Race Reports, August 2007

Durham Summer XC Relays, 29th August

Colin Blackburn

The Durham City Harriers Summer Relays are a fast flat blast around the Maiden Castle sports fields with teams of three running 3km legs. This year the event was blessed with great weather and Striders managed to get three full teams out. Tom, Mike and I made up one of the two men's teams, Jan, Dave R and Alan Smith making up the other. Karen drafted in Debs and Roz for the women's team.

Karen Elliott adds...

Just to update you on the relays. The women's vet team of Roz, Debs & I won the women's vet team prize. In addition, I won the fastest female vet & Tom Reeves bagged a spot prize — a bottle of wine. The Harrier's A team Dan, Gareth & Shaun won the overall event — flying round the course in an amazing time of approx 28 mins! A big thanks to Roz, Jan and Debs for taking part, Jan decided to run with the guys and put in a good performance!

Next year perhaps we could enter more teams?


1 27:31 DCH 'A' Dan Garbutt 9:32 Gareth lloyd 9:14 Shaun Moralee 8:45
17 34:39 Colin Blackburn 12:00 Tom Reeves 11:22 Mike Bennett 11:17
24 39:08 Debs Goddard 13:25 Roz Layton 12:52 Karen Elliott 12:51
26 41:36 Jan Young 13:53 Dave Robson 13:46 Alan Smith 13:57

28 complete teams

Spofforth Gala Trail Race 10K, Harrogate, 27th August

Dave Robson

They said it was a rough trail race and they were right. We started off on a field which had cows in it so there was lots of hidden holes and other things that you get in a field full of cows. No discernible path on this section, then on to a slightly uphill track full of potholes. Then south on a slightly smoother tracker which rose a bit more. After a while we had a short section on road before another relatively smooth track. This was followed by a narrow loose gravel path, another field, then a narrow, loose stone and rocky path, more fields with no path which was boggy in one place, then back onto the potholed track which was mainly downhill to the finish. It was good fun, but I found it impossible to go fast except in the last 2K. As I had been taking it easy and watching every step (you had to if you wanted to avoid a twisted ankle), I felt very fresh at the end so I just let go in the last 2K. The race started and finished from the Spofforth Gala was possible to get food and drink afterwards. A warm day, but the sun went in soon after we started. Medal, box of ten Yorkshire tea bags and voucher to all finishers.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Darran Bilton Leeds City AC MV40 1 31:30
127 Dave Robson MV50 2 50:12

247 finishers

Weardale Show XC, St John's Chapel, 25th August

Colin Blackburn

Weardale Show is one of the smaller shows in Weardale tucked away high in the dale at St John's Chapel. It's a traditional agricultural show, though without the usual livestock this year due to the recent F&M outbreak down south. Among the attractions were a very scary scarecrow competition, Cyril the Squirrel and his Racing Terriers, and a nice little cross country race. There were about 15 competitors at this year's race including juniors. Once I'd noticed that Will Horsley had picked this one over the Bellingham Show fell race I knew who the winner was going to be.

The race is just over 3km on a mix of roads, tracks and fields. The course leaves the showground along a road down to the river. After a footbridge there's a single sharp climb making up the first half of the race. This is followed by a steady road descent and a flattish field run. The race finishes after recrossing the river and following the road back into the showground.

The winners in each category were awarded unfeasibly large trophies and cash prizes.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Will Horsley 1 13:51
3 Colin Blackburn Senior M 1 16:45
7 Dave Robson Senior M 5 18:32

15 finishers

Robin Hood 10K, 20th August

Dave Robson

A cold August evening. A complicated route, but to keep it simple it was two long laps followed by a short one. There was a crossing point where runners were coming across you and you had to time it right. There were also sections where runners were coming towards you and also points where you merged with faster runners. I also got stung by something and a few other runners were as well. Not a flat course - it had a few short sharp climbs. Mike, Alan and Ann ran. A mug, fruit and a lollipop (of course) to all finishers.

A sting in the tail by Alan Purvis

The Robin Rood 10K (Aug 20) was a new event having switched from the roads of Jarrow and Hebburn to an off-road venue in Primrose between Jarrow and South Shields. The race is sponsored by the Robin Hood public house which is situated about eight miles into the Great North Run route. The pub was advertised as the race headquarters but a glance into the bar revealed only dedicated Monday evening drinkers rather than runners.

The true headquarters were three white tents, pitched on a field nearby, for use as registration and changing accommodation. The organisers neatly avoided producing an entry form by simply taking details over the counter.

Despite the first-time status of the race most of the regular die-hards were in evidence. The course consisted of two four-kilometre laps and one two-kilometre lap. It made full use of the valley of the River Don with plenty of short ups and downs along tarmac paths and grassy bits.

Four Striders took part - Mike Bennett, Dave Robson, Alan Purvis and Ann Rush - and pretty much ran to expectations considering the twisting and turning course.

Several runners reported being stung by wasps including the author of this piece! I was told at the finish, "There's some vinegar over there" which wasn't much comfort as the last time I was stung it put me into A+E to reduce severe facial swelling! Luckily on this occasion the swelling was confined to my arm although it did last three days!. I was told that wasps home in on the carbon dioxide breathed out by a potential destroyer of their nest. There was obviously plenty of CO2 around at the tail of this race!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Stewy Bell Chester-Le-Street & Dist AC V40 1 33:43
21 Angela Hibbs Claremont RR L 1 40:29
31 Michael Bennett V50 2 41:48
112 Dave Robson V55 9 49:58
149 Alan Purvis V65 6 58:18
159 Ann Rush L45 6 1:02:07

171 finishers

Team Results

Pos Club Points
1 Jarrow & Hebburn AC 27
10 Elvet Striders 188

12 men's teams counted

Elswick Cup, 15th August

Dave Robson

Those of you who have done the Town Moor Memorial 10K race at Exhibition Park in November will know that it is a flat fast two lap course. This 5K race was just one lap, but in the opposite direction. It was a sunny evening, but too warm. The race attracted 250 runners and was good fun.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Ryan McLeod Elswick Harriers 15:01
171 Dave Robson V55 6 23:09

250 finishers

Darlington 10K, 12th August

Shaun Roberts

Lots of rain overnight before this one, but it dried up well before the start and was quite warm by the time we were halfway round. A record entry this year, apparently, and the starter must have been in a hurry to get us all underway as by my reckoning we were off 3 minutes early. A few latecomers must have been left at the urinals wondering what was going on. (The ladies would never leave it that late, would they ... ?) We were a bit slow getting going, as it was all a bit tight in Bondgate. After that it was quite good going - pretty flat, certainly "undulating" is as much as could say about the few gradients. This was my first go at this one, and I quite liked the course.

Fiona and Steve had 4 out of their 5 family members out running (is this a Striders record?), and Fiona had a great run, winning her age group and getting under 40 minutes. Perhaps one day I'll do the same - Fiona agreed a bit too readily when I said I might have a chance if I lost a couple of stone ... ;-) Steve thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the course. Alan Smith had a good run, as did Dave Robson despite his efforts the day earlier in Sedgefield, the option most of the Strider Ladies seem to have taken. Good to see Joe Thornton out racing again, and Jim Nicholson, Alan Purvis and Mike Elliott all seemed to finish very strongly. The finish along High Row was quite good for an eyeballs-out sprint finish in fact. Well done to you too Greta, just keeping the right side of the hour mark!

Honourable mentions go to Alan Rowell (40:47), who was distinctly unchuffed with his run, and also to Robert Lindsay (40:58), and Rosie Lindsay, who finished as fifth girl in a staggering 14:57! (She was in the Junior 3K, it has to be said ...)


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Martin Scaife North Yorkshire Moors AC 31:07
36 Claire Robson Teesdale AC F 36:57
94 Fiona Shenton F45 39:55
142 Shaun Roberts M50 42:11
198 Steven Lindsay M50 43:44
382 Alan Smith M60 48:44
432 Dave Robson M55 49:57
551 Joe Thornton M55 53:19
652 Jim Nicholson M60 56:13
670 Alan Purvis M65 56:50
747 Mike Elliott M60 59:01
776 Greta Jones F40 59:54

941 finishers

Sedgefield Serpentine Race, 11th August

Dave Robson

A new multi-terrain 6.5m race which started and finished from the Sedgefield show. The race attracted nine Striders out of a field of sixty two finishers. The race started with a loop round the show field (fortunately we didn't have to do the jumps) and then out across a grassy field - no obvious path, just a few bits of tape every now and then. The route only had a few gentle rises and was attractive but it was quite warm day, so running wasn't easy. First male Strider home was Geoff (running as a Harrier) and first female Strider was Sue.

Congratulations to Wendy and Jan who won prizes in their age categories


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Mark Smith Gateshead Harriers M40 41.21
11 Julia Atkinson Newton Aycliffe AC F 51.24
29 Dave Robson M55 56.41
35 Sue Pearson F 59.50
38 Jane Nathan F40 60.21
39 Jan Young F50 60.55
42 Jean Bradley F50 61.55
47 Louise Billcliffe F40 64.21
53 Wendy Rowell F55 66.21
57 Jill Hall F45 72.25

62 finishers