 9 57.14 48.14
1 Rachel Brown 208 0 48.15 48.15
22 Emma Hart 56 9 57.48 48.48
6 Jan Ellis 48 6 55.11 49.11
32 Karen Hooper 55 9 58.35 49.35
14 Deborah Thompson 49 6 56.49 50.49
3 Maggie Thompson 11 0 53.33 53.33
37 Jennifer Cooper 44 6 60.28 54.28
38 Sharon Campbell 45 6 60.29 54.29
23 Ann Towers 24 3 57.48 54.48
24 Karen Pyle 205 3 57.53 54.53
40 Bev Walker 19 3 60.58 57.58
30 Mike Elliott 2 0 58.20 58.20

76 finishers.

Elvet Striders Clamber, Houghall Woods and Low Burnhall, 22nd July

5.2 M

Dougie Nisbet

Another sunny evening and some great racing last night. It looked hot and tough from where I was standing taking photos around the Willow Miner. Till's also got a great batch on Facebook, and there's a nice write-up in the Northern Echo.

Results

position bib name club cat cat pos time prize
1 55 Liam Emmett Jarrow & Hebburn MU20 1 31.28 1st male/1st U20
16 104 Lucy Butt Durham City Harriers FSEN 1 38.32 1st female/1st female senior
5 94 Stephen Jackson M30 2 34.28 1st strider male
21 15 Elaine Bisson F30 1 39.18 2nd female/1st female F20/1st strider female
22 18 Penny Browell F40 1 39.38 3rd female/1st V40 female
24 32 John Coulson M30 5 40.33
25 12 Mike Bennett M60 1 40.36 1st male V60
27 149 Katy Walton F30 2 40.49
34 150 Louise Warner F30 4 42.39
48 37 Sarah Davies F40 3 43.52
51 13 Adam Bent M60 2 44.22
56 134 Malcolm Sygrove M40 18 44.33
60 6 Gareth Neil M30 11 44.46
71 135 Kathryn Sygrove F40 6 45.50
72 70 Debs Goddard F40 7 46.05
77 89 Melanie Hudson F30 9 46.40
79 121 Stephanie Piper FSEN 2 47.03
81 142 Roz Layton F60 1 47.22 1st female F60
86 126 Jill Rudkin F30 10 48.08
90 33 Jenny Search F30 11 48.43
95 133 Ian Spencer M50 14 50.37
98 78 Lesley Hamill F40 13 50.47
104 130 David Shipman M50 16 52.08
107 58 Sarah Fawcett F50 4 52.57
108 17 Stacey Brannan F30 15 53.00
110 144 Angela Tribe F40 16 53.07
111 86 Lucy Herkes MSEN 4 53.32
115 52 Stephen Ellis M60 5 53.58
116 42 Rebecca Devine FSEN 3 54.25
117 14 Denise Benvin F40 17 54.32
118 131 Alan Smith M65 2 54.44
127 88 Karen Hooper F30 19 58.10
128 129 Aileen Scott F40 19 59.02
129 51 Janet Ellis F50 7 59.03
133 9 Kerry Barnett F40 20 62.03
134 41 Sophie Dennis FSEN 5 62.53
135 161 Lindsay Craig F40 21 62.57
138 65 Laura Gibson F30 20 64.26
139 96 Natalie Johnson F30 21 64.27

140 finishers.

Grand Prix Race. Endurance Champion Race.

Coastal Run, Beadnell, 19th July

about 14 miles 'ish

Jon Ayres

I love this race and am almost evangelical when describing it to people "the beaches are great, the trails are quick and pretty, the view of the castle as you run past and the support from the locals, it's just fantastic" etc.

So how to make it better? Well this year I had a cunning plan, following a run of the course a couple of weeks prior to the actual day, an alternate route had been found!

To the day loads of people in purple vests, a coachload and a fair few more all gathered around the car park, queueing for the loo and avoiding the slow moving traffic as their owners looked to secure a place to park, the strength of wind is debated and just before the off the gathering on to the beach for the team photo [If anyone has a 'team photo', or indeed, any photo, - send it to me! Ta. Ed.].

Then we're off a stampede of splashing soles the broad starting line changes shape to an, almost, beach long peloton, a line of smiling faces embracing the day, enjoying the run and reaffirming a love of running.

At this point however a small group edge towards the waves turning with the bay and aiming away from the masses their eyes focused on a small path and a break in the dunes, a set of purplies are off exploring.

Concern races through my mind, I've checked and reread the rules- the course is suggested not set, our route choice is our own and ( perhaps crucially ) we never really did compare the choices available. Too late now we hit the new (ish to us) trail and keep the pace lively hoping this is a wise choice.

After a mile and a bit we merge with the main field I see faces I'd not expect to be passing now, numbers that had been passed on the run out are ahead. I ask a fellow strider for his measured distance (the new path is about 500 metres longer, perhaps this is why after 35 years of the event being run the alternate is not needed?)

From this point on works to be done and it's head down and pushing as hard as I dare, still 10 miles to go. I have a good day - in the end when comparing time to last year the deviation didn't make much difference- but throughout the feelings are good, smiles stay on faces and it's a great day and another fantastic experience.

On the final beach the wind really took hold, the sand clung to the feet sucking them down and devouring energy but still the love affair is there. This is why in the depths of winter,on freezing cold mornings I, my friends, clubmates and countless more like us all put on our kit and get out there because running isn't just about the personal goals, it's a shared experience that releases endorphins and on good days, of which this is definitely one, makes the heart glow.

At the end we excitedly chatter and congratulate each other on getting round, one of our number wins their category which is really very impressive as they too choose the long route. And then that's it I'm not on the coach back and am part of a small group descending quietly home, the talk turns slowly to other subjects. Thoughts will gradually no doubt blend parts of today's run with those done before and also, hopefully, with those to come but always, always there's a part of me that dwells forever on those beaches.

Results

Striders POS Name Club Cat Chip Time
1st MCarl AveryMorpeth HarriersSenior M1:15:42
1st FEmma HoltMorpeth HarriersSenior F1:29:36
1Stephen Jackson Senior M1:25:04
2Gareth Pritchard Senior M1:25:55
3Jon Ayres (M) Veteran401:42:30
4Katy Walton Senior F1:43:24
5Graeme Walton (M) Veteran401:45:02
6Elaine Bisson VeteranF351:45:06
7David Brown Senior M1:47:40
8Mandy Dawson (F) Veteran401:51:09
9Michael Bennett (M) Veteran601:51:35
10Juliet Percival (F) Veteran401:53:24
11David Spence (M) Veteran601:56:14
12Michael Terry (M) Veteran401:57:22
13Malcolm Sygrove (M) Veteran402:00:57
14Innes Hodgson (M) Veteran502:03:28
15Ari Hodgson Senior M2:03:28
16Nicola Whyte Senior F2:04:17
17Fiona Jones VeteranF352:04:17
18Lucy Cowton Senior F2:04:17
19Camilla Lauren-maatta (F) Veteran402:04:58
20Jean Bradley (F) Veteran502:05:15
21Debs Goddard (F) Veteran402:05:54
22Melanie Hudson VeteranF352:08:47
23Dave Robson (M) Veteran602:09:44
24Anita Clementson (F) Veteran402:13:23
25Kathryn Sygrove (F) Veteran402:13:36
26Katherine Preston (F) Veteran402:18:57
27Debbie Mcfarland Senior F2:27:18
28Emil Maatta Senior M2:28:40
29Christine Farnsworth (F) Veteran602:33:24
30Kelly Collier Senior F2:40:07
31Helen Allen (F) Veteran402:42:55
32Aileen Scott (F) Veteran402:57:19
33Stan White (M) Veteran502:57:19
34Margaret Thompson (F) Veteran603:03:29
35Claire Galloway Senior F3:09:34
36Laura Jackson VeteranF353:09:34

800 finishers.

[Note: Results on the www.resultsbase.net website are not listed by overall position when filtered by club. To see your overall position you need to go the their website and click on your own result. Ed.]

Dales Trail Series DT30, Muker, Swaledale, 11th July

33 km

Diane Watson

Start of the 33 km Durham Trails Series DT30 race at Muker, Swaledale
As we drew closer to Swaledale about 8.30am, the weather was not looking too good. A grey sky was drizzling miserably and low cloud obscuring the high ground filled me with trepidation in case visibility was poor. I knew I was going to have to rely on other runners and markers to get me round the course. The route was described as being partially marked and marshalled at key direction changes, but it looked fairly straight forward on the map. As usual, my insecurities about navigation came to the fore but as a map wasn't compulsory I felt reassured that it would be OK. We met Elaine Bisson in the car park who had planned to run with John Ayres. Unfortunately at 06.30 that morning John had called to say that he had injured his back and that he couldn't run. Like me, Elaine had no map and hadn't had a chance to look at the route as John had planned to show her round.

The event seemed well organised with plenty of drinks and snacks for sale and after a quick cup of tea and a flapjack we set off to the start about 1km away where we met Dave Robson and Mel Hudson who seemed keen to get started. By now the sun was shining and it was pretty warm. The briefing informed us that the route was actually 33k, but we were told with tongue firmly in cheek that since the first 3k was on roads, it technically was still a 30k trail race (not sure how that works!). We were triple counted and suddenly we were off.

Having been warned that the first 5 miles was uphill, it was not as bad as I thought with some bits more runnable than others. However, the fast runners quickly left me for dead and I took up close to the rear with a couple of other ladies. We had been warned to take it easy on the narrow rocky descent after 5 miles or so, but even so, I managed to trip over a rock (or maybe it was my own feet). Momentum took over and I hit the the ground with knee and thigh before inadvertently using my left boob as an airbag against a rock. I think it might possibly have saved me a rib fracture but it hurt (I have a colourful chest as a reminder)! A very caring runner stayed with me for a few moments whilst I got to my feet; I declined her water to drink or to wash my bloodied knee with, and steadily increased from a hobble back to a run. I did keep telling her to run on but she refused, and I felt a brief (very brief) pang of guilt as I ran off and left her behind…!

Diane, Dave and Mel pass the Tan Hill Inn, the highest point of the DT30 trail race
It was hot and I was pleased that there were 5 drinks stations, having previously thought it was a bit of overkill for 33k. I made a point of drinking at each one but still ended up a bit dehydrated at the end of the day. At roughly the half way point I reached the famous Tan Hill pub where Mel and Dave caught and left me, and I where my husband, Scott, was waiting with camera in one hand and a half pint of 'Ewe's Juice' ale in the other. I could see he was twitching that I stopped at the checkpoint to eat one of my mini cheese and pickle sandwiches (washing it down with water and an excellent flavourless isotonic drink). Although I was pretty quick I expected to have an ear bashing at the finish, which was duly delivered. Yes, I accept that my drinking and eating on longer races could be more efficient but I've not got the knack yet so give me a chance, I only started racing 9 months ago!

Diane gives it everything in a sprint finish after 33 km!
The route then continued on a grassy/tussocky/boggy descent and very rocky trails. At one point my injured leg disappeared into a black, squidgy, peat bog (though it probably did the grazes some good). Out, up and off again, I was on a roll. Feeling low on energy I had a very quick drink and a gel at the 23K station and was soon feeling pretty good again. It didn't seem long before I passed the 28K checkpoint and came upon a narrow, rocky steep incline, albeit short with a marshall at the top who directed me to the left saying 'Only another couple of K to go'. That was a looooooong 2K! There were groups of walkers coming in the opposite direction; the path was intermittently narrow and rocky, up and down, but most of the walkers moved to let me past. I thanked them, one and all (had a Striders vest on and had to at least APPEAR to be nice) and was looking forward to a leisurely flat and grassy finish.

Eventually I went through a gate - which closed with a loud clang - and at last could see, in the distance, the finish alongside the river. A few brief seconds later I heard the gate clang again. I knew it was another lady, who had shadowed me for much of the race and I thought that if she overtook me now I was incapable of increasing my pace for that distance so I would just have to accept that she is a better woman than me. But it didn't happen and with about 50 metres to go I eventually heard her breathing heavily behind me - right on my shoulder. All I could think was (penny in the swear box) "there's no ******* way she's taking my place now!".

I mustered up some energy from somewhere deep down, somewhere that I had never before delved into, and ran hell for leather! It paid off and I beat her by 2 seconds. Although I thought I had 3 or 4 runners behind me, I was chuffed to find that there were actually 10. My jubilation that I'd not let myself nor the Striders down was embellished by finding out that Elaine had finished 3rd lady overall. Now I'm back home nursing my bruises and looking forward to the next challenge…. Anybody know if arnica's any good?

Elaine takes a well earned 3rd Lady prize in the DT30 at Muker, Swaledale

Results

position bib name club cat time
1 66 Ben Hukins M 02:30:06
8 26 Lucy Colquhoun FV35 02:53:24
27 11 Elaine Bisson Elvet Striders FV35 03:08:35
98 64 Melanie Hudson Elvet Striders FV35 04:14:30
99 117 Dave Robson Elvet Striders MV60 04:14:31
105 146 Diane Watson Elvet Striders FV45 04:25:23

115 finishers.

Sunderland 5K, 15th July

Katy Walton

Quick 5k just what I needed to see where I was with my training. I headed over to Sunderland with Graeme who had race envy so he entered the race on the night.

It was a gorgeous sunny night with a good turn out of club runners including plenty of Striders.

First race up was female and V50 men. To the top of the hill Louise Warner, Sarah Davies and myself did go. Feeling nervous, I had heard the start was a scrabble with a chance of a tumble and a crushing as people run over you! Off we went down the hill immediately. Louise Warner must have had too many skittles as she flew down the hill ahead of me. Taking note that Stephen Jackson had gone off too fast last year I decided to let her go. "I will catch her" my positive mindset said.

Once at the bottom of the hill the runners go around the small lake, this did include a little hill, but soon you were heading along on the flat again. I managed to pass Louise on the bridge as we approached the lake. About 400 metres later Kim Simpson seemed to be getting closer to me, I reeled her in and went past, this gave me a boost to continue running as I was.

Up the hill to the crowds of supporters I went with huge cheers from Lesley, Phil, Catherine and the strider men who were ready to race. Back onto the lake path, this time to do a loop around the big lake.

I enjoyed this loop, you could see that the course ahead was flat, this just made me feel great and continue with my pace.

Before I knew it I was running back up the hill towards the supporters and there was the finish. It was over. I looked at my watch praying it to be under 21minutes and to my shock 20.03. Louise came in not far behind me followed by Sarah, both enjoying the race.

The guys race was over and done before you new it. The order changed between the Striders as they ran past to do their loops. We were all guessing who would come round first the next time, it was very exciting! Excellent efforts from all but Rob ran in first followed by Stephen and then Gareth. Graeme had a great run followed by Richard Hall senior. Simon Gardner had a fantastic time too he came in after the dashing trio ahead of Graeme.

I think this would be a great race for the sprint section in the Grand Prix next year. It's local, very fast and they accept entries on the day.

Tour of Merseyside, 5–11th July

6 races, 7 days, 52 miles

Denise Benvin

I had spotted this little beauty back in 2013 on the BTR website it was 6 races in 7 days, it was 52 miles over the week all different races and different terrains and different distances. As I had only been running a matter of months an I hadn't even run a full 5k, I thought one for another year. In 2014 I was on holiday when it was taking place so 2015 was me year. So euro in hand I went to use the computer in reception whilst on holiday and secured my place. I have family in Liverpool and put a weeks holiday in at work and invited myself to my parents for the week (they didn't object, not sure why I wouldn't want to spend a week with me)

Race 1 was Southport half marathon an it was a warm day to say the least, Dougie had also decided to do this run an it was nice to see a strider face at the race. This was a flat fast course and went out one way to a turn around point, on my way to the turn around point I spotted Dougie coming towards me on the other-side a few mins between us, at least I knew where he was and so the chase was on. I did spot Dougie in the distance around the lake some 6 miles further on, and all but few miles from home and I was catching him, he however also had a canny spurt and I never got any closer. You can read Dougie's amusing report which is also on the website [thank you! [blush] Ed.]. The gauntlet has been thrown down for next year though ... 13 miles done

Race 2 was in Thurstaston the Wirral side of the River Mersey and was a 6 mile multi terrain race, it was a wet night which got even wetter in fact torrential at one point, but it was a lovely run that went out on to the beach for a around 2 miles it was heavy going here on the legs and only got a bit lighter on the legs as we made our way towards the woods which was equally as nice to run through. It was then along the track for a couple of miles and back to the start finish line. The atmosphere was lovely and people were getting to know each by now ... 19 miles done

Going Coastal.

Race 3 was by Walton Hall Park and was 10 miles on the Sustrans Cycle Trail known locally as "The Ralla" it was 2.5 miles one way then 2.5 miles back to the start/finish then the same in the opposite direction, whilst this was not a course to rave about it was nice in the fact you got to see the other runners going in different directions and there was plenty of encouragement through out to field an it turned out to be a nice night considering the look of the grey clouds and dull skies an the forecast was for rain ... 29 miles done

Race 4 was a short and sweet 5 miles, and somehow it ended up as a fancy dress night (think it might be a regular after this year) the race started and finished in the Wellington pub car park in Hale Village, a dammed good idea I thought, nice and handy for post race refreshments. It was a lovely flat 5 miles in the evening sunshine, it was a race of left turns around the outskirts of Hale. We got lots of encouragement from people sat in their cars waiting to get through the village as well as local residents who had come outside to watch the spectacle all of whom must have thought we were all nutters, they wouldn't be far wrong in all fairness. The Children however thought it was fantastic and it was lovely to hear the laughter and squeals of delight as we ran past. I do wonder if the Lord Mayor will let us back next year????? It was a great atmosphere people really having fun getting to know each other now. I had managed to find a leopard print dress in a charity shop that I cut up found a scarf to match and went as Jane, thankfully nice and light to run in given the heat. I will have to start thinking now for next year as there was a pretty high standard set this year, so I am open to suggestions folks. A fab night all round ... 34 miles done

Race 5 was at Stadt Moers country park. This used to be the tip many many years ago and deep in the trees you can find the outlet holes for the gas to escape, you wouldn't believe it if you went thought it really is a lovely place and is one of the winter xc courses for the area. We had to do 2 x 3 mile laps but before we started it was time for everyone to catch up and laugh on the previous nights costumes. Race time came and it was on with the announcements and handing the tour leader tops out then off we went. The course was lovely and with a bit of mud in the winter it would be fab, we snaked around and up and down the hill and trees in front a few times before heading off in a different direction and then coming round to the start finish for a much needed bottle of water in the heat and lap 2. When finished the queue for the ice-cream van soon built up, it sold handmade ice-creams an had been getting some hammer each night but the poor ladies really had to work on the warm nights, so even if you run just to eat the ice-cream it was worth it. Another great night and 5 races down this meant that tomorrow was the last race, I had made it this far tomorrow I would finish even if I had to finish at a crawl pace ... 40 miles done

Race 6 the final race, this was once again on the other side of the river at Wallasy it was the Wirral Coastal run and the final 12 miles. It was a tad windy as we waited for the start we had been asked to be there for 9.30 so we could have a group Tour photo, an so we all gathered around to have the picture taken, it was the photographers job to get us all in, and so balanced up a step ladder dug in to the drifted sand on the prom it was cries of squash up a bit more, move to the front, supporters move left or move right, no move in more an a few more to the front etc.

Squash Up!

However the picture was eventually taken with much laughter and ribbing and one photographer who somehow didn't fall off his ladder and we for the last time took our position at the start finish line. This was going to be fun, 6 miles of head wind woo hoo along the prom towards Hoylake, I had got to around mile 4 when the leaders came towards me flying along and well on their home, how they managed their words of encouragement going at that speed was beyond me. To get the full 6 miles in we went on to the beach at mile 5 and a half, and ran half a mile on the sands to the water station which was also the turn around point, that was it, I was on my way back now, I was on my way home to the finish line and to completing my first Tour. The head wind which was now supposed to be behind us helping had dropped an the sun was out, and so it was a very warm 6 miles to the finish, It was a fantastic feeling to count the miles down and the final push to the line was full of fellow competitors and family members all cheering and clapping, but I crossed the line, I had finished. I had completed The Tour of Merseyside I had run my 6 races in 7 days I had run my 52 miles an I was a fully fledged "Tourist" I was given my medal and collected my T Shirt. I made my way back along the prom to meet one of my new friends and run in with her and watch her cross the line. All that was left was to make our way back to Liverpool an the post race bash an presentation. So with a nice pint in hand an some much deserved grub from one of the food sellers we all chatted till it was time for the presentation an awards. Then it was time for a good laugh at the footage that had been recorded all week by the camera man catching our week for us, his hard work an cutting an editing each night to put hours an hours of footage on to a DVD so we could look back an remember total miles completed 52 ...

Same time next year I think

Bridges of the Tyne Road Race, Newcastle Quayside, 7th July

5 miles

Stephen Jackson

Stephen in full flight at the Bridges of the Tyne 5 Mile Road Race 2015
In the months of June, July and August the race calendar is full of local gems like this. Just a few weeks after the Blaydon Race, I was back on Tyneside hoping to set a new 5 mile PB. The route is a simple 'out and back' course along the iconic Newcastle Quayside with a little climb on the turn at around 2 miles. Other than that it is fair to say that the race is 'fast and flat' with ample opportunity to attack the last couple of miles.

There was a huge turnout of new Striders, well established Striders and ex-Striders; everyone was extremely encouraging and it really was a great occasion. I think many people made a bit of a night of it and stayed in a local hostelry after the race. The conditions were warm and although there was a headwind on the way out it did help on the way back when things started getting tough.

Gareth Pritchard set off looking strong and I followed suit as we both went through the first mile a little quicker than intended. There was still time to take stock, ease off and get to half way (including the race's only hill). The second half was hard work but I felt able to gradually pick up speed and, one by one, gain a few places. I finished the race above 5km pace which was encouraging. The funny thing about running PBs is it never gets any easier.

It was great to give a cheer to other Striders as they stormed towards the finish line, everyone was running hard which was great to see. Goody bag included a technical T-shirt and a protein drink. This is a race I'd most certainly do again.

Results

Striders POS Name Club Cat Finish Time Chip Time
1st M Lewis Timmins Morpeth Harriers Senior M 25:28 25:27
1st F Justina Heslop Elswick Harriers VF35 27:49 27:49
1 Stephen Jackson Senior M 28:32 28:31
2 Gareth Pritchard Senior M 28:47 28:45
3 Simon Gardner (M) V45 30:56 30:51
4 Paul Pascoe (M) V45 33:39 33:31
5 Helen Todd VF 35 36:26 36:02
6 Fiona Jones VF 35 37:16 36:51
7 David Spence (M) V65+ 37:55 37:39
8 Stephanie Walker VF 35 38:48 36:18
9 Martin Welsh (M) V50 38:49 38:33
10 Katherine Preston (F) V45 40:49 40:32
11 Karen Jones (F) V45 41:11 38:40
12 Richard Hall Senior M 41:32 39:28
13 Greta Jones (F) V45 41:33 39:03
14 Lesley Charman (F) V40 43:01 42:27
15 Louise Barrow Senior F 43:20 42:52
16 Rebecca Fisher VF 35 46:48 44:43
17 Angela Coates (F) V40 46:54 46:35
18 Karen Hooper VF 35 48:37 48:02
19 Aileen Scott (F) V45 48:44 48:13
20 Liz Baker (F) V40 49:07 48:36
21 Laura Chapman Senior F 50:39 49:58
22 Laura Gibson VF 35 50:53 50:12
23 Kerry Lister (F) V40 50:59 50:25
24 Mike Elliott (M) V65+ 53:48 53:15
25 Natalie Johnson VF 35 53:48 53:07
26 Fiona Billinge (F) V40 53:57 53:25
27 Helen Allen (F) V45 55:52 55:11
28 Claire Galloway Senior F 56:28 55:47
29 Lindsay Craig (F) V45 58:37 58:02
30 Laura Jackson VF 35 58:42 58:07

381 finishers.

[Note: Results on the www.resultsbase.net website are not listed by overall position when filtered by club. To see your overall position you need to go the their website and click on your own result. Ed.]

Great North 10K, Gateshead, 5th July

Lesley Hamill

Advertised as the 'North East's biggest 10K' (and probably the most expensive!), this race is a good opportunity to experience the atmosphere of the Great North Run, which I am also doing this year. The course starts behind Gateshead International Stadium and makes its way to Gateshead Quayside, passing landmarks such as the Sage, the Millennium Bridge and the BALTIC Centre.

Turning the Quayside Purple.

As this was going to be my first race since I ran the Great North Run in 1998, and also my first race as a Strider, I was feeling really excited. Thankfully Laura Gibson had lent me her vest, and once I'd figured out how to pin my number on using my new Event Clips (very handy!), I was good to go. My husband, Jonathan, was also running the race, and we met up with some of the other Striders taking part in front of the stadium. Also taking part in the race were over 200 Gurkha soldiers, raising money for the Nepal Earthquake Response Fund, they were quite an awesome sight!

Helen returns to racing after a 17 year breather, and as a Strider! We made our way to the start (and got filmed for the local news, which we only discovered later on!) It was hot, but the atmosphere was great and we were treated to an interesting warm up with Katie Cook, who had appeared on The Apprentice (apparently). Soon we were off, I got a bit carried away and ran the first 2k at my parkrun pace, which I soon realised I couldn't sustain, especially in the heat! Once on the Quayside it was brilliant to see the much faster Striders on their way back. It was at this point that I was pleased to be wearing my Striders' vest, as the waves and shouts really kept me going. I was relieved to reach the turnaround point, especially as I knew the fire brigade was just round the corner with a big hose!

After a refreshing shower it was great to bump into another friend who was running, and to cheer on some other Striders on the other side. I had lost hubby at this point (sorry Jonathan!), it was really hot, but I felt good, and knew my target of sub 60 minutes was achievable. The hill at 9K was a bit of a surprise, but the sign at the bottom saying 'Smile!' and 'Local Hero' blasting out from the speakers definitely helped me up it! The last 1K seemed to go on forever, but the excitement of the stadium finish kept me going. Hearing the hundreds of spectators cheering everyone in at the end was amazing; I even managed a sprint finish!

I was delighted with my time of 55.54, a 10K PB in my first race as a Strider, and am now even more excited about the Great North Run in September!