Race Reports, June 2009

Beamish Tram Challenge, 24th June


Alister Robson

Quite a changed route this year. When I did it last year, you did two laps around the tram track starting at the shops, followed by two figure of eights around the woods and finishing in the grounds of the hall. This time it starts at the tram stop next to where you entered the woods last year, one lap of the tram track against the tram (No I didn't beat it, not even close!) then out along a new route into the woods taking in one horrible climb. You then emerge back onto the tram track and do the whole thing again, except you continue up the hill all the way to the car park at the main entrance. It's downgraded to a 9K this year, but if I remember rightly last year was a little bit shy of 10K anyway.

It was a warm evening and very tiring but I enjoyed it more than last year (when I had to stop and walk for a bit).

Dave Robson, pacing a lady Fetch runner, Jo Heron and Graham Arrowsmith who I tried to keep up with but lost sight of early on also ran.

Alister makes an appearance in the official Beamish photos. CGB.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Lee Millmore Birtley M 32:00
12 Tracy Laws Chester le St F 36:05
44 Grahame Arrowsmith MV 43:18
51 Alister Robson M 44:07
67 Joanne Heron F 46:22
109 Clare van den Bos F 59:07
110 Dave Robson MV 59:07

119 finishers.

Newton Aycliffe 10K, 21st June

Fiona decides to give the Striders' men a chance, and not run.

First...Alister Robson

Whilst most Striders were running the Castle to Castle a few of us ran Newton Aycliffe 10K. Although Saturday's weather was awful with near persistent rain, the sun shone beautifully on Sunday morning and we knew we were in for a warm one. Newton Aycliffe is a funny 10K with one small loop and two large ones around some housing estates although you do pass briefly Bluebell woods where the fun run is staged.

It is very much a road race. I met up with Andy Jordan, who looked quite guilty as his first child is due imminently and had managed to sneak out for this one. My boss from work, (and future Strider?), Michael Coxon was also there. He produced the first real laugh of the day. Jamie Steel unfortunately had to pull out and Michael managed to pass his number onto another runner who was going to enter on the day. Suffice to say the official results may be a little skewed by that one. Fiona Shenton was also there to support her son and although she looked gutted to be missing it herself, she encouraged Andy and I on. My wife, much to her displeasure, was lumbered with photography duties although she took some lovely shots, have a look at the link below. Dave Robson found some other photos, link below, and if you look closely you'll spot Jamie's number 22 in picture number 158.

The race itself? Well I think I beat my time last year which was my main objective and Andy looked happy with his as was Michael.

and then...Andy Jordan

I woke up on Sunday morning to clear blue skies and decided to head down to Newton Aycliffe to do the 10k as an 'on the day' entry. The race is two and a half laps of the same course around the town and it is well organised and supported with about 400 runners taking part. As most of the rest of the club were out running across the country it was down to Alister and I to represent the Striders on the roads, although Fiona was there supporting her son and gave us both a cheer as we went round. It was quite a warm morning and I couldn't quite manage the pace I wanted (I am trying to do one of these events in 45 minutes) but I did shave another 30 seconds off my PB, coming in at just under 46 minutes. Alister was not far behind and seemed to have had a good run as well.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 SER-OD, Bat-ochir Morpeth Harriers M 31:45
16 SUMMERSGILL, Carolyn Middlesbrough & Cleveland H F 36:23
110 COXON, Michael Unattached Strider! M 44:03
112 JENKINS, Adrian MV 44:17
144 JORDAN, Andrew M 45:53
180 ROBSON, Alister M 47:38
324 PORTER, Joanne FV 58:21
331 JENKINS, Dorothy FV 58:44

374 finishers.

Castle to Castle Relay, 20th, and, 21st June

Thanks to all...

Well done to the organisers this year's charity run and to everyone who ran the Castle to Castle Relay. A few people's thoughts are below but more reports and snippets are welcome. If you want to send a few words about how your leg went then drop me an email at the usual website adddress or contact me via the website contact form selecting "Charity relay" from the drop-down menu.

Castle to Castle.

Graham Daglish

Day 1

On Saturday morning at 6:45 I arrived at Dave Shipman's and warmed up by helping push his camper van (here after known as The Mother Ship) out of the drive so he could get the jump leads on it to my Berlingo. We made it to Carlisle after a breif stop at Wall to pick up Dave Robson and I decided I would join in the first leg with Geoff Watson, Ed K (who ran the whole 42 mile of day one) and Dave Robson. We had hardly done half a mile and our path was blocked by fences. We had to lift them and limbo under. The route out of Carlisle was a mixture of path and trails with few climbs. Geoff Watson did an excellent job of navigation. Anyway I had a great time doing legs 1 to 3 the first day and got a good soaking on miles 7 and 8 but dried out later. Dave Shipman was there with The Mother Ship at every change over point to supply endless bottles of water and energy giving snacks. When we got to Steel Rigg I saw a wonderful view of the was undulating into the distance and wished I had saved myself for this leg. I need to come back sometime and run it. Spent the rest of the day car and camper van shuffling. Barry Bird did an excellent job over the two days ferrying people back to the start of their leg and to where their cars were parked.

Castle to Castle. We managed to get the tents up before the rain started but some of us got soaked on the way to the pub. The beer and the meal were tip top. George Nicholson and I could not help having a laugh at the menu and it's Roman / Gallic Slant. What is the difference between Cod Hadrian and fish and chips George asked. Also for dessert do they have Walls Ice Cream? I had Chicken Rob Roy which was chicken breast stuffed with haggis. All washed down with a few pints of Farmers Half. Delicious.

Day 2

After a good nights sleep it was off into bright sunshine on day 2. I was down to do legs 2 and 4 but decided I would just keep going straight through for another 15 mile day. I particularly enjoyed leg 4 through the woods to Ebchester which I ran with Dave Shipman. Dave Shipman and the mother ship were there again at each changeover point. As we got nearer to Durham more and more Striders joined in the on the route. At the leg coming into Langley Park there were at least a dozen Striders at the changeover point. Anyone that was able to run joined in at the Pot and Glass for the final mile of the relay along to Durham Castle. It was a fantastic weekend which I enjoy very much. Again a big thank you to Dave and Geoff for organising such a brilliant event.

Nigel Heppell

Day 1: legs 4, 5 & 6

Castle to Castle. I've never been to this part of The Wall before, it's beyond the more obvious touristy bits and the access point for Banks is tucked away down a tiny lane. Dave S and myself kitted up and waited until the group of slightly soggy early runners arrived up the hill flushed with success/relief/effort. Graham D took over driving DS's camper van while Geoff W, Edd K, Dave R and Jan opted for further running. Edd refuelled with a few kilos of pasta and we set off alongside a relatively level stretch of Wall to Birdoswald. From there the track drops steeply down to cross the River Irthing on a bouncy bridge at Willowford - extensive remnants of Wall in an attractive, isolated setting - and trundles along to the 3?-pub village of Gilsland, where we lost Jan and gained Nina and Gary. Leaving Gilsland the path takes you on a trip round the borders of someone's vegetable patch! A nice stretch of level Vallum running leads to Thirlwell castle and a long, steep climb to Walltown Quarry. Geoff W stayed here to rest his legs but George N and Barry E joined in on what became a very repetitive hilly, twisty section of path to Steel Rigg. In between showers we had fine views all around, at one point spotting the hills of Dumfries and Galloway in the distance behind. Eventually passing the trig' point at the highest spot of day 1, we had a steady (cramp permitting) downhill trot to the changeover and I was glad to get back to normality, if sleeping next to the goal posts on a village green counts as normality!

George Nicholson

Day 1: Leg 6 or Veni, Vidi, Fugi.*

Castle to Castle. Thankfully the heavy showers had passed over when the group of runners from Gilsland came charging up the hill to Walltown Car park near the Roman Museum, just after 1.00 pm Nigel, Barry Evans, Nina, Gary, and of course the ever present Edd, were all going to continue on for this next leg. I felt a bit apprehensive when Geoff decided he would not run on, " as this leg is a bit hilly"!! - For goodness sake Geoff you had only run 20+ miles in the last 4 hours! (What did he know that I didn't?) Obviously a lot as it turned out. The route took us up the first of several hills (and I mean several) .Geoff had given this as 9.4 km - wonder how far it was if the contours on the map could have been stretched flat? Wonderful route though with classic views. It took us past King Arthur's Well, Great Chester's Fort, several Turrets & Milecastles (which thankfully are not 1 mile apart), and off course well preserved sections of the Wall itself. Edd, Barry & Nina picked up the pace well towards the end. Nigel & Gary were very patient and kept back with my pace. Jan came back along the route from Steel Rigg to cheer us all on and take some photos. Big relief to see Steel Rigg come into view at last, and then to allow the next group set away. Nigel & Lesley kindly gave me a lift back in the famous camper van back to my start point at Walltown, where I then , in true Roman style, gave thanks to the pagan gods and sacrificed a chicken sandwich.

* I came, I saw, I ran. Most likely not the correct Latin, but you get the gist.

Some videos from George...

Colin Blackburn

Day 1: Legs 8 & 9.

Once Geoff had announced where the campsite was to be I had planned to cycle to the 17 miles to the campsite and take part in legs on both days. So, on a pretty rainy Saturday at one-ish I loaded up the bike and started the ride from my place to Wall. It's mostly downhill but with a huge climb out of Blanchland after 3 miles, a fully laden touring bike and cold legs, I was walking before I knew it. After that the cycling was a wet breeze, even Hexham town centre. Between Hexham and Wall I found a wonderfully pretty back-road that I think must have been the old A69 which has the highest speed hump I have ever seen.

Arriving at Wall I pitched my tent, leisurely changed from cycling kit to running kit (I'm no triathlete) and set out to meet the incoming runners. I wasn't sure exactly where they would be but in the end I met them at Brocolitia Fort, not too far from the start of leg 8. I then had a very pleasant run back to Wall with about 10 Striders and a dog. I was amazing to run alongside something that was built all those years ago...they'd never get planning permission for it now. The evening at Wall was excellent: good beer, good food and good company. I then did my best to keep everyone else awake with my snoring, though the phenomenal morning chorus at 3:30 played its part.

Castle to Castle.
Day 2: Leg 1.

The second day turned out to be much brighter the the first and looked set for being a scorcher. Luckily I was out on the first leg of the day with Johns E & S. As ever there was tremendous support at ever road crossing with water and cheers being handed out in good measure. The running was a mix of open fields and shaded woodlands with a lot of stiles and gates! We reached the Errington Arms in good time with John E carrying on with Graham for the next leg. After a breather I turned around and ran back to Wall passing the morning ramblers as they started to filter along the path. When I got back to Wall, much to my relief, my bike, my tent and all my possessions were still there. After another change I saddled up and cycled down to Hexham. Luckily Elfie was collecting me and some shopping, I'm not sure my legs would have enjoyed the 12 mile climb to home.

Another big thank you from me to the organisers, recce-ers, runners and everyone who made it a great weekend.

Anna Pethybridge

Day 2: Legs 8 & 9.

I wasn't really feeling up to running on the Sunday, I have to admit. I never am on a Sunday! But the sun was out and I'm pretty good at talking myself into things. As I walked / jogged along to Malton from Langley park I began to feel a bit more positive, and when I reached Malton Picnic Area and was welcomed by a big group of Striders I couldn't wait to get started! We set off at a nice, chatty pace and it felt like no time at all before we were in Durham, waiting to regroup before our last bit to the Castle. It was a fabulous day of well organised running, in lovely weather, with good company and for an excellent cause. Sign me up for next year!

Castle to Castle.
The hard sell...

Just a quick reminder, the charity we are raising money for is the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. Although we have reached our target you can still make a difference by making a donation. Just follow the Donate! link below.

Newburn River Run, 6.5 miles, 17th June

Andy Jordan

A typical British summer's day with lots of rain and cloud nearly put me off travelling to Newburn for this race. However, my wife persuaded me to get out of the house and I was so glad that I made the effort as at 7pm the sun started to shine and it made for a wonderful evening run. This event will now become a regular in my race calendar; it is a predominantly flat course with a few undulations on a glorious stretch of the River Tyne with fantastic views, particularly on the south bank of the river just down from Wylam station. There were 3 Striders in total and Mike led us home in style with Jo and I not too far behind. Great race, thoroughly recommended.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 R Stephenson Gateshead M 34.44
9 M Wilkinson Bingley F 37.53
56 Mike Bennett M55 43.30
132 Andy Jordan 48.21
173 Jo Heron F 50.53

285 finishers.

Swaledale Marathon, Reeth, 13th June

Pam Kirkup

On a beautiful, bright Saturday morning quite a large contingent of Striders assembled for this year's Swaledale Marathon; except that is for Paul and I. We managed to forget that the start was no longer virtually on the doorstep of our hotel - The Bridge at Grinton. So, when we headed out at 9.26, there was no-one to be seen. Paul went hurtling off in pursuit of the invisible pack while I followed, hoping I might at least catch up with a few walkers. We were both in luck! I soon found the back of the walkers and on Fremington Edge fell into step with a couple from Beverley. The guy had done Swaledale 9 times and was hoping to make this his tenth; his partner, Sue, was new to the race and feeling a bit apprehensive to say the least. He was very keen to verify the precise distance of each leg and was carrying a State of the Art SatNav so by the time we reached the first check-point at Stang Bridge he was able to tell me we'd done 5.55mles! Having planned to drop out here and walk back along the riverside path, I parted company with Mr SatNav.

Ugly bugger looks on enviously as the pride of Striders womanhood line up at the start oblivious to the grief to come.

I got back to Reeth just in time to watch the first runners come in. Race winner was Lewis Banton of Clowne Road Runners (and Dark Peak Fell club) who finished in a stunning 3.16, followed by our very own Paul Evans in 3.24 who looked like he'd been for a stroll in the park. Next Strider was Shaun Roberts in 4.34 and hot on his heels came Peter Fahey in 4.37 (you see, David, he doesn't just turn out for Calderdale!). Then came Graham Daglish in 4.52 followed by ex-Strider Stewart Gardner and Paul (in spite of our traumas at the start) in 4.56. Phil Owen was next in 5.00 followed by Striders' first lady, Jan Young who came cruising in at 5.01. Andrew Thompson finished in 5.02 and then came Jean Bradley our 2nd lady in 5.24. Nina Mason and Wendy Rowell came in together at 5.26 followed by Amanda Hunter (5.32), ex Strider Charlotte Roberts (5.35), Jean Gillespie (5.36), Christine Farnsworth (6.10) and Maggie Thompson (6.20). The last of our runners was Dave Robson who, on his first Swaledale outing, was pacing a friend from Fetcheveryone and so finished in 6.50. Walkers Phil and Bob Layton finished in 6.52 & 6.57 respectively.

Normally, I might be able to wax lyrical (or otherwise!) about the course and its potential for disaster but, since I'd only done 1 leg, I thought I'd ask a selection of Strider finishers for their impressions ... with varied success:

Finally, Paul's impression of the race? "Well, it's always hard isn't it?"

He added later that the path at Great Punchard Head has become quite narrow and eroded - not the easiest part of the course at the best of times. The finishers and supporters whiled away the afternoon on the terrace outside the Buck Inn cheering our runners and walkers in and enjoying the sunshine. It was a fantastic day with some great performances from Striders.

Later on Paul and I ventured out into Reeth and there in the Black Bull were Mr SatNav and his partner Sue, who I met on Fremington Edge. They did eventually finish in 8.45 and Sue's impression? "Never ever, ever again, no way, it was horrendous." Mr SatNav (also called Paul) got his gold badge for doing it 10 times. He reckoned, in time, Sue just might change her mind ... and then Jean & Brad arrived. Jean's enthusiasm was infectious - I wouldn't be surprised if she'd signed Sue up for next year's Harrier League!

So another Swaledale is over. It's a challenging but amazing event and usually a great weekend. If you've never done it, why not join the ever-growing band of regulars for next year's race?

Many thanks, too, to Wendy, Amanda and Jan for organising an excellent cottage! Quote of the weekend from Roz Layton: "I like the showers at Maiden Castle - I just enjoy the crack." Wendy spotted that one 0.2 seconds before me. Shaun.


PosName Club CatPosTime
1Lewis Banton Clowne Road RunnersM 03:15
2Paul Evans M 03:24
25Pippa Weir Totley AC F40 1 04:00
78Shaun Roberts M50 04:35
82Peter Fahey M50 04:37
120Graham Daglish M50 04:52
139Paul Foster M50 04:56
143Phil Owen M 05:00
145Jan Young F40 05:01
???Andrew Thompson M 05:02
192Jean Bradley F40 05:24
201Nina Mason F 05:26
202Wendy Rowell F40 05:26
210Amanda Hunter F40 05:33
216Jean Gillespie F40 05:36
267Christine Farnsworth F40 06:10
286Margaret Thompson F40 06:20
299Gary Davies M 06:27
326Dave Robson M50 06:50
334Phil Layton M 06:52
344Bob Layton M50 06:57
450Carole McGinn F40 08:36
451Janet Wyngard F40 08:36

469 finishers.
Elvet men: 7th team overall.
Elvet women: 6th women's team, 18th team overall.
25 teams finished overall, 11 women's teams finished.

Roman Wall Show Race, Steel Rigg, 13th June

Nigel Heppell

This annual sheep show seemed to attract a lot of the more serious running types, no doubt due to its inclusion in the 2009 NECAA championship series. Will Horsley (NFR vest) was there with a mission to win and he and I had a good chat about race tactics (his, not mine); the best line to take away from the start; how best to negotiate the stiles; could he hold off Phil Sanderson, etc, etc; - and then Morgan Donelly turned up! Everyone knew then who the winner would be and where the cash prize would go.

About 90 runners set off from the show field in a brief shower of rain leaving behind the biggest collection of odd-looking sheep I've ever seen - no doubt they thought the same about us too - and plunged briefly downhill before joining the Roman Wall Path and undulating our way along for a mile or so, passing Robin Hood(Mel Gibson)'s lonely sycamore, before starting a steady climb that steepened progressively and affording good views of a stile part-way up, beyond which everyone seemed to be walking. I considered Will's advice to put on a spurt ahead of the stile to avoid being caught up in the crush but quickly decided this wasn't a day for spurting. At only 4-5miles long, this is a short race for me and, coupled with the down hill start, I'd gone off a bit too fast and climbing the stile broke whatever rythm I had; clearly I was not alone in this as I had plenty of company. Over the top and a few more ups and downs and we crossed the Wall at the Pennine Way. The route headed North for a few hundred metres, losing a lot of height down a dip and back up again before turning due West and giving a clear view of the showground in the distance. From there it was a straightforward run back mainly on a slight incline but with a valley crossing leaving a sharp hill climb to the finish.

Will came in 3rd. Sarah Lister was 2nd lady. I came in after 2 V60's! and not very far ahead of Eric Whittaker.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Morgan Donnelly Borrowdale M 27:25 *
3 Will Horsley M 29:03
54 Nigel Heppell MV50 39:14

89 finishers.

* new course record.

Summer Handicap, Round 3, 10th June

Colin Blackburn

Thanks to everyone who ran in June's handicap, 26 runners finished and . A very big thank you to Peter, Paul and,...er, David for starting people and stopping people.

First across the line was Lynn who'll now have a harder time next month! Geoff W was the fastest male runner, Melanie the fastest woman. Fifty people have taken part in total so far this year, it'd be nice to get all 50 of you out for the next round. Those runners who've done a few races are now starting to bunch nicely about 20:00. The runners who failed to beat their handicaps this week were mainly the faster men, although a few people were suffering with post-Blaydon legs.

Once again thanks to everyone for taking part. The fourth round will be on Wednesday July 8th, the week before the Court Inn Clamber, an ideal last training run over the Clamber course. The new start times are available from the link below.


PosNameStartFinishTimeNew HC
1 Lynne Bargwell 19:04:25 19:52:52 48:27 49:10
2 Cheralynn Stott 19:04:25 19:53:30 49:05 49:44
3 Barrie Evans 19:04:25 19:54:01 49:36 50:12
4 Joanne Potter 19:09:15 19:54:01 44:46 45:21
5 Melanie Hudson 19:17:30 19:55:27 37:57 38:24
6 Kirsty Dykes 19:14:05 19:56:05 42:00 42:23
7 Angela Procter 19:11:45 19:56:32 44:47 45:07
8 Zoe Tomlins 19:15:05 19:57:07 42:02 42:19
9 Geoff Davis 19:22:50 19:57:40 34:50 35:04
10 Anna Pethybridge 19:20:10 19:58:47 38:37 38:44
11 Andrew Thompson 19:20:10 19:58:53 38:43 38:50
12 John Hutchison 19:22:00 19:58:57 36:57 37:03
13 Stef Barlow 19:20:45 19:59:22 38:37 38:41
14 Denise Mason 19:17:55 19:59:28 41:33 41:36
15 Grahame Arrowsmith 19:22:20 19:59:53 37:33 37:33
16 Susan Davis 19:21:40 19:59:53 38:13 38:13
17 Louise Bilcliffe 19:16:20 19:59:57 43:37 43:37
18 Alan Smith 19:19:05 19:59:59 40:54 40:56
19 Geoff Watson 19:28:40 20:00:05 31:25 31:19
20 Tom Reeves 19:24:35 20:00:25 35:50 35:24
21 Jamie Steel 19:27:25 20:00:41 33:16 32:43
22 Mike Hall 19:04:25 20:01:01 56:36 56:36
23 Mike Bennett 19:27:25 20:01:20 33:55 32:34
24 Colin Blackburn 19:25:10 20:01:44 36:34 34:52
25 Jenny Crilly 19:11:50 20:01:59 50:09 50:09
26 Phil Owen 19:21:20 20:03:30 42:10 38:41

Blaydon Race 5.9M, 9th June

Colin & Shaun

Eager Boyzone fans waiting for their heroes to take to the stage.

Provisional results below ... if you ran and you're not in the table or if you didn't run and your name is let me know. Also, if you fancy doing a proper report on this one, feel free ...

Meanwhile, from the organisers' website:

You wouldn't believe Boyzone would come along and clash with our event, would you? Well, they have and it has given us a headache. They expect 5000 concertgoers to arrive between 6.30 and 7.30 and most of them will come into the city by road. We will have road closures in place for the race which passes very close to the Arena just before the first mile point. So we have 5000 Boyzone fans and up to 4000 Blaydon runners converging on Railway Street at about the same time."

Did anyone see any of that lot??


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Ian Hudspith Morpeth 27:44
25 Justina Heslop Clapham L 1 31:46
195 Michael Bennett V55 2 37:52
204 Jamie Steel M 38:02
321 Fiona Shenton L50 1 39:42
330 Graham Daglish V55 10 39:47
617 Andrew Jordan M 42:56
707 Phil Owen V40 43:40
798 Alister Robson M 44:25
999 Emma Thompson L 45:56
1000 Alan Smith V60 45:56
1050 Anna Pethybridge L50 46:24
1051 Andrew Thompson M 46:24
1069 John Hutchinson V50 46:29
1092 Dougie Nisbet V45 46:40
1105 Jean Bradley L45 46:44
1292 Julie Mitchelson L40 47:55
1818 Jennifer Copley L35 51:36
2390 Mike Elliott V60 55:43
2402 Greta Jones L40 55:48
2623 Stan White V50 57:28
2805 Jackie Smith L70 59:02
3016 Margaret Thompson L55 1:01:24
3182 Dave Robson V55 1:04:26

3426 finishers

Kielder Reservoir Relay, 7th June

Paul Evans

This was not done strictly as a Striders team, what with two NFR runners and Will Horsley's joint allegiances, but is a rather nice, scenic, low-key run around the Kielder lakeside path. In total the run comes to about 26 miles, with the third leg being slightly longer than the rest and all being fairly undulating, with the basic idea being to keep the reservoir on your right-hand side at all times as you weave through the trees.

Our makeshift team were one of only ten competing and we felt reasonably confident at the start, particularly as Gary, our first-leg man, set off like a rocket into the drizzle. 40 minutes later Gary emerged with a comfortable lead, which our next runner, Lee, then built on, crossing the half-mile stretch of the dam to the handover point with no-one in sight. Even so, aware that Heaton had the alarmingly-quick James Buis running legs 3 and 4, I went off into the trees a little too quickly, working on the basis that if he couldn't see me he wouldn't be able to chase me down. For the entire 8 miles of this leg I didn't see another runner and was able to run at a slightly uncomfortable pace whilst still admiring the scenery. However, approaching the last handover point I saw another runner descend from the road ahead of me, forcing his team-mate to scramble out of his car (he'd not expected to have to run for another 20 minutes and was listening to the radio) and making Will think that he now had a race on his hands: as it happened, the Carlisle runner had accidentally chopped off the entire Bull Crag peninsula by making one wrong turn and was rather embarrassed.

We managed to get to the finish, at Kielder Castle, in time to see Will lead the Carlisle runner in by 20 seconds, with Heaton following about ten minutes later. Tea and cake followed before the three of us left (Gary had headed off to Kirk Yetholm after his leg, as he wanted to do the fell race that afternoon), with the organisers expressing their concern that the race was currently making a loss due to the low numbers—to rectify this, they are considering offering it as both relay and individual marathon next year. Hopefully this will be successful and I could definitely see this as a race for Striders to enter a few teams in next year...thoughts?

Garburn Challenge, Staveley, 6th June

Zoe Tomlins

Dave plays aeroplanes. Zoe humours him while looking slightly worried.

They say there is a first time for everything, and I managed 3 this weekend. 1) Going to the Lake District. 2) Camping - the proper, "not in the back garden" variety. 3) Trail Running (in the rain, with a backpack on too!). Me, a southern softie? No chance! So as Kirsty, Jen and I made our way along the A66 towards Cumbria in the driving rain on friday afternoon, armed with tents, sleeping bags, clean new trail shoes just begging to get muddy, and a bottle of wine or two, it was the start of a mini adventure.

Being relatively new to this off-road running lark, we had been told by our trusty fellow club members (cheers Dave!) that the Puma Lakeland Trails are a brilliant introduction to trail running; lots of hills, streams to splash through and breathtaking Lake District scenery. The Garburn Trail Race and Challenge has a reputation for being one of the most scenic races in the UK: 24km of multi terrain trails, starting and finishing in the village of Stavelely.

5 Striders were taking part in the Garburn Challenge; myself, Jen Copley, Kirsty Dykes, Dave Robson and Phil Owen. There were also a large number of "Fetchies" (from the online running forum - Fetch Everyone), so the atmosphere at the Windermere Camping and Caravan Club was a jolly one! The run got off to a slightly confusing start this year, thanks to the great British weather - snow at 800m. This meant that the biggest climb of the race, the formidable Garburn Pass, had to be cut from the race, making it more like 18km in the end. I may have made some whingeing noises about this before the race started, but after the first 3 gruelling hills I began to feel quite relieved! Especially with the extra weight of a backpack carrying the waterproof gear we were all advised to take with us! But when you're helped along the way by free chocolate-covered Kendal mint cake, and given a free hot lunch at the end, who's complaining?

Kirsty and Phil battled it out to be first Strider through the finish line and both managed to finish in exactly 2:04:48, followed by Jen, then me and Dave bringing up the rear. He let me beat him by 1 second, what a gentleman! The camaraderie between the competitors was fantastic, with a lot of cheering and shrieking as we sloshed through the mud past the confused looking sheep. By the time we were dry and warm in the Whistling Pig with a nice glass of wine and even more hot food, we all agreed that the pain was worth it (is trail running like childbirth?), and would be returning in 2010 to tackle the Garburn Pass once and for all!


Name Cat Time
COPLEY, Jennifer F 2:12:10
DYKES, Kirsty F 2:04:48
OWEN, Phil M40 2:04:48
ROBSON, Dave M50 2:18:36
TOMLINS, Zoe F 2:18:35

200+ finishers.