Race Reports, December 2008

Christmas Handicap, 20th December

Barry Bird

Thanks to all the visitors from another world who visited us to compete in the Christmas Handicap. A very good turn out from Aliens and Humans. Thanks to the supporters and helpers also and a big thanks to our sponsors The Court Inn and Pam Kirkup who donated prizes in the form of various alcoholic beverages.


Pos Name Est Time Finish H/Cap Actual Prize
1 Jim Nicholson 52.00 51.05 4.00 47.05 1st Gent
2 Debs Goddard 41.00 52.53 15.00 37.53 1st Lady
3 Ray Partridge 40.00 54.27 16.00 38.27 Spot prize
4 Geoff Watson 33.00 54.28 23.00 31.28 Fastest Gent
5 Graham Daglish 36.00 55.14 20.00 35.14 Spot prize
6 Kevin 41.00 56.05 15.00 41.05
7 Dave Robson 42.00 56.47 14.00 42.47 Spot prize
8 Yvonne Jones 42.00 56.48 14.00 42.48 Ladies Fancy Dress
9 Alan Smith 41.00 56.53 15.00 41.53
10 Keith Wesson 34.00 57.48 22.00 35.48
11 Dougie Nisbet 39.00 58.16 17.00 41.16 Gents Fancy Dress
12 Andrew Thompson 38.00 58.36 18.00 40.36
13 Jan Young 44.00 58.59 12.00 46.59 Fastest Lady
14 Maggie Thompson 52.00 61.06 4.00 57.06
15 Dave Shipman 41.00 61.07 15.00 46.07
*16 Jean Gillespie 42.00 35.45 14.00 21.45 Spot prize
*17 Angela Proctor 43.00 36.45 13.00 23.45
*18 Phil Owen 43.00 37.35 13.00 24.35 Spot prize
*19 Zoe Tomlin 43.00 37.35 13.00 24.35

* Runners completing one lap.
Jan Young was fastest lady to not have already won a prize.

Calderdale Relay, Halifax, 14th December

Shaun Roberts

Another bloody good crack on the hills around Halifax! More bog than snow and ice - fine weather though, if a tad cold later on ...

A big thank-you to Dave for masterminding the whole operation, and to his brother John & partner Lyn, also his Mum, for putting everyone up. Excellent curry & lager the night before, as usual.

Nigel adds:

Here's an advert for leg 6 , the final section, of the C W Relay; I think this could be a good choice for a newbie to the event. I ran this race paired with Keith Wesson and found it to be more manageable than leg 5 which I've run twice before.

The big advantages are:
i) a civilised starting time - 2pm;
ii) 1st 1/4 mile downhill;
iii) after a brief climb up steps through a wood the next 20 mins is again downhill;
iv) for runners unused to off-road work there is a lot of canal-side path and a 2 mile road section to finish.

On the down side, the muddy bits were Muddy and the penultimate mile is steep downhill road, making it hard on feet clad in trail shoes.

Keith's strategy of holding back over the first half of the course helped too. When the climbs started we were in relatively good shape and began to pass a good number of other teams who had charged off at the beginning.

When we drew level with another pair of runners at the final high point near Southowram, KW again counselled holding a steady pace down the steep road to favour our feet and said he'd 'eat his hat' if we didn't easily overtake this team on the flat.They then proceeded to pull away from us and had developed a good 100m lead by the time we came to the final 1/2mile. I thought KW was definitely in for an interesting meal but no doubt this spurred him on too and gradually our pace picked up. We slowly gained ground. Not knowing where the finish line was didn't help, but, lungs bursting, joints creaking, and muscles screaming, we pipped them on the last bend and scrambled ahead up a short slithery hill to the line. And so, hats were off the menu!

Navigation could be an issue for anyone unfamiliar with the route, especially following the 'Gordian knot' of a route over and under the last road-canal intersection.

Many thanks to Dave S for the organisation, his Mum for tea and flapjack, Mike B, Dave S, Graham D for tremendous support en-route, and KW for taxi services.

Once again, a grand day out.

Any chance of a few words for the website, Dave? You won't mention my taking Graham and I off on an extra mile towards Rochdale will you? Paul Evans's shoe falling apart on the first leg may be worth a mention though, and his running in Mike's shoes for his second leg?

Results are now available via the link, below. We were 91st out of 117, which, if memory serves, is quite a bit better than the last time, even with the odd navigational hiccup, mentioning no names...

Simonside Cairns, Rothbury, 14th December

Dougie Nisbet

Dougie in the snow.

As an alternative to a certain long, muddy race further south in the country, Susan, Geoff and me ran a longish, muddy fell race in Northumberland. In contrast to the hard-packed ice of last week's Hexham Shehobble, the Simonside Cairns fell race had a lot of freezing mud and slush. The snow lay round about, deep and squelchy and uneven.

This race was another first for me and I wasn't sure what to expect. Navigation was straightforward as, running at the back, you simply follow the footsteps of those ahead who have thoughtfully pounded the trail into an ankle-deep mud-bath. Occasional spots of blood in the snow also helped mark the way, concentrate the mind and chill the soul. I had one Vicar of Dibley moment when the snow-packed boardwalk I thought I was running on veered playfully to the left and suddenly turned out not to be a boardwalk after all, a complete absence of boardwalk in fact, more like a nut-numbing pool of icy muddy water that insistently invited me in for some brief refreshment.

I was cold and bewildered when I crossed over the stile into the forest. A man appeared out of the shadows and waved me in with warm words of encouragement. I could hear Christmas carols playing and coloured lights lined the path. It was very soothing. All was calm. All was bright. Just as I was wondering whether this was the afterlife, I emerged from the forest, and there was Simonside Cairns. Ah yes, I'd forgotten about them. Unfortunately they were up there, mocking me, and I was down here, looking up. Oh well. Onward and upward.

The views from the top were astounding and set the mood for an exhilarating charge back down to Rothbury. Crossing the finish I didn't think I'd done that well but was pleased to discover I was only a couple of minutes behind Susan, and on reflection I think I ran a better race than last week's Hobble. Cosy chat, hot soup and Croutons washed down with a Deuchars IPA in the pub afterwards soon soothed away the cold toes.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 N Swinburn NFR 1:10:23
17 Rachel Vincent Tynedale L 1 1.41.55
27 Geoff Davis V50 1.47.05
62 Susan Davis LV40 2.08.33
65 Dougie Nisbet V45 2.10.38

75 finishers.

North Eastern X/C Championships, Wrekenton, 13th December

Fiona Shenton

Cross country doesn't get any better, heavy mud over much of the course and sleety rain. Poor Mike Bennett was the only lonesome Strider in the senior men's race. I'm proud to say the women had a team out as every self respecting NE club certainly should (Ouch - feeling there may be e-mails after that little jibe!). Anyway Jan Young and Jean Gillespie (running as S Barlow) were the other stalwarts. Jean especially was a star seeing as this was her first ever cross country race and she still came out smiling - or was that just because she'd finished? Jan and I both struggled a bit because it turned out we'd both given blood donations on the same day a few days before - very bad team planning.

Still 100 times better than being at The Metro Centre on a Saturday afternoon:-)



Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 HOOD, M Sunderland H & AC 39:26
95 BENNETT, Mike 53:44

183 finishers.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 FERRIER, M Gateshead H & AC 31:32
31 SHENTON, Fiona 38:11
56 GILLESPIE, Jean 46:39
60 YOUNG, Jan 48:58

62 finishers. Elvet Striders: 9th Women's Team of 10.

Albert Park Santa Run, Middlesborough, 13th December

Dave Robson

This free 5K run takes place every Saturday morning at 9.00. This one though was a Santa run in aid of charity. I left home in very heavy rain so the prospects did not look good.

Luckily there was a break in the rain by the time I got to Middlesbrough and I got myself dressed up in my Santa outfit in the warmth of the Visitor Centre. I was having difficulty getting the trousers to be tight enough and while wondering round they fell down ! I had visions of taking what would be an entertaining dive in the race itself, so I tried to tighten them.

I wasn't too successful and during the race I was conscious they were slipping... Luckily they remained in place but were a little low slung which resulted in me splitting them - next time I will make liberal use of safety pins !


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Shaun O'GRADY New Marske Harriers AC 16:39
26 Dave Robson MV55 24:19

60 finishers.

Hexhamshire Hobble, Allendale, 7th December

Shaun Roberts

Before the off...

The "Hexhamshire Hobble" - or as my wife heard it, the "Hexham Shehobble" - "what's a Shehobble", she asked. Well, this year it involved ice, snow, bog, more ice, more snow. The photos tell the tale much better than I can. Suffice it to say that the Hobble was again a classic winter run, this time with great views.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Ben Abdelnoor Ambleside 1:10:23
22 Rachel Vincent Tynedale L 1 1:22:09
33 Geoff Davis V50 1:26:11
44 John Metson V55 1! 1:29:09
56 Shaun Roberts V50 1:32:22
64 Emma Bain LV40 1:34:16
80 Graham Daglish V50 1:37:47
83 Susan Davis LV45 1:38:52
103 Dougie Nisbet V40 1:46:49

123 finishers.

Blyth Sands Race, 7th December

Jan Young

On a chilly day, bright sunshine greeted us on a sheltered Blyth beach: possibly the best weather yet on the 49th running of the race. The sand next to the sea was firm to run on, but unfortunately we had to plod through the 'caster sugar' sand higher up the beach, as part of the course was re-routed onto the dunes footpath because of a higher tide. We managed to keep our feet dry, jump over one outlet pipe, jump six feet off a groyne, climbing over a groyne on the return.

I was off running first, as the running order depends on age. Didn't help much, as I was soon passed by lots of runners, including Nina who set off 5 minutes after me! However, Nina and I were awarded age group prizes, possibly because we were the only runners in our age groups. Well, you have to be in it to win it!

Come on Striders. How about giving it a go next year, the 50th running of this popular race?

How fast is Lesley Miller? I'm not letting on that I set off at the same time as her!


Pos Name Club Cat Finish Run Time
1 Lesley Miller North Shields Poly AC FV50 27:06 39:06
2 Terry O'Gara Wallsend Harriers MV65 29:08 38:08
69 Nina Mason F 39:33 46:33
72 Jan Young FV55 40:20 52:20
82 Gary Davies M 45:52 45:52

85 finishers.
Running time after deleting handicap times