Race Reports, August 2009

Weardale Show XC, St John's Chapel, 29th August

3.5km, 95m climb

Colin Blackburn

Colin leads the pack!
Photograph courtesy of Gareth Neville

While many other Striders were tackling the tougher fell race at Bellingham Show I returned to the cross-country-cum-fell face at St John's Chapel. This year Elfie was staffing an AONB stall at the show and so I spent the whole day there for 17 minutes of running. My day started early trying to erect the AONB tent on its first show outing, battling against strong blustery winds. With the tent up I spent much of the rest of the time watching various dog display teams, a falconry display and comparing the meerkats at the Petwise zoo. They were both cute with nothing much to choose between them.

Just before 2pm the assorted runners gathered near the start line. It was the usual mix of seasoned club runners (5), young lads in inappropriate trainers who think they can beat the old gadgies, and bemused dads who've been persuaded against their better interests that since they've done the GNR once a little race like this will be no problem. One lad even ran the race in his Timberland boots. Also as usual, everyone except the club runners goes off way too fast. The one steep hill soon quashes their ambitions as the handful of vested runners pick off the tiring lads and dads.

To his credit one lad did manage second place, with regular winner, David Moir, running for Wallsend, passing him at the top of the hill. I managed to stay ahead of everyone I'd passed to finish 3rd overall and take the £10 prize for second senior man (that means vet at this race) but I was some distance behind David and the lad. David's wife was first senior woman but there were no "ordinary" women (that means senior!) competing at all. Unfortunately the only time I have is my own though I think David Moir finished around the 15 minute mark. [Since writing this Stuart Warriner has read this article and forwarded the results to me.]


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Dave Moir Wallsend Senior M 1 14.59
3 Colin Blackburn Senior M 2 17:00
7 Emma Moir Wallsend Senior W 1 17.51

18 finishers
Senior = Vet

Bellingham Show, 29th August

4M 600' BS

Nigel Heppell

This year's Bellingham Show fell race was a first for me and a few other Striders (see the pics and results) plus Will Horsley in his NFR disguise.

Debs benefits from some illegal pacing.

Nobody was entirely sure where the race started from, where it went or where it finished and we milled around with the other runners until we were herded onto the edge of the show ground. After some jolly comments from a disembodied voice over the tannoy there was a shout of 'GO' and off we scampered, mowing down a few picnicing families en route to clamber over a fence and exit the arena. There were several route choices through the carpark and then it was up the first rise over virgin fellside. 5 minutes on and we were strung out into some sort of order struggling up the hillside and watching Will and Phil in their personal duel stretching their lead over the rest of the field as they disappeared into the distance ahead.

Once over the top of the hill a few of the downhill specialists began to make up ground but I was secretly pleased to see that a bunch ahead of me had missed a turning and were heading into territory marked on the map as 'Here Be Dragons'. With much glee I noticed it took another mile or so of this short course before they caught up and began to overtake. By this time we were on a long downhill stretch and it was all flailing arms and legs as the faster runners came through.

The guy in front of me was very kind in offering me his place by falling flat down into a muddy ditch as I hopped past, but he came back again with renewed vigour. I was a bit surprised when he did it again a few moments later, but clearly he was faster than me. On his third fall I began to think he wasn't concentrating and by the time I passed him on his fourth dunking I was getting a bit bored. Soon we hit a lane and the running order settled down again. My tumbling pacer was ahead of me again but I got past him once more whilst negotiating a farm gate into the last field. He came back to take the lead into the finish and I couldn't claw it back - well, you can't laugh and run at the same time can you?

A nice little run, a bit short for me I admit, and it hit a financial nerve having to pay £6 to enter the showground and then £3 to run the race, but, hey, we have our placing in the NEHRA series to think about don't we!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Philip Sanderson NFR MV40 29.30
2 Will Horsley NFRM 29.35
13 Karen Robertson NFR LV40 36.12
21 Thomas Reeves MV40 39.00
29 Nigel Heppell MV50 39.09
33 Shaun Roberts MV50 40.31
43 Dougie Nisbet MV40 42.37
46 Debora Godard L 46.29

66 finishers.

Durham Summer XC Relays, 26th August


Roz, so fast she's a blur.

Colin Blackburn

This year we managed to put out three and two-third teams in the summer relays. George Routledge of Heaton Harriers made up the extra third to complete the four teams. [George is responsible for the YouTube video in the links below.] The field looked slightly smaller than last year though the whippets looked younger and fitter than ever. Jen, Liz, Dougie and I went off on the first legs in the mass start. I found the mass start drew me along too quickly which was reflected in my uneven splits. We handed over to Angela, Jan, George, and Grahame. They got the confusing middle leg with the faster teams' third leg runners starting to lap the second leg runners. Finally, Zoe, Roz, John H., and Phil Owen went off on the final leg. By this time the really fast teams have practically finished and it can be lonely out there on the far field.

As usual, for me at any rate, the relays are enjoyable once you've stopped running. Even with the pain of the running itself I'll probably be back next year if I'm around and fit.

Our Women's Vet team, Liz, Jan and Roz, took the Women's Vet Team prize with Roz also getting a prize for the fastest Women's Vet leg.


1 29:31 NS Poly Thomas 10:00 Terry West 9:45 Iain Twaddle 9:46
20 40:12 Colin Blackburn 12:44 Grahame Arrowsmith 13:55 Phil Owen 13:33
23 41:56 Liz Lamb 14:20 Jan Young 14:24 Roz Layton 13:12
24 43:53 Jen Copley 14:11 Angela Procter 15:19 Zoe Tomlins 14:23
27 46:38 Elvet/
Dougie Nisbet 15:08 George Routledge 18:24 John Hutchinson 13:06

27 complete teams

Durham Tri Club Duathlon, Meadowfield, 20th August

Run 2M, Bike 13.4M, Run 2M

Peter Brooks

Lo-tech Nightstriders

Having got involved in a small way with Durham Triathlon club to give me some cross training whilst recovering from a stress fracture, I thought it would be a good idea to enter the club's series final monthly duathlon in August. I managed to persuade Phil Owen that it would be good for us to do it together.

On the evening of the race, we sat in the car at Meadowfield Sports centre looking out of the window, listening to the rain hammer against the car wondering what we had done. Thankfully, the rain stopped before the race started.

After the race briefing, explaining the course and transition rules, we were set off according to our handicap, Phil and I went 7 minutes after the first group for a 2 mile run followed by a 13.4 mile cycle and finishing with another 2 mile run. I, for one was more than a bit nervous about the task ahead as I am not a confident cyclist yet.

The first run was pretty straight forward and completed without incident, then it was into transition where my running shoes were placed neatly by my bike, cycle helmet on, cycle shoes on and bike grabbed for the cycle. I must admit that the cycle part of the race was hard, there is one very long, quite steep hill going up to New Brancepeth which beat me and which we had to go up twice, but there was also a nice downhill stretch to recover on each lap.

After the two laps were complete it back into transition, remembering that I had to get off my bike before entering the transition area and then changing back into running shoes for the final 2 mile run. After such a hard cycle, my legs just didn't want to run again and I started off quite wobbly but soon got back into my stride to complete the course in about 1 hour 40. I have never been so pleased to see the end of a race!

The hardened triathletes had all finished well before me, and Phil was miles ahead of me too, but the tri club are a friendly bunch of people and will always help out novices whenever needed.

Duathlons are definitely hard, but they are certainly fun and a great way of cross training. This will definitely not be my only attempt.


PosNameRun 1T1BikeT2Run 2Total
1 Dan JENKINS 13:04 00:36 42:27 00:51 12:14 1:09:12
3 Hilary ROSS 14:01 00:25 46:39 00:22 14:31 1:15:58
4 Roz LAYTON 16:00 00:23 51:02 00:33 15:10 1:23:08
7 Liz LAMB 17:15 00:53 50:32 00:21 16:31 1:25:32
10 Phil OWEN 15:00 00:40 55:10 00:34 16:01 1:27:25
11 Peter BROOK 16:00 01:25 1:04:23 00:36 18:15 1:40:39

15 finishers.
T1 and T2 are the transitions between the run/ride and ride/run respectively.

Summer Handicap, Round 5, 12th August

Colin Blackburn

Thanks to everyone who ran in August's handicap, the final round before September's final, 23 runners finished. This time a very big thank you goes to Dougie, Dave S. and Clare for doing the business on the night.

Zoe and Kirsty emulate Usain Bolt

First across the line was new runner Chris. The first runner with an established handicap was Emma taking over 2 minutes off her handicap. Andy James was first man across the line taking a similar time off his handicap. Geoff was the fastest man with Susan being the fastest woman making it a double for the Davises.

Once again thanks to everyone for taking part. The final will be on Wednesday September 9th. Note that the first starts will be at 6:30 due to the fading light in September. The final details and the final start times are now available from the links below.


1 Chris Hedley 19:13:50 19:55:53 42:03
2 Emma Detchon 19:10:45 19:57:16 46:31
3 Andy James 19:13:50 19:57:25 43:35
4 Jim Nicholson 19:13:50 19:57:37 43:47
5= Zoe Tomlins 19:17:35 19:58:08 40:33
5= Kirsty Dykes 19:17:35 19:58:08 40:33
7 Jen Copley 19:16:10 19:58:30 42:20
8 Andrew Thompson 19:21:10 19:58:43 37:33
9 Graham Daglish 19:23:55 19:58:51 34:56
10 Dave Robson 19:19:40 19:59:06 39:26
11 John Hutchison 19:22:55 19:59:13 36:18
12 Geoff Davis 19:24:50 19:59:24 34:34
13 Angela Proctor 19:14:45 20:00:01 45:16
14 Grahame Arrowsmith 19:22:25 20:00:30 38:05
15 Joanne Potter 19:16:00 20:00:34 44:34
16 Alan Smith 19:20:05 20:00:36 40:31
17 Wendy Rowell 19:19:05 20:00:50 41:45
18 Stef Barlow 19:21:15 20:00:57 39:42
19 Susan Davis 19:21:40 20:01:08 39:28
20 Shaun Roberts 19:26:40 20:01:22 34:42
21 Phil Todd 19:14:45 20:01:28 46:43
22 Mike Bennett 19:27:25 20:02:09 34:44
23 Jan Young 19:20:15 20:02:38 42:23

Sierre-Zinal Race, Switzerland, 9th August

31km 2200m Ascent 800m Descent

Graham Daglish

This race was fitted in at the end of a 3 week walking and climbing holiday in the Alps. My theory was that by the end of all that exercise I would be well fit enough to tackle all of the climbing involved. The race has two start times. If you decide to take the leisurely option and walk it you have to be on the line for 5 in the morning. If you decide running is your thing you get to start at the later more civilised time of 9.00. Two friends Linda and Kevin Bray were on the line at 5 but another friend John Bower and myself went for the 9.00 start.

Graham, or 'Migros', as he is known in the Alps, at the Sierre-Zinal. The race begins in Sierre a town in the Rhone valley and sets off up hill to the village of Zinal, passing through various feeding stations and checkpoints. The checkpoints and feeding stations offer bananas, oranges, biscuits water, cold tea and an energy drink called Sponser. More than enough to keep you going. Most of the climbing is done in the first 10k with a hard slog of 1,500m of climb during which time you are in the woods and shaded from the sun, but it is very muggy. A few runners in front of me had steam rising off them with all the exertion. I looked like someone had thrown a bucket of water over me. The spectators along the way gave no end of encouragement. The general chant was "Allez Allez Allez Up Up Up". I was surprised when one of them shouted "Hey Daglish Go Go Go!", then realised he must have read my name which was printed on my race number.

I spoke to a few English contestants along the way recognising them from either a club vest or a Pete Bland bum bag. One guy from Staffordshire summed the race up quite well. He said it is like climbing Ben Nevis then running an uphill half-marathon. Although this was an off road run I was surprised to see that most of the runners were wearing road shoes. There were only a couple of really muddy sections which the continentals tiptoed round and I was able to gain a few places. One of the big rewards of the course is the fantastic alpine scenery. Once you get past the Hotel Weissehorn at the 20k mark you are up to 2,400m and the views of the mountains and the valley are amazing.

The descent, when it finally comes is a bit of a shock to the system. You can see the village of Zinal down in the valley below but despite best efforts it doesn't seem to be getting any nearer. As you near the finish line you hear bands playing a bit stirring music to give you that last bit lift for the home straight. Then its get you medal and meal voucher, get changed and head for the big marquee for a meal. In the food tent hundreds of competitors were eating and listening to a group playing those great big alpine horns.

My friends Linda and Kevin managed to walk the course in 6hrs 43mins. My attempt at running involved quite a bit of walking too and took me 4hrs 36mins. My other friend John who did his last race 2 years ago was only 20 minutes behind me just inside the 5 hour mark. After the race we all stood in the bus queue for a well earned ride back down the hill to our campsite at Sierre. With typical Swiss efficiency when I got back to the campsite the race organisers sent texts to my mobile giving me my split times and finish time. Needless to say we all slept well that night.


Pos Name Country Cat Pos Time
1 Kilian Burgada Spain M 2:35:30
601 Graham Daglish MV50 4:36:02

1000 finishers.

Lowther Trail Run, nr. Penrith, 9th August

13M 1500' CL

Shaun Roberts

Dave and Phil strongly recommended this off-road 13-miler from last year, and it didn't disappoint. There was a long drag up to Heughscar Hill to the west of Askham - but great views of the whole of Ullswater once you got up there. Then a fast runnable section across the moors, past the 'Cockpit' stone circle, and over to the River Lowther to the east, with only the odd bit of bog to contend with. We had to ford the river, despite what looked like a perfectly good footbridge only yards away ("not safe"), before plodding up the big slope that took us up to Knipe Scar and onto the moor. Another runnable grassy bit, then a fast downhill couple of miles on road before a last little climb to the finish at Lowther Castle. Excellent course!

They're neck and neck, err, ten yards after the start ...

Race-wise, Morgan Donnelly got away from me at the start, and managed to pull out a considerable lead by the end. I was gutted.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Morgan Donnelly BorrowdaleM 1:19:45
49 Shaun Roberts MV50 1:49:20

153 finishers.

Darlington 10K, 9th August

Jamie Steel

With the Para 10 mile fastly approaching (next month) I decided to take the opportunity to race the Darlo 10k with my Bergen and boots... I had been training regularly with my Bergen with what I thought was pretty close to my target weight of 35lbs... It was not until I was preparing my kit the night before that I discovered despite many weigh-ins the Bergen was still 7lb shy, oh boy! I eventually got it nicely packed up to the target weight and god that 7lb felt like 7 stone on my back. I thought at the time I'll never get round on Sunday and maybe I was mental!

Sunday arrived ... typical it was bloody hot when I wished for once it was cool! I arrived in Darlington in good time, first person I met was Dave R, so we walked up to the Marketplace together where I had arranged to meet the unattached Strider Micky C. I felt quite sick at the prospect of running this race with all that weight on my back as well as my hiking boots in this heat! I gave warming up a miss for once so I stayed in the shade for as long as possible.

Jamie in Bergen and boots on the streets of Darlington.

It was soon time to head to the start. I spotted Dave so I made my way over to where he was stood. The starting gun went and we were off. I aimed to run a 10 min mile pace but I was running comfortably at 9.30 pace still passing people. The support I was getting from fellow competitors and spectators helped me along as did listening to the Rocky fims music :-) Dave caught me at about 2k leaving me in the distance. I was then joined by a runner who started making conversation, his name was also Dave. Although my answers were fairly short due to the effort I was putting in to keep going, we quickly struck up a conversation ... anyway he stayed with me for the entire race (not sure who was helping who) but he did keep me going, thanks Dave whoever you are!

During the 2nd lap of the course I was starting to hurt, the sun playing its part on those parts of the course which were unshaded. I took an energy gel at 3.1 mile which helped for a short time but the last mile really hurt. The support from spectators and fellow runners kept me going and at a 9.08 pace I drove on to the finish line with a sprint finish in a time of 56.22.. I was well pleased!

A nice touch at the end when I was walking back to the car, a runner asked me if I was running for Charity? I explained to him that I wasn't but that I was doing a Para run next month, he kindly gave me a fiver and said well done, seemingly I had passed him just before the finish line...


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 SWINBURN Nick Morpeth Harriers M 00:31:18
10 DIXON Aly Chester Le Street F 1 00:34:28
233 JENKINS Adrian M40 00:44:43
300 JORDAN Andrew M 00:46:44
490 ROBSON Dave M55 00:50:39
552 ROBSON Alister M 00:53:04
708 STEEL Jamie M 00:56:26
731 MASON Denise F 00:58:00
789 JENKINS Dorothy F40 00:59:06
804 ELLIOTT Mike M60 00:59:20
813 PURVIS Alan M65+ 00:59:44
816 JONES Greta F40 01:00:08
877 DETCHON Emma F 01:02:48

1007 finishers.

Elsecar Skelter, Barnsley, 8th August


Dave Robson

This was a lovely run ! A wonderfully organised LDWA event near Barnsley, with clear directions, tape on some of more confusing sections, some mud, lots of fields to cross with crops often left uncut, hills to climb, food in the small tents which formed the checkpoints (including rice pudding, jam sandwiches, cake, biscuits and pasta). Pie and peas at the end. Similar to Swaledale in a lot of ways, but the hills here were more gentle. A very friendly atmosphere, so overall it doesn't get much better !

It was also Clare's first race over the marathon distance and she did great ! She did give me quite a look when I failed to read the excellent race directions and took us about a quarter of a mile down a hill, which we then had to climb up again. This was about mile 24 and we had been out in the sun for more than six hours at that point so we were both getting a bit tired.

The route took us by all sorts of beautiful houses (including Wentworth Woodhouse where I had my first teaching job), churches and monuments, crags with fantastic views and gentle ascents and descents thorough woods.

There were also 15m and 20m alternative routes to the 27m one that we did and I would certainly highly recommend this event.

Results - I don't think there will be any official results:

Clare ven den Bos 6hr 49min 16sec
Dave Robson 6hr 49min 16sec

North Berwick Law Race, 5th August

4.8km 185m climb

Nigel Heppell

Herewith a neat little hill race I happened across on holiday at North Berwick. The start is down at the harbour-side RNLI station. Lots of strange colours and patterns amongst the predominantly Scottish runner's vests, the only one I recognised was a solitary Fetchie. Other clubs had names like HELP(Haddington and East Lothian Pacemakers), Jog Scotland, Giffnock North and the Anster Haddies along with EUHH. I turned up in the results as an Elvit Strider. A lot of serious runner-types present for this one.

The race starts by deafening everyone with a blast from a maroon [A maroon what? Or do you mean a macaroon? Ed.] and the runners set off along the main street through town and the evening crowds, begins climbing through the park and around edge of some housing then levels off for a bit before the big clamber up the Law. The climb up is not too bad because its relatively brief but some people overdid it on the approach and I scrambled past. About 1/3 way up the leaders began flying by on their descent.

Nigel's view from the top, before collecting his rubber band, or 'prize' as they're called north of the border.

After collecting a rubber band from the marshals at the summit to prove you've been there its time to stretch your legs and throw yourself down the rocky hillside in pursuit. I made up a lot of places going down and managed to overhaul a few more on the way into town, I even beat the bloke with the dog! The high street is lined with crowds of holidaymakers and supporters all clapping and cheering which gives a real buzz to the last 1/4 mile - a really nice race and a good chip shop near the finish, what more could you want?


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Dave Wright Hunters Bog TrottersM 20:35
77 Nigel Heppell MV50 27:03

197 finishers.

Borth 10K, 2nd August

Dave Robson

I have taken part in this race for the last two years. Its close to where my son lives in Wales and he does it with me (he doesn't have a lot of choice !). This year he had not done much training for it, so we didn't do our best time. The relatively novel feature about the race is that it's all on sand, an out and back course. This year the wind was directly onshore and there no rivelets that can make running on sand a bit difficult, so it was pretty perfect conditions. We set out slow and steady and kept that up for the whole 10K. It was a stronger field this year and we were very close to the back at the end. An ex-Durham student that I recognised came in a strong second.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Mike Davies Sarn Helen 36:16
79 Glen Robson M 64:46
80 Dave Robson MV55 64:46

81 finishers.