Race Reports, April 2010

London Marathon, 25th April


Three reports ...

... first from Jane Ives:

Jane at the finish of her first marathon - well done! Firstly (and it has to be said!) what a fantastic race to do as a first marathon! A great buzz at Excel on Saturday and a great atmosphere in Greenwich as I walked to the start area. The forecast promised a hot day with high humidity and it did rain hard before the start. Had a slight technical hitch at the start when my Garmin wouldn’t work at all, so I calmly went with the low-tech 'feel the pace' approach!

It was a slow start and crowded and we had to slow to a walk 3 times in the first 6 miles, but I hit my planned pace (10 minute miles with the hope of finishing in around 4.30) and ran to it. Amazing amount of noise from the spectators through Greenwich - and a surreal moment at 4 miles when I had a quick chat with Princess Beatrice who was chained to 34 other people in a human caterpillar! Had a great boost seeing my brother in the crowd at 13 miles and was still on pace at 17 miles. I felt very tired around 18-19 miles and by this time it was very hot and humid, but after a bit of banana and lots of water found myself at 22 miles. Again a real boost seeing my hubby and friends in the crowd and found myself at 23 miles thinking 'any fool can run 3 miles'! So I got my head down and ran - great to see Buckingham Palace and then I finished. The time on the clock was 4.39, and it was a while before I found out that my chip time was in fact 4.30:57. I am over the moon!

A big thank you to the club for the number in the first place (especially to Pam) and also thank you for all the support and encouragement especially to Denise, Susan, Debs, George and Allan.

Will I run another marathon - the answer has to be yes!

... and second from Andrew Thompson:

Andrew after just getting inside of fours hours - well done! It was a big thing to be part of London Marathon again and a big thank you to Pam for making it possible - she really went the extra mile when things looked bleak and for that I am very grateful.

I did this race last year and came unhinged at 20 miles, ending up walking and stumbling the rest of the race. This year it was personal - I didn't want to go through that again. I planned to do the first half in 1hr 50 and continue that pace as far as possible in order to do the last few miles with a bit of a buffer to compensate any fall-out and get a sub-4 time. As the saying goes the opposite of a negative split is never a positive experience but I thought it my best chance.

Crowding was quite an issue this year, I tried to pick the pace up from the off but was constantly hampered, crossing half way at 1.56, leaving only a few minute safety net for any second half slow-down. Things felt good though and I noticed the spot at 20 miles where last year the wheels fell off but strode on past. At 22 things began to get really tough and I was worried I would have to stop and walk but I had trained hard for this exact moment over the last year and got through it - it was emotional! A bit of a chariots of fire style charge took place at 800 meters to go, and ended just short of 600 meters to go - I remember laughing at myself about that but not much else of the last kilometre along the mall.

I had a bit of a moment at the end, my clock stopped for a while in the middle and I wasn't sure for how long so couldn't be sure of my time. I was pretty sure though that I had gone past the 4 hour mark by a few seconds and was devastated, really couldn't enjoy the end at all. I stumbled around for a bit trying to comprehend what had just not happened and after a while thought I'd just go to get the tube. I was asking directions from the info tent and got my official time while I was there, turns out I got 3.59.56. Funny the difference 1 second per hour makes, I celebrated with 2 scotch eggs and a warm beer, a happy boy again.

... and David Gibson adds:

The week before Tom and Geoff had introduced me to the joys of running up and down numerous fells and I must admit that this addiction has tempered my view of 26.2 miles of concrete. Although London Bridge is impressive it doesn't beat trying to catch T and G going up Blencathra.

For me the London Marathon for all its corporate pizzazz and profile was about running through all the different communities that make up that crazy city, the drums and the singing in South London, the wide boys in the Docklands cheering you on, the little kids who stand by the sides with their orange pieces or jelly babies, the occasional Northern accent shouting "come on Elvet" as you creak past and the parent (or grandparent) getting their photo taken with their children on their knees holding their medal.

A recent TV programme recently exposed the failures of the event as a charitable exercise and this is understandable but as I listened to the stories about the woman who had had a lung transplant and was out there running or read on the back of a T shirt that the wearer was the youngest entrant and had diabetes, I just thought what a great community runners are and how much sheer bottle people put into their lives. For that it worth having to put up with the hype that just is London.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Tsegaye Kebede EthiopiaM 1 2:05:19
1*Liliya ShobukhovaRussiaF 1 2:22:00
2,784David "Gibbo" Gibson MV40 582 3:18:21
5,228Anna Seeley F 423 3:35:02
5,680Fiona Shenton FV50 39 3:37:42
10,936Andrew Thompson M 4,896 3:59:56
19,152Jane Ives FV40 781 4:30:57

36,522 finishers.
*Elite Women's race.

Blyth Valley 10k, 25th April

Jan Young

The fast, flat, T-shirt reward course attracted a big crowd of mixed ability runners, who ran out and back along the coast to Seaton Sluice on cycle/ footpaths. First Strider home was Richard, followed by Jan, Anna P. Alister R. Joanne P and Emma D. Emma declared a 10k PB, while Alister paced his wife Jackie, who is now keen on joining Striders so she can run in a purple vest!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1NEWTON, Peter Morpeth Harriers M 1 31:29
29HIBBS, Angela Chester Le Street AC F 1 35:54
165HOCKIN, Richard M55 44:46
235YOUNG, Jan F55 48:01
277PETHYBRIDGE, Anna F 50:00
353ROBSON, Jacky proto-Strider F 55:23
354ROBSON, Alister M35 55:24
386PORTER, Joanne F35 58:39
387DETCHON, Emma F 58:39

426 finishers.

Ashington Sprint Triathlon, 25th April

Swim 400m, Bike 20km, Run 5km

Peter Brooks

Peter, a blur in the pool. Peter realises that Look pedals and SPD cleats don't match. Peter overtakes an off-road scooter towed by a dog.

Last year, when I was injured with a stress fracture on my left shin, I decided to take up cycling and, eventually, swimming to keep fit without impact on my shin. I soon figured that I may as well put that training to some use and go for a triathlon this year. Please bear in mind that in August 2009, I was unable to swim 10 feet without gasping for breath and stopping.

I have spent the last eight months training with Durham tri club and working hard on my swimming, but I was still apprehensive about this morning's triathlon, being my first.

We drove up to Ashington quite early this morning after an evening of pack, repacking and packing again to make sure that I had everything - tri suit, helmet, cycling shoes, running shoes, goggles, swim hat and bike. All the packing did not stop the inevitable "OH DEAR!!!!!!" cry as we got to Chester Le Street and I realised that I hadn't packed a towel, by this time it was too late to turn back.

We got to the leisure centre car park in Ashington and started my pre race faff around - registered, picked up goody bag, put bike together and setup transition. Thankfully Stephen Thomas was kind enough to lend me his spare towel.

After the race briefing, I went to the pool where I had my race number inscribed onto my right arm and left calf. After a few minutes it was my turn to start swimming. I went off far too fast and soon had to stop to catch breath, The length counter and swim marshal offered me loads of encouragement and helped me get through what is my weakest discipline by far. I was the slowest swimmer by a good 2 minutes and finished in 15:59. This was, surprisingly, a lot better than I was expecting and felt a lot longer than it actually was.

Peter crosses the line.

I faffed around in T1 for far too long, taking over 3 minutes before I was on the bike. The bike course was 20km over 2.5 laps with one short, nasty hill in each of the full laps. I managed to get past quite a few of the faster swimmers who were on the bikes before me and took 48 minutes to complete the course.

T2 was much quicker than T1, taking just over a minute and onto the 5k run, this was a flat, 3 lap run on paths around the leisure centre. My legs felt like lead when I started running, but I soon got into a rhythm and settled down to get past quite a few others. I nearly collapsed when I crossed the finish line!.

I am happy that I have now been inaugaurated into the mad, bad world of triathlons!


Pos NameSwim+T1PosBike+T2PosRunPosTotal
1 Tony Weed 4:56+0:31332:20+0:19421:261759:32
158 Peter Brooks 15:59+3:1114048:07+1:1913629:251151:38:01

172 finishers.

Yorkshire Three Peaks Fell Race, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, 24th April

24m / 4750'

Shaun Roberts

I'd been wanting to do this race for a while, as it's not far from where I grew up in Yorkshire. A couple of years ago, I recce'd it when it was an international "Mountain Running Challenge" race - I couldn't get an entry, but the whole 24-mile route was flagged in the week beforehand, which was handy. I'd managed to get under the cutoff times, so this year was my chance to do the race for real. I travelled down with my Wolsingham mate Stu Ferguson, from DFR, and spent ages dithering about what to wear, as the temperature climbed steadily as we got near the ten o'clock start. Went for a baggy white techie number in the end, which was just right, as it turned out - it became quite warm.

Pen-y-ghent is first. A steady and quite runnable climb to begin with - more than a little uneven underfoot, but it wasn't bad. Also, as the gradient steepened close to the hill itself, everyone around me switched to walking, so I went with the flow and did the same. All very sensible, eh? This was going to be a long day, after all. Stu caught me up as it flattened out near the top, but I got back in front before the summit. As I suspected, though, he flew past on the way down and I thought that'd be the last I'd see of him. Sadly, though, a few minutes later as I was scanning the field ahead to see how far in front he was, thinking I might catch him on the upcoming four miles of flat, there he was by the side of the track apologising for not being able to carry on, as his knee was giving him problems. He'd just done the Allendale Challenge, I should add.

Next is a long but basically flattish section, over all sorts of terrain to get us over to the Ribblehead Viaduct - first there's a normally boggy bit, that was pretty dry this time around - which was nice, as I'd gone for the road shoes, knowing most of the route was going to be pretty firm. Then some grassy bits, a hard farm track, and finally over a mile of tarmac to take us in to the checkpoint, and first cutoff. We had to get here in 2 hours 10 minutes, or that was that. No chance of a Swaledale-like bimble round the course if you fancied - a bit more hardcore, to be honest, as there were also various entry hurdles to get through to even get to the start line. Anyway, I arrived with 17 minutes to spare - so far so good. I had it in mind that beating the cutoffs was my first goal, and under five hours my next - and anything better than that would be a bonus.

Off again after using the 'dibber' (online checkpoint timing, no less!) and picking up my drinks bottle from the huge array spread over the grass, then a long, long dreary plod through tussocks to get to the eastern face of Whernside. Then, an almost-vertical, hand-over-hand final ascent - as had happened on the recce, my GPS couldn't cope: after slowing to 30 minutes a mile, then 50, it finally thought I was stationary as I only made vertical progress!

Lovely to be able to run again at the top, and a bit of a breeze too. Then quite a steep and awkward descent over a bone-dry and very rocky path. If you'd have filmed me here you really wouldn't have been able to tell I was "fell-running". Fell-mincing, more like. After the steep climbing, my knees didn't really fancy it. Imagine a show-jumping horse approaching some huge obstacle, refusing at the last minute, and throwing the rider helplessly and hilariously into the wall? Well each of my knees was doing that all the way down the hill. Eventually, the slope flattened out as we neared the Hill Inn checkpoint - more drink, and I was still 19 minutes under the 3 hour 30m cutoff time, thankfully.

Yes, I was glad to get to the finish ...

On towards Ingleborough, which for some inexplicable reason, seemed to be much further away than I remembered it. Getting quite warm too. Also, I was deciding to walk, rather than run, on slopes that were getting really quite modest. I was starting to worry about this run ending in one of those "Death March" experiences. Finally reached the steps to the north of the hill, and plodded upwards. This had been fine on my recce, but this time, instead of regular steps, it was all hugely uneven - quite large boulders to drag the knees up and over, time after time. Perhaps the hard winter had taken its toll. It went on, and on ... I think I was getting tired, and hot, on this bit. Got to the top in a shade over four hours, and thought, Hallelujah, it's all downhill now ...

Well, it was all downhill, but again, very awkward and rocky - kept plugging away, though, and I eventually made it back to Horton in 4 hours 50 minutes, which I was happy with. Immediately on finishing, I got given a printout with all the split times, and the helpful footer "You are currently 423rd out of 423", which somehow didn't feel very encouraging! More runners did in fact come in. Overall, 705 started the race, of whom 103 retired (heat, cramp, injury) or didn't meet the cutoffs - 602 finished.

So would I recommend doing this race? Definitely!

Sunderland parkrun, Silksworth, 24th April

1/8 of a marathon

George Nicholson

Another good day at the Parkrun Office in Sunderland. Graham Daglish, Joanne Porter & myself turned out for Striders and all three of us got PBs.

Graham 'stormed' round in 20.17 and was 4th runner on the day. A brilliant run, and a big reduction off previous best, he is now fastest Strider in the age Graded Table. Joanne maintained her excellent achievement of obtaining a PB at every Parkrun she competes in, 47 secs off her previous PB. Well done Joanne a sub 25mins is well within your 'sights'. I managed a more modest reduction in PB ( but they still all count )

Karen was unable to run this week, but thanks to her registering as a Strider, all her previous 10 runs are added to the Clubs total. As a consequence we are secure for the time being in second place in the Club List. But rumour has it that South Shields Harriers are to 'bus' in some more entrants over the next few weeks.

The Highland Fling, West Scotland, 24th April

53 Miles

Phil Owen

The West Highland way is a 95 mile trail from Milngavie to Fort William on the west coast of Scotland. Its a bit hilly. There are three races associated with it. The whole 95 race that I will be doing in a couple of months time on the longest weekend of the year, the 42 Mile 2nd 'half' Devil of the Highlands so called becuase it climbs the Devil's Staircase in Glencoe and this, the first 'half' Highland Fling 53 mile foot race from Milngavie to Tynndrum. This was my first 'ultra' last year and a gathering of sort of many whw, fetcheveryone and other ultra friends.

HAPPY NEW YEAR :-) Get through this and my running year can start at last.

Four months out (barring 2 weeks when I re-broke my foot) and I've been chomping at the bit to run. I started again 3 weeks ago , very easy going with running a little every other day and a handful of races. I found all hard work and was dreadfully slow but I knew I had to let my foot get used to the pressure of running again. So I headed to the fling with virtually no real training and my longest run of 12 miles the previous week to test the foot. Picked Rob up in Newcastle and Sandy in Edinburgh and headed to meet Soph in Tynndrum. Soph got delayed so we had some lovely grub at the Good Food Company. Well you have to support the sponsors. :-). Murdo the RD appeared and I overheard him talking about moving some stuff so I offered to help and we ended up shifting all the beer and champagne to the finishing cottages. Sandy and me tried our best to get locked in but it didn't come off. Pity.

Cracking night at the pre-race meal with such great friends , kept it easy with only 4-5 beers and off to our hotel for bed. I didn't sleep well although sandy said i was snoring but i was awake listening to her talk in her sleep, the usual, Vodka, champagne; stab ya in the face stuff. She's at her sweetest asleep and i often give her a kiss before she wakes and the mouth starts. Sandy was to start with the super-vets at 6am so a 4:30am rise for her and of course me. This is her normal get up time and hyper isn't the word. It's like having a mad spaniel lobbing around the room after saying walkies to it. The start meeting point is at Milngavie train station and I met up with loads of whw's friends and fetchie's to see the first lot of.

At 7am my turn came and I plodded off. Really excited mostly because i have no idea how I'm going to cope. Lintie had kept going on about muscle memory but my muscle can't remember much about running or ever carrying this much lard about either. Now for once I was being careful and had no time in mind or pressure on myself. Just finish, enjoy the scenery, chat and treat it as a training ru and just pray the foot hold together. I do love this race but it's fair to say the first 15 miles aren't great. Bit flat and uninspiring, however I didn't have my mind on that or for that matter my foot holding up. For some reason, after feeling fine in the morning I became very nauseous. I mean really, really sick. No idea why either. I tried to take my mind of it but I wanted to throw up, my head was swooning and I'm sweating like a pig. I took some hammer electrolytes i had left from the Hardmoors goodie bag as i was worried about losing to much. At the first half marathon point ( I only ever run half marathons) my time was a long way down on last year, my head was swooning, I was drenched in sweat and really sick. ( i later found out a fair few seemed to get sick . coincidence? Who knows)

I picked up a bit over conic hill as I feel that this is where the proper race starts and the fist bit is just a warm up. I love the climb and views, I try and run some of it usually but I was dead and sick. At the top, I'd promised myself I would not lash down so as to protect the foot but I had nothing in me anyway. Still overtook a fair few picking there way down but really not myself. In the woods, I tried to make myself sick a few times but that didn't work. Still its safe to say it took my mind of my main worry my foot and fitness. I ground out the miles to the 20 odd mile point at Balmaha and got a bottle of sports drink from Minty's Mrs. I also had a quick chat to DaveK's lass who smelt my breath for ketosis ,The main side effects of ketosis are bad breath and sluggish mobility but that it was not that. I told her if i didn't run the nausea off in the next few miles I would have to pull out as this was just not fun. I met rob here which was exactly where I said he would overtake me. I also changed my drenched top to a lightweight spare I had taken. Soon after leaving a runner asked if I was ok. I must have looked like death tbh. He had some strong painkillers with him (in fact he had an absolute load-its good to know drug dealers are getting in on the ultra scene) so I took 4 struggled on.

In my head I was now pulling out at Rowardennan. (half wayish ) Running through woodland is my favourite type of run , I love this bit through forest hills trails to the halfway point. A lot of folks go on about conic hill but these constant up and downs can really take it out of you to the half way point. A few miles in i slowly realised i was feeling a little better. I'd stopped sweating gallons and just a bit iffy rather than all out throwing up nausea. My legs had a bit more omph in them and a smile appeared on my face at last. Just 2 miles to go to the halfway point where i was going to bail and 5:40 hrs of running i was finally getting over what ever it was.. By Rowardennan I was miraculously Ok . Heck it had only taken 6 hours in total of running to get over it the sickness. Not that that time was a concern but i was over an hour down on last year . I'm surprised it was not a lot more tbh. .

Picked up the pace heading for Inversnaid hotel ,another 7miles along the trail next to loch lomand , heading for the bit of rocky section that I love and I'm back to myself and really enjoying the run . Andy and Simon passed and had a good chat telling them that i had almost pulled out . Its funny folks never really believe me when i tell them but i certainly was. Running sick ain't fun and ain't clever in my book. I moved on to Inversnaid hotel them the section i always love.. I know some folks hate this bit but it suits me. I'm never going to be fast but i have two things I'm ok at . Tricky ground and rocky/fell Downhills. I can move fairly swiftly (for me) over the rocks, its gives my slow self a bit of a lift to have folks stand aside for me as I fly them and thoroughly enjoy myself. Near the end of the rocks I came across liz, who had run most of the way with Dave Robson in the Hardmoors 55 i had marshalled. We had a chat before Scot went by a mile or so out of Beinglass (3rd half mara) and cheekily asked him to have a coffee ready for me.(he was in the relay race)

Into Beinglass and well happy and finally feeling really good . Nicked some chips of an old couple and had hugs from Lorraine, halfpint and Adrienne. :-) Moved on and looking at my watch I was amazed I could probably make around 12hrs if I put my foot down. However scot then came running down the road with my coffee (thanks mate), we chatted and I was excited as he had picked up a limited edition Meursault album for me at the album launch I had to miss the other week . ñget in! :-) then ran with Lizogical again for a fair way , chatted about Hardmoors, the race and other forthcoming races enjoyed the WARM AND SUNNY DAY WITH ITS SLIGHT COOLING BREEZE , generally feeling on top of the world . Forgetting about the time thing in a race and looking at the bigger picture isn't something i do easily but in this case , the sickness had robbed me of time anyway and force me to adhere to my plan so there seemed no need to do anything but take in the full the majesty of the surrounding and help other on the way. I had a smile on my face and was enjoying everything. My foot was also holding fine and i risked a few little spruts downhill. All good. Up past the cows with liz, me telling her of training runs where the full lot were there at the gate waiting to gan yame to watch Emmerdale and it's almost impossible to get through the wall of beef. Up the hill and a big smiley Hendo caught me up shouting "I'm coming to get you". I had an hour start on the fellow so he had done bliddy well . Very pleased to see him accompanied by the adorable sexy Siouxsie support running. I knew this section was a nightmare for him last year and he looked good and strong and had beasted it running all the hills up tot he famous picnic table.

However its fair to say ( and I hope he doesn't mind) but he had given his all to get to this point and was now flagging . I knew he would dearly love sub 12 so I stayed with them (apart from flying down the hills for a bit of fun and test the foot some more ) to try and help. Have to say there a cute couple ( I know they won't like me saying that mind lol ) and I was not sure if I should help out . Felt a bit of a gooseberry but Susans a scot and has about as much reserve as sandy about speaking her mine so i guessed she would soon tell me to F-off if they wanted to be alone.

We plodded on and Hendo ground the miles out. Funny how things can work out in races. I was dying on my feet and sick as a dog for the first 6 hours, probably should have pulled out if i wasn't so stubborn but now I felt wonderful. In fact my secret agenda of running the fling back on Monday was very much on, that i had laughed at a few hours. I had so much energy now I was playing with the hills and loving every minute of the run. The miles ticked down and Hendo slowed. We tried every trick in the book but I think the massive and brilliant effort to run the Beinglass section and smash his demons had done him in.

It became apparent I was not doing any further good and wanted them to see the race out together so opened up my the legs and ran hard . Loved it. Really flew for a mile or so up and caught DaveK who i'd seen at various points over the race day and who's good lady had given me some water a few miles before. Lovely chat and we headed to the finish together . Up on an outcrop two pipers played, a really beautiful and fitting end to the race and i strolled over the line into sandy's arms (who blasted round in just over 11hrs )and Stephen her son there as well.

Wonderful. Amazing finish for me, not the slightest out of breath, feeling grand and amazingly (and just as well because as i will have to run the full 95 miles in a couple of months) felt like I could just run on and on. Lintie had been right all along, my legs had remembered. A nice really touch was my mate John Kynaston (whw and Hardmoors) putting the medal round my neck and scot putting my cold beer in my hand almost at the same time. :-)

A well weird but grand day out...in the warm sunshine and slight cooling breeze.

A couple of hours later i felt a bit nauseous again, struggled to eat something or drink the beer and generally feeling bluuugh and almost missed the ceilidh but so glad I dragged my self there and again soon felt better. This race is so much more that a 53 mile foot race heading into the highlands. Its about the people and friends coming together, a gathering of sorts, the supporters and organizers, even the walkers along the way with their encouragement and smiles , all the people who give of there free time and lastly us runners who take advantage of these things to challenge ourselves and push the limits. I know it's not always possible to get to the after stuff but if you run it and can, do so. The race is completed best by being there. Had such a wonderful time with all the fetchie's and other friends. Fantastic and fascinating to watch the Scottish dancing. Since the sixties when the violent Scots laid down there swords and came down from the glens, the fighting has been distilled to form this type of dancing where you can almost see the hundreds of years of slaughter on the glens in Strip the willow.. The main aim of which seemed to be fling your 'opponent' about like a rag doll and rip there arms out their sockets while laughing and smiling like a maniac at them! Magic.

Almost surreally the Scottish dancing seemly turned into a disco for a while before we all headed home to bed . In the morn we had all you can eat breakie and Loon, Lintie and Adrienne headed off to do hill reps on the devil.(yes i kid you not.) During the night my knee had stiffened up a bit so I erred on the side of caution and decided running back the 53 mile on just 3 weeks of training may not be the wisest move.-next year tho.. I know, caution, it's not really my thing but just this once till I'm sure of the foot and maybe just a wee bit more running under my belt I'll take it easy...for a bit...


Hawkshead Trail Race, Hawkshead, 24th April


Dougie Nisbet

Normally I'm happy to start an event around this size at the back of the field in the knowledge that time lost before crossing the line will be minimal and that I can ease myself through the runners as the race progresses. What I didn't know was that it'd be a good 30 seconds before the back of the bunch crossed the start line and, more importantly, another 2 km of narrow lanes before overtaking would be worth the effort. Still, it was a hot day and I don't do hot, so the enforced slow start gave me plenty of time to check my dipstick, adjust my buff and mop my brow. I passed runners steadily as the hills began and enjoyed the unexpectedly rocky descents where I seemed to rocket passed swathes of people who appeared to find the downhills daunting. This race seemed harder than Cartmel with tough climbs, but very rewarding with fast technical descents that were borderline scary and good fun.

Despite the heat and feeling very hot I never felt particularly uncomfortable and finished the race running hard. I was disconcerted as I flopped across the line to see Dave Robson looking very fresh and relaxed and was reassured to realise that he had finished the race well ahead of me because he'd chosen the Challenge instead of the Trail, and had in fact, been in for some time and was chilling along with fellow Fetchies and the Jazz Band.

I didn't like the congested start. I wasn't keen that the outward and return routes shared the same path, meaning that the fast Challenge runners were charging back down into the faces of the outward Trail runners. The kissing gates and stiles within a mile of the Finish were a pain and I was unamused to realise the race overshot the Finish and double-backed on itself, so the Finish was a lot further away than I thought it was when I put in a final burst. Kilometre markers were haphazard and many Garmins measured the race at around 16.5km. But who cares. You can't not like a race which contains a hill called the Coffin Trail and where you get Kendal Mint Cake at the drinks stations.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1James Walsh Leeds City ACM 1:00:48
257Dougie Nisbet MV40 1:45:00

550 finishers.
Dave Walker and Dave Robson ran in the Trail Challenge, finishing in 1:54:39 and 1:56:36 respectively.

Neptune Relays, Sedgefield, 21st April


Jan Young

We had 3 teams in this fast, flat, scenic relay around Hardwick Hall Country Park. The event is growing in popularity, so we had more competition this year, but everyone ran as hard as they could. This time, Will decided to ask Grahame to look after Casper, so he could sprint around the course without Casper dragging him off after ducks! As I didn't have a Striders' team to run in, Sedgefield ladies kindly allowed me to run their 4th leg, in my Striders' vest! I hope I didn't let them down!

From your positive comments, I think Striders will be relaying again next year. Results to follow ...

Carlton Challenge, North Yorks Moors, 20th April

4.8m / 860'

Jan Young

First race of Cleveland NEHRA/Northern Runner Summer Series. Well supported midweek outing along Carlton Bank, through woods, then long drag up to trig point, after which we dropped down on short, steep fast finish. The clock stopped when you touched the gate! It must be disconcerting for runners trying hard, to be overtaken by Will and Casper, his dog on a bungee lead, especially when Casper stops for calls of nature and Will still beats people!

Four of us shared a lift and declared we would try more midweek races, as they make fast training runs and the views are great. Results to follow ...


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Jim Bulman North York MoorsM 1 34:12
14Lizzie AdamsDark PeakF 1 39:31
17Will Horsley NFR M 39:50
70Phil Owen MV40 51:09
75Grahame Arrowsmith MV45 52:14
82Jan Young FV55 53:35

95 finishers.

City of Durham Duathlon, Meadowfield, 18th April

Run 3M, Bike 15M, Run 3M

Alan Smith

I am going to start by telling you what happened at the end of the event - you probably all know by now that I won the M60 prize. However, this was because I was the only male over 60!

The day started off dry, sunny and slightly cool. We all had to register at Meadowfield Sports Centre. Roz Layton was one of the friendly faces who helped to register us. I had my race number written on my leg with a marker pen. We had stickers with our number to fix to our helmet and bike and numbers to fasten on our back and front. Registration was followed by a compulsory briefing on what we had to do and not to do. At a certain staggered junction we had to stop and put one foot on the ground even if there was no traffic, otherwise we would be disqualified.

The race started on the grass next to the transition area. The first run was 3 times round the field at Meadowfield, a total of 3 miles, which were not too painful. Dougie pulled ahead of me after 2 laps and I did not seem him again until the finish. I pulled ahead of Louise. I did not see Shaun.

Louise looking cool at the top of the big hill. The first transition i.e. from run to bike seemed to go quite well for me. This also involved changing into my cycling shoes which clip on to the pedals. We had to put our helmets on before we touched our bikes and then run with our bikes to the "mount" line. We cycled down to the Stonebridge roundabout and then up the hill and through Ushaw Moor, Esh Winning etc and eventually came to a very steep hill. Before I got to the hill Louise overtook me on her road/racing bike, but I managed to overtake her on the hill but as soon as we reached the downhill, Louise shot past me. We came back through Brancepeth and then back to Meadowfield. There was light rain just before the end of the bike ride, but nothing to worry about. There was a dismount line on the road, before which we had to get off our bikes. I could not get my right foot unfastened from the clip on the pedal and had to stop completely in order to dismount.

I then had to park my bike in the transition area. Instead of putting my bike into the rack with the back wheel going in first which would have enabled me to hook the saddle over the bar, I tried to put my bike in with the front wheel first, which was virtually impossible to do, as I found out. As a result, I lost a lot of time.

I then changed into my running shoes and tried to run. It was very, very hard to run after the 15 mile cycle ride and the pain in my left hamstring hurt a lot, which slowed me down. I eventually saw Louise ahead of me, but couldn't quite catch her. Congratulations Louise!

Note the purple vest! Alan Smith wins the MV60 vets category.
Photo courtesy and © Durham Triathlon Club

I would like to thank everyone who organised the event and also the marshals and the supporters (in some cases the same people). I was going to go home, thinking that I could not possibly have won anything, but decided to stay for the presentation and was very pleasantly surprised to win a prize for my age group and have my photograph taken with winners in the other categories.

I can thoroughly recommend this event next year to anyone thinking about it.


Pos NameRun 1+T1PosBike+T2PosRun 2PosTotal
1 Nicky McGee 18:10341:36118:3731:18:23
25 Hilary ROSS 22:343051:352921:43211:35:52
40 Shaun Roberts 21:552558:235722:10271:42:28
62 Dougie Nisbet 26:337257:205426:41661:50:34
77 Louise Billcliffe 28:12771:03:517430:07762:02:10
78 Alan Smith 26:42741:05:187630:14772:02:14

81 finishers, inc teams.

Summer Handicap, Round 1, 14th April


PosNameHandicapStartFinishTimeNew HC
1Karen Chalkley53:1019:06:5019:51:0444:1444:00
2Emma Detchon55:0019:05:0019:52:2647:2650:00
3Paul Nolan55:0019:05:0019:54:1049:1050:00
4Debs Goddard44:1519:15:4519:54:3738:5238:30
5John Griffiths40:4519:19:1519:55:2636:1136:00
6Dave Gibson35:2519:24:4519:55:4531:1031:15
7Lindsey Brooks55:0019:05:0019:55:5550:5552:00
8Angela Procter45:2019:14:4019:56:3441:5441:30
9Cheralynn Stott49:5019:10:1019:56:4146:3146:20
10Andrew Thompson37:4519:22:1519:57:2435:0935:10
11Jean Bradley44:5019:15:1019:57:2942:1942:00
12Barrie Evans42:3019:17:3019:57:5727:0040:25
13Dougie Nisbet38:0519:21:5519:58:3636:4136:45
14Joanne Porter44:3519:15:2519:58:3743:1243:00
15George Nicholson42:4019:17:2019:58:5241:3241:25
16Geoff Davis34:4019:25:2019:59:1833:5834:40
17Anna Pethybridge38:4519:21:1519:59:1938:0440:40
18Adam Nolan40:4519:19:1519:59:2540:1040:00
19Shaun Roberts33:3019:26:3019:59:3333:0333:15
20Denise Mason41:4019:18:2019:59:3441:1441:10
21Jen Copley42:3019:17:3020:00:1642:4642:30
22Richard Hockin36:4519:23:1520:00:2437:0937:15
23Jan Young39:5519:20:0520:00:4440:3940:40
24Susan Davis38:3019:20:3020:00:4839:1839:20
25Conrad White34:3019:25:3020:00:4835:1834:30
26John Hutchison36:2519:23:4520:01:0037:2537:35
27Alan Smith39:5519:20:0520:01:1441:0941:10
28Stan White55:0019:05:0020:01:1756:1756:00
29Tom Reeves35:2519:24:4520:01:2136:4636:55
30Mike Bennett32:4519:27:1520:01:5934:4433:00
31Dave Robson39:3519:20:2520:02:4542:2040:40
32Dave Walker39:3519:20:2520:02:4542:2040:40
33John Everett37:2019:22:4020:05:0042:2042:30

Teesdale Aquathlon, Barnard Castle, 11th April

400m Pool Swim/ 3M Run

Zoe Tomlins

I've been tempted to have a go at an aquathlon for a while now - I'm not too keen on bikes and they're not too keen on me so aquathlon seems like the only multisport option really! The Teesdale Aquathlon sounded like a good beginner-friendly option. I entered the event before I realised the registration was at 7:15am!! On a Sunday! Day of rest? I don't think so! But I duly trundled down to Barnard Castle Leisure Centre and was greeted by friendly organisers and a number of nervous looking people who I found out had never done this before either. We faffed around arranging our shoes and socks in the transition area and discussed how silly we would look in a swimming cap.

The swims were staggered according to predicted times - I had grossly underestimated myself, having anticipated 15mins, and managed to do the swim in just under 8 mins which I was very pleased with. So I jumped out the pool and shivered my way outside - I never realised how hard it is to pull on a pair of shorts when you're soaking wet - and then I was off! I dripped my way round the course, a little bit jealous of those people in crazy wetsuit thingys who didn't look uncomfortable at all, slicing their way through the misty morning air like land-sharks. I accidentally missed out one small section of the run on my first lap as there weren't many marshals and I failed to follow the obvious red tape - but I timed this bit on the 2nd and 3rd lap and confessed my sins to the marshal at the finish who said he'd just add the extra minute onto my time (not like I was going to be breaking any records anyway!). The run was a lot muddier than anticipated which made it more like a cross country. I finished in a total time of 36:09 (that includes the faffing around with wet shorts) which I was pretty pleased with.

The faster competitors whose swim wasn't starting until later were all very supportive around the course and all in all I'd say this is a great little race for anyone who wants to have a go at something different but is still a bit scared by triathlon. I am left with a warm sense of satisfaction at my wholesome sunday morning pursuits, and a large number 15 etched in permanent marker on my right upper arm. I hope it washes off before my wedding!

Sand Dancer 10K, South Shields, 11th April

Peter Brooks

This was my first 10k for exactly a year and I was dreading it, I've got used to running longer, slower races over the last 12 months and I was unsure how I would manage a faster race today. I only decided to enter the day before. Race preparation was anything but ideal, spending the day before on my feet then eating a take away curry in the evening is probably not best preparation.

I arrived at South Shields 30 minutes before the race started and registered. I met up with quite a few fellow Striders and chatted and tried to keep out of the wind until we were signalled to go to the start. The race briefing informed us that there was a slight diversion due to a landslide on the course and we were set off dead on time. I was going well until my right foot landed in a pot hole and I went over on the ankle that I damaged two years ago. I knew then that I would have to slow down to make sure that I hadn't damaged my Achilles again.

Barrie Evans, Dave Robson and George Nicholson all managed to pass me when I was feeling out my ankle and I didn't manage to catch any of them again. I managed to get round in just under 52 minutes, which I was happy about considering my lack of race fitness and my concerns about my ankle again.

It was good to see so many Striders out and also to see Karen in her first outing as a Strider. Some good times were seen from the rest of the Striders.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Ian Crampton Durham City HarriersM 1 33:24
23Claire Simpson Chester-le-StreetF 1 37:40
107Barrie Evans MV60 48:56
109Dave Robson MV50 49:13
125George Nicholson MV60 51:00
133Peter Brooks MV40 51:57
142Karen Chalkley FV40 52:43
148Mike Elliot MV60 53:30
150Joanne Porter F 53:32
168Greta Jones FV40 56:49
182Emma Detchon F 61:55
186Alan Purvis MV70 63:32

197 finishers.

Gisborough Moors, Guisborough, 11th April


Shaun Roberts

The climb up Roseberry Topping. It was a bright sunny morning as we arrived at Guisborough Rugby Club. No room in the car park - partly as lots of mini-rugby players were in action, but also there was a bigger entry than in recent years, as this race was the final one of the Cleveland Winter Series, and also in the summer North-easterns as well as in NFR's championship. I asked Dave Parry if he was being keen on carrying kit, and he wasn't too bothered this year - more concerned that we all had enough water to get round, as he thought, rightly, that it might get warm.

Off up the hill and into the woods. I was wearing my road shoes, that I knew would suit me best on all the hard stuff, but they weren't ideal for getting through all the clarts on this bit. Soon past though, and we had a nice runnable stretch over the open moor, before a nice descent followed by a less nice climb on tarmac. As we entered the next section of woods, it was starting to get quite hot, especially out of the wind, and I was looking forward to the water station. David ('Gibbo') Gibson went past me round here, as we approached Captain Cooks', looking strong, and we were agreed that it was indeed getting warm ...

After the steps, getting some water on board, we had a bit more breeze and could look forward to the nice walk up Rosebery Topping. Small matter of what for me is always an awkward descent first - I actually prefer the walk up the hill, and get my breath back a bit. Coming back east afterwards gives you a chance to see how other runners are doing, and I managed to see Geoff, Susan, Dougie and Jan along this bit and we all shouted at each other. Back across the moors to the woods, and this time I really had to take it easy in the mud - at one point, trying to keep on the drier stuff I caught my toe under some brambles and went head over heels, picking up a few flesh wounds on the way. Lovely hammer down the hill to the finish.

Phil Sanderson had to settle for second place this time. David ('Gibbo') Gibson had a very good run on his first attempt at this one - his London Marathon training must be working. I did a very similar time to last year, followed soon after by Geoff, well under two hours, and also soon after by Nigel, who did his fastest time yet for this one. Susan and Dougie seem to have had another battle, followed in by Phil, glad to be out racing again, and Jan had a good run, coming in second FV55 to win her Cleveland Winter Series category. Well done Jan! For the record, I came seventh in the series MV50s, and Nigel did well in the MV55s, coming fifth.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Matt Speake Dark Peak M 1 1:19:09
2Phil Sanderson NFR M40 1 1:23:51
31Pippa Archer DFR F 1 1:40:55
52David ('Gibbo') Gibson M40 12 1:46:12
82Shaun Roberts M50 12 1:52:37
100Geoff Davis NFR M50 18 1:56:02
115Nigel Heppell M55 5 1:59:46
146Susan Davis NFR F50 6 2:07:31
153Dougie Nisbet DFR M45 28 2:09:22
170Phil Owen M40 25 2:16:22
174Jan Young F55 2 2:17:58

193 finishers.

Newcastle parkrun, Town Moor, 10th April


Dave Robson

Three Striders and a wannabe Strider ran the Newcastle parkrun this morning. It was an unusually lovely day on the Town Moor, which seems to always have its own cold and windy micro climate. The lovely weather attracted the highest turn out for the Newcastle event - 90. The lack of wind meant that a number of runners obtained course pbs, though I am afraid that none of the three Striders (Phil Owen, Dave Walker and myself) achieved this. However, the wannabe Strider, Adam Walker, Dave's fourteen year old son, improved his overall 5K pb and came home thirteenth in 19min 36sec ! Well done Adam !

Helmsley 10K, North Yorks Moors, 4th April

Dave Robson

I left home in plenty of time as I was entering this one on the day and I was surprised it only took an hour to get there, the drive through Bilsdale was lovely. The race itself was new event and it was a bit of a toughie. The first two miles were uphill on road through the lovely North Yorkshire hamlet of Carlton. We turned off the road on to a concrete farm road at 2.5m and by 3m I was thinking why did I choose trail shoes ? Then it changed and got muddier and muddier and I was pleased I had chosen them.

It took me over 30min to get to 3m, I was running all the hills which makes a change, but I was slow.

The downhill in trail shoes seemed to wake up my legs and I flew by folk in road shoes who had passed me on the climb. Finished in 57m51sec. Barrie was the first Strider home in spite of slipping in the mud (no serious damage) and Jean wasn't far behind him.

Easter egg and mug for finishers and then coffee and food in the village. I hope they do this one again, it was great.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Andy Hilton York AcornM 1 36:06
6Becky PentyYork AcornF 1 38:48
143Barrie Evans MV606 53:57
169Jean Gillespie FV553 56:47
181Dave Robson FV5511 58:04

246 finishers.

Easter Eggstravaganza, Barnborough, nr Doncaster, 3rd April


Dave Robson

Left house at 5.45 and got to Barnborough near Doncaster about 7.30. South Yorkshire accents abounded and I haven't heard them for many years and it took me back to the time I lived in Rotherham and Sheffield.

I had had some anxiety about route finding for this one (they had sent out details of the 16m route and if you wanted to do the longer route you were given the route description at the second checkpoint, so no forward planning), but I needed have worried. There was a map at the start which I attempted to memorise and mentally trace out on my Satmap (GPS). Also they said it was waymarked with tape, so that was relief :-)

Had some free tea, and talked to some of the other entrants. Then at 8.30 we gathered outside the pub which was race HQ. The organiser stood on the wall and I was expecting a few race instructions. What we got was brief and typical South Yorkshire: 'Gerr off' ;-)

I had driven down through some heavy rain and it was still drizzling fairly heavily when we set off. It continued like that for at least 6 miles. Then it was cloudy and a little breezy, then the last six miles were mainly sunny. Probably round about thirty runners and there were two courses available for the 8.30 starters 26.3m or 16m.

I haven't some many LDWA events which have been waymarked. This one was just incredible, almost every time I started to doubt I was on the right path, a piece of tape would appear on a branch or a bush. Just so well positioned as well, just after every path to the left or right which was not part of the route. There must have been hundreds. I rescued a few people who were chatting away and not watching out for the tape. I became overconfident.... At about 24m in Goldthorpe, I coudn't see any tape at a likely junction, so I carried on. No more tape. Then ahead of me I saw three people walking and one with a rucksack. At this stage I was regularly passing walkers on the shorter route, so I thought I must be right. Then as I got closer I noticed that one of those without a rucksack was carrying a handbag ! And the one with the rucksack was in heels ! So race instructions out for the first time and a check on the satmap revealed the likely junction was the correct one, so back there and of course there was tape, I had just missed it.

Terrain varied, bits of very quiet road, rolling countryside and quite a few very muddy fields which were hard to run on even when flat. Not as bad as Belvoir a few weeks ago, but getting there. Lots of lovely paths through woods and the checkpoints were serving sandwiches, scones with jam, chocolate bars and juice :-) At the end we got a free meal of vegetarian pie, peas and gravy followed by rice pudding and peaches :-) All this for eight pounds :-O

After the shorter and longer route diverged, I didn't see many runners for a while, but the waymarking kept me going. It was just a lovely route.

Got a bit tired in the last 6 miles. I thought at 19m I was on for a sub 5 finish, but getting lost, running out of energy after yesterday's 10K and some steeper and more frequent hills slowed me down a lot so I finished in 5h 17min.

It was the sort of event where time did not matter. People took their shoes off before going into the pub to say they had finished and have their time recorded. I love these events :-)

I will do this again :-)

There are no results.

Mermaid 10K, Marske, 2nd April

Dave Robson

Its Good Friday so it must be the Mermaid 10K at Marske. I have done this one six times and it is pb course, perfectly flat. Every other year I have done it has been windy. This year I am nowhere near pb form and there is hardly any wind! Phil was running and taking it easy on his way back to form. Barrie and Jean were doing the first of their Easter 10k double. Anna and Wendy were supporting and it was good to see Wendy again. Alan Rowell did a great time of 41min 47sec.

I had no plans about what time I should be aiming for. The first kilometre was 4min 52sec, so my plan then became sub-50. I had a tough duel with a two year old girl for most of the way - she was in a pram pushed by her Dad. The two leaders passed me much earlier than usual this year, soon after 5K, they were well ahead. Medal and mars bar to all finishers as usual.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
182ROBSON, DAVE MV50 49:29
199EVANS, Barrie MV60 50:42
201OWEN, Phil MV40 51:13
207GILLESPIE, Jean FV50 51:50

275 finishers.