Race Reports, July 2007

James Herriot Country Trail Run, Castle Bolton, Wensleydale, 29th July

Shaun Roberts

Warm sunny weather at Castle Bolton, but helpfully with a good stiff breeze. A much bigger field than the previous year and close to 300 lined up at the start. The race gets most of the climbing done right at the start, as the route heads up the hill to the north, so we were all well warmed up as we headed into the breeze along a nice flattish stretch of bridleway. One more hill to come - most walked this one - and two nice long downhill bits, before the long run-in through fields back down in the valley. Despite all the recent rains, the course had very few boggy bits, and was very firm for the most part, so I was glad to have ended up running in my road shoes, especially for the fast downhill sections.

I was pleased to come in a tad faster than last year, and Dave said he enjoyed the route, though he suffered a bit in the heat and from the previous evening in the Bolton Arms. Barrie did well despite the knee problem, and Christine had a very good run, as did Alan Purvis. Good runs, too, for ex-Striders Stewart Gardner (70:16) and Charlotte Roberts (84:16), recently moved into Wensleydale.

The pint afterwards sitting outside the Bolton Arms was particularly welcome, as was the excellent lunch - nice to actually get outside in the sun for once!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Gary Dunn Thirsk & Sowerby 53:24
11 Sarah Tunstall York Acorn RC F 59:36
94 Shaun Roberts V50 71:41
250 David Shipman V50 95:14
261 Christine Farnsworth FV55 97:15
262 Barrie Evans V60 97:23
271 Alan Purvis V60 102:46

285 finishers

Coastal Run, 15th July

Dave Robson

There was a good turn out of Striders for this popular run. Some of us left home early (some said too early) and others left it very late for a 10.30 start [John Metson! Ed.]. It was an unusually warm morning (for this summer !) and everybody was covering themselves liberally with sun tan cream. The tide was almost out when we started and initially the usual route was taken close to the sea. Since I did the run two years ago they have put in an extra water station at Newton which was very welcome. Shortly after Craster, there was a kissing gate which meant that by the time I got there we had to queue for two minutes to get through. The route was close the sea most of the time and scenery is just unbeatable. The finish was along the very, very long beach at Alnmouth and Mike Bennett and Jane Nathan were the first Striders home. Shortly after the finish the sky clouded over and this summer returned to its normal state.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 KIRKLAND, David Alnwick Harriers 1:18:06
26 GREEN, Amy Keighley & Craven F 1:28:20
88 BENNETT, Michael M50 1:36:44
170 FAHEY, Peter M50 1:43:06
186 ROBERTS, Shaun M50 1:43:50
293 METSON, John M50 1:50:09
389 SMITH, Alan M60 1:56:42
391 FAHEY, Michael M45 1:56:56
421 NATHAN, Jane F40 1:58:34
431 ROBSON, Dave M55 1:59:01
467 HUTCHINSON, John M50 2:01:49
529 COFFIELD, Mary F50 2:06:14
607 BRADLEY, Jean F50 2:11:30
694 COFFIELD, Frank M60 2:20:39
695 McDERMOTT, Linda F60 2:20:40
711 PURVIS, Alan M65 2:23:11
741 GIBSON, Mary F55 2:27:55
756 NICHOLSON, Jim M60 2:30:41
794 GRAY, Jennifer F 2:56:18

800 finishers

29th Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon, High Street, 7th July

Colin Blackburn

Several Striders took part in this year's Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon which took place between Ullswater and Haweswater. For Nigel, Graham and Tom it was their first time while Stewart, Charlotte and I had run it a few times before. Nigel and Graham decided to start with the shortest runners' course to test the water. Tom, on the other hand, was thrown in at the deep end with the second longest pair's course. Everyone survived a mixed weekend of rain and shine. The results are down below the articles from Tom and Graham. The course distances are straight lines between controls, we all ran, walked, and occasionally crawled, much further than that.

Graham Daglish

It started off, as most things do, as a good idea in the pub in February. With Nigel and I thinking July , with lots of daylight, warm and dry weather it would be a great opportunity to try our hand at a mountain marathon.

As the day of the event drew nearer the weather conditions became more monsoon like. We headed off to the Lakes in Nigel's campervan with a degree of trepidation. At the Friday night camp we dined at the world famous Wilfs mobile cafe and in the company of hundreds of other mountain marathoners felt like we were not that crazy after all.

Saturday dawned overcast but with patches of blue sky. We made our way to the start area and were given our co-ordinates with which we were able to mark up the control points on our map. Then it was off into the hills to find those elusive checkpoints.

Nigel and I had a good first day. We managed to find all of our check points and made it to the midpoint campsite by one o'clock. Pitched our tent and set about replenishing our energy levels with exotic meals such as couscous, dried seaweed and pickled Chinese vegetables. As we sat and cooked various meals and drinks we watched the campsite gradually fill with runners and tents. Beer went on sale at 2 o'clock and and milk and soft drinks at 3 o'clock. Wilfs caterers got their priorities right on that one.

The results sheets were taped to the back of a van and to our surprise we were 36th out of our class on the first day. This gave us a bit of incentive on the second day to try and improve on our position. We had (sensibly) decided as it was a first mountain marathon for both of us to enter the event on the runners level just above the walkers.

The sun shone all the rest of Saturday and we were able to dry out all of the clothing that was soaked during the days running. The sunshine also made the campsite into a sort of runners festival village. Everywhere you looked there were groups of people laid out on the grass and chatting.

Sunday called for an early start. No need to set our alarm because the noise from the banging doors on the portaloos woke us up at 5:45. After a leisurely breakfast the tent was packed away and we were ready to run with the rest of the mass start at 8:05.

The second day was a shorter (but steeper, both up and down) course but this time because of the good weather we were treated to some superb views. The check points came quickly and easily and we were soon heading down towards the finish line. After a change of clothes we were back at Wilf's enjoying bean stew, pita bread, cakes and tea. The perfect end to a perfect weekend.

Thanks to:
Colin Blackburn for all his advice and encouragement.
Dave and Val Atkinson for the loan of their tent.
Nigel for the dried seaweed.

Tom Reeves

Some of you may know that earlier this year I sent out an email asking if anyone would like to join me on the Saunders Mountain Marathon. As I had no takers I had given up on this plan and resigned myself to leaving this ambition for another year. Or so I thought. On Thursday two days before the SLMM I got in to work to find a message on the answer machine from Stewart Gardner an occasional runner with the club asking me if I fancied joining him on the SLMM. I thought about it for a couple of seconds rang him and said yes. Stewart gave me a list of items which I was required to carry, the usual stuff waterproofs, torch, whistle etc. He also gave me some advise which thankfully I took note of, in particular bringing a couple of plastic bags to keep your socks dry at the overnight camp and a couple of miniatures of my choice to warm the old cockles (in my case rum).

I headed across to the Lakes on the Saturday morning and on arriving at the starting point (Side Farm in Patterdale) at 7.45am the heavens opened, something which would be a regular occurrence throughout the Saturday. I bumped into Nigel and Graham who'd spent the Friday evening in Nigel's camper van and we discussed tactics i.e. read the map the right way round and don't get lost. Stewart and I were in the Bowfell class which meant a course of 24K. I'd spoken to Geoff and Susan Davis the previous night as I picked up the tent which they'd kindly loaned us (thanks). I told them I reckoned Stewart and myself could get round in between 3 and 4 hours alas this was rather optimistic. I'm sure I noticed a slight smirk on Geoff's face although I could be wrong! The SLMM is basically a fell race with a number of checkpoints which each team must visit in order the route each team takes to get to each checkpoint is entirely up to them. On day one we had 9 checkpoints, I'd assumed they would be relatively easy to spot alas I was sadly mistaken. Stewart did say they were pretty difficult to spot being basically a piece of canvas about 12" square. We found the first checkpoint pretty quickly unfortunately we overshot the second which I think was basically down to the distraction of a rather nice lycra clad bottom (a ladies). We lost a few minutes but I was still optimistic, then the heavens opened again and off we trotted across a bog. Getting to the third checkpoint was hell. We had to contend with bracken, mud, very steep hills and more rain indeed at one point we were walking up a stream. I recalled my prediction of 3 to 4 hours as we reached checkpoint 4 or maybe 5 when the 4 hour mark had come and gone. Stewart was still going strong but I'm afraid I was getting just a tad miserable, sorry Stewart. The back of my head was getting battered by my oversize rucksack every time we attempted to run, and on top of this I was rapidly developing trenchfoot and we were only half way!!!

Checkpoint 6 was described as a knoll which we duly missed and had to head back to we had a discussion about the finer points of what constituted a knoll as did a number of other pairs, we later found out. Anyway the plod to checkpoint 7 was my lowest point of the day, yet more bracken, more bog, more streams to wade through and more HILLS. I was knackered!! The final leg saw the sun come out for what seemed the first time all day and the ground although still a bog was at least flat enough to run or should I say shuffle on. We finally got into the overnight camp 8 hours and 20 minutes after we started. I was miserable to say the least however my misery deepened on the discovery that all the beer had been sold out arrr!

Nigel and Graham god bless them had bought extra cans of beer for us and even put our tent up what can I say? My tears of pain were replaced by tears of gratitude. I would have kissed them both but I was afraid they might enjoy that too much!. Thanks lads. Colin popped over for a gossip, he and his partner were doing very well in their class being placed 10th. Stewart had prepared and absolute feast which I gratefully devoured along with a can of Guinness. We finished off the evening with hot chocolate, mine was laced with rum, lovely.

Day two I was assured by everyone would be easier and wow! it was. The sun was out I had slept well even though the portaloo doors clanged along to the dawn chorus and I felt full of beans. I did wonder if Stewart had laced my pasta with steroids. Thankfully the course for the day allowed us to follow some footpaths which meant hallelujah we could actually run. There were 8 checkpoints several of which were on knolls (I am now an expert on knolls) and we only had minor problems finding a couple of the checkpoints. We got into a bit of a race for a few miles with another pair also in the Bowfell class but they managed to give us the slip at Angle Tarn. It was lovely to be able to run/shuffle and the sun was still out, I even managed to smile at one point. We ran into the finish on day two in 5hours and 52minutes which I think wasn't too bad given the rigours of the previous day. I immediately tucked into a bowl of mixed beans provided to all finishers, and Stewart had leg massage arranged by his other half Charlotte. As for whether I would do the SLMM again? At this moment with my sore blistered feet in a tub of warm water? You know what I probably will, mind you if I do I will (a) train for it and (b) enter the class below which is Kirkfell. I can say it was quite an experience dare I say a "character building experience" Certainly on the first day I have rarely felt so tired on a run, I think it was tougher than any other race I have taken part in. On the other hand day two was great. I can also say that Stewart was a pleasure to run through bogs, streams and bracken with, he was always very positive and encouraging even when I was being a bit grumpy. One bit of advice I would like to give Stewart, is to consider using the occasional foot path, I'm sure he was a crow in a former life! Now it's over I'm really glad I did it. So all you other striders come on do it next year and let's have a party at the overnight camp.



Day 1: Distance 24.4km, Climb 1335m
Day 2: Distance 19.2km, Climb 915m

Pos Name Day One Day Two Overall
Time Pos Time Pos Time
5:13:07 1 3:43:00 1 8:56:07
8:31:37 38 5:52:41 33 14:24:18

46 starters
39 finishers


Day 1: Distance 22.7km, Climb 1185m
Day 2: Distance 18.3km, Climb 900m

Pos Name Day One Day Two Overall
Time Pos Time Pos Time
4:48:09 1 3:24:49 3 8:12:58
5:32:03 10 3:37:59 14 9:10:02

101 starters
96 finishers

Harter Fell

Day 1: Distance 17.3km, Climb 810m
Day 2: Distance 13.3km, Climb 765m

Pos Name Day One Day Two Overall
Time Pos Time Pos Time
3:21:28 1 2:40:37 1 6:02:05
5:59:36 101 4:42:52 84 10:42:28

121 starters
113 finishers


Day 1: Distance 14.3km, Climb 735m
Day 2: Distance 12.5km, Climb 720m

Pos Name Day One Day Two Overall
Time Pos Time Pos Time
2:36:52 1 2:27:55 1 5:04:47
3:58:43 36 2:57:22 14 6:56:05

104 starters
103 finishers

Chevy Chase, Wooler, 7th July


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 David Kirkland Alnwick Harriers M 3:13:46
17 Louise Wilkinson NFR F 3:49:40
32 Will Horsley NFR M 4:14:16
44 Susan Davis NFR F40 4:23:58
119 Mary Gibson F50 6:16:52
120 Jane Nathan F40 6:16:54
124= Christine Farnsworth F50 6:33:38
124= Margaret Thompson F50 6:33:38

131 runners finished.
93 walkers also finished.

Burn Valley Half Marathon, 7th July

Dave Robson

A cloudy day when I arrived in Masham. Great atmosphere. I started carefully as I knew this was going to be tough. The wind was in our faces on the way out but this wasn't too bad as it kept me cool. Largely on road, but there was one short section on a farm track. Undulating most of the time with a big hill between 5.5m and 6.5m. The second half was a bit easier and the wind was behind us most of time. Very pleased with my time. The sun came out in the second half and I became concerned I might get burnt, but I think I am okay - update, no I wasn't, burnt my shoulders, arms and face. Whisky glass to all finishers and a lovely tea afterwards.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Gary Dunn Thirsk and Sowerby 1:16:02
148 Dave Robson 1:55:17

259 finishers

Tynedale 10K, 4th July


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 BELL, Stewy Chester-le-Street 31:48
108 SHENTON, Fiona W45 41:14
118 REEVES, Thomas M40 41:28
123 BENNETT, Michael M50 41:37
271 SMITH, Alan M60 46:39
273 GRAHAM, Sandra W45 46:40
327 NATHAN, Jane W40 49:00
337 ROBSON, Dave M55 49:19
353 GODDARD, Debra W35 49:59
371 ROWELL, Wendy W55 50:41
501 CRILLEY, Jenifer W40 58:05
523 THOMPSON, Margaret W55 1:00:30
524 RAINE, Kathryn W45 1:00:33
534 SMITH, Jackie W60 1:02:01
551 THOMPSON, Emma 1:03:49
553 RUSH, Ann W45 1:04:04

575 finishers
Elvet Striders were 5th women's team

Saltwell Harriers Fell Race, nr Stanhope, 3rd July

Colin Blackburn

Seven striders, Will, Geoff D, Susan D, Shaun, Nigel H, Mike B and me, were part of the 77 runners in this year's Saltwell Harriers fell race, though four of them ran in their NFR vests. Despite heavy rain during the day in Durham the North Pennines had been spared the worst of it (for once) and on the night of the race we were blessed with clear weather. Mind you the course was still a little wet under foot.

The organiser-cum-stand-up comic Keith Wood did his best to put people off at the start as he described the route for the newcomers. The start was a long slow climb to the mast which soon saw the field strung out. This was followed by a mile long trudge along the moorland. With the recent wet weather it was best to avoid stepping in even shallow puddles lest they turn out to be three-foot deep peat bogs, as Nigel Heppell discovered. Then it was back down to the road and along the old wagonway, a goodish footpath for a change. The final descent culminated in a dip into the stream. This sadistic element soon clears the peat out of your shorts, Nigel. This year the water was only waist deep for me though Susan Davis found it a little deeper!. There's then a pleasant (compared to the rest of the race) run along the river bank before a testing uphill track finish.

Once everyone was back it was off to the Moorcock Pub for the presentation. This is the highlight of the race as Keith Wood does his best to hand out the prizes, insult the comeptitors and deal with hecklers. He does it very well. I vaguely remember Will finishing 3rd, then Geoff, Mike, me, Nigel, Shaun and Susan. We all got a prize this year though I am still bitter about getting only one can while Nigel got two!

Photos at the links below, though Shaun seems to have avoided having his picture taken. Rob Stephen's (NFR) photos were taken while he was running the race, this has produced some interesting shots. There's also a link to a route map of the race produced by Rob.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Jim Davies Borrowdale MV40 41.23
3 Will Horsley NFR M 44.49
15 Rachel Vincent Tynedale L 1 47.42
24 Michael Bennett MV50 50.16
30 Geoff Davis NFR MV50 51.52
46 Colin Blackburn NFR MV45 55.17
49 Nigel Hepple MV50 56.11
52 Shaun Roberts MV50 57.02
64 Susan Davis NFR LV45 62.08

77 finishers