Race Reports, April 2008

Sunburnt in Scotland

Lochaber Marathon, Fort William, 27th April

Phil Owen

The roads up to Fort William were surprisingly quiet on the Saturday but this was probably due to the fuel shortage that week (the week when the oil refinery went on strike). Once past Glasgow the views were simply stunning, particularly around Glencoe. Obviously others had been taking in the views as well and not keeping there eyes on the road as we passed various vehicles upside down on there roofs or the wrong way round up steep sided hills that had us wondering just how they could have ended up that way. (Even more accidents on the way back!)

I told Dave (Robson) to keep his eyes on the road and I would do the sight seeing for us!

The weather forecast all week had been for torrential rain but had been getting slowly better, as the week went on. As we drove up the clouds had been slowly clearing and we were hopeful that it would be cloudy but not to much rain. We arrived in Fort William early evening to find a lovely little place that some one decided to ruin with a concrete monstrosity shopping street down the middle of it. Were all the architects really that stoned in the sixties and seventies?. We text's some fetcheveryone friends to find a meeting point and agreed to meet up in a pub for a meal and drinks and watch the Man Utd match on the telly. It's a great thing the fetch club. Runners from all over agree to meet up before races so anyone on there own has a few friendly faces to have a drink and meal with. After the meal & match we all went of to the 'Expo'. This consisted of two wooded tables to register and the other selling Lochaber Marathon sweatshirts! A fair few of our crowd (including Dave) were having a laugh about this as they had been to the FLM expo the week before. No credit card needed here then.

I had entered this race late by 'legally' transferring a place form a fetcheveryone member who could not run due to injury. However when I went to register I was sternly told that there were categorically no transfers with no exceptions. Panicking I told them Dougie (Lochaber running club chairman) had said on the phone it was alright a couple of days before. Shaking her head the lady shouted over to Dougie who looked up and with a wave of his hand and 'aye it's ok.' And I was in! With a raise of her eyebrows she say 'Apparently you can now transfer' and handed me my number. Her face said her and Dougie may well be having words after!

The next morning we all met up on the local shinty field under the Ben Nevis range for the start of the race. The weather was better than we had hoed for with only light cloud and no rain. The race started at 11.00 am and we all set off leaving the field and out though he outskirts of Fort William and across the Caledonian canal, down the side of loch Eil and onto a long slow decent to the turning point at 13.1 miles. It was around this time that i realised there wasn't a cloud in the sky and it was getting very hot. I was however running really well and was around my PB for a half marathon and feeling really good. A little earlier I had come across Dave and for a laugh sprinted past as fast as I could only to pull up and shouting 'only kidding'. Unfortunately Dave didn't see me but it made a few other runner laugh saying they would enjoy watching me pay for that later on!

At around 15 miles i was pleased with my run and my legs felt ok but I did feel a little nausea. I passed some fetcheveryone support and got some Vaseline for a bit of nipple rash and pushed on to the 20 mile point in another PB of around 3 hours. By this time the slight nausea had become quite bad and I felt terrible. My main thought though was to keep it steady and I can come in under 4hrs, easy. This wasn't to be. By mile 22 the sickness had now taken over and I was been fried by the sun and slowing down. I would have killed for my running cap and dark glasses at this point . Luckily for me I came upon another fetchie who was doing his 44th Marathon. Ian had rode up to Fort William on his tandem with his girlfriend all of 60 miles to do the race and was hopping on it to go back after! He could see I was in a bad way and to the detriment of his own time he stayed with me encouraging and coaxing me. We came back to the Caledonian Canal loch and I could see flashing red lights ahead and a queue of cars. A lady runner in front of me crossed behind the queue and as she did another car came hurtling up, screeching to a halt, almost knocking her over and then blasted on his horn at her even though the road was closed and he could go no where. Unfortunately for him he had his windows down and I stopped to give the idiot some well deserved close up abuse. I must say his wife had a gleeful smile on her face while I did this and when I apologised for my language. I also told him of for losing me vital minutes having to do this.! Not pleasant but got to say I felt much better after. A Marshal who had been watching with a big grin on his face came over to me and said something about the loch being closed and we have to take a detour run over the loch bridge. He ran with me and asked if this was my first marathon. When I replied yes he grinned and said well you will have to another as this is an ultra now. (my garmin only registered 0.1 of a mile more so no big deal).Going up the loch steps over the loch bridge I saw a massive cruise ship was going into the loch looking miles to big to fit. The marshal said something about this being the first time it had happened in all the years of the marathon and would be a taking point for years.

At around 23 miles or so we came across Dave who had been moved well ahead of me but got severe cramp in his leg and had decided to walk for a while. Well that's what you get for not putting the mileage in-!!! (as I write this Dave has just finished the district double-peak district marathon on Saturday and the lake district marathon Sunday.) . Encouraged to the finish by Ian and feeling sicker and now a bit dizzy I finally made it back to the shinty field to the applause of all the other finishers and the fetcheveryone group. I felt elated and severely sick at the same time. I lay down on the field and was fed water for 15 minutes until I felt a bit better and got up to cheer the other finishes on. Dave finished shortly after looking a bit sunburnt but feeling ok, just the cramp had got him.

After cheering the rest in, we headed straight for the pub for a pint as my recovery drink & now feeling ok. Its amazing how quickly you can recover with a nice cold pint ! Later on about 20 sunburnt peeps from Fetch went for an evening meal and drinks and had a great time. Everyone had a grin on there faces. It doesn't seem to matter what time you do - just the fact that you do it.

Looking back and speaking to a few other runners i think the sickness was possibly either down to the blazing sunshine or the lucozade. My brother even thinks I had mild sunstroke (says the dizziness is the giveaway) who knows, it may have been that or just me not used to the distance. Dave never gets cramp either and the heat may have helped bring that on. Something was amiss as loads of people did poor times by there own standards with only one I knew doing a PB. Still it was my first marathon and this time last year I had hardly even started running. One week to the Edinburgh marathon now. Better prepared and can't wait. Hope it's a bit cloudy I don't get sick again though !

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 KERR, Stuart Kirkintilloch Olympians M35 2:34:01
316 Philip Owen M40 4:22:11
327 Dave Robson M55 4:26:25

391 finishers.

Redcar Half Marathon, 20th April

Dougie Nisbet

The weather was warmer and calmer than I was expecting and I turned up in good time despite a mad dash back home to discover that the timing chip I thought I'd left behind had mysteriously velcroed itself to my running vest. Everything was well organised and I was soon parked and at the start. Bumped into Alan Purvis who was wearing the coolest faded running vest I've ever seen. It looked like denim. I want one of those. They should be manufactured to a specification so that they look like they've done a few marathons rather than just walked out of a sports shop.

As I stood amongst the gently dripping wild garlic wondering what all this liquid fertilizer was doing to the delicate ecological balance of the woodland, I felt pretty good. Dennis, my perfectly pixellated virtual enemy was going for the elusive sub 1:50. That would be a new PB by 10 minutes, but I was feeling confident.

I started fast but the course wasn't quite as flat as I expected. I began to have doubts about things on the long, straight hill that seemed to go on for ever into the wind from mile 5 to 7, and Dennis, who I thought I'd left way behind, edged past me as we reached the top. It was around here that I was passed by the mandatory Man pushing a Pram with Small Child Inside that no race is complete without, and I began to think I'd pushed too hard too early.

The stretch along the coast was fine, and my pace picked up. It's not everyone's cup of tea but I love the surreal petrochemical skyline of Teesside. Dennis gradually lost his 300 feet advantage and I counted 12 oil tankers queued up across the bay. This didn't help my pace so I chased the Man with the Pram instead. I caught Dennis, the smug git, at mile 11, and was already wondering how much I was going to smash the 1:50 barrier by.

The thing about cracking of course is there's no point doing it half-heartedly. If you're going to crack, do it properly. Much to my astonishment, and within 2 miles of the finish, I crumpled. I groaned and whimpered and may even have called faintly for my mummy. My pace time started bobbing enthusiastically into double figures. Dennis showed me a pixel perfect two-fingered salute and surged ahead, the digits showing his increasing lead spinning over like a cartoon speedometer. I was conscious of pitying heads shaking in the crowd and at one point I was convinced I was going to throw-up at the feet of a St John's Ambulance crew. People who I'd coasted past earlier now passed me like I was standing still, with their smug, smug, backs. I had no idea backs could look smug, but there you go.

I still got in with a respectable 1:51:16 that's a new PB for me by a lot. However I definitely ran too fast too early and perhaps if I'd run my own race, rather than Dennis's, I might have done a bit better. It was good to see Greta and Mike at the finish and I spotted Alan again. Don't know if there were any more Striders there though.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Zak Kihara Kenya 1:07:00
15 Pauline Powell Blackburn Harriers F 1 1:15:15
547 Dennis 1:50:00
580 Dougie Nisbet 1:51:37
785 Mike Elliott 2:03:29
795 Greta Jones 2:04:01
841 Alan Purvis 2:07:06

1,019 finishers.

Hawkshead Trail Race, Hawkshead, 19th April

Phil Owen

Dave Robson and I were lucky enough to be able to travel over to the lakes on late Friday afternoon and therefore not have to get up at stupid o'clock to make the race on Saturday morning. These trail races are always very well organized and Hawkshead village hall was open on the Friday evening for early arrivals to registration. At registration we bumped into a few fellows from the fetch everyone website including another Dave and his son Hamsterboy (fetch nickname) from near Durham. We hadn't seen Dave since the charity 5K at Maiden Castle so we popped over to the pub to catch up. On the Saturday morning we wandered over from Hawkshead to the finish area to watch Hammy run the 11-16 year olds 4K trail. We missed the start but were there to watch him win it. He's only 12 so it was an excellent achievement. On the next trail race we will get him a pint in the pub and make him sign striders first claim forms! One of the great things about these races is the trouble the organizers go to make it a great family day out with the 4k sport trail for the young ones a highly contested event and one of many thing for the kids to do. During the morning Dave (Robson) decided to do the Challenge instead of the trail due to feeling a bit lacklustre after his exertions at the FLM among others and saving himself for his next marathon at Lochaber the following week. Essentially the challenge is the same course but sets off 45 minutes earlier for anyone wanting to take a bit more time over the scenic course and the Nordic walkers (some of whom are very fast).

The start for both challenge and trail is Hawkshead village centre. The narrow streets make a great start place for the races. A band of drummers (Batala Liverpool) marched the challenge through the village and off they went with a cheer from a sizable crowd of supporters in a somewhat party atmosphere. Forty five minutes later it was my turn. I started with a number of Fetchies but I was feeling good and moved on soon after we left the village. The tarmac road didn't last long and we were soon climbing a couple of mile up into the hills heading towards a pine forest. This was the first of three hills on the 9.77 mile race. Once through the forest trail we were soon onto open meadow and farmland with views to Lake Windermere. The next hill was a very long steep climb up through more mature open woodland. I like these as for once I get to overtake some of the runners that normally leave me for dead on the flat. Down the other side is even better. Tree roots and sharp jagged rocks make for a tricky descent but again I feel more at home on these and flew (it's all relative) past quite a few including Hammy's dad. Another hill and then we were running alongside Windermere and heading back towards Hawkshead and the finish. Despite Dave trying to take it easy he was only 5 minutes or so behind last years time and only 8m30s behind my all out bust a gut time !

When the weathers nice the scenery and view of in these trail races are superb. Every time I do one I think they can't be bettered. The next in the series is a half marathon over Garburn pass followed by Derwentwater, Coniston, Helvellyn and Ullswater where the runners are taken by the Ullswater steamer from Glenriding up the lake to Howtown and the runners race back south around the lake. All highly recommended.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Andi JONES Salford Harriers 0:54:43
11 Vic WILKINSON Bingley Harriers F 1 1:02:45
358 Phil OWEN M40 1:36:27
[471] Dave ROBSON * M55 1:44:55

591 finishers. * Running in Trail Challenge - no official position recorded.

Gisborough Moors, Guisborough, 13th April

Nigel Heppell

As an alternative to a certain long, flat, road race, down in the south of the country, Colin B, Shaun R, Nigel H & son arrived at Guisborough rugby club for the start of the Gisborough Moors Race. This is a 12.5mile BL (bloody long?) category fell race with 2600ft climb based around the north-western corner of the NYmoors. Only Nigel had run this one before and had always found it to be a bit of a challenge due to it being further than he would normally run, and the number and severity of the climbs and descents which always seem to stretch parts of the body beyond their normal range of movement/strength/durability. Even the flattish bits across the moors can be a stuggle through the bogs if there has been recent rain -and there had been this time - so why do it? Well, the route is interesting, varied terrrain from farm lanes to woodland tracks to moorland bogginess to limestone paving to steps up and steps down, slopes up and slopes down, forestry service roads and muddy gullies. The scenery is fantastic.

After the first climb up onto the moors and about a quarter of the way round, you travel along the edge of the moors and the views open up. First to the south towards the Vale of York, then over the lowlands to the west, and finally to the north and east with the sea and the industrial landscape of Teeside laid out like a Google Earth image below. The route takes in Capt' Cook's Monument, Roseberry Topping (and the deceptively-named Little Topping) and Highcliff Nab before a glorious descent through a gully where the the mud had been churned up to great depth by 160 pairs of feet on the ascent just an hour or two earlier. On the day it was mild, fine and sunny, warm enough for salt crystals to appear on the brow of Shaun and Colin.

Shaun led the way in with 1.56, Colin made it in 2.02, Ralph followed close behind, and Nigel wheezed in at 2.08. Rugby club showers made us all civilised again and a pint of Guinness never tasted so good.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Charlie Stead NFR 1:26:24
45 Laura Clark Valley Striders F 1 1:44:57
82 Shaun Roberts V50 12 1:56:15
99 Colin Blackburn M45 24 2:02:16
100 Ralph Heppell M 29 2:02:19
125 Nigel Heppell M50 20 2:08:49

168 finishers.

Flora London Marathon, 13th April

Dave Robson

Friday night - didn't sleep well at all. People say that the penultimate night is the one that matter so this was not a good omen.

Saturday morning. Woke in plenty of time to get to Maggie's house and I was driven to the Durham services (thanks Emma) which was the pick up point for the coach organised by Blyth Running Club. They had been great in letting me join them at short notice. Coach arrived early and we set off ahead of schedule. All went smoothly until we reached the bottom end of the M1 when we hit some roadworks and progress was slow. You could see a few people getting anxious about getting to Excel by 5.00 to pick up the numbers. Finally got to the hotel in Victoria about 3.45 ! Left the luggage without booking in and jumped on tube (which was busy with the Victoria Line closed). Got to Excel by about 4.20 and picked up number with no problem. Wandered round Excel for a while and at the station on the way back met a friend from the Fetcheveryone website who was running as Sonic the Hedgehog. Had a good talk as we headed back into London on the train. I admire him running in the Sonic outfit, very tough.

In the evening I met up with other people from the Fetch website for a pasta meal. I had only one of them before which was a bit strange. I was bit nervous at first, but everybody was very friendly and I had good conversations about running.

Got back to the hotel, but again I didn't sleep too well. Woke at three and sort of dozed from then on. Not great, two bad nights ! Met Mick and Phil who were staying at same hotel at breakfast. Phil is disabled and Mick (his father) pushes him around marathons. The FLM had refused them entry and there had been a big campaign to get them in. They won the Jane Tomlinson award recently and when interviewed Mick said his dream was to do London. After that and at a very late stage (one or two days before the race!), the organisers let them in on the condition they started at the back.

After breakfast, coach to the start and that all went well - I'm glad I didn't have to get there by train. The start area was more spacious that the GNR and I met up with other Fetchies in the sunny weather.

The start pens were low barriers and it would have been easy to jump over them and some people did. I thought it would be more like the GNR where they are now very tight on the pens and the pen barriers are very high. I was in pen 4 which felt fairly near the front. In the pen another Fetchie came up and introduced himself and he very helpfully gave me lots of information on the start and the first few miles.

The race plan. Well to be honest I didn't really have one. I had overtrained for this (two half marathons last weekend) and I didn't know I was going to do it until ten days ago, so I thought I would just see how it went and how I felt. Optimistically I set up Bob, my virtual partner on my Garmin, to finish in just under 4hr, but I would be happy to finish in anything under 4h 30m.

Got to the start line in just over two and half minutes. First mile was a bit stop start 9m 58s but I wasn't worried about that. Second mile was 9m 7s, fine and I felt fine, so I thought I would carry on with that. Another Fetchie came by and introduced himself somewhere in the second mile. It was pretty crowded at this point and I took the decision to just keep to the speed of most people around me and not to try and weave round them. About 3m or so there seemed to be more space and my pace increased to under 9min/miles.

I had decided to break the race up into sections: Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, Fetchpoint, Canary Wharf, 20m point, Fetchpoint, finish. Fetchpoint was a group of Fetchies who gather to cheer and pass on goodies such as jelly babies, gels etc. They were at the 22m point, but you could see them on the other side of the road at 13m as well. Got to Cutty Sark feeling fine. It got a bit more crowded again and my speed went over 9min/miles for that mile. Another Fetchie came by introduced himself and went on. As we headed towards Tower Bridge, the weather changed from sunny and cool to very dark, a little cold and it started to throw it down.

The crowds had been encouraging from the start. People had told me to put my name on the front of my vest and I thought that I might get a few people calling out my name. I was very surprised that lots and lots of people were doing it - well I guess there might have been one or two Dave's in the race, but even allowing for that, the personal support was something I had never experienced before and it definitely helped !!

Got to Tower Bridge in the heavy rain and looked out for a Fetchie who said she would be here. Amazingly, amongst all the faces, I spotted her and it was great to see her smiling face!

Next target was Fetchpoint at 13m and I made sure I was on the left side of the road so I could see them. I was expecting a few cheers, but nothing much more. As I approached I saw many more fetchies than I had expected round about fifty and I started to wave. Being in a fetch top, they could easily spot me and the noise level and the whistles started to rise to an amazing, staggering level. It felt fantastic and I felt an incredible wave of emotion come over me. I couldn't believe I was actually close to tears. I just rode that wave for the next few miles as we turned away from the runners coming back and headed down to the Isle of Dogs. At this stage, they narrowed the route so that it became very crowded again and my time slowed to over 9min/miles again. Two more Fetchies past me at this point and we had a quick chat, this was becoming a very social race, but all of them were passing me!

The Canary Wharf area was very crowded. People offering jelly babies, biscuits etc and shouting my name. I felt pretty good here, but my times show that miles 19 and 20 were my worst - 10m 17 sec for mile 19. The 9min/mile pace group went by and I could see my chance of sub-4 disappearing.

I got to 20m and said to myself, okay the race starts here. I took my buff off my wrist and put it on as a sweat band to try and focus. My track record after 20m is not good. At Windermere, my previous marathon, I had really slowed down after 21m. Three weeks ago I had run out of energy at 18m on a 23m training run. I knew I needed some mental strength at this point, I was determined to try and do the last section maintaining a steady pace of no more than 10min/miles.

Got to Fetchpoint and high fived loads of them. I didn't stop as I felt that if I did I would find it very hard to get going again. I had used a 5 gel and water every 2m or so strategy and that worked fine. I did take a couple of jelly babies at 20m (hope they were vege ones ) and a lucozade sport at 23m.

Kept ticking off the miles. 3 miles to go, 2 miles to go. I was able to keep a steady pace of under 10min/miles to the finish and just before I reached 26m point, Bob beeped to say that he had finished. I was a bit surprised I was so close behind him. I went under the 365 yards to go bridge and turned into the finish feeling pretty good. Crossing the line, I felt very pleased that I had beaten the 20m jinx and my time of 4h 2min 11 sec was about 11m better than Windermere last year. Very pleased!!!

The finish system was very efficient, but as I went through it, the rain came down very heavily again. I would have like to sat down for a bit and get changed. It was a miserable end to the race. I got quite cold and it took quite a while to cross the race and get back to my hotel - my guess would be an hour. I was pretty shattered when I got back and had a lovely bath while texting loads of family and friends ! There was no way I could go to the post race Fetchie drinks, I was just too tired, so I ate my way though most of the extensive goody bag and hobbled out for a sandwich.

Saw Maggie the next morning and she had a good race, but I didn't see any other Striders.

Negatives: crowded course which made it difficult at times.
Positives: Unbelieveable support, especially from the Fetchpoint.

Will I be enter this race in future ? - I haven't made my mind up yet. Maybe once is enough, but I am tempted

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Martin Lel M25 1 2:05:15
1 Irina Mikitenko* W35 1 2:24:14
103 Fiona Shenton* W45 8 3:07:44
9885 Steve Lindsay M50 628 3:54:44
10095 John Robson M45 1189 3:55:26
12567 Dave Robson M55 328 4:03:50
15212 Yvonne Jones W55 50 4:14:29
21356 Amanda Bower W30 950 4:37:34
22165 Margaret Thompson W55 98 4:40:56

Final results, 34,292 finishers.
*Elite Women's race with 197 finishers.

Summer Handicap Series, Round 1, 9th April

Colin Blackburn

A big thank you to everyone for coming along and taking part last night. A whopping 26 runners took part. Thanks also to Dave Robson for helping out on the finish line.

Mandy was first across the line with Ian Graham and Phil Todd finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively. Geoff Davis was the fastest runner with Mike Bennett finishing second fastest. Sandra Graham was the fastest woman. The rest of the results are in the table below, I've only included the course time in this table. The names are taken from my scruffy handwriting and I don't have a couple of the surnames. Please send any corrections to me and I'll update the table.

The cogs have finally stopped whirring. Full results are below including new handicap times for the next event. I'll publish the start times in a week or so, they'll be based on the new handicap times but slightly rounded to make the starts easier for me.

The next round will be on Wednesday May 21st---note the revised date.

Results

Pos Name H/C Start Finish Time New H/C
1 Mandy Dawson 41:30 19:13:30 19:51:11 37:41 38:04
2 Ian Graham 45:00 19:10:00 19:51:54 41:54 42:13
3 Phil Todd 45:00 19:10:00 19:52:48 42:48 43:01
4 Graham Daglish 38:00 19:17:00 19:53:39 36:39 36:47
5 Peter Brooks 41:30 19:13:30 19:54:07 40:37 40:42
6 Emma Robinson 41:00 19:14:00 19:54:34 40:34 40:37
7 Geoff Davis 34:00 19:21:00 19:54:39 33:39 33:41
8 Wendy Rowell 40:30 19:14:30 19:55:02 40:32 40:35
9 Sandra Graham 38:00 19:17:00 19:55:13 38:13 38:05
10 Ray Partridge 37:30 19:17:30 19:55:20 37:50 37:35
11 Jan Young 40:00 19:15:00 19:55:21 40:21 40:05
12 Susan Davis 39:00 19:16:00 19:55:24 39:24 39:05
13 Louise Bilcliffe 41:00 19:14:00 19:55:29 41:29 41:05
14 Nigel Heppell 35:00 19:20:00 19:55:54 35:54 35:54
15 Phil Owen 40:00 19:15:00 19:56:51 41:51 41:51
16 Stef Barlow 41:00 19:14:00 19:57:18 43:18 43:18
17 Christine Farnsworth 45:00 19:10:00 19:57:33 47:33 47:33
18 Mike Bennett 32:00 19:23:00 19:57:34 34:34 34:34
19 George Nicholson 39:00 19:16:00 19:58:00 42:00 42:00
20 Dougie Nisbet 38:00 19:17:00 19:58:57 41:57 41:57
21 Stan 45:00 19:10:00 20:00:17 50:17 50:17
22 Lynn Moor 45:00 19:10:00 20:01:24 51:24 51:24
23 Vicky 45:00 19:10:00 20:03:25 53:25 53:25
24 Viv Patterson 45:00 19:10:00 20:03:25 53:25 53:25
25 Janet Raine 45:00 19:10:00 20:03:25 53:25 53:25

25 finishers.

Sand Dancer 10K, South Shields, 6th April

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 James Buis Heaton Harriers 33:51
21 Louise Noble Sunderland H & AC L 1 39:11
100 Dougie Nisbet V40 15 50:21
110 Emma Robinson L35 6 52:30
116 Mike Elliott V60 7 54:56
119 Greta Jones L40 7 55:13

467 finishers.

Baildon Boundary Way, West Yorkshire, 6th April

Dave on the home stretch

I had chosen to stay at a Travelodge at Leeds/Bradford airport because of the price, but it was a mistake. Firstly there was a door in the corridor outside my room which didn't shut gently, it shut with a loud BANG, which meant that I heard it everytime anybody went along the corridor. Also given it was an airport hotel, people were getting up early to catch flights, so it was noisy early in the morning. However, I woke about 4.30 and could not get back to sleep, so that wasn't as bad as it could have been. Get up earlier than I intended (didn't seem much point in staying in bed I wasn't sleeping) and found my way to the start (not particularly easy). Last time I did two long races in the same weekend, I went so fast in the first one that I was beat by the start of the second one, but I definitely felt better this time. However, I was also conscious that the race HQ and the finish were on top of a big hill and the path to the finishing line looked like a long climb from the valley below, hmmmm.

Lots of local clubs here, but nobody that I recognised, so I felt a bit out of the pre-race chatter. There was quiet a walk to the start, down the hill ! It was a little sunny, but when I had woken there was snow on the cars and the temperature was barely above freezing. It was still very cold by 10.00 start time. I had two pairs of gloves, base layer, long sleeved top and shorts (would have been tights if I had brought them). I had heard some people say that they were going to wear road shoes, but I opted for Inov-8 Rocklites as it looked like lots of it was off road.

The start was straight uphill on a shingle track (can't recall a hill so quickly after the start), then down on a cobbled road/track to cross a main road into a field. We had been warned there were horses in the this field. Luckily there were attached to chains which were fixed into the ground. However, the path was in range of one of them who was clearly unhappy with all these runners passing so close, so it ran round and round as far as its chain would let in and runners were scattering to avoid it ! Then onto a quiet road past the original Woolpack from Emmerdale (apparently) and then our first water treatment works, but we didn't see much of it as we were soon climbing a muddy path through the woods. This section was lovely and then down to another water treatment works (or was it the same one) and this one was huge ! Never seen one as big and there was loads of building work going on. Then a muddy stretch along a river, across a lovely mini suspension bridge. Then a climb up to the canal and onto the towpath. This section was easy running. There had been several stiles up till then which has spread the field out. We crossed the canal at one point and onto another muddy path through the woods close the canal, then we crossed the canal again and on to the towpath to Saltair (impressive). Back to alongside the river, then started to climb through the woods again. This climb lasted a while, before we turned onto the moor and did more climbing. The moor was muddy and boggy and I was pleased I hadn't chosen road shoes. On to some sand gallops, not quite soft sand but it felt like it, back onto track and then more moor. Eventually I could see the finish and we were above it (!), I had not been looking forward to the final climb. Speeded up a bit (I had been keeping to ten minute miles, but even if I hadn't been disciplined I don't think I could have gone much quicker because of the terrain).

Crossed the line and met a couple of people from the Fetcheveryone running website who had come to watch. It was good to see them and to have a chat. Mars bar and mug to finishers. It then started to snow, so I headed back to the car to get warm and start the drive home through the snow showers.

Not ideal preparation for the FLM, but I enjoyed the race and Coniston the day before (both are recommended!) and I felt they were good training for the District Double. I am now going to rest and try and go the same pace next week (although there is part of me that wants to start a little quicker and see how it goes......I will have to think about this...)

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Richard Pattinson Pudsey & Bramley AC M40 1:21:19
255 Dave Robson M50 2:11:35

364 finishers.

Coniston 14, 5th April

Shaun Roberts

Once again the weather forecast was much worse than the actual weather - it was positively warm in the sun at the start, with a light breeze from the north. Quite a few Striders were staying over for the weekend, so we had lots of support - for which many thanks!

I had a good run, and a PB for this one, followed (unusually) by Mike, who was suffering a bit on the day. Jean looked strong at the finish, as did Philip and Christine. I missed Dave and Linda as I was in a rush to get off on holiday later, but I did catch up with Mike Hall who also looked well afterwards, as did Kim, who ran most of the course, as well as confusing me by being in front of me at 11 miles! Barrie Evans started, but his knee was playing up, and so he had to drop out early on ...

Met up with Pam and Paul in the Sun Inn afterwards who did a fine pint of Bluebird, as usual, to round off a great event.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Alec Duffield Loftus & Whitby 01:14:15
27 Kate Nelson Sunderland H & AC FV40 1 1:29:27
120 Shaun Roberts MV50 1:37:44
221 Mike Bennett MV50 1:43:55
679 Jean Bradley FV50 2:01:24
735 Philip Owen MV40 2:04:18
983 Christine Farsworth FV55 2:15:55
998 Dave Robson MV55 2:16:29
1109 Linda McDermott FV60 2:23:48
1250 Mike Hall MV70 2:41:03

1,303 finishers.

Allendale Challenge, 5th April

The Allendale Challenge is a 25 mile run (and walk) over the moors around Allendale. Three Striders took part wearing their NFR vests. Rob Stephens report on the NFR website give a real flavour of this grueling event.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Philip Addyman NFR 3.51
7 Geoff Davis NFR 4.28
11 Louise Wilkinson NFR 4.40
18 Emma Bain NFR 5.00
25 Susan Davis NFR 5.19

43 finishers.