Race Reports, July 2009

James Herriot Trail Run, Castle Bolton, 26th July

8.5M 1000' CM

Shaun Roberts

Yet one more time this summer, a predicted deluge passed through overnight, and left pretty good conditions for a race. The start looked a tad muddy underfoot, though, and we had much discussion as to what footwear would be best - I stuck with my road shoes, as their cushioning had been a boon in previous years - and they were fine for me. The usual hard slog up to the ridge, then you could stretch the legs out a bit on the top. I had Tom in my sights along here, but on the long downhill bit he got a bit of a lead. Got close again on the flat, but he got away again on the next downhill. Then, as we both suspected would happen beforehand, I managed to reel him in on the run-in and had a good fast finish, and a PB for this one. Tom's got his mojo back, though, folks - just needs some long runs in the legs ...

Will had a good race, and came in fourth after a Welsh Wizard from London who broke the course record. After Tom and I, Phil was next home, busting a gut to beat his friend Anna, who he thought was in the orange vest just behind him - but who turned out to be some other woman! Got him really shifting along! Dougie came in next, a good thirteen minutes faster than the year before, when he and I both suffered hugely in the heat - no such problem this year. Barrie had a good run, a minute better than last time, and was sheltering in the tent waiting for Christine to come in with the car keys! Christine did well, not training a lot at the moment. Clare and Dave came in smiling soon afterwards, followed closely by Alan, who again managed to get round without walking up any of the hills, which was better than I did.

All of which worked up a thirst for a well-deserved pint in the Bolton Arms.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Shaun Whelan London Frontrunners M 52:59
4 Will Horsley M 56:26
25 Charlotte Sanderson Thirsk & Sowerby F 1 63:07
56 Shaun Roberts M50 69:08
59 Thomas Reeves M40 69:20
102 Phil Owen M40 75:31
136 Dougie Nisbet M40 79:54
157 Barrie Evans M60 82:06
213 Christine Farnsworth F55 99:10
217 Clare Van Den Bos F 101:36
218 Dave Robson M50 101:37
219 Alan Purvis M70 102:24

224 finishers.

Court Inn Clamber, 15th July

Shaun Roberts

Louise looking cool at the finish.

Many thanks to everyone involved in this year's Court Inn Clamber, but especially to Pam, who masterminded the whole operation!

Thanks to:
Wendy Rowell - registration
Mandy Dawson - registration
Dave Robson - setting the course / prizegiving
Carole Seheult - registration / dinner nanny
Nigel Hepple - registration / dinner nanny
Paul Loftus - registration / time keeper
Andrew Glass - car park
Carole McGinn - marshal
Jackie Smith - marshal
Maureen Blackett - marshal
Barrie Evans - starter
Barry Bird - judge
George Nicholson - recorder
Christine Farnsworth - recorder
Geoff Watson - marking the start

Dougie and Mandy have both put photos online (see below) - some excellent shots.

A great evening!





PosName Club CatPosTime
1Rob Hand Durham City H&ACM 30:45
16Sarah Lister Blackhill Bounders F 1st Lady 35:04
19Mike Mawby M 35:28
20Shaun Roberts M50 35:35
27Graham Daglish M50 37:20
44Geoff Davis M50 39:24
50Roz Layton F502nd V50 40:05
52Melanie Hudson F 40:29
55Steph Barlow F 40:48
59Debs Goddard F 41:35
60Susan Davis F403rd V40 41:44
61Dougie Nisbet M40 41:45
63Liz Lamb F 3rd V50 42:19
65Joanne Heron F 42:41
68Alan Smith M60 42:59
70Jan Young F50 43:27
75Sue Pearson F 44:17
80John Everett M50 45:24
83Jane Ives F 45:44
90Louise Bilcliffe F40 46:33
100Lynne Bargewell F 53:09
101Clare Van Den Bos F 53:09
102Joanne Porter F 53:09
107Eileen Holdsworth F50 56:14

107 finishers.

Coastal Run, 12th July

Shaun Roberts

Once again this summer, a predicted deluge passed through overnight, and left pretty good conditions for a race. Warm, but not too hot, for the most part, and quite a bit of a breeze. Unfortunately that breeze was from the south, but you can't have everything... Tidal conditions were described as "favourable", in that we didn't have to finish the run on soft sand, and also we could take a route very low down the beach at Beadnell. This year, after the overnight rain, this meant striding through more full streams than I can remember for a while, so we got wet feet very early on.

After the (rather sudden) race start (we couldn't hear a thing down at the waters' edge - what was all the clapping about folks?), I put my race plan straight into action: a good firm start, wait for Mike to go past, hang on to him till close to the finish, and then see what was left in the tank. It was only the third part of this that didn't work - for the third time this summer, come to think of it ...

Angela early on in the race.

Went past Geoff W, who was suffering a bit - I'm sure his muscles are optimised for shorter runs than this. Also, good to see Nigel near Dunstanburgh supporting and taking some excellent photos (see below - Dougie also took some great shots) - think he surprised Dougie later on his bike! Kept going quite well until Craster, but then either the wind would die in the hollows, leaving you quite warm, or else the wind would get up a bit and it would seem quite hard going. Got a bit of assistance from time to time sheltering behind tall runners, before going past them after a breather. Good to get to the finish, where it seems the race had been won a good six minutes slower than last year, so I didn't feel too bad about being only 15 seconds down myself. Funny thing was, each time I looked at my watch, the worse my time got! 1.44, first time I looked, then 1:46, 1:48. Jamie Steel, coming in soon after me, asked how I could come in before him, but do 1:48?? Finally noticed the watch was still running ... doh!

Mike was first Strider home, with a good strong run, especially as he hasn't been doing much long stuff recently. Graham, too, had a good one, finishing in front of Geoff W, who said he would have dropped out given the chance, and Colin had no problem whatsoever navigating his way along his first Coastal Run. Everyone else got in ok, looking pretty good, but saying that it was a hard one this year, and Dave brought up the rear, having chaperoned "She Runs For Cake" round the course - no, that wasn't Debs.


PosName Club CatPosTime
1David Kirkland Alnwick Harriers M 1:17:50
41Debbie Appleton Havering FV351 1:34:21
122Mike Bennett MV50 1:43:18
133Shaun Roberts MV50 1:44:06
159Jamie Steel M 1:46:31
187Graham Daglish M55 1:48:07
217Geoff Watson M 1:49:28
315Colin Blackburn MV45 1:54:50
391Phil Owen MV40 1:58:03
427Alan Smith MV60 1:59:47
462Graham Arrowsmith MV50 2:02:15
511Jean Bradley FV50 2:04:55
572Dougie Nisbet MV45 2:09:27
708Angela Proctor F 2:20:23
786Phil Todd M 2:32:07
787Yvonne Jones FV55 2:32:10
804Carole McGinn FV45 2:38:51
818Dave Robson MV55 2:45:10

841 finishers.

Summer Handicap, Round 4, 8th July

Colin Blackburn

Thanks to everyone who ran in July's handicap, 20 runners finished. Once again, very big thank you to Peter and his little helpers for running the whole show again.

A strange one this month. The first few runners across the line were running off of adjusted or estimated handicaps for various reasons while most of the runners failed to beat their handicaps. The first person off a well trod handicap to cross the line was Emma Detchon, first man was Alan Smith. Barry and Joanne should be back on course next month if I get the maths right. Mike Mawby was fastest man in his first handicap but off a comfortable handicap, next month should test Mike a little more. Will was running with legs that had managed top ten finishes in the Chevy Chase and the Saltwell Harriers fell race over the previous three days. Vanesa and Eileen on their first outings went off later than they should have but both did well and will have now achievable handicaps for next month. Not sure about the rest of us, my only excuse is that it was my birthday.

Once again thanks to everyone for taking part. The fifth round will be on Wednesday August 12th. The details and new start times are available from the links below.


PosNameStart timeFinish timeRun timeNew H/CRuns
1 Barrie Evans 19:09:45 19:52:11 42:26 42:26 3
2 Joanne Potter 19:09:45 19:54:15 44:30 44:30 3
3 Mike Mawby 19:19:00 19:54:16 35:16 35:50 1
4 Emma Detchon 19:09:15 19:58:19 49:04 49:14 3
5 Alan Smith 19:19:00 19:58:44 39:44 39:51 3
6 Graham Daglish 19:23:20 19:59:17 35:57 36:01 1
7 Lynne Bargwell 19:10:50 20:00:24 49:34 49:13 3
8 Louise Bilcliffe 19:16:20 20:00:32 44:12 43:40 2
9 Nigel Heppell 19:23:20 20:00:56 37:36 36:42 2
10 Zoe Tomlins 19:17:40 20:01:22 43:42 42:22 3
11 Geoff Davis 19:24:55 20:01:44 36:49 35:07 3
12 Jen Copley 19:16:10 20:01:59 45:49 43:53 3
13 Eileen Holdsworth 19:09:15 20:02:24 53:09 53:09 1
14 Angela Proctor 19:14:50 20:02:26 47:36 45:10 3
15 Colin Blackburn 19:25:05 20:02:29 37:24 35:01 3
16 Susan Davis 19:21:45 20:02:39 40:54 38:16 3
17 Shaun Roberts 19:26:45 20:02:43 35:58 33:17 2
18 Vanesa Castan Broto 19:09:15 20:03:29 54:14 54:14 1
19 Jan Young 19:20:20 20:05:32 45:12 39:41 3
20 Will Horsley 19:31:00 20:06:36 35:36 28:55 3

Croft Pit Stop 10K, 8th July

Alister Robson

The day after the Saltwell fell race and probably a more different race you couldn't hope to find! My work colleagues Michael Coxon and Mark English and fellow strider Jamie Steel ran this one as ITS Club 9 in an attempt to get our hands on the corporate prize. Croft is a pretty flat three laps of the racing circuit, finishing in the pit lane. Although I was a bit flat after the previous nights exertions at the Saltwell fell race I still managed a years best 10K time and knocked 30 seconds off last years time. Alas or perhaps luckily all three of my colleagues were quicker and they romped the corporate prize, first three runners counting.

I don't think there were any other Striders there as it was the July handicap, but apologies if I missed anyone.

The results show one Tanni Grey-Thompson coming 6th out of 6 in the wheelchair race. CGB.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Terry Wall Morpeth 32.43
11 Dawn Richardson Quakers 38.17
26 Jamie Steel ITS Club 9 40.51
41 Michael Coxon ITS Club 9 42.26
58 Mark English ITS Club 9 44.19
74 Alister Robson ITS Club 9 46.26

140 finishers.

Saltwell Harriers Fell Race, nr Stanhope, 7th July

5.5m 1000' BS

First, Denise Mason...

I really wasn't sure what to expect from my first fell race. I've never been good at running off-road (or uphill for that matter) but I figured I shouldn't knock it until I've tried it! I almost backed out completely when Dave sent me the photos of the previous year's race and I saw everyone in the middle of what looked like a river, waist high in water! I arrived with Phil, abandoning his car where it got stuck in the mud, and met up with a few other striders. We had just enough time to register and listen to the course safety advice.

Dave kindly agreed to stick with me so we set off up a bumpy track and let the majority of the runners overtake us. We were walking within minutes as the first hill was fairly steep and the ground too difficult to run on. Once up the hill the ground leveled out in to a deep mushy bog which we part run/part waded through. We lost sight of the other runners after a couple of miles and at times it was so quiet out there you could have heard a pin drop had it not have been for my occasional scream everytime my leg disappeared in to the ground! Oddly enough, once we had both lost our balance and got ourselves completely filthy, the race became more enjoyable and I stopped caring about my wet feet.

The highlight for me was being told by the race marshal to get on my arse and just slide down the ridiculously steep, and somewhat dangerous, rocky hill leading down towards the river! I felt like a 5 year old again, brilliant fun! We then jumped in to the stream and reached the checkpoint to tag our numbers before clambering back out and continuing on the course. I teetered along on the edge of a steep bank, most of which was sliding in to the stream, and eventually reached the final climb back up to the car.

Towards the end my calves were really starting to ache so I must have been using muscles I'm not used to using! We finished, somewhere near last, muddy and tired but smiling.

We retired to the pub along the road, re-fuelled with a very welcome vodka-coke, and received our prizes (more alcohol).

I'd recommend anyone who hasn't tried fell running to give it a go, but be prepared to get very wet and dirty!

Many thanks to Dave and Phil, and also Jan who gave me my new-but-now-very-smelly trail shoes!

Then, Alister Robson...

My first ever fell race and I had no idea really what to expect. Got a lift with Dougie, Deb, Tom and Colin and I must admit some of their stories made me somewhat apprehensive. We arrived in plenty of time and it was actually quite chilly up there which I was glad of.

The first stretch was a climb up to the radio mast and quickly I realised that this was going to be very different, the heather was packed quite tight and it was difficult to place both feet flat (well uphill but you know what I mean), after a while this levelled off and the last bit of the run up to the top was not much different to running around Durham! Once we turned round the mast it was back on a long run down hill, here the problem was both the heather trying to trip you up and the bog trying to suck you in. It was here at about 2 miles, that the heather won. I picked myself up and dusted myself off and carried on until eventually there was what seemed like a swamp before the road.

Through that and the next section was a flat narrow track where I struggled to keep my balance. Next downhill, this time very steeply all the way down to the stream, where everyone in front disappeared! When I got to the edge I realised why, it literally drops off and the only way I could get down was on my backside. As for the checkpoint in the middle of the stream it was nowhere near as bad as it had grown in my imagination from listening to the other's tales and given the amount of rain we'd had in the week previously. The stream was relatively warm and the tags were in fairly easy reach.

Next was a section back along the river which involved a little bit of rock climbing and another patch where travelling by bum was the only option. Lastly we turned again for home and back upto the raod and the finish. I admit it, I hold my hands up, I had to walk for a while and wasn't sure I had much left - I can assure you I wasn't the only one! Once the end was in view I managed another spurt and even managed to overtake a couple of people and finished, muddy bloody and bedraggled, but no longer a fell virgin!

Did I enjoy it? Yes, I really did. Will I be doing another one, well not this week. The prize giving and supper at the Moorcock was excellent if packed and the beer went down really well. Everyone even got a prize!

Jan Young adds...

Seventy four runners had a go at this fell race, running up to the mast above Stanhope, following narrow tracks in heather, leaping peaty pools, along cycle track, exilarating descent down fell to self clip in the middle of the beck; no chance of dry feet, return following stream and uphill finish. Good to see purple vests. I especially enjoyed the fellside descents. It just helps to reinforce why I love the hills. Good views too. Missed the pub afterwards, but I'm sure there'll be an account of that!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Abdelnoor Ben Ambelside AC M 40.00
7 Horsley Will NFRM 47.51
21 Reeves Thomas MV40 52.20
22 Lister Sarah Blackhill Bounders F 52.52
23 Davis Geoff NFRMV50 53.17
38 Blackburn Colin NFRMV45 57.09
44 Heppell Nigel MV55 58.11
50 Owen Phil MV40 60.22
52 Nisbet Dougie MV45 60.50
54 Robson Alister M 62.46
56 Goddard Debra F 63.26
57 Davis Susan NFRFV45 63.51
60 Young Jan FV50 67.01
73 Mason Denise F 80.28
74 Robson Dave MV55 80.29

76 finishers.

31st Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon, Coniston, 4th July

Nigel Heppell

Graham D and Nigel H set off from home at 5am and reached Coniston in time for the first downpour of the day. The starting point was a good 20min stomp uphill from the event centre so we arrived hot, sticky, knackered and late.

In this 2-day race you don't know where you are heading until you pass 'Go' and collect a list of control coordinates and descriptions, so the first thing to do is find somewhere on the wet grass/mining scree to spread out your map and mark up the 7 control points for day 1. You must prove you have been to each control in the correct sequence by inserting a dibber into a box of electronics at the location. The race maps are specially produced by Harveys who use a different regime of symbols to the Ordnance Survey and so we decided to take our time getting to control 1 so we could get used to the different interpretation.

All we had to do was zig-zag along a track, climb up a slope alongside a stream and spot the marker - a big orange and white cube - which wasn't there!

At this early stage of the race there are pairs of runners from 8 different classes, each with different destinations, milling about all over the hillsides and its no good following any of them because you have no idea which class they belong to, but it was suspicious that noone else seemed to be looking where we were, and after a long and fruitless search and increasing panic we decided to go back to basics and check everything over. That's when we found out our big problem, we're both visually challenged - to the extent that neither of us spotted that the small print of the control coordinates had been misread and we were hunting down a fictional control point.

Eventually we found the correct spot and dibbed, 40mins later than most others. Our navigation had been good but our reading of numbers was rubbish! Unsettled, but lesson learnt, we realised we were well out of the running by now and decided to try and compensate by good route choice and navigation and off we went to no.2, only about 6km away in a straight line. It took us 3hrs 26mins to get there. Somehow I don't think that was the optimum route, but it did include the peaks of Wetherlam, Swirl How, Grey Friars, and crossing Wrynose Pass before climbing Gaitscale Gill (near Cold Pike), looking for a pond - there was only one on the map, so when we came to a pond that had to be it, right? Wrong! Approaching from the valley bottom we couldn't see the second pond, nor could it be seen from 'our' pond. Later on we found out that most other pairs in our group came at it from above and could see it all laid out in front of them but we hunted around for ages until the penny dropped and we spread out further.

After that, navigation got easier with some more obvious objectives like sheepfold, grag foot, and pinnacle as the clue. We managed some running, but not a lot, having to skirt round Hard Knott (good views down onto the Roman fort) and Harter Fell before dropping towards Birks Bridge and following the river on a delightful path through the woods for a mile to our final checkpoint. We'd caught up with a number of other couples by now and from there to the day 1 finish over another mile of road and track we picked off a good few and didn't feel so bad about our poor start.

Overnight camp was in level grassy fields surrounding Turner Hall Farm, a very pleasant spot, made better by its proximity to The Newfield Arms half a mile down the road. Fortunately it stopped raining just as we put up the tent, although it did thump down overnight and early Sunday morning. At this stage we were 98th out of 109 with a further 11 pairs either missing a control or not getting round at all.

Sunday was always going to be an easier day simply because of the mass start. Inevitably, others from our group were in sight and the route choices were a little more obvious. The first kilometre was a bit brutal though; straight up the side of White Pike (600m), then 2km of ridge before dropping onto Blind Tarn and then another severe climb up to Dow Crag and a long traverse towards Swirl How. Control 3 was cunningly sited at the bottom of the valley feeding Seathwaite Tarn and it was quite a sight to see 80+ bodies tumbling and sliding down the 60degree slope to reach the mark, followed by a wearying climb back out to Swirl How and on to a control just below Wetherlam. After that, civilisation beckoned and we headed down to Levers Water, with the temperature rising and the sun beating down. Another checkpoint on the knolls of The Bell, followed by rapid descent along old mining tracks, the final real control at a boggy pond, then soggy tracks through farmland to the outskirts of Coniston and on to the event centre. A lot more running could be done and our Day 2 position was 49th out of 104, and a further 10 pairs missing controls.

Overall position 83rd out of 103 and 17 disqualified.

We'll just have to do it again next year!


Carrock Fell

Pos Name Day One Day Two Overall
Time Pos Time Pos Time
1 Lee Procter
Ben Procter
4:58:55 2 3:09:33 2 8:08:28
83 Nigel Heppell
Graham Daglish
8:33:10 98 4:35:46 49 13:08:56

120 starters, 103 finishers.

Osmotherley Phoenix, 4th July

Dave Robson

This is a lovely race with three options: 17m, 26m or 33m and you can decide part way round the course which one you want to do. I got to Osmotherley in plenty of time for the 9.00 start and realised I had parked two cars away from a friend from Fetch. We had parked in the race car park which was about 1K from the centre of the village. There was a bit of a queue for the shuttle bus so we walked to the centre.

Phil was doing this one and so of course the weather was sunny with a slight cooling breeze. After a briefing, which included a request that if anybody die, they should ensure they fell on to their back with their tally showing so it could read by a helicopter. Great !

The route followed the Cleveland Way for the first 13m. That included some reasonable climbs and some fairly steep ones, but I was walking most of them even at this stage. Just before the Clay Bank checkpoint I made a minor error with locating the checkpoint, then we started the big pull up to the Botton Head trig point and a self clip checkpoint. The checkpoints, apart from the self clips, all had plenty of drinks and cake !

Then it was off the Cleveland Way and off to Chop Gate where I caught up with Phil who had an upset stomach and said he was going to take the option of doing the 26m route at the next checkpoint. He did amazingly well to finish that considering how ill he was. Out of Chop Gate was the biggest hill on the route, very tough.

On the descent to the Wheat Beck checkpoint, my hamstring started to play up, so I walked down. I still had the option of doing 26m from Wheat Beck, but walking was not painful and although I was only at the 21m point, I knew I could walk the rest of the 33m route and still make the 10hr cut off time.

So after saying goodbye to Phil, I carried on walking. This part of the route was a bit navigationally challenging (hardly any of the route was marked), but there were a few of us and we worked it out as we crossed fields, walked through woods and past abandoned farmhouses.The scenery on the route was amazing. Found the last manned checkpoint in a valley which was 8m from the finish. Of course we had to climb out of the valley and it was steep again. Just before checkpoint, I tried running again and to my surprise there was no pain from my hamstring ! However, it was all uphill for 3m after the checkpoint to rejoin the Cleveland Way 5m south of Osmotherley. At this junction there was another self clip and water to help ourselves to. All day it had been sunny and hot and I was drinking loads !

Once the Cleveland Way started to descend I started to run again and it felt fine. Made another navigational error just at the finish but made it back in 8hr 8min. Cooled down by using the hosepipe which had been set up for that purpose. Two cups of tea, a pint and a coke disappeared down me without touching the sides. The shuttle bus back to the car park has stopped running so it was a long slow and slightly painful walk back to the car.

Looking at my stats, I didn't do a single mile in less than 10min and the mile after Chop Gate took me about 20min !! Very pleased to have finished. Would I do it again - give me a few days to think about it.

Tynedale 10K, 1st July

Dave Robson

It was a very hot and humid evening for this popular 10K race. Most people's times suffered as a result, with the exception of Anna, who got a new pb—well done Anna! This race has a very fast start downhill, but it's easy to forget that it has a few climbs as well and even though it was raining lightly, the humid conditions made those hills tougher. A good turn out of Striders for this one.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 KIRKLAND, David Alnwick Harriers 32:27
11 WILKINSON, Mary Bingley H 35:21
131 Mike Bennett 42:27
281 Phil Owen 48:12
300 Melanie Hudson 48:53
314 Anna Pethybridge 49:17
333 Alan Smith 49:46
337 Dave Robson 49:55
346 Barrie Evans 50:08
352 Stephanie Barlow 50:19
393 Andrew Thompson 52:01
454 Denise Mason 54:35
487 Zoe Tomlins 56:06
496 Angela Proctor 57:05
548 Mike Elliott 1:01:46
570 Philip Todd 1:04:52
571 Jenifer Crilley 1:04:56
577 Jackie Smith 1:06:48
588 Ann Rush 1:09:58
592 Margaret Thompson 1:10:39

595 finishers.