Race Reports, August 2010

Roseberry Topping, NYM, 31st August

1.5m / 720'

Dougie Nisbet

Nina just ahead of Cal.

At £4.61 per mile, compared to the Great North run at a measly £2.90 per mile, you expect to get a fair bit for your entry fee. But what's this, no road closures? No Lucozade or water stations? No walk-through showers? No medal at the finish? Does Brendan know about this? What this tiny and absolutely barking event does have is far better prizes and much nicer views, and thankfully, none of the runners shouting Oggy Oggy Oggy as we crawled up the mountain. As if we had the breath.

It was a gorgeous evening for this year's event with the now familiar site of both first-timers and old-timers standing around looking up towards Roseberry Topping with the usual expressions of shock and awe. Roseberry Topping was looking both beautiful and scary in equal measure. There was a lot of chatter about whether "The Chute" would be the better route choice for the descent, with most runners deciding that not breaking a leg would be a more reasonable option.

A prompt start at 7.15 and soon after the bottleneck of the first gate. I hopped over and was managing to stick close to Cal and Nina and was pretty pleased about that. Soon it was hand-over-hand up the Chute and then the final stumble to the trig point with Nina and Cal a little ahead and Jan a little behind. The gaps between us soon widened on the descent with Will way ahead but just behind the ultimate winner. The local vest I was following took a wide loop on the way down that avoided the steps and allowed for a flat out run for most of the final yards. I was about 50 seconds faster than last year so it couldn't have been a bad route choice.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Jack Willis Unattached MJ 11.59
2 Will Horsley NFR M 12.09
9 Pippa Archer DFR F 13.49
42 Calum Young M 17.03
48 Nina Mason F 17.32
58 Dougie Nisbet MV45 19.30
61 Jan Young FV55 20.05

78 finishers.

River Rat Race, Stockton, 29th August

10km+

Denise Mason

Zoe and I made our way down to Tees Barrage on Sunday morning in the cold and the rain feeling a little un-enthusiastic about the race! A mix up with Zoe's surname meant they had put her in the first wave and the rest of the striders in the 3rd wave. They wouldn't let her swap but they let me join her wave, which meant it was now Elvet Girls V Boys! Game on!

Zoe and Denise do the Haka before the start.

We collected our life jackets and made our way to the start line where we got to do a warm up with Jet from 'Gladiators'. As we were right at the front we were filmed too which was highly embarrassing! After a few safety announcements we were off and it wasn't long before we reached our first obstacle, a giant set of inflatable hurdles! Our group of 20 or so runners all threw themselves over the hurdles together landing in a chaotic heap before scrambling up to continue running. After that, pretty much every obstacle involved water. We had to jump in to cross the river holding a rope, we had to jump off a 20ft high plank and swim back to land, we slid down giant inflatable slides in to the river and kayaked around obstacle courses. We were thoroughly soaked for most of the day and pretty glad when the Marshall's told us we could abandon our life jackets! Although we expected to get wet I don't think we expected to have our heads under water quite so much!

Running was really tough by now and we were dragging ourselves to the last big hurdle which was to climb on to the bridge and then up the ladders to walk over the air-walk. I, being petrified of heights, bottled it once I was up the first ladder and had to just run across the bridge instead. Zoe did brilliantly though and was straight up those ladders and over the other side!

We jogged back to the finish line totally exhausted, fairly brown and smelly feeling like we had ran a marathon! Oh, and the Elvet girls beat the Elvet boys by 10 minutes ;0)

Weardale Show XC, St John's Chapel, 28th August

3.5km, 95m climb

Alister Robson

I was a little intrigued to read Colin's email telling us about this event and thought, "How hard can it be? It's only 2.2 miles." Hmm. You'd think I'd have learned by now.

Having already done the ParkRun at Sunderland in the morning and (getting my excuses in now!) having been for a longish slow run on the Friday evening, I thought my wife Jacquie (sadly injured) and I would have a ride out and have a look. The show itself was good fun with various displays - horses and dogs, motorbikes, ferrets, birds of prey, cakes and vegetables, arts and crafts, chainsaw carving, that sort of thing. There was also a flypast of a wartime Dakota to celebrate the Battle of Britain. I was glad to see a friendly face in David Gibson there who was running with his son Sam. I was a little surprised to be allocated the number 66 as I couldn't see many other runners there, turns out there were only 19 runners.

Anyway the race itself was a classic 'game of two halves'. As Colin wrote last year, "everyone except the club runners goes off way too fast. The one steep hill soon quashes their ambitions as the handful of vested runners pick off the tiring lads and dads." Well that was my plan anyway. Colin neglected to mention just how steep it was (walking hands on knees steep) and the fact that there is a stile about every 50 yards or so and so just as you look up and see you're closing on the person in front of you, the stile closes and away they go again. Once I got to the top, blowing like a steam engine, it immediately flattened and went downhill down a bit of track where the young lady I'd just overtaken flew past me again and I calculated there were only 4 or 5 men in front of me. At the bottom of the hill there was a sharp left and it flattened again to run across fields. Alister with his winnings at the Weardale Show In one there was a small stile where I knew I'd have to slow down to get through or off to the left a slightly longer but open gap. I gambled and won and overtook the girl and another gent here. At the end of this down again to cross the bridge (usually a ford apparently but the river was quite high), then back and round and up to the showground. Just before the end I passed a young lad 'shouting for Ralph' who I learned later was second for a lot of the race. You'd never catch me miscalculating and ending up in that state... Anyway I finished third senior man and sixth overall and earned my first ever cash reward - £5! Of course it was £5 to enter the showground and £2 entry fee for the race so I wasn't quite up on the day!

Bumped into and had a chat with Alan Purvis and Louise at the end. Phil Owen was going to cycle there but had issues with a serious headwind. It was quite blowy. Sam Gibson also finished third in his class but looked like he might have done a bit better if he didn't have to carry his dad around - only joking Dave!

All in all a great afternoon and the weather held for the majority of it.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Alan Ashcroft Adult M 114:04
6 Alister Robson Senior M 318:11
13 Sam Gibson Junior B 321:25
14 David Gibson Senior M 521:27

19 finishers.

Smugglers' Trod, Robin Hood's Bay, 28th August

26M

Dave Robson

This turned out to be a lovely run

Up at 5.00 as it was an 8.00 start at Robin Hood's Bay. The weather was sunny, but with a bit more than a cooling breeze, but it wasn't up to a gale.

The start was across the main car park at Robin Hood's Bay and the it turned uphill pretty quickly. I decided that it wasn't runnable so I walked as quick as I could, turning round every now and then to see the lovely view south down the coast

There was a limit of 350 entrants and it looked line about 100 were runners which is a much higher proportion that I had seen at recent LDWA events. The other unusual thing was the number of checkpoints. Fifteen in total for a 26m route ! Some were self clips, others manned with no refreshments and some with lots of hot and cold drinks and lots of food . Some of the helpers at the checkpoints were dressed as pirates and lots of the signs were decorated with the skull and crossbones.

The route directions which I downloaded a while ago were pretty good so I knew where I was going most of the time. The course was also marked, so I never needed my Satmap (GPS), map or the route directions.

Great views of Whitby when we got onto the moors. Some of the paths were overgrown with heather or bracken so it wasn't always easy to see where you were putting your feet. Most of the ground was pretty dry, but on the moors there were some boggy bits

We came off the moors a few times into some lovely North Yorkshire hamlets, but then there was the inevitable climb back up again to the moors.

From about 17m to 20m it felt a long slog upwards and I thought I might have run out of steam. But once past the the high point at 20m, we descended and ran along an old railway line and I was fine there. Then there was descent into Robin Hood's Bay and the finish was the climb out of Robin Hood's Bay dodging all the tourists Some finish ! Finished in 5hr 20min 35sec

Pie and peas (again!) followed by rice pudding and peaches at the finish.

Durham Summer XC Relays, 25th August

3x3km

Dougie Nisbet

Dave, Alister and Dave This year's relays were relocated to the other side of the river with the course running pretty much around the perimeter of the playing fields. This is a much more elegant course in my view, with a long section running alongside the hedgerow with nice clean lines and a couple of dinky sharp corners for a little variety. I hope they keep this course for future years.

The Striders' team comprised Dave Shipman, Dave Robson and Alister Robson. First away was Alister who ran a steady race with a decent chunk of runners behind him. Next was Dave R who was very happy with his race given the amount of Northumberland Coastal Marathon still in his legs. Bringing the Striders home was Dave S in a very fetching pair of borrowed Mizuno shorts. Good steady runs by everyone.

Sedbergh Hills Fell Race, 22nd August

14m / 6,000' AL

Tom Reeves

This is a tough race (and I was warned) hence the AL category. The conditions were good for the race, sunny with a light to moderate wind. I've never run this one before so wasn't sure what to expect but I knew it would be tough given the category.

The race starts at the peoples hall in Sedbergh and after a short run up the lane it heads up the fell side bypassing the summit of Winder before climbing to the summit of Arant Haw and checkpoint 1. I had planned to take it slow over the first couple of miles and ease into the race. Given the first 2+ miles were uphill I had no choice but to take it slowly! A nice long downhill to Chapel Beck and a wade through it followed before the long pull up to Castley Knotts. It was on this steep pull (where some runners were using their hands) that I realised this was not going to be a good run for me. My legs felt like jelly and I just wasn't up to the pace - I was continually overtaken by runners. The run from Checkpoint 2 to 3 was much of the same, good ground but steep up and downs and ankle-straining contouring. The route was fantastic with big steep drops and great views across the valley Black Force waterfall. By the time I hit checkpoint 3 I was shattered and still not quite half way round. Yet another long climb then very steep descent got me to checkpoint 4. For a mile or so I felt as if I might have gotten my second wind as the route headed along the valley but the next climb to the Calf put paid to that. Even so I managed to overtake a few runners. The final couple of miles are more or less runnable and I crossed the finish line in 3 hours and 10 minutes. At least I wasn't last (which at one point I thought I could be).

This is not an easy race, but it is on good ground and in a fantastic setting. If you like steep climbs and descents then this is your race.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Jon Morgan Dark Peak FR M40 2:18:55
3 Phil Sanderson NFR M40 2:21:47
22 Will Horsley NFR M 2:42:52
80 Thomas Reeves M40 3:10:07

162 finishers.

Northumberland Coastal Marathon, 22nd August

Dave Robson

I love the Northumberland Coastal Run which is 14m from Beadnell to Alnmouth. So when the opportunity came up to run a marathon on roughly the same course out and back from Alnmouth, I jumped at it and I am glad I did. An added advantage was that it was almost all offroad and it took me down trails I hadn't covered before.

A very small invited field of about forty including 100 marathon club members, locals and Anna Seeley and myself. Phil Owen was there supporting on his mountain bike and as is almost inevitable when Phil is around we had a sunny day. We started with a slight cooling breeze, but that developed in the second half which made it tough. It also got warmer and I was resorting to pouring a bottle of water over my head at the checkpoints. However, I seemed to dry out in about five minutes.

I had spent four and half hours on a mountain bike the day before and as I expected, I ran out of steam. This was at about 18m and I ran/walked from there. The scenery in the sunlight was just awesome. I managed to come in under 5 hours so I was happy with that. Anna finished not far ahead of me

One of the advantages of a small field is it increases your chance of a prize and I won my age category ! It's only the second time I have ever done that

I will definitely do this one again

Ray Harrison 10k, Billingham, 22nd August

Ian Spencer

It started warm and got warmer. A glorious Sunday morning and three striders made it to Billingham Synthonia (eh?) FC for a very well organised 10k. On the face of it, a pretty flat course comprising two loops—one of 3k and another of 7k. You couldn't call it scenic, being mostly around industrial sites in a state of long term decline (much like myself). However, there was a good atmosphere of a well-established running club-fest. The long gentle incline from 7–9k into a head-wind took it out of quite a few people. The water at the end was very welcome, unlike the fact that I was beaten by a man dressed as a packet of McCoy's crisps—one of the sponsors.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Philip Wylie Blaydon Harriers M 31:36
28 Tracy Waller Hartlepool Burn Road F35 38:52
122 Ian Spencer M40 47:27
125 Alister Robson M 47:50
171 Ian Graham F50 51:41

265 finishers.

Weasdale Horseshoe, Ravenstonedale, 21st August

8M/2000' AM

Dougie Nisbet

Ravenstonedale Show introduces the new sport of Cumberland & Westmoreland Sumo. I couldn't work out how this race could start from the Ravenstonedale Show, which is north of the A685, as the route takes in the fells to the south. Surely we would not be required to cross a busy main road? Well, no. All became clear within the first mile as we sloshed our way through a tunnel under the main road ankle high in goo. You really wouldn't want to trip and fall here.

Once through the cow latrine it was up onto the fells. After pausing briefly for an unexpected comfort stop that was uncomfortably close to an electric fence I settled in at the back of the field. And it really was the back. Second last to be precise. Denise Tunstall and Susan Davis were still visible and I concentrated on trying not to let them get too far away. The course holds no surprises; the miles and hills ahead are visible in all their brutal glory. Eventually around Randygill Top and any catching-up that I'd managed soon dissipated as my targets all bounded away along the ridge. Around the last summit at Green Bell then nice grassy running towards home. Still in second last position.

Denise had given me a top-tip before the race regarding a corner-cutting short-cut that was possible on the descent. Rather than stay on the track a faint trod takes a more direct line and the people in the know tend to take it. I wasn't in the know, but Denise was, and I could still see her, so I followed her down. The savings weren't huge but enough to give me the psychological boost of getting back onto the coat-tails of the runners I'd been chasing and who'd been elusively out of reach. Perhaps I wasn't going to be second last after all!

I gained a confidence-boosting few spaces in the last few miles and as we turned into the last climb home Geoff was at the gate to cheer me on and Susan suddenly appeared on short range sensors. Any thoughts of giving chase were soon unthought as the cruelty of the final field hit home. A long slog to the line, not dissimilar to the Gibside Long Walk, except uphill and very tough.

Summer Handicap, Round 4, 18th August

Results

PosNameHandicapStartFinishTimeNew H/C
1 Alister Robson 41:45 19:18:15 19:55:58 37:43 37:40
2 Steve Lumsdon 51:30 19:08:30 19:56:49 48:19 48:20
3 Paul Nolan 46:45 19:13:15 19:58:45 45:30 45:30
4 Luke Barclay 38:50 19:21:10 19:58:45 37:35 37:30
5 Austin Dwyer 39:00 19:21:00 19:59:41 38:41 38:40
6 Geoff Davies 35:10 19:24:50 19:59:41 34:51 35:00
7 Ian Spencer 39:00 19:21:00 19:59:52 38:52 38:50
8 Lynn Bargewell 50:00 19:10:00 20:00:12 50:12 50:00
9 Conrad White 33:50 19:26:10 20:00:23 34:13 33:50
10 Susan Davies 39:00 19:21:00 20:00:58 39:58 39:00
11 Debs Goddard 38:30 19:21:30 20:01:09 39:39 39:00
12 Mike Bennett 33:00 19:27:00 20:01:16 34:16 33:00
13 Emma Detchon 46:45 19:13:15 20:02:20 49:05 49:00
14 Barrie Evans 38:50 19:21:10 20:02:20 41:10 40:00
15 Denise Mason 40:00 19:20:00 20:03:27 43:27 43:30
16 Lindsey Brooks 51:30 19:08:30 20:06:43 58:13 51:30
17 Diane Clavier 51:30 19:08:30 20:06:44 58:14 58:20

Guisborough Grunt, NYM, 17th August

6.1m / 975'

Jan Young

Jan enjoying the climb.

Starts innocently along Butt Lane. 'Take the lowest route along the woods', we were told. This went omninously downhill. I kept thinking, 'We'll pay for this' and we did! Huff and puffing up the steepest bank I've ever scrambled in a race. Must have been 80 degree angle; 'Will, please tell me you walked it'. It was a relief to stand upright at the top and move a bit faster; mini scramble to Highcliff Nab. 'I need a rope' to rock climbers, then out onto open moor.

Heavily scented purple heather stretched for miles. I could see the North Sea. All was well with the world. Fast descent down through Guisborough Woods to finish. Local knowledge of woods advantageous, as several got lost. Dave warned there were no markers in the woods. The Quakers girls are not easily put off and had maps, but still missed their way. I left for home as the light faded. 'Still two out there' ...

...Dougie Nisbet adds

The results have been very generous to me showing that at 71.21 I finished a mere 9 seconds behind Jan. My true time was, sadly, a rather more sedate 76.13. I was ahead of Jan for about half the course but knew she was right behind me as I think she and Alan Smith go to the same evening classes in Race Noises. Up "the cliff" with Jan chatting away behind me, chatting and wheezing and climbing. And blowing her nose with a hankie. Seems to work though because when we topped out she breezed past on the first downhill. I kept up for a bit but couldn't match the pace, then the sharp right-hander onto the moor knocked my spirit, and then my tendinitis started nipping, and then someone else passed me so I decided to spend the rest of the race feeling sorry for myself. That didn't last because as Jan says, stunning evening views as we came down from the moor, into the wood. Got lost, had a chat with another runner, also lost, and we jogged to the finish with an unspoken agreement not to sprint. Very Tour de France!

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Marco Cara Unattached MV45 48.20
5 Will Horsley NFR M 50.07
14 Katie Rawnsley Scarborough AC F 54.11
92 Jan Young FV55 71.12
94 Dougie Nisbet DFR MV45 71.21

106 finishers.

Robin Hood "10K", Jarrow, 16th August

Dave Robson

Three Striders turned up for this race which involved three laps round the playing fields and tarmac paths behind the Robin Hood pub which is a familiar landmark just after halfway on the GNR route. The day had started fairly cold but it had warmed up a bit by the start of the race. One hundred and twenty four runners with a large contingent from the host club, Jarrow and Hebburn. I ran round with a friend as a recovery run. Alister and Ian did good times on a course which most people measured as slightly longer than 10K. A technical tee shirt and pie and peas in the pub afterwards to all finishers. A good way to finish a race.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 RUSHWORTH, Brian Sunderland Harriers M 33:18
18 SIMPSON, Claire Chester le Street F 38:38
71 ROBSON, Alister M 48:15
78 SPENCER, Ian M 49:55
120ROBSON, Dave M 68:28

124 finishers.

Elsecar Skelter, Barnsley, 14th August

27M

Dave Robson

I did this run last year and I enjoyed it, so I decided to do it again. The alarm went off at 4.45. I heard the rain outside and I turned over.

But I didn't go to sleep and at 5.00 I forced myself out of bed, got myself together and left the house at 5.45.

The journey down to near Barnsley was painless apart from the 17m of road works on the A1 which have a 50 mph speed limit. Only two more years before they finish!

The weather was quite bad on the way down but it was just grey when I got to Elsecar and registered. I hadn't expected to see any Fetchies, but it was great to see two I had met before. We ran together until the first checkpoint, but I didn't see them after that and I had to shoot off afterwards so I don't know how they found it.

The route description was only available on the day which gave people very little time to study it. This meant that lots of people seemed to make mistakes and I spent a lot of of the race stopping people from going the wrong way. I did make a very minor mistake myself and there was one point where I took a wild guess about the right way and it was right.

We passed Wentworth Woodhouse where I had my first job in a teacher training college and it was lovely to see it again. It was raining quite a bit then and it developed into a short cloudburst. The view from Wharncliffe Craggs was lovely and we seemed to pass many follies and country houses. It was undulating mainly with just a couple of hills.

The undergrowth seemed much more developed this year and my legs stung from all the nettles for at least a day after.

I liked it a lot. Knowing the route saved me loads and loads of time - I was 90 minutes faster than last year. I was also only 6 minutes behind the first person home - I have never been so close to the front before - and probably won't be again !

Lovely pie and peas afterwards.

Powburn Show Race, 7th August

Forest Burn, 8th August

3.8M 470' & 3.5M 500'

Dougie Nisbet

Dougie in an attacking position from the start.

It is impossible to do Fell Races without becoming familiar with Country Shows and their relative merits. Powburn was filled with lots of tough sweaty looking men swaggering around the showground. But enough about the wrestling and onto the Fell Race. Three and a half miles. How hard can it be? I think we can guess the answer to that one. Cramming a lot of variety into a few miles it's a straight, functional out and back; or out, up, round the flag pole (an NFR vest on a stick), then back down and finish. It seemed I'd hardly started before I met Phil Sanderson coming back home. A nice varied course with a river to ford that certainly has promise if the weather gets damp. After hanging around to watch a bit of the Wellie Hoying competition (or "willie hoying" as my spell checker suggested) it was back down the A1 for a bottle of wine or two to get in the mood for the Forestburn fell race at the Simonside Country Show on Sunday.

My Achilles was a bit hurty and I wasn't sure whether to start this race. I adopted the Phil Owen policy of dealing with injuries and decided just to ignore it and hope it would go away. And the small print said "beer to all finishers". Race numbers were in short supply and I didn't get one. I think it's because I'm quite famous and recognizable absolutely nothing to do with the fact that my chances of winning anything were, shall we say, slim. The course was clearly marked, which was just as well because before long I had ran out of bodies to follow. (Not because I was so far out in front, just in case you were wondering). In my excitement I crossed the beck where I didn't need to and gained some nettle stings and lost some places. I spied the bouncy castle of the showground and soon found an NFR vest to follow home.

These short races manage to cram some great larks in half an hour or so and the informality is great. A relaxed stroll around the showground then home to beer, ibuprofen and ice packs.

Darlington 10K, 8th August

Two reports ... the first from Zoe Evans:

Jim before the start with diminuitive relative.

No less than 16 Striders turned out on Sunday morning for the Darlington 10k! It was a lovely morning and Darlington town centre was packed with runners and supporters alike. The race starts near the market place and consists of 2 laps on closed roads (water at 3k and 7k), then finishes back in the market place.

There was a lot of support around the whole course from local residents who stood outside their houses cheering, and then some fair-sized crowds cheering nearer the town centre. Jan and Calum Young, Peter Brooks and Jacqui Robson all provided some very enthusiastic Strider support around the course which really helped when I was dying on my feet around 8k!

What I want to know is, why do people round these parts persist in describing races as "flat" when they just don't know the meaning of the word? For your information, I've pasted the dictionary definition below:

flat
adjective, flat-ter, flat-test,

1. horizontally level: 'a flat roof'.
2. level, even, or without unevenness of surface, as land or tabletops.
3. having a surface that is without marked projections or depressions

Do the Brighton 10k and I'll show you what a flat race really is!

Anyway... All in all it's a very good race to get a PB - it does have a fair few downhill bits to match the uphills! Nina Mason had a fantastic run on her first ever 10k road race (if you can believe it!) and was the first Strider home in 44mins! Doing my warm-up with Nina must have psyched me up because I had a great run despite the undulations and got under 50mins for the first time ever which left me grinning for the rest of the day. Claire Readey also had a good run on her first ever 10k [ Her first ever race, I believe. Ed], clocking in under an hour. Good performances from all the Striders and lots of happy faces at the end.

... and the second from Nina Mason:

Not a lot of people know this, but Darlo is my hometown ... born and raised (for a few years, anyway). There may be a few people - depending on their affiliations - that don't speak to me for a while once they read this, but ... I digress.

Despite this fact, I have never run the Darlington 10K. The day was a bit too muggy for comfort, but at least the sun didn't come out until it was time to collect the t-shirt. As road-running isn't usually my bag, I always feel privileged when I see roads closed for runners, fluorescent marshals, water stations, and numerous arrows and distance markers (though these were in kilometres and being the 10K novice that I am I spent a good part of the race trying to work out my mile times in my head). A flattish, two-lap course, with a fair few of the locals out to offer support all the way round.

A big turn-out for a well-organised race - including the Junior Race and Fun Run - plus a good show of purple, as always. As Zoe - who knocked minutes off her PB, well done! - said on the way home, a great way to spend a Sunday morning.

Late news: Jean Bradley won a prize for 2nd FV50!

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Daniel GARBUTT Durham City Harriers M 00:32:02
20 Rosie SMITH Durham City Harriers F 00:35:25
227 Nina MASON FV35 00:44:19
272 Richard HOCKIN MV55 00:45:16
366 Zoe EVANS F 00:47:33
401 Alister ROBSON M 00:47:58
440 Chris HEDLEY MV50 00:49:17
453 Dave WALKER MV45 00:49:40
468 Jean BRADLEY FV50 2 00:50:15
510 Melanie HUDSON F 00:50:47
511 George NICHOLSON MV60 00:50:47
519 Ian GRAHAM MV55 00:51:09
635 James NICHOLSON MV60 00:54:26
673 Mike ELLIOTT MV60 00:55:17
674 Greta JONES FV40 00:55:17
748 Kathryn SYGROVE FV40 00:57:19
837 Lindsey BROOKS FV40 00:59:25
848 Claire READEY FV35 00:59:55

1051 finishers.

Isle of Man Marathon, 7th August

Andrew Thompson

After the run.

One of my friends is an Isle of Man resident so I took the chance to arrange a trip over there around the marathon. I had heard of hills over the first few miles on the race and our B&B looked directly at the said hill, a sharp rise from the town up to the cliffs at the edge of the coast. It was still there when I got up on race day, but unafraid I had my granola and prepared the pink headband for what was about to happen.

The race was to be two laps of the half marathon course that was setting off a bit later. The conditions were perfect, nice and cloudy with barely any breeze. The field was small, about 120 I think, but it had a very friendly atmosphere. It was a race where it felt rude to overtake someone without any chat or encouragement.

The race set off, the first three miles did turn out to be slightly uphill, with a short sharp double hill between 3 and 4 miles. It wasn't too bad though, I had kept my 8.30 per mile pace and felt ok. It was good to get the hills out of the way at the start, and on a circular route what goes up does also come down, so the rest of the lap was easy running. The course reminded me a lot of the Brass Monkey race in York but the scenery was better, rolling hills, small villages and sweeping coastlines, that kind of thing.

From 4 miles onwards my pace was about the 8.15 mile mark, and even crept to the 7.45 per mile for the crowds at the start of the second lap. It was a lot faster than I had planned and I was a bit worried about crashing out later on, but remembered my mates PMA slogans from the Edinburgh Marathon in May and ran at it screaming, so to speak. There didn't seem much point holding back as I sensed a PB was on the cards and felt in control. I had a couple of markers in front who seemed to be running very well so thought I would hang on their coat tails. I went past all of them on the second run of the hill which was nice, and the water station at the end of the climb was perfectly placed, as was the downhill stretch afterwards. The good pace went on to about 22 miles, when things always get tough. I was positioned nicely though, the main aim was to go under 4 hours and then my PB of 3.53 was the secondary target. I was well within both and strode on. At about 24 miles the pace really slowed and my new marker went off into the distance. The mile times went up to the 9.30 mark but I had quite a buffer to get my time so wasn't too worried. No need for any Chariots of Fire moments this time, I finished a few seconds over 3hrs 45mins.

It is a fast course, almost perfectly created as all of the tricky parts are out of the way while everything is still fresh. At the end there was about as much food as a boy could eat and there was a Guinness waiting for me as well, it couldn't have been any better.

For anyone thinking of taking a trip there next year there is plenty to do on the island and some good places to camp afterwards. Any Striders planning a trip just send me an email or grab me on a Wednesday, I will give away their locations happily.

Gribdale Gallop, NYM, 3rd August

7.5M / 1340'

Paul Evans

Lovely hill.

It seems that the rules of Striders are simple, bearing a resemblance to those of a certain film:

  1. You must race.
  2. You must, absolutely, talk about racing and all things Striders-related at all possible opportunities.

With this in mind, having returned from a work-related exile, I decided to make a return to racing by taking on the Gribdale Gallop, one of the lengthy Esk Valley Summer Series. It seemed a good idea, being a relatively short race on a nice, warm Tuesday evening, although a year of running non-competitively on flat ground was always likely to take a toll; however, my worries were overshadowed by those of Angela, for whom this was her introduction to fell-racing.

Arrival at the layby in Gribdale saw a high quality field of around 100 assembling at the bottom of the track leading up to Captain Cook's monument - this provided a crowded, testing start that really stretched out the Achilles tendons and thinned out the field a little before a mile long stretch through uneven woodland, Will Horsley taking a tumble and drawing blood at this point. Not that it slowed him much. From here a fast descent on a paved track preceded a short climb back up to open moorland, by which point my legs were feeling distinctly heavy - undertraining, the wrong type of training or simply not having eaten since midday may have been any or all of the culprits - and the crossing of this took us to the conifer plantations around and above the Hanging Stone. This was a definite highlight after a fairly dull stretch, as a fast, technical descent led us to Roseberry common, a frankly hideous crawl up Roseberry Topping, an equally testing hurtle down the same and a marginally less unpleasant trudge up Little Roseberry - demanding but at least interesting. From here, the last mile handrailed another conifer plantation and allowed me to regain a few places lost on a poor choice of descent route down Roseberry Topping before the steps back down to Gribdale provided the welcomed end.

Overall, this was a quick race run on hard, dry ground and could have been done comfortably in road shoes. Will performed as well as ever, knocking time off his PB on this one, as did I. Angela also had a good run, suffering mainly in a section where tall bracken/short runner led to a few navigation problems, and is now, hopefully, hooked.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Drew Graham Gosforth H & AC M 50.12
4 Will Horsley NFR M 51.44
24 Katie Rawnsley Scarborough AC F 56.20
26 Paul Evans M 56.32
95 Angela Proctor F 88.00

95 finishers.

Borth 10K, 1st August

Dave Robson

After the run.

Borth is a small seaside village north of Aberystwyth. It may seem a long way to go for a 10K race, but I regularly drive down there to see my son. He no longer believes that its just a coincidence that I come down to Aberystwyth when this race is on.

It is a lovely run, all on sand, out and back along a beautiful beach with lovely hills to the north and east. It's run at low tide which meant it started at 7 pm this year which felt a little unusual, but with the sun low in the sky it made it even more attractive.

My son has only done one run since we last ran together at Christmas (he is more of a surfer and cyclist), so he thought he might find it a bit hard and he did, but he managed to run all the way which was great. We had a lovely time just running along the beach together, though I suspect he was cursing me under his breath.

The race was won by Mark Smith, an ex Durham Harrier who now works in Aberystwyth, it is small world.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Mark Smith Aberystwyth AC 35:49
84 Glen Robson M 67:57
85 Dave Robson MV50 67:57

86 finishers.