Hardmoors Rosedale Trail Marathon, Hutton-le-Hole, North Y0rkshire, 16th June
We were up at 5.30 to get ready for this run. Made it to the village hall in the lovely Hutton-le-Hole for 8 and got ourselves ready for the start at 9. The usual relaxed atmosphere of a Hardmoors event and quite a few people that we knew where there.
The route started by undulating through fields and quiet country roads. The route gradually started to rise and soon we were onto the moors and it seemed to just keep going upwards, with just the odd short descent. We took the decision to walk most of these uphill sections as we knew there was more easily runnable sections to come.
Finally after 10m we got to Blowarth Crossing and turned in a more southerly direction along a very flat old railway line. We had a good run along this for quite a while (it is unusual to have such a long runnable section in a Hardmoors event, which are usually characterised by plenty of hills and steps !). After a while we left the dale we were overlooking, Farndale, and climbed up to the Lion Inn and then started to contour round the edge of Rosedale. Gradually we descended into Rosedale, crossed the dale and then soon after the 20m point, we climbed a beast of a hill back up to another flat old railway line. My leg started cramping on the way up the climb and I know at least two other runners who had similar issues. Melanie gave my calf a quick massage at the top and that certainly helped, but I lost quite a bit of energy on the climb so after that I was taking more walking breaks than I was happy with. However, we got back in under 6 hours which was pleasing. A good route and much more runnable than either of the previous two Hardmoors marathons.
Phil was doing the timekeeping at this event (and for the 10K and the half marathon) and Anna had a great run, coming in under 5hrs !
Bamburgh 10k, 16th June
I only decided to do this race a few days before as I was up in Bamburgh on the Saturday so decided I might as well stay up and do a 10k on the Sunday. I thought it was going to be fast and flat and then I started to read the race reports from last year which gave the impression it was much more hilly than I had expected. I decided to do it anyway as it was good motivation to stay in on a Saturday night and stay on track for operation wedding dress.
I woke up on the Sunday and while everyone else was celebrating the sunshine my heart sank a little. I went down to the cricket pavilion on my own and did miss my usual pre race catch up with Louise and felt a bit lost having no one to talk to at first. That didn’t last long and people I spoke to were really friendly and I got the impression that there were a lot of people who weren’t used to doing races and were quite nervous.
The race started up at the castle and the views were spectacular. You could see for miles and the sea was flat calm, there was a little part of me that wished I was going out diving in the sunshine rather than about to start a race.
The start was downhill so I decided to take advantage and set off quite quickly. I had really struggled last week at Blaydon so as soon as we reached the bottom I made sure that I slowed down. We headed up past the shops and I was pleased thinking that we were going to head up the road that my mam and dad were walking down to meet me. Unfortunately we turned off and headed left after the Victoria pub.
The rest of the course was on open country roads surrounded by fields. It was nice but a bit of a shame to be so close to the sea and not really see it. The course was described as undulating, there wasn’t any real hills but there did seem to be some long drags uphill. Given that I ended up back where I started, whatever I ran up I must have ran down but I really can't remember the downhill bits.
There was a water station half way and because there wasn’t so many runners it was easy to get a drink without stopping and they were offering options of bottles or cups. There were markers all the way along and marshalls on every junction so you couldn’t get lost.
The sun seemed to come out even more during the run and to be fair I think that despite my best intentions I set off faster than I was capable of sustaining so struggled towards the end. I tried to pull out everything that I had as I knew my mam and dad would be near the finish so managed a very lacklustre sprint finish of sorts.
Not a PB but actually not far off and I am glad that I did it and would do it again. If nothing else, I was in a place that I love and able to stay and enjoy the sunshine after a visit to the gift shops, and I am one step closer to looking good in that wedding dress.
Great North Swim, Windermere, 15th June
The beautiful Windermere provided somewhat different swimming conditions to Ellerton Lake, the venue for the Elvet Otters’ two training swims this month. The Ellerton-based beginners’ training session, run by Donna James (thanks, Donna!), was held in bright sunshine in the lake with barely a ripple on the surface of the water, giving swimming conditions much like an indoor pool (but in wetsuits). Last Saturday’s informal practice swim was much the same, with the Otters enjoying blazing sunshine and a post-swim barbeque. I guess it was too much to hope that there’d be barely a ripple on the surface of Windermere when we arrived at the Great North Swim venue. I’d received inside information from Rachel Terry, who was lakeside to watch husband (and Elvet Strider) Michael’s 11.30am swim, that it was a bit windy and choppy, but Michael’s finishing time was great (32.50)so I remained optimistic.
Arriving at Bowness nice and early, Alister and I looked carefully at the lake surface as we enjoyed the ‘park and sail’ ferry along Windermere to make our way to the swim start (well, I enjoyed the ferry – I’m sure Mr R won’t mind me saying that he was more than a little bit nervous…). There was certainly more than ‘just a ripple’ on the surface of the lake but at 1.30pm and from a vantage point high up on the ferry it didn’t look too bad. As the afternoon progressed, however, I could see the waves on the lake increase in size as the wind picked up and I realised we’d be in for a bit of a hard slog to stay on course during the swim. Joined by the other Otters at the swim village, I hoped they hadn’t noticed the swell because it was clear that there were an awful lot of nerves among the first-time open water swimmers, so after watching the ‘yellow’ wave enter the water, and checking out the course (all well signposted by enormous yellow or orange buoys), we quickly got our wetsuits on and made our way to the starting pen. The bloke acting as MC for the starting pen warned us that the water was a bit choppy for the first 100m, but he said it was OK after that because when we turned towards the 200m buoy we’d put the waves behind us, but as I looked out over the lake I could see all the route buoys jumping around in the waves and was sure he was lying! It was going to be a bumpy ride!
Rosie Lindsay (daughter of Striders Fiona S and Steve L and honorary Otter) and I positioned ourselves in the start pen near the line, ready to jostle for position during the sprint in to the lake, whereas the more cautious swimmers moved towards the back for a more gentle and sedate entry to the water. As the hooter went, Rosie and I legged it for the water and I was chuffed to be the first to dive in from our side of the entrance slipway. Within seconds, though, Rosie streaked past me and disappeared into the waves ahead of me and that was the last I saw of her. I busied myself with wrestling for position with the big lads who were trying to swim over the top of me while I tried to outsprint them to the first buoy and the sharp right turn. Some were clearly not expecting the ride to be so bumpy and there were a few taking on lungfulls of water, needing to stop and breaststroke to clear their airways, and I got a few bumps and bashes (and gave a few back) as their legs kicked out, but I ploughed on and found some space at the first buoy. It was really rough, and I began to pant as I couldn’t take my breaths when I needed them due to the waves breaking over my head, so I took an inside line towards the 200m buoy so I could breathe facing inland with no-one swimming inside me to produce any more swell.
Hadrians Wall Half Marathon, 16th June
Jackie McKenna persuaded me that we should do this half marathon as our first off roader, (although she slipped in a sneaky Durham Costal last Sunday so this wasn’t her first), and it was not without some trepidation that we approached this "multi-terrain trail race". Having looked at the route profile on the website and the previous two years results, where only 49 and 69 participants' results were listed, we both separately worried last night that we would come in last today if there was such a small field.
My husband and daughter came up with us so that they could do some cycling while we did our run and we arrived in good time, at a cold and windy hilltop at Edges Green near Once Brewed. Race HQ was two small tented shelters and half a dozen portaloos. We were relieved to see that there were lots of people beginning to assemble and I know that they had sold their 300 maximum places, although I always assume 20% don’t turn up on the day for any race. So we might not come last after all!
I was slightly concerned by the two Mountain Rescue Land Rovers that were at HQ and hoped that none of us would need them. As we lined up at the start banner the main hazard was the copious sheep poo underfoot. The starting horn sounded and we were off, down a quiet road, in a chilly wind with a few dark clouds looming. The undulating road section was a pleasant, familiar surface to a road runner like myself and I began to settle in to a comfortable stride. Jacquie soon pulled away from me, striding well, then we turned on to a farm track and the grassy moors that the website promised us.
As promised, the sheep had been mowing well and the relatively dry period we have had recently meant that the surface was pretty comfortable. Out of the wind it began to get really warm and I risked a hidden long distance lens as I peeled off a layer and then replaced my Striders vest whilst running along.
I can't recall the exact order of the route but I know that the firm grass moorland gave way to steep stony descents and ascents, stepping stones, limestone paving , timber decking and very soggy bogland, before coming out at a welcome water station and the cooling forest track.
I was pleased to be back on surer footing as I hadn't been able to admire the spectacular views fully whilst watching where my feet were landing. We hadn't seen much of Hadrian’s Wall itself although it was above us on the crag tops at one point, but the countryside around is beautiful. We finished with a road section and a sprint finish over a cattle grid, up a winding corner and back across the sheep decorated grass. It had been an up and down route; hard work but not brutal by fell running standards.
Jacquie beat me in in an admirable 2 hours 14 mins, and I was a minute and a half behind her. We were both very pleased with our results. We received good quality tee shirts and the organizers gave out prizes including some lovely Hadrian’s Wall china mugs to those who had travelled furthest etc.
I felt that the organization of the event was faultless. The marshalling, signposts, water stops, pre race information, car parking, indeed all the elements that go to make a successful event were here today. It was an excellent morning.
Easington Trail Race, Noses Point, Seaham, 12th June
This is a new event in the Durham County Council Trail series. I think it was originally supposed to be in Easington, but it moved to Nose's Point, Seaham for some reason. The starting point was apparently the same as the new Durham Coast half marathon which was on Sunday. That race, which I didn't run, had lots of steps and I was expecting something similar for this one. However, there were just six !
At the race briefing they said the route was predominately flat. Well not quite, it was more undulating than flat, but it was a scenic route next to the sea. There was a nice breeze to cool us down, but I struggled a bit with the temperature which seems to be happening quite a bit recently.
There couldn't have been more than fifty runners, but there were still a few people to chat to from other clubs
A nice evening race and a bargain at £3.
Swaledale Marathon, Reeth, 8th June
23.2M / 4,128'
Having signed up for this race back in January thinking I had plenty of time to train for the distance I hadn't planned on an ankle injury in February putting nearly all running on hold for 2 months so I arrived at the start line wholly unprepared for what was ahead of me. With my longest race being the Great North Run last year and my longest run being a winter Broom Park outing one Sunday morning for 14 miles I was a little worried about doing 24+ miles over fells.
A good sleep the night before plus a good breakfast and I managed to get to the start line feeling as good as I could on the morning of the run. Off we went up the hill and after taking advice from Sue Jennings and reading Anita's report from last year I walked up this hill as well as many others throughout the day. After a quick picture at the top of the first climb I finally got chance to get running. I ran past Anita and Dougie saying a quick hello and then shortly after Mike Hughes caught up with me and we had a bit of a chat while running. After my performance at Broughton Wood Wobble, when I was passed by glaciers while descending, I decided to read up on how to descend properly. I put this into practice here and managed to make a few places while going downhill.
I grabbed my bottle and took off up the hill for the second time where I eventually caught up with Anita and Andrew Thompson. Having never met Andrew before I spent a bit of time running and chatting with him before he and Anita ran ahead as I slowed a bit due to my hips hurting. I knew that to get round this run I would need to find someone to focus on and stay within sight of and I decided that Andrew would be that guy.
For about 3 miles I just kept plodding away and eventually caught Andrew before he took off again and increased the distance between us again. At this point I noticed a girl with a skull and crossbones tattoo on her arm that I had passed a few times so decided that she would be my new target as Andrew was getting further away from me. I kept up with her until the 12 mile checkpoint where I met Andrew again who was having a chat with Dougie and getting ready to leave. I grabbed a drink and a sandwhich and started walking up the hill with them. At this point I had passed my furthest distance ran before so from here on it was uncharted territory. After a bit of a walk I spotted the girl I was chasing a little in front of me so started a slow jog up the hill. The rest of the race was overtaking, then being overtaken, by this girl. The time was passing so slowly with me checking my Garmin every quarter mile or so. At this point I considered taking the watch off but instead I made a conscious decision not to look at it quite so often. A quarter of a mile later I checked my Garmin, this was going to be a long day.
With just over 6 miles to go I was under 3 hours 50 minutes and had a sub 5 hours finish in my head. Then I left Gunnerside and the climb nearly killed me and sub 5 was a distant dream. I can't remember much until Surrender Bridge and once I got up the hill I spotted 'the girl with skull and crossbone tattoo' and decided that I was going to overtake her for the final time and stay in front.
After doing a walk/run strategy all through the race I decided that as there was 'less than a parkrun to go', I would run every step to the finish. I passed quite a few people on the way to the finish. Once past the final self clip point I ran down the narrow path with the loose stones and into the town to a great welcome by the spectators and a 5 hour and 12 minute finish. If I had to sign up now for next year, with the pain my legs have been in today, then I don't think I would be back. However, come January I may be persuaded again.
|1||Stewart Gregory||Holme Pierrepoint||M||3:08|
|289||Barrie John Evans||MV50||6:17|
|348||Bob Layton *HS||MV50||7:08|
*HS Honorary Strider
Striders Mens team 2nd, Striders Womens team 18th, of 19.
Blaydon Race, 9th June
Hailed as one of the greatest symbols of the North East, and considered sacred by the Geordie community, I had always wanted to run the Blaydon Race, yet somehow always missed the deadline. However as a relatively new Strider I was pleased to receive a message asking who wanted in. I did for sure! And so as tradition, the 9th of June was upon us and the Strider lads n lasses made their way to a bustling Newcastle. The Bigg Market and adjacent streets were awash with colourful vests, spectators, and a general good vibe was in the air. Folk stood patiently in queues for the portaloo, until nearing shops opened their door to allow use of the facilities. Merry drinkers mingled amongst us in the newly found summer sun.
And the sun shone, oh did it shine ... as we eventually made our way into starting pens, shoulder to shoulder under the blue sky, watching the clock, waiting. And then the bells, my word the never-ending bells, and a hush. Anticipation rose as I sensed something was happening, not that I could see over anyone’s head, assuming it must be the mayor making his grand, albeit late entrance! The race is traditionally started with the actual handbell mentioned in the song and, "... away we went alang Collingwood Street, that's on the road to Blaydon".
I wasn’t sure quite what pace to run this, I wasn’t even sure how long it was meant to be, 5.7, 5.8, 5.9? So I just selected a pace and figured I’d just leg it to the end. I mean how hard could it be? Well I was about to find out. By the time I’d got to Scotswood Road the heat was not welcoming, the sun was not friendly. Folk veering away from the course to find any bit of shade, sweat in eyes, weaving in and out of randomly placed spectators. I previously lived in Newcastle and have driven down Scotswood Road many times, yet since I left they’ve obviously extended it!
I was starting to think about slowing the pace, and just enjoying the run, until a certain Danny Lim closed in on me, looking very strong. Danny passed me and I suddenly perked up, I upped the pace to keep up and run with him. Danny left me as we crossed the bridge and as I watched him ignore the water station I thought I'd lose him. As I pathetically attempted to drink from a plastic cup, Danny was off. From here I started to enjoy the race. As you double back it was good to Strider spot: I saw Megan Bell and Carolyn Bray passing ahead of me running well in the heat. The tight corner was a scramble, I took it well and closed in on Danny. The next bit was a blur, I recall a few undulations and bottlenecks, then Danny announced 1k to go. I spent the next 0.5k trying to work out how long it would take to run 1k, until the end was in sight. Danny and I were separated at this point and I wasn’t sure where he was. I put my foot down to run the final stretch, vaguely aware of cheers from Striders and a cheeky high 5 from Adam. Very happy with my time considering the heat.
We filtered through to select the correct goody bag (cheese or ham?) then made our way to the table of black pudding, tripe, pickled onions and beetroot. Striders huddled together under the blistering sun to tell their own tales. Then back to the coach where special thanks go to Kate Macpherson for the cake. As a Blaydon Race virgin, it didn’t fail to be the friendly race I was expecting, with great atmosphere and camaraderie throughout.
|1||Boniface Kiprop K||Kenya||M 19-39||26:22|
|32||Emmily Biwott||Kenya||F 19-39||30:46|
|121||Gareth Pritchard||M 19-39||34:36|
|132||Simon Gardner||M 19-39||34:48|
|264||James Garland||M 19-39||36:19|
|377||Paul Pascoe||M 40-44||38:34|
|402||Graeme Walton||M 40-44||39:03|
|484||Alister Robson||M 40-44||39:54|
|631||Rachel Terry||F 40-44||40:31|
|682||Marco Van Den Bremer-Hornsby||M 45-49||41:06|
|849||Katy Walton||F 19-39||42:22|
|974||Megan Bell||F 19-39||43:20|
|948||Jamie Steel||M 40-44||44:02|
|1354||John Hutchinson||M 55-59||44:04|
|1095||Carolyn Bray||F 19-39||44:20|
|1211||David Brown||M 19-39||44:47|
|1219||Danny Lim||M 19-39||44:49|
|1627||Alan Smith||M 65-69||46:10|
|1719||Lucy Cowton||F 19-39||46:41|
|1710||Bill Ford||M 45-49||46:44|
|1539||Sue Gardham||F 19-39||47:09|
|1799||Greta Jones||F 45-49||47:20|
|1508||Mark Reay||M 19-39||47:21|
|1858||Louise Barrow||F 19-39||47:41|
|1938||Chris Hedley||M 55-59||48:22|
|1962||Katherine Preston||F 40-44||48:25|
|2064||Kathryn Sygrove||F 45-49||49:00|
|1879||Melanie Hudson||F 19-39||49:09|
|1902||Dave Robson||M 60-64||49:20|
|2145||George Nicholson||M 60-64||49:40|
|2152||Victoria Tindale||F 19-39||49:45|
|2176||Sarah Fawcett||F 50-54||49:52|
|2284||Rebecca Fisher||F 19-39||50:30|
|2319||Karen Chalkley||F 50-54||50:58|
|2338||Jim Nicholson||M 65-69||51:02|
|2551||Jill Ford||F 45-49||52:59|
|2569||Kirsty Anderson||F 19-39||53:08|
|2417||Rob Clark||M 19-39||53:10|
|2649||Andy James||M 65-69||53:53|
|2659||Karin Younger||F 50-54||54:02|
|2659||Kate Macpherson||F 40-44||54:02|
|2517||Ann Towers||F 55-59||54:12|
|2707||Angela Proctor||F 19-39||54:28|
|2755||John Greathead||M 19-39||54:50|
|2768||Joanne Porter||F 40-44||55:01|
|2587||Maria Dimova-Cookson||F 45-49||55:24|
|2824||Mike Elliott||M 65-69||55:42|
|2982||Stephen Baxenedale||M 45-49||56:29|
|2726||Peter Bell||M 19-39||57:28|
|3017||Jacquie Robson||F 19-39||57:42|
|3165||Angela Robson||F 40-44||59:41|
|3217||Rebecca Maddison||F 19-39||60:27|
|3215||Margaret Thompson||F 60-64||62:37|
NB: Results sorted into chip time order for GP purposes.
Great Trail Challenge, Keswick, 9th June
As I was in Keswick anyway for the weekend taking part in the Wateraid 200 challenge this seemed an ideal little run to do on the Sunday morning, only 11k at time of entry but with an additional 0.5k added on at some time (take note Steve Cram).
Saturday had consisted of doing a made up 7am parkrun through Fitz Park to get rid of my hangover after a quiet night in Keswick had went slightly wrong, followed by a nice little walk to the top of Scafell Pike, a eat as much as you like Indian buffet accompanied by a small amount of cider and early to bed at 1.30. Awakening on Sunday morning to scorching temperatures there was only one thing for it – feed the runner – so a short walk to the Londis garage was followed by a athletes breakfast of sausage sandwich with a meat and potato pie.
The start itself was only a short walk through Fitz Park from the youth hostel we had been staying in. I arrived at about 9.30 to be met by a field full of fit looking runners and the odd larger shaped fun runner. There were a number of races starting at different times including a 5.5k, 10k, 11.5k and 22k all but the 22k including international races between the home countries.
I was joined at about 10 O’clock by John Wandless, Matthew Crow and John’s cousin Jason. The 22k race was off at 10.15 and those leaders looked quick, I expected to see a few of them fly past me later on their second lap.
Durham Coast Half Marathon, Seaham, 9th June
This was the inaugural Durham Coast Half Marathon heading south from Seaham down to Crimdon Park. A surprisingly scenic run for those like me that had only ever walked the dog at Blackhall Rocks. For most this included a 2mile stretch up and down Hawthorn Dene, unfortunately the first three home apparently omitted this part of the race through no fault of their own. Spare a thought for two of them who had finished on the podium at the Sunderland Half Marathon last month only to find out the full distance had not been covered then either (source: Peterlee Star).
Personally, I would have been quite happy to knock a few metres off the race, but I would have chosen to miss out the steep steps up the side of each dene we passed through. I ran up the first, jogged the next, then walked, then crawled. It was absolutely exhausting. Had I been a little more organised I would have noted these inclines on the map provided and set off at a more sensible pace. As it was I set off at my usual pace, which as usual proved to be too fast. After a couple of miles a peloton of 6 or 7 runners had formed about 50m ahead of me, with the race leaders already out of sight. My aim was to catch them and try to stick with them as long as possible. This proved to be optimistic as they forged ahead, although I managed to catch a couple of stragglers giving me hope. By the time I had scaled the second steep steps this hope hade long faded and I settled down to run my own race.
Company was few and far between with the 200+ runners stretched out along the clifftop. By 9miles I had reached the point where I just wanted it to be over, the inclines having drained all my energy. I was grateful that it was at least an overcast day and not the scorcher that Saturday had been. Small mercies. At this point I was somewhat bemused by a fellow runner having stopped ahead of me to take a phone call. I hoped it was not an emergency, but he helpfully pointed out the route ahead. I felt a little unsure as I reached the top of the sand dunes, and just as I was about to head down on to the beach I was compelled to shout back to him for confirmation. 'No, sorry, I meant down the steps over there' he replied. So off I set to try and retake a runner that had taken the opportunity to pass me, passing the missing marshal as she appeared from the bushes. I managed to catch the guy a couple of times as we worked our way to the finish, but he succeeded in the final push. I must admit feeling a little deflated when the substitute marshal also overtook me.
Still all in all I was pleased at the end, I managed a decent time (1.36) on a tough route, and if I manage a PB at Newton Aycliffe next week this will be why. Obviously the organisation needs a little work, but I can hardly complain I had intended to park up at the finish and get the bus up to the start, but was so badly prepared I got the race upside down and ended up at the start. At least I had time for a quick kip.
Druridge Bay 10K, Northumberland, 26th May
This little race (300 runners) is now in its 7th year, but unfortunately as it clashes with Raby Castle 10k it has never yet received recognition in our reports [Apart from last year. Ed] - so here it is.
I have an appreciation for this event as it was the scene of one of my Greatest Sporting Triumphs, an 8th place back in 2008 (no trophy), so even if it was rubbish I would still be fond of it. It's not; it's a great day out for all the family. Start the day with a gentle(ish) massage before enjoying a 10k run around a scenic country park broken up by a good kilometre or so along the beach. Another free massage afterwards, and an ice cream van on standby, and best of all (this year) a beautiful summers day! So perfect conditions for a picnic by the lake and a kickabout on the beach. Although not particularly cheap, it is non-profit making and your money does go to a worthy cause. The mixed terrain prevents any chance of a PB, but this is a run to enjoy and has a good number of fun-runners doing just so. Perhaps next year you will join us?
Emily Hart Charity Netball Tournament
for Acorns Children's Hospice
Netball, Farringdon School, Sunderland, 1st June
Wonderful support yet again from Striders at the 3rd Emily Hart Charity Netball Tournament in Sunderland. Match Fees revenue was £575 and the tuck-shop & raffle sales amounted to £300, so a fabulous £875 was raised on the day for Acorns Children's Hospice.
The weather was miserable initially, but Hannah Bayman assured the assembled crowd at the introduction that it would soon clear. Clear it did, but it took a little while longer than "soon". However the afternoon was hot and sunny and there were even one or 2 reports of sunburn.
We fielded two Teams: Purple Haze and Ultra Violets, and competed in the MIXED TEAM category. Unfortunately this league comprised of three good teams who play regularly. It also meant we were we unable to continue our friendly rivalry with the BBC (who were in the Back2Netball Category), nor could we play against Denise's Team made up of her workmates from Virgin Media. It did however give us a chance to play against the two Sunderland park run teams - SeafRUNt Smilers and Parkrun Panthers.Games took place at quite a furious pace, Purple Haze had an early baptism of fire against Joses' Magic Army, and an hour later the eagerly awaited 'derby' game commenced - Purple Haze v Ultra Violets. 11 minutes later the crowd were on their feet and it was all over, Haze were the winners of this keenly fought battle.
Both Haze and Violets went onto win their games against the two parkrun teams, and secured places in the Playoffs later in the afternoon. So after playing 7 games each, Haze ended up in 4th place, Violets in 5th place , a good result considering the opposition. [... and considering we hadn't got a clue. Ed.]
As a bit of 'spice' and fun we combined the 2 teams during the lunch break to play a friendly match against the NQT BBC. Despite an early lead, the opposition scored 3 'jammy' goals in the final few minutes and we lost out on this year's bragging rights ;)
Even more sadly during this fun game, Katie Butler suffered a very bad injury and had to be ambulanced into Hospital. Thankfully x-rays did not show any breaks or fracture. Hopefully the swelling has now reduced and the pain eased. Get well soon Katie and we all hope you do not miss out on too much running.
Pippa too, took quite a tumble early on and ended up with cuts and bruising, but her pain was eased by winning the main raffle prize - a Digital TV!
Hopefully none of this puts folk off for next year's tournament, and indeed hopefully many more Striders will feel inclined to join in the 2014 event. Big thanks yet again from Acorns, Anne and I, to everybody who turned up played, supported, and contributed to the Tuck-shop:
ROLL of HONOUR
Purple Haze: Denise Mason, Jean Bradley, Kirsty Anderson, Lindsay Tarn, Pippa Coffer, Rachel Terry, Katie Butler, Ben Ford
Ultra Violets: Alister Robson, Angela Proctor, Bill Ford, Jill Ford, John Greathead, Ros Roberts, Shaun Roberts, Dave Shipman, Scott Robertson, Mike Elliott, Alan Smith
Referee: Jacquie Robson - who worked tirelessly throughout the day - a very hard task carried out superbly well.
Tuck-shop: Anne Nicholson, Jan Young, Zoe Evans, Scott Robertson
Great Fun and some memorable moments, some of which are captured in the pictures (see below).
Last but not least, Big Thanks to the Wearside Wildcats Netball Club for hosting this event so professionally for us. A lot of work went into it's preparation. In particular from Charlotte Waites this year's main organiser, but with back up from Sam Nightingale (nee Brown), Gemma Sandberg, and Suzanne Dawn.
Fabulous Team Effort!
The Yomp Mountain Challenge, Kirkby Stephen, 2nd June
23M / 4,000' (with 11.5M and 6.25M options)
aka Mallerstang Horseshoe & Nine Standards Yomp
Well, what a difference a year makes. A year ago the marshals were freezing on the hills as the wind tore into their tents. This time round it was bright and sunny, and looked as if it could get seriously hot later in the day, though a bit of a breeze up on the fells made it all very pleasant to run in. Last time around, I'd just done the Half-Yomp, whilst Angela and Sue, as well as our visiting young Turk Yusuf, took on the full thing - about time for me to have a go ...
Managed to get over to Kirkby Stephen in time for a nine o'clock start (you choose your own start time, between 8:00 and 10:00), only to see that Angela and John had already set off, as had Paul Evans and Anna Seeley. Off I went, out on the road heading south - before turning off across country, for the long climb up towards the Nab and Wild Boar Fell. The legs felt a tad heavy, and a few small muscles were twinging a bit - something to do with Netball the day before - but within twenty minutes all that had sorted itself out. After three miles or so, Angela and John came into view and we exchanged pleasantries ... they were on a 100%-walking strategy, and they were going to stick to it. Onwards and upward ... bit of a walk, bit of a scuttle, that sort of thing, gaining height ... and Sue Jennings also hove into sight. She was running on her own this time round, and was looking good so far.
Finally it was good to emerge on the flat top of Wild Boar Fell, and I got to the trig point in 1:18. Then a lovely run down to a bit of a 'saddle' before another climb up to Swarth Fell, and some more good running to Swarth Fell Pike. Then there was a bit of a knee-knocking descent to get down to the bottom of the Mallerstang valley. Half-way down was Anna, quads suffering a bit from her 31-mile effort the week before ... a quick few words, down into the valley, and then up again, in a long series of drags with the occasional flatter section, that took us eventually up via the Riggs to High Seat and High Pike Hill. Three hours in, now, as I came to another steep descent to get to the re-joining with the Half-Yomp route at Tailbridge.
So far so good. Felt ok ... the usual mix of normal and caffeinated gels was doing the trick for me ... so now for the mind games. I started thinking of how fast the descent was from the Nine Standards last time, and was it, perhaps, possible to get back to the finish in under four hours? Why do we do this sort of thing?? A good run would still be a good run whether it's just under or over some round number, so why do we torment ourselves with this sort of crap?? Especially, in my circumstances, when I'd inconveniently forgotten the considerable climb to get up to the Nine Standards! Met Dougie and Roberta along here - they'd opted for a sensible walk over the Half-Yomp route, and I didn't blame them - the views were absolutely fantastic in the clear air. So, to the Standards in 3h30, and again, I'm thinking about that round number. It wasn't going to happen, as it seems that a long four-mile hammer down a hill when the quads have done 19 miles is a completely different proposition to doing it after 7! The hard stony bits felt very hard, and the tarmac seemed to go on for ages.
Good to get back into Kirkby Stephen in four hours and five minutes. I was well-pleased with that, as it's a similar distance to Swaledale, but way more boggy, and also with more ascent. Saw Paul at the finish - he come fourth, which was a great performance. Unusually, he looked knackered, but explained that his youngest was keeping him awake at night! Sadly, Angela and John were also there, as they'd had to pull out at Aisgill due to Angela's back giving her problems. Anna came in later on, as did Sue, a good ten minutes faster than her last outing here.
This one is only six days before Swaledale, so I'll have to see how that one pans out (next year I may have a go at the Howgills Marathon that Dave Robson reported on a week ago). But this is an excellent trip out on the hills, as is the shorter Half-Yomp version. Well worth a go, and you can enter on the day ... or not, should the weather be awful.
|1||Patrick Hanna||Howgill Harriers||M||3:13:16|
189 walkers and runners finished, 7 retired.
QE2 Sprint Triathlon, Woodhorn Museum nr Ashington, 2nd June
750m swim, 24K bike, 6k run
A 6am alarm call and I staggered out of bed and headed off to Woodhorn QE2 Country Park with my car looking like I was going away for a month! The pre race briefing announced the great news that the lake temperature had tipped over 14 degrees. 150 swimmers gingerly made their way into the lake and I left it as late as possible to dip my face into the water! I hovered at the back and 750m of swimming later I was helped out of the mud and directed on a 200m run up to transition. 18.5 minutes down and now my worst bit, the getting changed! Somehow it took me over 3 minutes to get the wetsuit off and get off on my bike. The winner took 29 seconds.
The bike ride was a very pleasant 15 miles on quiet roads and more importantly, flat roads. There was no wind and I managed to not get overtaken by too many speedy bikers. It was a very scenic ride and I made it back to transition after 53 minutes of pedalling. Fewer clothes to change this time and so I was off out on the run and a lovely 2 lap 4 miles around the lake.
The usual dreaded cramps did not kick in and I managed to pick off a few runners on the first lap and settled in behind two younger looking blokes in their fancy tri-suits. Half way around the second lap and the prospect of my half melted yorkie in the glove box of my car gave me a final push and I managed to pass a few more leading up to the finish. The announcer welcomed me across the finish line in a pleasing 32 minutes for the 4 mile run. Overall 1 hour 47 minutes and 6 minutes quicker than last year. Yes, I was very near the back but passing a few people on the run is what counts for a Strider yes?
Overall a great event and for anyone fancying giving an open water triathlon a go then I would recommend this event. I will return next year to try to get changed in under 3 minutes...
George Ogle Memorial Race, Swalwell, 29th May
Summer time means trail running and I remember enjoying this race so much last year so was keen to do it again. At 6 miles, it is a decent distance to be a mid-week challenge but short enough to not leave you completely knackered. The cloud that descends over Durham as soon as summertime begins was happily in place, leaving for cool racing conditions. After a quick bag dump, number collection and last minute banana to perk up the blood sugar we headed to the start. Having come 4th last year, I had my sights set on a high finish and probably went off a little too quickly, I prefer to think of this as “embracing my inner child” instead of poor pacing! The beautiful thing about this race is that there is a fast, flat start for around 2 miles and then just as you are getting bored, you are subjected to a rather hilly, section in woodland, with lots of steps upwards followed by flying descents. I find this bit breaks up the middle miles nicely and gives the race variety, as well as making it easier on the legs. The finish is again flat and fast, and if your pacing is like mine, feels like it goes on forever as you draw on whatever is left in your race-weary legs.
Despite a slower finish than I would have liked (probably a typical thought of all runners), I was rewarded with first lady. Alister followed shortly behind me, then Bill, Danny, Richard, Paul, Peter, Louise, Becky and Sue. Once everyone had finished, goody bags were obtained and the collective decision was made that they were of a high standard (Great T-Shirt, Packet of crisps plus all-you-can-eat banana fest- beautiful stuff). We headed into the clubhouse for a beer and thankfully to satisfy my post-race grease cravings in the form of Saltwell cricket club’s finest cheese and ham toastie (I recommend these as much as the race). I was delighted to be the recipient of a large bottle of Belgian beer, £30 worth of Start fitness vouchers and a rather lovely trophy (modelled rather dashingly by Louise on the FB page). All in all, a good evening’s racing. Finally I want to say thanks to Alister for getting me there in my car-less state, he took a lot of convincing to do another race as you can all imagine :-).
|1||Brendan McMillan||Claremont Road Runners||M||1||32.01|
|26||Katherine O'Mahony||Durham City Harriers||F||1||38.39|
Middlesbrough 5K, 2nd June
When Alister posted on the Friday night about this race I like several others this thought this would be a good race to do, cheap, flat and fast for those who were tempted so we met up at the Welly before Katherine kindly drove us down to the Middlesbrough football stadium.
I had spoken to Jason Allison from Crook AC at Durham parkrun on Saturday and he said it was a really good fast course and standing on the start line you could see it was a high calibre field with the likes of Ian Hudspith and several other Morpeth Harriers on the start line this used to freak me out a bit but you soon learn that they disappear within seconds and you just run your own race.
On Saturday I had ran around Durham parkrun then ran home and felt dreadful. I had to stop on the way home so despite some canny times lately I was unsure what to expect. As the gun went off I set off at a hard pace but hopefully something I could sustain. I still felt ok approaching the 2 mile point so it was just a case of hanging on for grim death.
The finish area is great - you actually enter the stadium and run around the track that surrounds the pitch. As I approached the finish I glanced at my watch and noticed that it was still showing 17min so it was a flat out sprint to the finish line. My time was 17:59 one second under the 18 min mark - doing a Megan as I call it.
A shout out to our fellow striders who had great runs , PB's for Paul (his first Sub 20 min 5K by 30 seconds !), Katherine and season bests for Alister and Angela - apologies if I have missed anyone out.
For £8 its a fantastic race: medal, T-shirt, chip-timed and as it starts and finishes at the stadium the facilities are excellent.
Allendale 8, 1st June
I'd placed the Allendale 8 on my "to do" list as I thought it would be a nice challenge having felt I'd settled into the 10k race distance and maybe it was time to try a more undulating course. Geography not being my strongest asset, I was taken aback that it was going to take an hour to get there (according to the sat nav) - still, as the race info offered unrivalled scenery and a decent goodie bag on entry, I decided I couldn't make an excuse and opt out. Leaving Durham in rain, I thought at least that would keep me cool going up and down the bumps. Oh no, to support the Allendale Fair the sun was shining and beaming down over Northumberland.
There was a lovely friendly atmosphere at the start and although I hadn't seen any other Striders at registration (later I did spot Richard Hockin on the results list), everyone was chatty at the start line, and some of the marshals gave me the heads up on when to expect the big hills and where I might need to pace myself! I'm pleased I took their advice and took it gently at the start - it was pretty flat for the first two miles but oh boy did miles 2-6 make up for that! The scenery was pretty special and during the teeth gritting moments I reminded myself there were actually worse ways of spending a morning rather than enjoying the Northumberland countryside. Having said that, I was pretty relieved just after the 6 mile marker to see a Marshall pointing me to the right and two children waving flags and holding up a sign -"Down hill from here; until the BIG HILL at the end".
A very steep mile long descent pushed me to catch up with a couple in front of me and I was determined to stay ahead even for that big, big, big hill. What a way to end the 7.7 miles; that final hill really hurt but all of the marshals cheered and urged me on up and over the finish line and I felt a real sense of achievement and satisfaction in finishing. I would definitely enter again.
Rennsteiglauf 2013, Germany, 25th May
72.7 km / 1950m
It may not be the most famous or the most glamorous ultra marathon in the world, but the "Rennsteiglauf" over the hills of the Thuringian Forest is certainly Europe's biggest, with more than 2000 finishers every year. Despite these numbers, it has kept many traditions and quirks that date back to its East German roots, most famously the "Schleim" (literally: slime, a kind of thick porridge) on offer at the various aid stations.
The start of the race is in Eisenach, birth place of Bach and home of the "Wartburg", which counts Luther and Goethe among its famous residents. We had other things in mind when we assembled on the market square just before 6 in the morning - chief among them if the weather would hold.
When I'd run this race for the first time last year, I felt ill-prepared, and my only objective was to finish what would be my longest run up to then. This year, confident to make it to the end, my goal was to also run fast. Ulrike and I wished each other good luck at the start, and when the church bells rang to mark the start, we were on our way. After a couple of flat kilometers, the course quickly climbs out of Eisenach to join the "Rennsteig", the eponymous hiking trail that we would follow for most of the day. Up to the first check point at km 18, it was a gentle but constant climb. My split time of 1:31 meant that I was almost 25 minutes up on last year's time - clearly, I was running too fast, but it still felt deceptively easy. We reached the first summit of the "Inselberg" at km 25. Having to walk during the steepest sections for the first time, it dawned on me that my early pace might haunt me later. After 3:16, I reached the second checkpoint at km 37, a full 40 minutes up on last year's time. The marathon was passed after 3:45 minutes, and now the going got considerably tougher. I was not being passed by too many runners, but had to walk repeatedly on the steeper sections, and by km 50, I was beginning to feel dizzy - fortunately, the next aid station was not too far away, and I was able to take on much needed carbohydrates (in the form of the aforementioned "Schleim"). At 55 km, my time was 4:56, 43 minutes ahead of last year.
The toughest part of the course was still ahead, the ascent to the "Grosser Beerberg", with temperatures just above freezing and patches of snow on the wayside. Last year, after a slow first half, I had been able to pass many struggling runners on this section, but this time, I was struggling myself. When the summit finally came, I had actually lost one minute compared to the split from the previous year, with 5:57 at 64 km. However, the worst was now over, and as the remainder was mostly downhill, I was beginning to make calculations: my goal of 7 hours seemed safe, and 6:45 a distinct possibility. I picked up the pace again and crossed the line in 6:43, some 44 minutes faster than the previous year, good enough for 80th place out of 1788 (male). Ulrike, unfortunately, struggled with the cold weather this time, but still managed to get 38th out of 369 (female). I have a feeling that this wasn't the last "Rennsteiglauf" for either of us!
Brussels 20k, 26th May
A piece of advice for anyone contemplating running a race in Belgium; prepare to get your elbows out and forget your British manners! Luckily I'd been forewarned of this and sharpened my elbows and practised a French-looking pout especially for the occasion.
I'm quite new to running having got the bug after the running GNR last year, and this was the only other big event I've been to. So, after a horrifically difficult journey across the channel which took a sweaty, cramped and grumpy 16 hours to get there (thank you EuroTunnel) I woke up in Brussels a nervous, doubtful wreck.
There's no way I'll manage this today, I thought, after hardly any sleep, very little food and with storms and wind blowing like mad! But once I got on the Metro, the sight of hundreds of runners of all ages, sizes and fitnesses heading to the start and my mantra 'if they can do it, you can do it' spurred me on. The atmosphere getting to the start was electric. I've never thought of the Belgians as a particularly happy lot but I've since changed my mind! The towering columns of the impressive Cinquantenaire signalled the start of the pens, and as I made my way over there with my friend James we were stopped and interviewed for Brussels TV (just thought I'd drop my five minutes of fame in there...)
In true Belgian style there was neither order nor control over the pens, so despite James' number being 20,000 behind mine, we joined the hordes to clamber forwards and managed to start together not too far from the front. As I was so nervous, I knew I'd start far too quickly and that I'd probably already used up a whole load of energy jumping around in the rain to keep warm! So I consciously held to just over a 5k/mile pace through the business district and kept it strong and steady, trying hard not to get too pushed around by huge men with big elbows... Now I began to understand why I'd seen so few women there!
Raby Castle 10K, 26th May
Mike Elliott ...
Beautiful setting apart from that bloody hill twice.
Did not pre-enter as I was not sure of the weather forecast, if bad, it would have meant that Judy would not be able to move around on the mobility scooter and look after the dog. Anyway on arrival went into the grounds via the signposted route only to be turned round and enter by the normal route to gain access to disabled parking area. Discovered that registration was 1.5k away from the start so off I went with money and form in my grubby little hand to claim my number. Guess that had to do for my first ever warm up.
Back at the car sorted Judy and the dog out and watched several purple patches of Striders doing very fast gyrations to the music before the start. Some great movers, pity no camera available. Did see some little young and older Striders and Durham parkrunners finish the 5k and get their medals. Set off with Capt. Sue who was going to take it easy after returning from being out of fettle and marathons, we parted company on the first hill and I then caught Karen Younger up and ran together. At half way we were spurred on by Anne Nicholson, Jackie Smith and the Chalkeys and the main member of the said family. You have guessed it. The Dog. Thanks folks.
After the second long climb then onto the nice long downhill we checked our Garmins to discover big discrepancies - mine saying 12 min mile pace and Karen's 9.30 pace: unbelievable when the blurb says how accurate they are. Somehow the electronic ether managed to get it sorted.
At the farm 7k we picked a target runner 500m in front to catch 100m before the finish and beat this was done with comparative ease. Why? Cos at the 9k mark the smell of the chocolate covered fairy cake memento at the finish was drifting across the course on a nice cool breeze. Definitely was too much to resist and then it was a sprint to the finish passing several folks alang the road. Oh!!!! that is a different race never mind, they had the pleasure of eating our dust before their cake and we did manage our target, coming in at 63 and 64 respectively with Capt Sue just behind.
Good to see some of our training partners taking part namely Hunwick Harriers, Crook AC and Durham parkrunners.
It was noticed that G N was too busy talking to eat his cake so it was taken off him for seconds.
... and Conrad White:
I was not planning on doing Raby Castle as I had not really registered it was on. At the park run I heard mention of Druridge Bay and Raby Castle. As it happened there was nothing else on the home calendar - the lawn cutting could wait - but did not realize until I got home after running fairly hard at the park run (and also running there and back). I thought I had not raced a 10k for a while and was amazed when the Garmin record said my last 10k was in 2008 and I had to search the internet results and found that I last ran Raby in 2006 (which was before the present web site results)! So I was certain for a personal best for the decade 2010s!
Sunday morning and I was prepared with my entry form and cash - it says the start is 15 minutes from the parking but the entries were only 5 minutes. I arrived early and having registered I went back to my car for a bit of a rest then met up with various Striders on the way to the start. The Sea of Purple was amassing and the kit certainly stands out. There are many who I do not really know in the Striders but the purple kit gets you talking to fellow team members which is absolutely fantastic. It was also good to meet up with Tony Young and Jackie Smith.
The day was bright and not too warm, the course I knew to be "undulating" - nothing to the fell runners in the club but enough challenge for me. My race plan such as it was - do not go off too fast and make sure the first 5k is slower than the average park run time.
Off we went. The course is on tarmac or very good forest trails. By the first km I could see Adam miles ahead (well certainly a few hundred metres - or yards for those of us who know about the old money) in or around the top ten and not far behind was Simon. Graeme had admitted to a bit of socializing at a stag do on Saturday night and was around and about me. I decided to try and stay with or around Graeme. He would pass me going up and I took him going down on the first lap (of two). I went through 5k in just over average park run time - so all was going to plan. He came past at around the 6k mark on the second long climb and I could not catch him again - but he was just that bit ahead and that encouraged me not to slow down. The views from the top as you come over the hill are stunning and I think make the climbs worth while. The downhills are not too severe and allow the legs to open up a bit.
As always at the finish there are cheers of encouragement and groups of Striders - there was even a bit of a photo on a phone.
As I predicted a PB for the 2010s but as it was the one and only so far not too surprising. The second 5k was around a minute slower than the first - so I think the plan worked. Two races (or at least a hard "run" and a race) in two days is not something I have done for years and the legs certainly felt it. You never know I might try another 10k in the not too distant future. One to be recommended for the beautiful scenery, it's not far from home, probably lots of other good reasons and all in all a "cracking race" but not one for a PB.
|17||Tracey Millmore||Birtley AC||F||39.32|
|263||Karen Anne Chalkley||F50||59.13|
UltraTrails26 Howgills marathon, Sedbergh, Cumbria, 26th May
This event was tougher than we expected. We probably should have worked that out after the Grisedale marathon which was organised by the same people (the ones who organise the Lakeland 50/100).
When I looked at the route beforehand I divided it into four quarters. The first quarter we knew was going to be very tough. From Sedbergh we were heading north onto the Howgills. After about 6m of climbing we would reach the Calf and the next quarter looked fine, a descent down into the Bowderdale valley and along there for a while then turn to the east towards Ravenstonedale which was the only checkpoint. Then a bit of a slog south back up the into the hills. The final quarter looked a lovely descent back to Sedbergh.
In reality the first quarter was possibly a bit tougher than I expected. The climbs were steeper and seemed to just keep on going. It was a warm day with a breeze from roughly south. The second quarter was a bit of a surprise, the descent into Bowderdale was a little tricky and the path in the valley itself was narrow and technical. You couldn't take your eyes off the path and it went on for a long time. The terrain in Bowderdale was a bit wet and muddy in places, but it would have been much harder if it had rained more recently. Finally we turned east towards Ravenstonedale, but then turned south and up again for a while before we came to a familiar section which we walked last year. Into the Ravenstonedale checkpoint to fill our bottles which were about empty.
We left Ravenstonedale and slogged our upwards on a deserted narrow road. We could see by now that our original estimates of how long it would us take were slipping away (MelanieLH guessed 5hr30 and I guessed 6hr).
Finally we reached the highest point of the second half and worked out way down into a valley and followed the River Rawthey back to Sedbergh. There were lots more stream crossing here and it certainly wasn't all downhill, there were a few climbs as well. I was dunking my hat into the streams to keep myself cool by now.
The scenery was fantastic and I really enjoyed that last few miles. If you like the Lakeland Trails marathon, then you will certainly like this one.
They gave us a lovely cup of soup at the end of the race, the same butternut squash soup we had at Grisedale, we needed it after 6hr 40mins (so much for our estimates !). The goody bag contained a tee shirt, medal, lots of gels, flapjacks. They also gave us a roadbook which also contained a map of the route. However, we followed the gpx route they supplied which we downloaded on our garmins and the course was signed at most critical places
Carlton Challenge, North Yorks Moors, 15th May
On the sunny evening of 15th May, four Striders set off on a lovely sunny evening to a small fell race on the Cleveland Hills.
Race 'registration' was at the top of the hill (rather strange for a fell race to start at the top of the hill I thought). Jan parked her car amongst the others at the side of the road. A queue was formed near a car where registration was taking place. Bargain at £6!
In true fell race style the 'toilet stop' was to find some shrubbery or discreet side of the hill to relieve yourself pre-race. Approx 100 runners were set off after a brief announcement. First going was through the heather and bracken slightly downhill, soon there was a clear line of runners ahead. The rain earlier in the day made for some slippy conditions and I found the going downhill bit quite tricky over peaty uneven ground, I thought I’d better dig in and speed up though as didn’t want to lose sight of any runners in front of me in case I got lost. (although the map showed quite a simple loop) but there is always the risk of this happening and easily taking a wrong corner, especially when you are concentrating on your footing so much and not taking much notice of what is going on ahead of you.
After a couple of miles of going downhill (and knowing there would be an ‘up’ at somepoint), the route went through a lovely woodsetting. Then we joined the ‘yellow brickroad’, the familiar paving of the Cleveland Way. I could spot plenty of runners dotted out ahead of me. I dug in and managed to close the gap quite well. The views across to Teeside and Roseberry Topping were stunning. Up and up (I’m sure didn’t go down as far as this!) and then finally reached the trig point at the top and could see it was just a short descent to the race finish. Down the 'devil steps', these were tricky and I ended up walking down and lost precious time. First time I ended a race not out of breath.
Good results from other Striders with the ladies team represented by myself Jan and Laura, 6th out of 9 possible places. Jan did splendidly though and came 1st in her age category. Mike also had a good run, also winning his age category, and Laura whom has taken to the fell circuit very well in her short time with the Striders, also had a good one.
Highly recommended and this race would be good for any fell newbies as an easy route and distance not too far.
Edinburgh Marathon, 26th May
After the double disappointment of the Marathon of the North (getting a good for age time for London Marathon then finding the time was reduced by 5 minutes the following day AND the fact it wasn't a full marathon), Edinburgh became my best shot at a race at London next year (as I didn't bother with the ballot). Most people will know I have put a lot of training in, seen minutes fall off all of my race times in the last 12 months and on paper a 3:44 marathon was theoretically possible. Edinburgh is a fantastic flat course for a marathon - it was my first marathon last year (2012) before I joined Striders and at the time I was overjoyed with my 4:18:07 finish. Following the Marathon of the North I asked for some advice from Allan Seheult on how to recover from MOTN and be race fit for knocking another 4 minutes off my marathon time to get the elusive GFA sub 3:45. So with (almost) all of that done, the boys and I set off for Scotland on Friday with the hope that the weather would be suitable (anything but windy) for me to run my 8:30 pace marathon. Looking back, it was a far cry from my target of just sub 10:00 minute miles in the 2012 marathon.
Sunday dawned with the promise of good weather (although thankfully not quite as hot as last year). As I not only had my husband and son in tow, but also my mum and dad (the first time they've come to see me run), I hadn't met up with the other Striders the night before or at the start but to be honest I was feeling pretty nervous, even for me. A facebook page full of good luck messages telling that I could easily get my GFA time only added to my nerves as I started to worry that really I hadn't done quite enough to pull this off.
With an orange number I was in the first starting pen so would follow straight after the elite runners and as we were bunched forward in preparation for the start I was only about 5 metres from the timing mat. Garmin ready, headphones on and with a 3:44 pace band taped to my arm we set off just after 10am. The weather was near perfect, perhaps a little on the warm side but with a gentle breeze that just took the edge off. With the sun in my eyes I set off round Holyrood Park and out of Edinburgh with the first 5 miles just disappearing under my feet. I was aiming to repeat my Disney marathon strategy (slower first 9, faster middle 9, on pace final 8), however the first 5 miles are actually downhill so it was a struggle to keep them slow. I hit 9 miles about 30 seconds ahead of pace. By 9 miles you hit Mussleburgh race course (which is near the finish) so I knew that now came the annoying 8 miles where you run out past Prestonpans and on through Cockenzie and finally onto Longiniddry before you get to turn back. This can be a little disheartening if you don't realise that you will see the front runners on their way back whilst you are still running out ...
Poole parkrun, Poole park, Dorset, 25th May
Down in Dorset for a wedding, I fully expected Alister to ID the local parkrun. And so it was that we arrived at the very pretty Poole Park at 8.30am on a sunny Saturday morning. We parked at totally the wrong end of the park so was able to warm up by walking across it, admiring the picturesque boating lake and very flat terrain. We were expecting a large parkrun but arrived near the start at 8.45am just before the first timers briefing to see only 20 or 30 people milling about. We joined the first timers and were briefed on the route and the swan hazards and and then began to make our way to the start. On looking around, well over 400 people had joined us in the 5 minutes before the start.
On the gun, Alister raced off at speed, aiming for a good time, whereas I hadn't run for 3 weeks due to injury so set off at a gentle jog. It was good to hear all the little groups of parkrun friends catching up about their week and chatting about the weather and the route, which headed out towards the boating lake. After two full laps of the edge of the lake, I was a little surprised to need to do a bit of car dodging as some traffic moved in and out of a car park that was supposedly closed until 10am (I'm not sure the NE parkrun ambassador would be impressed with that happening on his patch. Mind, he was on holiday...). After that, we headed back towards the start and added in a smaller lap of the cricket pitch before hitting the finishing funnel. I felt a little bit out of sorts after such a long running layoff, and I could tell from Alister's face that I looked like I was really not enjoying myself in the warm sunshine, but I was pleased to come through in sub-30 and chuffed with another parkrun finish - still heading slowly but surely for the elusive 100 club T-shirt. Alister enjoyed the route but was a little disappointed with his time - the 11 hour car journey to Dorset the day before can't have helped!
Still, in the right conditions, this is probably a PB course on a good day (but it's possibly a little far to travel if you're not passing that way anyway!). Not sure about the car dodging, but certainly one to visit if you're down there!
Summer Handicap, 22nd May
Well done to everyone who took part in this month's handicap. Sorry for the delay in getting the results to you. 32 finishers and a good few others joining in for a lap made for a great race.
A big thankyou to Jacquie for help with the results, Michael for taking some great photographs and Paul for getting everyone away on time. With such a good turnout and mass finishes at times I hope everyone agrees with their times but if you think I'm wildly out let me know and I'll look into it
The next handicap will be on the 26th June. Remember you can run as many or as few handicaps as you like so please join us next month if you can.
Clive Cookson 10K, Whitley Bay, 22nd May
Several Striders had turned up to Whitley Bay for a spot of PB hunting. There was the promise of a flat and fast course which I was relishing. We were all gathered in the school's computer room, sheltering from the passing rain and winds.
I will still traumatised by what happened at the recent Sunderland 10K. I was stuck behind a crowd of "runners" that decided to walk after 100m. Not going to happen this time! I had a sneaky plan to outflank the people in front and snuck up by the side of the start line. And it worked; for the first minute anyway. I found myself right in front. But I couldn't spot any purple. Then I turned around and saw Alister Robson, Simon Gardener, Bill Ford, Kevin Williams and Ian Spencer all behind me. Not good! I was way too fast and running with the leaders.
It wasn't long before I was passed. But the brief spurt meant that I was a couple of minutes ahead of my PB time. Shame there was another 8K to go! If only I could hang on to it. The twisty tarmac road became a rocky trail that inclined ever so gently upwards. This went on for a mile and it slowed me down. I felt that PB slipping away and I started despairing. But at the 3rd mile, the tarmac road returned and it flattened out again and I was able to catch up. It was a 2 lap route, so it very similar for the second lap though slightly harder for me. As I approached the finish, the sure enough, I could hear the other Striders (led by Alister) bellowing at me. When I did cross the finish line, I was chuffed! 48:31 which was a PB by over a minute for me.
It was a good PB haul for the other Striders too including Simon Gardener (first Strider home [38:46! Ed.]), Louise Barrow and Jill Ford. Apologies, for not mentioning everyone. To top it off, a goody bag containing a technical T-shirt, running diary and peanut butter cookie. A very well spent ££12!
Calderdale Relay, Halifax, 19th May
The Calderdale relay - I didn't know a huge amount about it, other than I had agreed to do it. Well, I was promised good scenery and free food and that generally tempts me.
Most of us (bar Will, Till, Bill, Mike H and Paul E) went down on Saturday and along with Pam went out in the evening for a curry. (Apparently Halifax is famous for its curries, honestly I just thought Halifax was just a branch of bank ... next someone will tell me that there is a small town called Barclays in Sussex that makes a cracking fish pie).
On Sunday morning we woke early (Dave's brother and his wife Lyn had kindly put Dave, Shaun, Nigel, Jan and I up for the night and even provided breakfast which I'm sure everyone appreciated) to get Nigel and Shaun to the start of the first leg in time. We managed to catch up with them a few times where the route intersected with the roads, and cheered them on (in fact most of the day consisted of cheering, for pretty much everyone who ran by, all in all a very good atmosphere).
Jan and I ran the second leg up to Stoodley Pike (that's its name in my head at least) and some hill I now forget the name of. It was a very enjoyable run, plenty of water and mud, which I see as a good thing, some rather spectacular views, and a random lady gave me some jelly babies half way round, small acts of kindness and all that, can't complain! I think it was about 10 miles (not sure how long it took us, I still haven't got round to getting a watch). [1:34:02! Well done! Ed. ] Jan was a fab running partner and we pulled each other round well, I can get ahead a bit on the uphills but she flies down them while I try too hard not to be going down on my backside. I remember something about running like a duck being suggested, ducks obviously being well known for their downhill running style ... though I'm sure it was helpful information. [You can rely on Jan for this sort of thing. Ed. ]
Once finished we got free hot showers (luxury!), changed into clean shoes and clothes (more luxury) and set off to catch up with and support everyone else on their legs. The only people I didn't see on the day was Paul F who I think ran leg 3 with Dave, I'm sure he won't mind but I have eaten his slice of cake. The day finished sometime after 3 with Mike B and Till completing leg 6 (which looked very scenic with canals, blue bell woods and wonderful views, but all paid for by a hill that seemed to take ages even to drive let alone run up!)
We were then able to trade our numbers in for a meal, pie and peas and mint sauce, which I didn't have but everyone else seemed to enjoy. There were also free hot drinks, but no water (which seemed a bit daft, generally people finishing a run don't crave a cup of tea ... or maybe they do, I'm not a tea drinker so I wouldn't know). We headed home soon after that and I hope everyone had a relaxing evening. All that remains is to thank Dave for getting us organised, Nigel for giving me a lift down and back, and Jan for kitting me out with all the equipment, and say well done to everyone who ran, from the looks of it we all got good times!
Shaun Roberts adds:
Many thanks to Dave Shipman for masterminding yet another epic outing to the southern reaches of Yorkshire for this superb relay event. Thanks also to his brother, John, and Lyn, for very hospitable bed and breakfast facilities, and to everyone supporting at many locations round the course ... all much appreciated! As was the excellent curry the night before ...
I recommend a look at Nigel's excellent photographs (link below), which give a good feel for the day, should you be thinking of having a go next year.
Scafell Trail Marathon, Lakes, 19th May
David Catterick ...
The three things I've learned from this race are: don't necessarily believe the organisers description of a race; race recce's are not a waste of time; and finally always check Tripadvisor before booking any hotel!
Having pulled out of the Cateran 55 this year I found myself feeling a bit wimpish but this marathon 'trail' race caught my eye. Starting at Keswick halfway was Scafell Pike before looping back to Keswick for the finish a total 1,800m of ascent. Two weeks before the race Geoff, Sue and Till joined me on a recce of the 'hilly' bit. Good map reading and climbing skills were clearly going to be essential!
I arrived at the hotel near Keswick the afternoon before the race along with my wife pleased at having nabbed the last hotel room (albeit twin beds) in the area, it being the Keswick Mountain Festival weekend. However something just didn't feel quite right at the hotel then the penny dropped, this was a Christian Holiday Fellowship hotel! Now this probably means nothing to most of you but I have childhood memories of going on CHF family holidays with group walking and homemade communal entertainment. The receptionist confirmed my fears that there was to be group singing after the communal evening meal!
As breakfast wasn't until 7.45am I explained a need for an earlier b'fast though disclosed that I had brought my own muesli. At 5pm a cup of milk was delivered to our rather warm room so it would be nicely curdled for the next morning. We took this as a sign that our cover was blown so it was a sharp exit back into Keswick for evening bar meal and no communal singalong before sneaking back at 9pm. Fortunately everyone had retired to bed (twin singles I suspect). Thank The Lord (figuratively) for a travel essential ... the portable electric wine cooler. At least all was not lost.
Next morning it was humid and foggy. 136 runners headed off lead, inevitably, by Ricky Lightfoot. As we climbed higher it was obvious who had GPSs as they soon had posse's around them. Going up was pretty scary in places with some rock climbing and several dislodged big boulders making their way downhill. One fortunately just bounced over someone's head as it appeared over a ridge in the mist. At the summit the next dip site was just passed Esk Hause at a sheep shelter. Visibility was dire and the route was downhill over wet slippery boulders. A woman in front of me did a face-plant cutting her face quite badly.
When all (including the sheep shelter) seemed lost a ghost like figure in an Elvet Striders top appeared through the mist and guided us to the shelter. Turns out it wasn't a spectre but Aaron Gourley. After this it was all downhill until a final climb to Watenlath then through the trees back into Keswick for a warm reception and the biggest Cornish pasty ever. (Thanks Lorna x). Well the race certainly took me out of my comfort zone and perhaps that's what we all need to do sometimes. Time? 6hrs 36mins and 65th. Thanks to Geoff, Sue and Till for their invaluable help and advice.
... and Aaron Gourley:
I spotted this one when I was entering the Hardmoors Osmotherley Marathon back in January. Held in conjunction with the Keswick Mountain Festival, I couldn't resist. My plan had been to camp overnight somewhere near Keswick but the inclement weather made me decide against it, a 4:30am start to drive over to Keswick it was to be. Registration was in Crow Park where the festival was taking place. I watched as the tri-athletes turned up with their stunning array of bikes and kit for their race which also started there. Slightly in awe of them all I almost forgot about my own race and the fact that I had a near two mile hike just to get to the start at Nichol End Marina in Porthinscale. A dash around the lake side got me to the start with about a minute to spare before the mass start at 8:30am. Then we were off.
I started from the back and tried to keep the pace down as we followed the winding lakeside path towards the first climb at Castle Crag. The conditions were perfect for running in the valley but thick cloud blanketed the tops of the mountains at around the 500m mark which I'd hope would lift. The track down this side of the lake to Seathwaite was ideal for running on and I made it to the foot of the valley in no time. The first checkpoint was located just past the farm at the start of the track up to Stockley Bridge. Still plodding at this point the gradient started to increase before the first real climb began up to Styhead Tarn and the second checkpoint at the stretcher box. Reaching Styhead took us into the mist and visibility was severely reduced from here on in. From here I was with quite a big pack of runners as we joined the corridor route up to the summit. However, it soon became apparent that we were no longer on the main route as the path died out and a bottleneck of runners appeared as they tried to scramble up a scree face to get to back on track.
At this point I met up with Jon Steele of Hardmoors notoriety and I was pretty much with him all the way to the summit. 3hrs07mins to the top.
The mist was still really thick and the rocks very damp and slippy so coming off Scafell required full concentration and navigational awareness. A lady in front took a really nasty fall busting her cheek open, and then Jon Steele took a dive about 10 minutes later. The third checkpoint was located at Esk Hause shelter, a cross roads for the many paths that come up from Borrowdale and Langdale. This is a place I know really well so was running with confidence as to its location. At this point I'd been joined by Dave Catterick who'd spotted me in my Striders vest, but I'm not sure if he or the many others were confident that I was leading them to the checkpoint. I was, and eventually it appeared out of the mist to my relief. Back to Styhead for the fourth checkpoint where the girl I was running with found out she was third placed lady and with that seemed to hit the turbo button and was off. The descent back to Seathwaite took its toll on my legs and by the time I'd made it off the mountain my legs were like jelly. Dave had caught me up again at this point as we checked in. I went off to the toilet as he pressed on.
From here we followed the Allerdale Ramble down the otherside of the valley and I'd expected it to be relatively easy running back to Keswick as it had been in the first half. I couldn't have got it more wrong and the track sapped my energy. A killer hill leading up to Watendlath beat me up and so many people passed me at this point I was beginning to feel a little demoralised. After about a mile of steep climbing it eventually leveled off and headed back down towards the final checkpoint where the lady who had taken a nasty fall on the summit passed me, bandaged and bloodied but pressing on regardless.
The final stretch to Keswick was flat and as I rolled in towards the finish the crowds clapped and cheered. A great feeling after a very tough race finishing in 80th place in 6hr55mins.
Brathay Marathon, Windermere, 19th May
As a relatively new member to the striders, I am still finding my feet in the world of running and this race was my very first marathon (baptism by fire). Not sure if this was the best choice for my first, but the chance to run such a beautiful course won me over.
The race Starts/finishes at Brathay Hall, a very nice large hotel in extensive grounds overlooking Lake Windermere itself. With heavy rain the day before, I was happy to see the weather change for the better on race day. With almost perfect running conditions I got the chance to wear my new Striders running vest for the very first time. I joined up with some fellow Striders before the race and got some last min race tips from Dave.
The facilities were ideal, with ample toilets (very important), changing facilities and various stalls set up for the fun day held at the same time. Parking was well organised despite the boggy ground and the race organiser were all very friendly. The race begins with a slow procession led by a brass band down the main road where the race starts, a very good idea and adds to the build up and excitement. The 10 in 10 runners had already set off before the main race, this being their 10th and last marathon in 10 consecutive days. Yep, you read that right; they run this marathon every day for ten days in a row round one of the hardest courses in the UK. These people are truly outstanding athletes; I passed a few of the 10 in 10 runners on the way round and gave as much support as possible. This really adds something to the race experience and helps keep you going.
My build up for the race had been good, with same fast half marathon results and injury free being the main one. Being new to marathon running I got great advice from Striders during the last few months. I also found the weekly pod cast; marathon talk, to be of great help. I gave myself a 4/5 month training build up and aimed to do 60+ miles a week. In the end I found this impossible to do, I just found it too hard finding the time to fit 4/5 runs in a week and only hit 50 miles a few times. I still hit the start line feeling good and was ready for my first marathon.
The bang went and the race began, I was a good way off the start line but still had lots of room at the start to get up to race pace with ease. I had a rough aim of 7 min miles for the first half and decided to check my watch at each mile marker. The first 4/5 miles is on closed off traffic free roads towards Hawkshead where I was stopping over the weekend with my better half. I felt very good over these first few miles with my mile times hitting 6:45 min miles. I knew this was too fast and should slow down, but on I went. I charged down a large hill towards Hawkshead to see Kathleen and our pet dog cheering me on as I waved like a mad man. Felt great and pushed on past the lead female runner and settled on the back of a group for the next few miles.
|1||Marcus Scotney||Howgill Harriers||M||1||2:38:50|
Etape Caledonia, Pitlochry, 12th May
Yes, it's true, in case you're wondering. The Etape Caledonia is indeed a walk in the park compared to the Etape Pennines. That's not to say it's easy, it's just not as hard or as brutal as the Pennines.
We were staying about a mile from the Start. 'Downstream' unfortunately, which meant that I wasn't sure how early to get out of bed and make my way along to the Start. The instructions suggested 'at least an hour', which meant there was potentially a lot of hanging around time shivering in a Pitlochry dawn waiting for my time to go. In the end I could have left things much later and found the pavements pretty clear even with the early starters already well on the way. I turned up with almost an hour to spare and settled down to wait. This was a very smooth operation; some wifie on a big chair they'd borrowed from Wimbledon was barking instructions to riders, while boards were held up indicating which wave should be where. I was in wave AA and not for the first time I wondered whether I was the only person in the universe who didn't make something up for their estimated finish time. Looking at some of the generously clad riders who shuffled past in the early waves I did suspect I'd be seeing them again before the finish. Finally it was wave AA's time to go! The final wave! I clunked into my pedals and felt a tingle of excitement as we followed the 4000+ riders north out of Pitlochry.
I'd expected to be frustrated by rider congestion but it wasn't that bad. I'd sit on a wheel for a while, rest, then bridge the gap to the next group. I tried working with riders but nobody was playing. Time and time again I'd follow a wheel, and when the rider peeled away I'd take a session, then move aside to discover they were not in my slipstream. It was a bit frustrating although I did catch the wheels of riders 298 & 299 for a few miles and belted along in their slipstream until Tummel Bridge where I had to let go. Shortly after a rider alerted me that my reading glasses had dropped out my pocket and I decided that the responsible thing would be to go back for them in case they went through a tyre. I pulled over, turned round, faced back down the narrow single-track road at the steady stream of cyclists coming the other way, and thought, nah, the glasses are staying where they are. They'll go nicely with the tacks and screws.
Approaching a feeding station a marshal with a megaphone bellowed clearly, "Feeding to the left; straight through on the right", which apparently means, stop anywhere and wander about chatting to your mates. Having tetchily negotiated the obstacle course I settled in with a loose bunch and felt eyes upon my bike. A voice said with a hint of incredulity, "Are they tubulars?!". Not sure whether to be proud or embarrassed, I said they were, the same ones that had done the Pennines, although they've roughed it up and down to Gateshead a few times since then. I was given a run-down of the course and the upcoming Schehallion, of which I was a little apprehensive, and then it started to rain.
I'd tried to go for a time in the Green Jersey timed section but had been thwarted by people riding four abreast and talking about last night's telly, but I was up for the King of the Mountains. Schehallion. The red mats appeared and I put the foot down. A minute or so later it occurred to me that I had absolutely no idea how long Schehallion was. 1 mile? 3, 5? Perhaps I should've done some homework. I tried to pace my effort on where I imagined the finish might be, which in the end came sooner than I expected. Well if that was The Hill, it could have been far worse. A nice fast descent now, although not too fast as it was raining quite heavily now and I wasn't riding on the grippiest tyres in the world.
On and off solo riding until about 20 miles to go when two riders passed who were clearly working together. I thought, I'm having some of that and leapt on the wheel. Initially I let the working rider in front of me, but after a bit of non-verbal communication I made it clear I was willing to do my bit. They looked at me and the bike and presumably decided to risk letting me mix in and help out, and then followed an absolutely fantastic 5 miles or so of fast riding. It was good old fashioned close-formation chain-gang stuff and we overtook other riders as if they were standing still. I knew I couldn't keep it up but I intended to work with these guys and beat the clock as long as I could. We charged through a feeding station and during one of my spells at the front I looked ahead and was sure I could see someone driving a Chaise Longue. Sure enough, it was Durham Tri's Ian Mackenzie, more commonly seen with Allan Seheult trackside on Wednesdays, riding on a recumbent. I managed to shout a few words of encouragement as we flew past at a speed I knew was unsustainable. Another mile or two and I was burnt out. I thanked my chain gang for the lift and took my foot of the throttle.
The final big climb was a cheeky little number in the last 10 miles to Pitlochry. I was pretty tired but encouraged to see my name splashed on the road as I hit the last hill. Soon we were in the outskirts of Pitlochry and a spectator shouted, "800 metres to go. If you've anything left, give it all NOW!". I got very excited. I had something left, and I gave it all! Sadly with 600 metres still to go we turned a corner and there was a long drag to the finish and the waiting crowd. I'd given my all and it had all gone. I was knackered and feeling slightly foolish as I slowed down for a rest at the very time I should have been sprinting for home. But the line came quickly enough and the race was over. As I crossed the line I heard the commentator say that there were just under 1000 riders still to finish. Given that I started in the 27th and final wave I reckon I must've passed most of those in the last 5 hours. I thought it was busy.
Overall compared to the Pennines I'd have to say I prefer the Caledonia course. The hills are gentler so it's possible to get into some sort of rhythm, and you can fly down the descents without having to touch the brakes every few seconds. Despite the 4000+ field there was rarely a problem with congestion, although next year I'm going to get into an earlier wave and see if I can sit on a few more wheels.
Snods 6, Snods Edge, 15th May
Rubbish. Utterly useless. Sadly, Elvet Striders performances at Snods Edge were truly awful. This is the quiz I'm talking about. Failing to name the "lithuated lemon drink invented in 1929", for example cost us dearly ('Seven-Up') ... as did failing to actually get right answers such as 'Anastasia' onto the quiz paper, though I blame a certain Dutchman for that one ...
The race, you ask? Well, let's get me out of the way first. I had a good fast start, legged it out of the big dip, and felt Simon breathing on my shoulder. Managed to stretch ahead, and kept in front of him for a surprisingly long time, and went through 5K in 20:45 or so ... so far so good. Then just as we went off the tarmac section he went past, and I wasn't to see much of him again. Then I had another battle with a 'PB Fitness' runner, and he kept me honest till the finish, so I ended up pushing quite hard the whole way, and was well-pleased to get round in 43 minutes plus the small change.
Meanwhile ... at the sharp end, Will had won the race, after coming in second twice, I think, in previous attempts. Tom came in third, confirming how well he's going at the moment, and Simon had overtaken a couple more to come in eighth. If our good friends and hosts the Bounders had been keeping track of team entries, I reckon we'd have been a shoe-in for the team prize. It is even dimly possible that my eleventh position might have qualified for a gadgie prize, had there been one, but more likely one of those young fit lads at the front will have turned out to be 59. One day ...
For our ladies, Carolyn, Jules and Rachel all had good runs, and with the largest number of entries from any team, we were well-represented throughout the field.
After the race, the usual festivities in the village hall were a good crack. Excellent bottled beers, a superb spread of food: curries, pizzas, pies, token salad ... and a fine selection of puddings (thanks for yours, Lydia!), of which special mention goes to the carrot cake. Then the above-mentioned quiz, of which enough said, and the raffle, which we were seriously unlucky in, the notable exception being Carolyn who scooped a fine red hat with a bottle of wine inside.
So ... many thanks to Blackhill Bounders for another splendid and well-organised evening! We'll be back ...
Sara Sarginson took some excellent photographs catching quite a few Striders in a good mood at a gate ... more at link below:
|13||Cate Clarke||PB Fitness||F||44:21|
|35||Marco Van Den Bremer||M||49:07|
Woodhorn Museum 10K, Nr Ashington, 14th May
Following my spur of the moment run at Les Allcorn memorial 10k in Alnwick, Alister, Melanie, Dave and I entered the Woodhorn Museum 10k after Alister persuaded the organisers to re-open the entries. The event was organised by VO2 Max (who mainly do tri) and was held at the Woodhorn museum in Ashington.
The event promised to be fast and flat with chip timing. We were all a little surprised to see the requirement for photo id to collect our race numbers but apparently this is common for Tri events. With an 18:45 start we needed a sharp pick up from Durham (thanks to Bill and his trusty Clio for getting us there with 15 minutes to spare).
After a race briefing by the organiser (again apparently very Tri) we set off on with the sun in our eyes and a very gentle breeze blowing. Alister borrowed Bill's "straight from stores" sunglasses after carelessly forgetting his own.
Seeing as I had only entered in the promise of fast, flat, PB potential, I set off working out that I needed to run 7:30 minute miles to beat my previous PB from Blyth last month. The course started by the museum car park before heading onto the trail for two laps of the wood then a run round the lake before finishing at the edge of the car park.
Bill and I, as usual, set off too fast. My watch said 6:30 and Bill said it was quite amusing to see me do a double take of my Garmin and slow down to something more appropriate! Bill of course kept on at that pace. The laps of the wood had two slight hills (and obviously the associated down hills) and after clocking 7:27 for my first mile I found the slight hills a bit much and clocked in 7:40 for the second and third. On my second lap of the wood I managed to slowly pick off people in front of me (with Bill just in sight, Alister long gone after he foolishly went off with some really fast people he knew). A man with many tattoos over took me but then practically stopped so I overtook him back and this effectively carried on until the end of the race.
After the second lap we turned back to run around the lake which was really pretty in the evening sunshine. I picked off a few more club runners (all grunted in disappointment to be chicked) whilst on the track round the top of the lake. With my Garmin saying 6 miles we turned onto a grassy stretch but the finish was no where to be seen. Tattoo man managed to get past us again as I started to look longingly at the seconds ticking by on my Garmin. I went through 6 miles in just over 45 minutes so a PB was theoretically possible but ..... I kept running, 6.2 miles, 6.3 miles still no sign of the finish! Finally we came off the grassy bit onto a track at the top of the car park with a sharp right hand bend .... At least I could see the finish now but it was still a ways to go!! A timely shout from Alister and Bill (don't let him catch you, sprint for the finish) and I did, (much to the disappointment of the man behind me!) and finally at 6.4 miles I crossed the finish in 47:40. Not a PB and a mini sulk from me as I had set my heart on it.
We saw Melanie and Dave in and then headed back so I could relieve my babysitter. It was only after I got home I found that I was 8th lady and fastest WV35. There is a nice trophy waiting for me that I just have to collect now!
This was a lovely event, if a bit long (officially 10.4K)! The course was beautiful and it was very well organised I had heard Tri events were super friendly and we were certainly made to feel very welcome so I would recommend a trip out to this event again. Alister thinks it will make a lovely parkrun course so watch this space!
Pier to Pier Race, Sunderland, 12th May
Finally, I'd managed to make it (first timer!) to the extra extra extra long start line of the Pier to Pier Race in South Shields. The beach line up was dotted with plenty of purple vests - the usual good Strider turnout for this Grand Prix race. It was a great day for racing, bright and slightly breezy. I got pretty chilly at the start but soon warmed up once I'd made my first bad choice in direction over the left hand sand bank; my footsteps sank deep into the sand whilst those on the right strode along the surface of the wetter, firmer terrain. Time to start paying attention to the many choices in direction that would be ahead of me! I tried to take the racing line from then on and the race became not only beautiful but good fun too! It flew over, I really enjoyed it and I got a Mars bar and a bag of crisps followed up by a carvery sandwich at the Harbour View in Roker.
What more could a girl want!
Anita Dunseith took lots of good photographs ... more at link below:
|1||JENKIN, Dan||Durham City Harriers||M||0:37:04|
|50||CUTTER, Vanessa||Gateshead Harriers||F||0:44:57|
|580||EVANS, Barrie John||MV60-69||1:03:43|
|625||FARNSWORTH, Christine Anne||FV60-69||1:05:27|