Race Reports, March 2008

Doctor's Gate, Hamsterley Forest, 30th March

Dave Robson

Phil crossing the river

Phil and I drive over together to this multi-terrain 10K race in Hamsterley. It was good to see some other Striders there (some in other vests) Colin, Shaun, Will, Debs and her dad, Jan and some of her family. Overall, there was good number of people (103) turning out for the race. I was expecting quite a bit on forest trails and although it started that way, we were soon off into the forest on narrow paths which were generously sprinkled with large puddles. As I negotiated my way around some of these I heard ahead of me a splash and Debs laughing as she got up out of one of these puddles. We climbed for a while then descended to a ford and climbed again and left the forest behind as we reached the moor. Once on the top and I could run again and there were more big puddles and while running through one of these (my feet were already very wet from the ford so there was no point in going round), I lost my balance, regained it, but not enough, and I did a quite spectacular dive ! No damage done apart from a few grazes. Phil also got wet roughly in the same place. Then down to the forest again, over the same ford and then a tricky diversion via a climbing path that was littered with tree stumps, before the decsent to the finish.

Great fun ! Many congratulations to Will who won the race and to Debs who beat her Dad for the first time.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Will Horsley NFR M 46.20
39 Shaun Roberts M50 58.28
45 Vanessa Butler Elswick F 1 60.20
52 Colin Blackburn NFR M40 61.53
64 Cal Young U/A M 64.12
67 David Robson M50 64.56
68 Gary Davies U/A M 65.02
74 Debra Goddard F 3 66.00
75 Eric Whittaker Blackhill Bounders M60 67.43
80 Nina Mason U/A F 68.35
81 Phil Owen M40 68.37
86 Jan Young DFR F50 2 70.36

103 finishers.

Arkendale 10K, 30th March

Thomas Reeves

On Sunday 30th March I ran the Arkendale 10K. It's a multi terrain course which starts and finishes at Sunnyside Farm in Arkendale. The village is in Yorkshire situated between Knaresborough and Boroughbridge. The runners had the use of a barn for changing and there was a very nice cake stall and a barbeque all selling good food in aid of the local church. The race is multi terrain with about 1.5 miles off road the last mile was particularly pleasant crossing several fields. The weather on the day was pretty good considering the downpours of the day before, there was a stiff breeze but also some sun shine and the off road bits were very wet and muddy. I had opted for my road shoes which were of little help on the off road sections. The course is described as undulating but after running around Durham for several years the undulations were not particularly daunting. Over 350 runners completed the course the winner finishing in 34:42. All the finishers received a mug and there was a kids run. The event was well organised and the course well marshalled. So why go this far for a 10K race? You may ask. Well Joan my wife decided she wanted to run one, and only one race so she chose this one being a Yorkshire girl. Interestingly she is now pondering the possibility of now attempting to beat her 10K PB!! So much for "one race only".


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Tim Midgely Bingley Harriers M 34:42
18 Deborah Richards Sheffield Running Club F 40:16
22 Thomas Reeves M40 41:54
252 Joan Hanson Unattached F 1:01:28

320 finishers.

North Tyneside 10k, 23rd March

Dave Robson

Woke early and looked out of the window to see a two or three inches of snow. The forecast had been strong winds from the north which is the direction we go in for the last four miles. However, no sign of any wind at all. Set off early in case there was a problem with snow on the roads, but the further north I got, the less snow there was. There was basically none by the the time I got to the Parks Leisure Centre, but as I waited a snow shower swept over for a while. I bumped into Ann and Emma who were also running this one.

There is only the one hill in this race, the climb up from the river to Tynemouth Priory and at the top I realised there was some wind after all. It seemed to increase as we reached Whitley Bay which made the last couple of miles harder. The usual excellent goody bag - a red long sleeved technical More Mile shirt, More Mile socks, Adidas wristbands, Go bar, running diary and a rather nice Asics bag which held everything.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 SWINBURN, Nick Morpeth Harriers & AC SM 33:21
21 TROWBRIDGE, Jessica Gateshead Harriers & AC SL 37:17
329 ROBSON, Dave M55 47:09
678 ROBINSON, Emma L35 53:17
1404 RUSH, Ann L45 1:08:33

1522 finishers.

Marske Mermaid 10K, 21st March


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Patrick Martin Sunderland Harriers 33:10
113 Dave Robson M50 47:39

223 finishers

JK2008, 21st March

Colin Blackburn

One of the features of orienteering is the multi-day event. They range from relatively low-key weekend events, such as the North East's October Odyssey, to the world's biggest festival of orienteering, the Swedish O-Ringen which attracts 15,000 runners for 6 races over a week in August. In the UK the two big events are the Scottish 6-day, which takes place in odd numbered years, and the Jan Kjellstrom Festival of Orienteering, which happens every Easter. This year over the earliest Easter weekend for decades JK2008 took place in Surrey. This year easy access from the sourthern airports and the Channel links led to 4,500 people taking part over the course of four days.

The JK is open to competitors from outside of the UK and according to the organisers there were many overseas entrants. They included 100 runners from Ireland, just under 100 from Norway, large groups from France, Switzerland, Sweden and Finland, as well as runners from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Ukraine and the United States.

Traditionally the JK has comprised two "classic" events over the weekend and a club relay on the Monday. The classic events take place in woodlands over a distance, for my class, of about 9km. The relays take various forms but are generally three legs of 5km or less. Over the last few years Friday has usually had a sprint race. This is now destined to be a standard fixture given the rise of sprint orienteering, particularly in urban areas. A sprint course might be as short as 2km.

After spending Thursday night in Oxford with friends who didn't appreciate the need of a honed athlete to stay off the wine I travelled down to Guildford for the sprint with orienteering friends slightly worse for wear. Arriving at the campus of Surrey University there were more than 1500 people milling around on a beautiful clear day. Unlike woodland orienteering sprints can be done in shorts and road shoes though plenty of old gadgies still insisted on wearing their orienteering pyjamas.

Orienteering starts are a strange affair. I was called up four minutes before my start time. Just before call-up I cleared my electronic dibber to get rid of the data from the last event. In the first start box our dibbers are checked, just to make sure we have cleared them. A minute later, in the second box, I collect a set of control descriptions and attach them to the holder on my arm. Another minute...another box and I get to look at a blank map, check its orientation, work out where the start is, worry about how complex it looks! Then into the final box standing by a crate full of maps for course 3. 10 seconds to go pick up a map, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO! Of course what I really want to do it stand there, turn the map around, have a good look and then amble off in vaguely the right direction...but there's no time for that.

2 minutes and 32 seconds later I've found the right tree in a quadrangle after what seemed like enough steps to get up that bank in Houghall. The fastest runner did that leg in 1:51. 18 more controls and a confusing 26 minutes later I punched at the finish control. I'd blown 4 minutes at control 6 and a couple of minutes at a couple of other controls. The campus was very confusing and I'm surprised that any drunken students ever find their way back to their rooms! As you can see below the winner was over 10 minutes faster than me, I doubt he made a single error.

The two classic days were held at Leith Hill and Ashdown Forest. On the first of the two days I made a calamitous error about halfway around the course in a very technical area full of the minutest contour details—Tom these re-entrants really are a bugger to find. It meant that I spent nearly 100 minutes out running which certainly has an effect of your concentration towards the end. Luckily I made it back before the blizzard. Many competitors were still out there when the worst of the weather struck.

At Ashdown Forest I had a much better run making no mistakes, though I was still well off the pace I was pleased to dip below 10 minutes a kilometre. Again, the day was hit by bad weather but, again, I was lucky.

The final day, the relays, took place at Eridge Old Park, a typical relay venue with a mix or forest, parkland and open ground. I was running for my club, Northern Navigators, with the only two other NN runners to make it that far south. We ran in the M120+ class, ie three men with ages summing to 120 or more. That meant we were up against the crack teams of three 40 year-olds!

The relay comprises three legs. The first runners all go off at the same time. However, the courses contain gaffling (a Swedish word for fork) which means that not all runners are heading for the same first control. This puts pressure on the first leg runners to navigate rather than follow. The second leg is usually shorter than the other two and allows a faster runner to pick up places. The final leg can be a bit lonely as the teams are all well spread out by then. The key with the last leg though is that the first across the line wins.

Boris ran a good first leg putting NN into 35th place, Rob used the second leg to pull us up to 31st. I took out the final leg and attempted not to blow it! I made no mistakes but I was hampered by some atrocious driving snow and my tired legs. On the final run-in I heard some of the spectators shout at the runner behind me that he 'could easily take him.' That was all I needed to put a spurt on an make sure he didn't. Good job too at he was on my relay and so I had managed to gain NN one more place to finish in a creditable 30th, not bad for a team of old(ish) men.

So, that's it for another year. In 2009 the JK is in the North East, with sprints in Newcastle, classic events near Berwick and relays in Dipton near Hexham. The North East might not manage 4,500 runners but it will still be a great event and as there are open events every day I'm sure I'll be pestering you all nearer the time to come along and take part and see the spectacle.

Route maps for the three individual days are available for those who are interested:
Day 1 at University of Guildford click on Course 3 for my course.
Day 2 at Leith Hill click on Course 13 for my course.
Day 3 at Ashdown Forest click on Course 13 for my course.

Results for Day 1, Class M45

Length 2.4km, 55m climb, 19 controls (course 3)

Pos Name Club Nat Time m/km
1 Neil Crickmore SO ENG 17:46 7.4
75 Colin Blackburn NN ENG 28:21 11.8

95 finishers.

Results for Day 2, Class M45L

Length 8.5km, 305m climb, 23 controls (course 13)

Pos Name Club Nat Time m/km
1 Clive Hallett BOK ENG 49:33 5.8
108 Colin Blackburn NN ENG 97:51 11.5

125 finishers.

Results for Day 3, Class M45L

Length 8.7km, 390m climb, 15 controls (course 13)

Pos Name Club Nat Time m/km
1 Clive Hallett BOK ENG 51:10 5.9
75 Colin Blackburn NN ENG 82:25 9.5

123 finishers.

Results for Relay E: Senior Men 120+

3 laps: 5.3km, 175m, 16 controls; 4.3km, 130m, 13 controls; 5.3km, 175m, 16 controls

Pos Club Names Times Pos Time
1 SYO Martin Ward
Mark Chapman
Charlie Adams
30 NN Boris Spence
Robert McKenna
Colin Blackburn

50 teams finishing.

Sport Relief, Killhope to Durham City Relay, 16th March

Sport Relief

Well, the running is over even if it was a little late. Mark and Edd completed the entire length of the relay, 52 miles, Alan Rowell clocked up 25 miles and several other runners ran into double figures. The table below show the actual timings, it will hopefully be updated to contain the names of all the runners who took part.

Elvet Striders can still be sponsored via the Sport Relief website, just click on the barometer. If your browser or firewall objects when you click on the barometer then use the SPONSOR US link below the table.

Thanks to everyone who took part and supported the event. Particular thanks go to Dave Shipman, Geoff Watson and Shaun Roberts for support, logistics, planning and recceing.


LegStart LocationTimeLength (km)Climb (m)Cumul. (km)Runners
0Killhope 08:008800Ian Twaddle,
Mark Smith &
Ed Knudsen
1Wearhead 08:47608Elliott &
Mike B
2Westgate 09:227.718014Dave S &
Paul L
3Rookhope 10:144.7021.7Jan,
Callum &
Colin B
4Eastgate 10:434.3026.4Kim,
Mike &
Colin B
5Stanhope Ford 11:156.118030.7Geoff &
6White Kirkley 12:076.4036.8Nina &
7Wolsingham 12:45 4.12043.2Alan Purvis,
Phil, &
8Bradley Burn 13:155.710047.3Alan Rowell &
Keith W
9Mc Neil 13:556.5053Mandy,
Louise &
10Witton Park 14:514.2059.5Mandy,
Debs &
11Newton Cap Bank,
Bishop Auckland
15:156.2063.7Barry B &
John S
Jubilee Park
16:023 069.9 Paul G &
Janet R
13Page Bank 16:254.1072.9Peter M
Janet, &
Linda M
14Sunderland Bridge 16:506.41077Andy J,
Adrian &
15Maiden Castle 17:302083.4 Jess,
Kevin &
EndMillennium Square 17:4585.4ETA 15:55

Rhayader 20m, Round the Lakes Road Race, 15th March

Dave Robson

Got there in plenty of time for this road race and as I waited for the start it started to rain, so this brought up the inevitable question of what to wear. After some faffing (which you might have gathered by now, I do a lot of), I finally decided on base layer, short sleeved top, windproof top and shorts rather than running tights.

We started with two laps round the village and by the time we had done that, I was feeling a bit hot and the rain had stopped, so I very nearly handed my windproof top to my son. I am glad I didn't. We started a gentle climb and then just before 4m we started a serious climb (over 700ft I heard later), I hadn't realised how long it was going to be and there were a few false summits. It wasn't helped by the fact that we ascended into the clouds and visibility was down to about 50 meters. It finally finished after 6m and then there was great descent to the first of the three (or was it four ?) reservoirs with spectacular dams and the course became undulating until the finish. The wind started to become more noticeable and the rain seemed to suddenly get much harder (I was grateful I had kept my top )

I had roughly aimed for 3hr 10min, thinking this might be optimistic on a hilly course. As the miles ticked away and I started to catch people, I began to realise there was a chance of a sub 3. I kept pushing on and got home in 2hr 55m, so I was very pleased

A very scenic, tough run and I am very glad to have got back to my son's house, had a bath, got warm and eaten loads !


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Andrew Butler HalesowenA & CC 2:03:34
195 Dave Robson V55 2:56:02

323 finishers.

Dentdale Run, Dent, 8th March


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Steve Littler Wesham RR M 1:18:15
43 Fiona Shenton F/F45 1/1 1:38:38
126 Steven Lindsay M50 26 1:49:59
324 Dave Robson M50 52 2:00:38
273 Frank Coffield M60 13 2:06:33
284 Wendy Rowell F/F55 44/4 2:07:40
289 Yvonne Jones F/F55 47/5 2:08:23
298 Philip Owen M40 95 2:09:17
348 Alan Smith M60 21 2:14:12
361 Jan Young F/F55 64/6 2:15:17
441 Mary Coffield F/F55 111/16 2:29:26
452 Margaret Thompson F/F55 118/17 2:33:52

467 finishers.

Trimpell 20, Morecambe, 2nd March

Dave Robson

Left at 8 for the 2hr drive to Morecambe for the Trimpell 20m. I had no real idea what to expect of this race, it said it was very largely traffic free and I wasn't sure whether this meant off road or cycle tracks or what. I had heard it was flat so I thought there was a reasonable chance of a pb as my 20m pb last year at East Hull included walking the last 3 miles because of an injury. However, I did a Prudhoe yesterday and it was still bit windy when I got to Morecambe and I could see we would be running into the wind on the way back, so I thought it would be good to get somewhere round 3hr 15m and shave 2 minutes off my pb.

The start was a little crowded but fine. We started down a quiet road and then very quickly we were one a tarmaced cycle track and we were on these for the majority of the race. These tracks followed the River Lune so for most of the time the scenery was great. The route was essentially out and back but Y shaped with the first arm of the Y much shorter than the second, so we started at the bottom of the Y and covered the trunk and each arm twice.

Soon after we started I realised that another runner, Siouxsie, who I had met briefly once before and I were keeping a very similar pace (about 5m 30sec per kilometer) and we just carried on running alongside each other chatting away, both of us aware that we were probably going a bit too fast in the early part of the race. I certainly thought I would pay for it later. The first arm of the Y was by the river and by some unattractive abandoned warehouses, but the faster runners flying towards us diverted our attention.

On the second arm of the Y, we had a few gentle rises as we were running close to the river and going upstream. The miles clicked away and at 10m we had run for 1hr 26m which was faster than we expected, but it felt okay so we carried on. Between 11m and 12m we turned for home and I was bit surprised at the strength of the wind and thought we might slow down. Much to my surprise we carried on at the same pace. At 15m I did a slow calculation (I find maths hard when I'm running, I've made some bad errors in the past) and worked out that if could keep up going we could finish in under 3hr. I was also aware that we had not been overtaken probably since about 6m and possibly even earlier than that and we were constantly overtaking others. Were we going to blow up?

We went through 16m in about 2h 20m, so I told my companion we could do 10min miles and still be under 3h. At 17m this increased to 11min miles and at 18m to 12min miles (not sure whether Siouxsie appreciated all this information ). The last mile was tough, the wind seemed stronger. We turned into the final straight and we could see the clock showing 2hr 49m !!! What ??? Siouxsie put on a sprint into the finish that left me a few seconds behind and then I was over the line, stopped my watch at 2hr 50min 04sec. Incredible, I was amazed, I had taken 27min off my 20m pb !

We worked out that our pace had been consistent throughout the race, averaging out at 5min 23sec with very small variation, our fastest was 5min 08 and our slowest 5min 33sec.

Running with Siouxsie made it so much easier, I wouldn't have done so well running on my own. The prize giving was interesting, there were some great times. The over 75 male prize winner came in with 2hr 46min and the second lady had left to do a 15m race in the afternoon !

I would recommend this race to anyone training for a marathon


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 James Meldrum Vegan Runners UK 1:52:15
12 Louise Gardner Lancaster & Morecambe 2:03:46
192 Susan Gallagher Dumfries Running Club V35 2:50:15
193 Dave Robson V55 2:50:17

279 finishers.

Haweswater Half Marathon, Bampton, Cumbria, 2nd March

Shaun Roberts

At the start of this one the starter helpfully told us that it would definitely not rain on us during the race! He was close - we just had a bit of drizzle on an otherwise pleasantly bright cool morning. Driving over the Pennines in very strong winds I'd thought this run was going to be very much a race of two halves - into the wind and back - but strangely it was just into a bit of a breeze, and then, wierdly, into some more breeze. We could have done with a bit more help getting back up the hill from the turn!

I was pleased to have a good run straight after Prudhoe, Barrie and Yvonne had good races and Christine, too, had a good one, though her time estimating needs a bit of work - she came in 55 minutes faster than she predicted! The newly-renovated Mardale Inn served up some great food afterwards in the form of a complete spit-roasted pig, washed down with a couple of well-earned pints of Bluebird.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Ian Crampton Durham City Harriers M40 1 1:13:17
66 Shaun Roberts M50 5 1:31:19
270 Barrie Evans M60 11 1:51:01
324 Yvonne Jones F50 5 1:57:41
362 Christine Farnsworth F50 10 2:05:45

419 finishers.

Prudhoe XC, Harrier League, Prudhoe, 1st March


Although its not yet official, Mudman's calculations from the provisional results show that Striders Men's team beat all the other relegation threatened teams this afternoon at Prudhoe and so should remain in Division 2 for the 08-09 season! Well done to the magnificant 7 who finished.

The women's team also had a good day finishing 3rd, their best performance of the season, with Donna putting in a blistering performance to win the race from the fast pack. The team finished an overall 6th for the season in what has been a highly competitive 07-08. Yet again Elvet fielded the largest women's team this afternoon with 9 Striders finishing.

Many thanks to Mandy Dawson & Phil Owen for supporting.

A 'solid' season all round if not quite up to the standard of recent years. We really need to maintain and improve upon the number of runners we turn out next year if we want to re-live the glory years. Please give it go if you haven't tried it - much fun is had by all!

PS I hope my colleague from DCH 'Clartyman' recovers in time for the 08-09 season.



Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
73 REEVES, Thomas 35:54
95 DAVIS, Geoff 36:22
144 BENNETT, Mike 37:42
162 WHITE, Conrad 37:54
168 WESSON, Keith * 38:07
169 ROBERTS, Shaun 38:13
234 ROBSON, Dave 43:15

255 finishers.

* Unshaven: 3pt penalty.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 JAMES, Donna 23:20 *Fast pack
21 SHENTON, Fiona 25:04 *Fast pack
24 LAYTON, Roz 25:09
25 DAVIS, Susan 25:12
39 LAMB, Liz 26:37
46 GODDARD, Debs 27:18
48 ROWELL, Wendy 27:35
49 BAIN, Emma 27:38 *Fast pack
52 YOUNG, Jan 28:29

58 finishers.