Race Reports, July 2010

Teesdale Triathlon, Barnard Castle, 25th July

Swim 400m / Bike 28km / Run 5k

Peter Brooks

Liz and I travelled down to Barnard Castle first thing on Sunday morning for the Teesdale triathlon. I had an early start due to my estimated swim time being quite slow and Liz was due to set off 14 minutes after me.

After the usual faffage setting up transition, registering and having numbers scrawled over us it was time for me to get to the pool for my swim. Teesdale sports centre has a small pool, only four lanes and I was number eight so was the second swimmer in lane four, the first swimmer in my lane started four minutes before me.

I was summoned to stand by the lane counter as the guy in front of me started, I was asked by the lane counter if I would be doing front crawl or breast stoke, when I answered crawl I was told that I would probably be overtaking the swimmer in front as he was doing breast stroke. I was started by a ten second countdown and was off like the proverbial canal barge on my 16 length quest to get out of the pool. I soon caught up and passed the guy in front and carried on, then I soon caught up and passed him again, and again, and again. Half way through my swim, the next swimmer joined in, who was also doing breast stroke and I soon caught up with him and passed him and passed him and passed him again before I got out at almost exactly the same time as swimmer number one. I finished the swim in 8 minutes 46, the fastest that I have ever swam 400 metres. I didn't know it at the point, but I finished the swim in 95th place out of 130 starters which is quite a step forward from my other two tris this year where I came last and second last.

The cycle was a long, undulating ride from Barnard Castle, along the A688 to Staindrop where we had a very sharp left hand turn and then had to ride about 7.5 miles uphill to Eggleston with the wind coming down the hill which made it quite hard. I didn't see anyone else on the bikes until I had got past Staindrop where I caught up with a few riders on the hill. At Eggleston, there was another sharp left turn onto the fast, downhill road back to Barnard Castle, this time with the wind behind us. I was having a blast by this point reaching speeds of 37 - 38 mph until I got to the bottom of the hill when my chain fell off. My first thought was something similar to "oh dear, that's a bit of hard luck" (I'm sure you can substitute the real words were weren't kept quiet!) as I was still doing about 35mph at this point. Luckily, I was far enough ahead of the next rider to get the chain put back on and get back to transition without being passed.

I thought I'd be clever and get my feet out of my cycling shoes before I got back to transition, but they just wouldn't come out so I ended up just unclipping from the pedals and running the bike back to the rack and change into my running shoes for the three lap 5k run. By this time I had nothing left in my legs and I struggled to get up the small hills on the run. I saw Liz start her run as I was coming to the end of my second lap and I managed to keep her in my sights throughout my final lap and I managed to finish in 1:42:07.

This is a great, local event which is very well organised, friendly and, despite the tough bike course, is great fun. If you are considering starting out in triathlons, this would be a good one to do as a first attempt. I would recommend it to anyone.

James Herriot Trail Run, Castle Bolton, 25th July

8.8M / 1000'

Dougie Nisbet

After a slobbish few months today's race was the kick-start for my Loch Ness Marathon training, and so I wasn't expecting miracles as we lined up to start. Despite realistic expectations there's always a sneaky hope that a PB might bounce unexpectedly out on the day. But it was not to be. The Striders cast list comprised Geoff, Shaun, Barrie, Jean and Margaret, with me in a borrowed Shaun vest that I hoped might ooze out some extra speed. This race has form when it comes to unexpectedly hot days and Shaun was taking the precaution of wearing his customized hot-weather racing vest.

In 2008 I passed Barrie on the first hill only to be passed by him on the second, so this year I decided to mark Barrie as my pacer and see how things went. Barrie was wearing a cap with what looked like a large red "Eye of Sauron" on the back so he was easy to track. Until he took it off. I passed Jean and Margaret on the big hill after the start who were both plumbed into their respective mp3 players and climbing steadily. I had Barrie in my sights until the second big hill and reckoned I'd catch him on the descent but he obviously hadn't read the script and instead leapt away to finish several minutes ahead of me. I was 4 minutes down on last year although post-race analysis of average heart-rate and whatnot suggests I ran it harder this year for a slower time. The weather was muggy with a slight breeze but, strangely, the water stations didn't see much business. I took water at one just to give them something to do as they looked quite forlorn standing with outstretched offerings that were being declined by runner after runner.

Jean, absolutely ecstatic to get to the finish.

It was Jean's first running of this race and I think she was impressed, with words such as "beautiful" and "stunning" coming out in staccato bursts as she caught her breath after crossing the line. [ Also: "Why am I doing this ... why am I here ... ?" Ed. ] Geoff and Shaun both had reasonable runs I think and all in all another good day out on this scenic course rounded off with a pint of Black Sheep at the Bolton Arms.

Results

PosName Club CatPosTime
1 Gary Dunn Thirsk & Sowerby M 53.45
18 Mairead Rocke Corby AC F 162.44
40 Shaun Roberts MV50 69.12
59 Geoff Davis MV50 73.47
93 Barrie J Evans MV60 81.37
107 Dougie Nisbet MV40 84.12
120 Jean Gillespie FV55 87.35
167 Margaret Thompson FV55 102.05

181 finishers.

Lakeland 50 (UTLD), The Lakes, 24th July

50M

Tom Reeves

Its 9.30am Saturday 24th July and I'm sat cross legged in the hall of Coniston Secondary school with over 300 other runners being briefed about the 50 mile trail race we're about to run in the Lake District. I was feeling a bit queezy not because I was nervous but because I'd only got back from a week in Manchester the night before after attending a week long conference. Late nights and free wine (hmm maybe not the best preparation?)

After the briefing I headed back to the tent and finished my preparations for the race. while Joan and the boys headed off to Glenridding to catch the steamer across to Howtown the first checkpoint on the race. Soon enough we were all placed on coaches and drove across to Dalemain estate, the start of the 50 mile race and the half way point of the 100 mile race which started the night before at 5.30.

I was sat with Kevin Bray and Nick Spencer who helped me on my BGR and Jeff Ross. The Dalemain estate was a hive of activity, there were a couple of very weary looking 100 milers sat with bandaged feet eating and being stared at by us wimpy 50 milers.

The Start - Dalemain to Howtown (10.7 miles)

We were shepherded into the start area after first dibbing our sportident SI cards. At 12.00 we were off, the first 4 miles was a circuit of the estate to make the route up to 50 miles. The sun was out and I was a bit worried I'd underdone the sun block. I need not have worried! I took my time letting myself ease into the run.

Before the off.

For me it didn't feel as if I was on the race properly till I was heading out of the estate and towards Pooley Bridge. The going was very gentle and a good warm up, we got some applause as we ran through Pooley Bridge then it was out onto the fells and some good plodding up the hill toward High Street. I walked up here with Kevin and Nick then as we turned to contour toward Howtown I picked up the pace a little. I ran past Phil who was looking out for Anna who was also running the 50 mile race and dropped down into Howtown and Checkpoint 1 where I grabbed some water and 3 pieces of cake and off I went. Great cake by the way.

Howtown to Mardale Head (8.3 miles)

I ran for a little while with a guy who'd completed the 100 mile event the previous year. This I think was the toughest leg the climb up Fusedale Beck and onto Wether Hill was tough and long, I hit some bog and that was the end of my dry feet for the day. Joan and the boys cheered me on at this stage, the boys as is their want also informed me that there were 6 women in front of me!! I also started passing other runners and in particular some very tired looking 100 milers (they had yellow numbers). I noticed most of them seemed to be running / hobbling along on their own and not looking particularly happy.

The climb up Fusedale.

I got a great line down to Hawswater and ran the final couple of miles along the side of the lake. This was actually the worst part of the day for me. It felt like it was going on for ever and I was actually bored!!

The checkpoint at Mardale Head was a god send, I had Coke (the liquid) vegetable soup and orange. I also had a gel and this really perked me up.

Mardale to Kentmere (5.9 miles)

The rain and the wind arrived as I headed up Gatesgarth Pass and I loved it. I passed a load of very wet miserable runners and I felt energetic again. At the top I was on my own for the first time in the race. The clag was down, the wind was blowing and it was marvellous. I had a good long run down to Sadgill, the soup was doing its thing and I felt some energy returning to my legs. This leg was the first leg (I think) where you could go wrong I had my map out (provide by the organisers) and nearly went wrong a couple of times. I'd never had a chance to recce any of the route and this was going to potentially slow me down.

I arrived at the Kentmere Institute absolutely soaked through but in very good spirits. My spirits were to be raised even higher by a cup of tea, fresh fruit smoothies, pasta and rice pudding all served by some lovely young ladies.

Kentmere to Ambleside (7.1 miles)

I set off up the hill still in light rain toward Garburn Pass. I now had my map and route guide out as I was still on my own and couldn't rely on following anyone. This was soon to change. On the way up the hill I noticed two women in front who'd overtook me in the institute while I was eating everything in sight. I soon caught up with them and we exchanged pleasantries. They were going at a really good pace so I thought I'd chance my arm and asked if I could tag along. "Of course you can" was the reply. So I ran the next part of the leg with Julie and Kirsty, little did they know or me for that matter that they were going to be lumbered with me for the rest of the race. Julie had completed the 50 the year before and knew the route really well so my map disappeared into my rucsack never to reappear.

Refreshments.

Now it turns out Julie and Kirsty have both completed BGR's, Julie has also completed a Joss Naylor this year and UTMB (Mont Blanc Race) and Kirsty held the record for the Helvellyn Triathlon (very tough race) for 5 years.

The rain eased and we made good progress Julies navigation was fantastic on the drop through the woods into Ambleside. It was wonderful running to the checkpoint in Lakes Runner, we had people applauding us all the way up the main street its doesn't half put a spring in your step. Joan and the boys were waiting for me. Joan warned Julie and Kirsty about picking up strange men. We had soup and a roll Joan took a couple of pics and Julie and Kirsty started heading off on the next leg I joined them and it's their fault as they offered ?

 

Ambleside to Chapel Stile (4.8 miles)

We headed out of Ambleside through Rothay Park finishing our soup as we walked. Then all too soon we were back off the tarmac and onto the fell side again. This next section was very pleasant not too long and the rain had now all but stopped. The terrain was good with no really big inclines and some good running. The chatter between us was lively and I was beginning to realise that these two women were top notch runners. I knew that if I ran the rest of the race with them I was going to make it back in a very respectable time. It was late afternoon and we were beginning to think about the evening section and getting back by about 11pm if possible.

We got to Chapel style in what seemed like no time and again were met by really friendly and encouraging helpers who gave us a bowl of beef stew and I had two cups of tea. Very nice indeed.

Chapel Stile to Tilberthwaite Car Park (7.7 miles)

This part of the race took us along the Langdale valley for the first few miles along the Cumbrian way. We were overtaken at speed by a very tall lad doing the 100 mile race. He slowed down and we caught him up and it turned out he has got lost and was trying to make up some time. The girls were very impressed by Ollies speed, I suggested it was the presence of two women which had influenced his sudden turn of pace and sure enough we soon left him behind on the long climb out of the valley up to Blea Tarn. On this climb I felt tired for the first time since the long haul along Hawswater I necked a gel and a few jelly babies and got my head down. We passed more 100 milers many of which Julie seemed to know, and the tales of Bob Grahams and other epics in the mountains continued. I can't emphasise enough how much easier the running felt when out on the hill with some good company. It was quite a long haul to Tilberthwaite and on the final mile we passed a 50 miler on his own. I noted that he hung back and kept us in his sights clearly he had a plan?!

It was dark when we got to Tilberthwaite and the guys in the van at the checkpoint provided bottled water, cake and fig rolls. There was some coke which the girls grabbed only to be told "oi that's ours!" too late it was finished off in a couple of gulps.

Tilberthwaite Car park to Coniston (3.5 miles)

The home straight was now upon us. It was just after 10pm and a sub 11 hours looked on the cards. We finally had the head torches out and started the steep climb up the steps past the quarries. We were on pretty slippery paths and had to take care but we were still moving well. The bloke we passed a mile or two before was still behind us. We bumped into a couple of 50 milers up the path wandering round in circles. It turned out that one of them had dropped his torch. Julie had a spare torch which she loaned him and he could not thanks her enough. How well organised is that?

Tom, Julie and Kirsty.

Oh no! somewhere on the tops around Crook Beck we lost the path , I'm not sure how, maybe a lapse in concentration but hey ho that's how it goes. The chap behind us caught us up as he hadn't a clue where he was going. We stumbled around for a while but with some thinking and use of the compass we finally found the route down. In the meantime I had gone into a thigh deep pool twice! And we were all a bit peed off that we'd lost around 15 to 20 minutes. On the Coppermine road into Coniston the man ran off ahead, just as I thought. Take advantage of Julie's (not mine) knowledge of the route then bugger off without a thank you! Cheeky sod. We were so pleased to see the lights of Coniston and all too soon we were on the road into the school. My boys appeared from the dark and ran the last couple of 100 metres to the finish line and a loud round of applause. It was lovely to have Joan and the boys meet me at various points a real boost to morale. We went into the school to more applause which was so good, got weighed (why?) and sat down to a bowl of bean stew, pitta, cake and tea. My legs stiffened up in seconds.

Some final Thoughts:

This was probably one of the best organised races I've run other than the Saunders Mountain Marathon. The checkpoints were stocked with some great food and manned by some great folks. You also get a great Montane technical shirt, a medal, a Harveys waterproof map and 3 nights camping not too bad for the money.

The race itself is pretty tough, you don't go over the mountain tops and you are mainly on bridleways but the distance and height gain combined with the changes in weather make it a very demanding event.

If you are going to do it either run with a friend or buddy up with someone on the race. Believe me the second 25 miles with Julie and Kirsty was so much better than the first 25. If you plan to do the 100 make sure you run with someone especially on the night sections it is so easy to go wrong when your tired.

All in all a great event.

Grimsthorpe Ultra 70, Lincolnshire, 23rd July

70M

Dave Robson

Drove down on Thursday night and stayed the night in a Travelodge which was next to a lorry park. Bad idea as the lorries started moving before 5. Breakfast in the neighbouring Little Chef - porridge followed by pancakes and coffee. The day before had included three portions of pasta and lots of fluids.

Got to Grimsthorpe to find an attractive country house/castle with undulating countryside surrounding it. We had to take anything we wanted for the duration of the race out of our car and leave it in the organiser's tent which we would pass regularly. This involved me carrying loads of extra kit over to the tent, most of which I didn't use, but I was grateful for some of it.

The structure of the event was one lap of 3m which took in the beginning of the larger lap and the end of the larger lap, then seven large laps of 9.6m followed by a finish running up the drive to the lit up castle with glow sticks marking the finish line - a nice finish.

I now feel I know every blade of grass personally.The larger lap started downhill down a tarmaced estate road (only farm traffic) down to the lake then a limestone track upwards (which I always walked), then a lovely gentle down hill on limestone trail then a gentle rise upwards which I walked more of after the second lap. Then a turn onto the estate road again and a steep climb up (at this point you had the chance to see some of the runners coming the other way who were further round the lap. Then turn into some lovely woods on an uneven grass trail with more climbing. At the top we then turned into a lightly wooded area with sheep and we ran through what I would call fairy grass, mid calf, not thick over uneven ground. This was one of my favourite bits as it was flat and lovely to run through. Back onto limestone tracks, down, then up, more limestone trail and then onto a grass track to the first self clip checkpoint. More grass track slightly down hill, lovely, then back to the estate road where we turned to head back. This was the killer section. Imagine those approach roads to country estates where they have rows of trees either side, they are dead straight, flat and in the distance you can see the castle. This particular section was just incredibly, mind sappingly dull and very, very long with just one bend. Although flat I found it very hard to run all of it, it felt like it was sucking the energy out of me. Then a descent where we met runners not so far round the lap. Lovely descent into woods to the lake. Onto an ascending grass trail which I walked mostly to the second self clip checkpoint, then a lovely downhill on grass, more undulating limestone trail. More ascending grass trail up to a lovely flat section in woods which led to the organiser's tent. So a varied course, apart from the one very long section. Lots of wildlife - hares, rabbits, bats, some creature like a small dog I didn't even recognise!

The first small lap was fine and I ran round with someone I knew from Fetcheveryone. I lost him at the end of that lap as he stopped to pick up a drink. First big lap was fine just watching where we were going - it was well marked. Halfway round I realised my new bum bag had split where the bottle went in. Luckily I had brought a spare bum bag with me.

Second big lap, in a good groove. Gave some of my water to a runner who was suffering as he had used all of his water.

Third big lap. Wham, hit the wall big time, walking lots, very grim. Suddenly seemed to be drinking loads and I almost ran out soon after halfway. Luckily the organisers were patrolling and I managed to get some water off them, but I finished that by the end of lap. Realised that I hadn't taken on board anywhere near enough water on the first two laps so carried two bottles from the fourth lap on.

Fourth big lap, better than the third but still pretty grim.

Fifth big lap. Much better, running much more of the route.

Sixth lap. First half was fine. It got dark about halfway, but I was mainly on road so I was able to keep up a good pace. It was easier running the long straight bit in the dark as you couldn't see how long it lasted.

Didn't stay long at the checkpoint as I could see a chance of being sub 15 hours, but I had forgotten that for me running with a head torch on uneven ground is always slower, so I missed out by quite a margin, though I was still feeling very fresh at the end where I could see where I as putting my feet.

I finished 14th out of 30 finishers. Four people did not finish.

Nutrition - went well, Muller rice was just great and went down very easily. Philadelphia sandwiches become very dull and were replaced by cereal bars. Tescos pasta was brilliant. Started with stop blocks, but gave up on them. Used an Succeed S!cap every lap and Nunn for a couple of laps. One of the advantages of laps was that you got access to your food and kit every 9.6m. It seemed to work and I had no cramps at all and no blisters. I ran in road shoes. Changed socks and top after five big laps.

Perfect weather, hardly any wind, cloudy until the end of day. No rain.

Many people think I am bonkers to be running long distances. One of the participants was a jugglerunner, that is a runner who juggles as he runs. And yes I believe he juggled balls for all of the 70m (he had luminous ones for the night !). I am not in that league (yet).

After I finished I went to sleep for a few hours and woke again at 7 and went over to the main checkpoint. There were still five people out there on the course (the cut off was a very generous 27 hours). I really admire those people.

I got home and found it difficult to walk much for the following two days. Stairs were particularly hard!

Lessons learnt:

1) Give up with bum bags (my second one also split on the final lap) and take a backpack
2) Think more about how much water to take
3) Remember you will be slower with a head torch
4) Avoid lapped races with long straight sections
5) Do more runs on consecutive days - I only did one pair.

I can't see myself doing this again, it was good, but I just feel I know the route so well, the thought of doing that route again seven times would drive me crazy (or even more so than I am already).

Summer Handicap, Round 4, 21st July

Results

PosNameHandicapStartFinishTimeNew H/C
1 Mike Elliott 51:00 19:09:00 19:57:22 48:22 48:25
2 Greta Jones 51:00 19:09:00 19:57:23 48:23 48:25
3 Claire Reedy 51:00 19:09:00 19:58:28 49:28 49:30
4 Anita Clementson 51:00 19:09:00 19:58:29 49:29 49:30
5 Joanne Porter 44:00 19:16:00 19:59:34 43:34 43:35
6 Geoff Davies 35:30 19:24:30 19:59:43 35:13 35:10
7 Luke Barclay 39:00 19:21:00 19:59:52 38:52 38:50
8 Zoe Evans 39:20 19:20:40 20:00:27 39:47 39:45
9 Richard Hockin 37:25 19:22:35 20:00:30 37:55 37:25
10 Susan Davies 39:00 19:21:00 20:00:45 39:45 39:00
11 Paul Nolan 46:00 19:14:00 20:00:48 46:48 46:45
12 Ian Spencer 39:00 19:21:00 20:00:50 39:50 39:00
13 Austin Dwyer 39:00 19:21:00 20:00:56 39:56 39:00
14 Lynn Bargewell 51:00 19:09:00 20:01:10 52:10 50:00
15 Conrad White 33:50 19:26:10 20:01:23 35:13 33:50
16 Martin Wilson 39:00 19:21:00 20:02:08 41:08 41:00
17 Lindsey Brooks 51:00 19:09:00 20:02:21 53:21 51:30
18 Alan Smith 41:10 19:18:50 20:02:40 43:50 43:50
19 John Hutchinson 36:10 19:23:50 20:02:51 39:01 36:10
20 Emma Detchon 50:00 19:10:00 20:04:30 54:30 51:00
21 Jan Young 40:00 19:20:00 20:06:21 46:21 45:00

Cock Howe & Beyond, Chop Gate, NYM, 20th July

6.63M / 1,175'

Grahame Arrowsmith

Jan and I dashed down to Chop Gate for the latest Summer series fell race. To be honest it was touch and go whether we went ... rain on the way down was torrential!

Still, we made it, the rain eased and conditions were pretty good. Nice and cool, bit of drizzle ... perfect. Almost 100 runners, surprised to see so many there but they are a hardy bunch ... maybe just a bit crazy!?

Anyway, what a fantastic run. Big climb at the beginning which seemed to go on forever, nice run along the top (no views just lots of low cloud) and back down the bank. Did OK, held my own going up the hill and along the middle section, but felt like I was standing still as about 7 crazy fools threw themselves down the hill past me towards the finish ... really need to get the hang of this downhill running, losing far too much time.

Finished somewhere in the middle with Jan not far behind ... she said she really enjoyed the dash down towards the finish line!

Good stuff these mid-week fell runs. I've done four this Summer: great for building fitness with a bit of a competitive edge!

Coastal Run, Beadnell, 18th July

13.5M

Shaun Roberts

All sorts of weather was forecast for this one, so it was actually a bit of a surprise that we got pretty much the same as last time: quite a firm southerly headwind, which when you got out of it now and again, left you feeling pretty warm. The tides were described as "OK", and the tables showed that it should have been about halfway out - so we were a tad surprised to find that there wasn't much beach to stand on at Beadnell! No heading straight across the bay this time. Quite a good number of Striders here, and we mulled over what actual wind direction(s) we'd get, as it was all over the place before the start.

Before the start ...

Off right on 10:30 - we had to be as there were obviously no start mats for the chip timing - and round the bay we went. After a while some brave souls hung a half-left through some thigh-deep water to save a bit of time (perhaps), but I kept on the drier stuff to quickly come to a deep stream anyway. Wet feet to start with once again. Then I got into a good rhythm to get over to Dunstanburgh Castle. Usually in this race, this is about the time I expect Mike Bennett to go past me, but this year it was Dave "Gibbo" Gibson who came alongside, and we exchanged the time of day. He offered me a beverage, and then I thought he'd be off into the wild blue yonder - but strangely, I pulled away ... think my first gel of the day must have just kicked in ...

Got to Craster in a good time, and was thinking a fast one might be in the offing, but the running seemed to be getting harder and harder - the headwind wasn't getting any easier, and I tried to tuck in behind other runners as much as I could. Some people don't take kindly to this at all, I found - a couple of runners veered sharply off track to shake me off, which I thought was a bit unnecessary - I'm ok with people tucking in behind me for a while ... Anyway, round the cliffs, down and up the dip, then eventually out onto the road at Boulmer. Found it very hard going along this bit. I like having the GPS along, but having it tell me I'm doing two minutes a mile slower here than I was at the start was a bit of a bummer. I actually preferred it when we got back on the beach again and could just get your head down for the last stretch. Eventually the finish hove into view, before a thankfully-shortish section of soft sand to the line.

Well-chuffed to get a PB, considering the wind. Dave Gibson was along within a minute of me, and Mike Bennett wasn't far behind him, with a good strong run, especially as he hasn't been doing much long stuff recently. Nina was next, continuing her recent run of very strong, err, runs and scooping the second F35 prize! Gary Davies was next, well under two hours, as was John Hutch, with another good one, as he too hasn't been doing too many long runs. Everyone else got in ok - but we were all glad to get to the finish line. It was quite a hard one this year.

Results

PosName Club CatPosTime
1 James Buis Heaton Harriers M 1:19:32
50 Vicky Hindson Wallsend Harriers F 1 1:37:02
103 Shaun Roberts V50 1:43:12
112 David Gibson V40 1:44:05
139 Michael Bennett V55 1:47:07
235 Nina Mason F35 2 1:54:27
292 Gary Davies M 1:57:48
301 John Hutchinson V50 1:58:17
419 Andrew Jordan M 2:04:56
516 Jean Bradley F50 2:11:10
569 George Nicholson V60 2:14:26
581 Frank Coffield V65 2:15:10
677 Karen Chalkley F40 2:23:01
715 James Nicholson V60 2:27:04
790 Lynne Bargewell F35 2:46:09
791 Dave Robson V55 2:46:09
798 Alan Purvis V70 2:52:47
801 Margaret Thompson F60 2:55:39

804 finishers.

Durham Tri Club Duathlon, High Shincliffe, 15th July

Run 2M, Bike 11M, Run 2M

Grahame Arrowsmith

Nice Thursday evening so I popped down to High Shincliffe for my first duathlon - really good turnout with just under 30 taking part, including a good sprinkling of Striders.

The big mistake I made was not having a good look at the course before I turned up! As I didn't have a previous time (and had a rubbish bike!) I went off first (with Phil Owen and a guy called Pierre). We got to grips with the running bit OK and Phil and I thought we were doing really well with the cycling ... well into the route and no one showing signs of catching us ... who needs a thousand pound bike I thought?!

Everything was then ruined when Shaun appeared - coming in the opposite direction - shouting that we had missed one whole stretch and turned back one roundabout early ... we thought OK but that's splitting hairs, we'd only missed 2 miles!

Anyway our officials for the evening, Ian and Allan, were very impressed when we arrived back for the final transition so promptly ... until we reluctantly confessed. Off we went for the second run and arrived back to inevitable disqualification and disgrace ... oh the shame, bringing Striders into disrepute!

Still it was great fun and I will be back ... the cycling certainly supplements the running really well especially the final hill back up to High Shincliffe.

Oh, and by the way for the record Shaun won. [ Just the handicap! Ed. ] Well done to him - although I'm sure he would really have preferred to have actually caught up with me and Phil ... but we were far too smart for that!

Results

Pos Name Run 1+T1 Bike+T2 Run 2 Total
1 Dan JENKIN 12:0531:3311:11 0:54:49
5 Hilary ROSS 13:1035:4312:59 1:01:52
14 Shaun ROBERTS 13:5039:3013:15 1:06:35
16 Peter BROOKS 16:0040:2015:36 1:11:56
18 Louise BILLCLIFFE 16:2740:5116:39 1:13:57
DQ Grahame ARROWSMITH 16:20
DQ Phil Owen 16:23
DNF Geoff WATSON 13:3041:32

20 finishers.

Court Inn Clamber, 14th July

Shaun Roberts

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

Oh, no! Disaster at the tree! You'll be hearing from my solicitors ...

Many thanks to:
Geoff Watson - Course marking
Dave Robson - Course marking /sweeper/clearing
Lynne Bargewell - Course marking/ clearing
Barrie Evans - Mr Starter/ Finish Judge
Christine Farnsworth - Judge's recorder
Dougie Nesbit - Marshal at tree
Peter Brookes - Marshal at tree
Andrew Glass - Marshal at tree
Paul Loftus - Timekeeper
Lindsey Brookes - Recorder
Mandy Dawson - Registration
Joan & James Reeves - Registration
Carole Seheult - Registration/ dinner nanny/ first aider
Anna Pethybridge - Registration
Jackie Smith - Woods marshal
Maureen Blackett - Woods marshal
Louise Billcliffe - Registration
Nigel Heppell - Car park/ dinner nanny
Anna Seeley - Registration/ dinner nanny
Chris Hedley - Car park

Anyone get any photos??

Yes! Dougie's have just flooded in - see below. Many thanks. Any more?

A great evening!

Results

PosNameClubCatTimePrize
1 Will Horsley M 30:40 Race Winner
8 Tom Reeves M40 33:26 1st Strider Male
15 Mike Bennett M50 35:13 Spot Prize
17 Shaun Roberts M50 35:26
18 Vicky Booth Sunderland Strollers F 35:31 Female race winner
23 Geoff Davis M50 36:41
25 Conrad White M50 37:02
30 Nina Mason F 37:56 2nd Senior Female
45 Calum Young M 39:48
48 Melanie Hudson F 40:28 1st Female Strider
50 Debs Goddard F 40:25
53 Phil Owen M40 40:53
53 Lynne Bargewell F 40:53
63 Richard Hall M50 41:31
67 Susan Davis F50 41:41 3rd F50
74 Ian Spencer M40 42:09
77 Jan Young F50 42:45
78 Dave Walker M40 42:45
81 Jane Ives F40 43:10
86 George Nicolson M60 43:42
87 Karen Chalkley F40 44:42
88 Angela Proctor F 44:56
90 John Everett M50 45:28
91 Denise Mason F 45:47
97 Phil Todd M 50:37
98 Kathryn Sygrove F40 51:44
100 Anita Cleminson F40 52:34

Kilburn Feast 7 Road Race, Nr. Thirsk, 11th July

7M

Andy Glass

Well what can I say ... My first outing to North Yorkshire in many years and what a course lay ahead. Affectionately described by Iain Twaddle (Start Fitness) as an interesting and a lovely race, which was also described on the entry form as scenic and undulating. Hmm I thought this could be challenging, especially when I looked at the relief maps of the area and found that Kilburn sits in the valley below the White Horse on the nearby hills and Sutton Bank. (Last time I went up Sutton Bank it was in a fully loaded Mini Cooper with 4 people and camping gear back in the 80's in first gear and we almost didn't make it to the summit that day) I now know what scenic and undulating means! It's runners secret code for 'hilly and bloody hell you're going to sweat'.

Andy waiting for the bus ...

Anyway Angela and I, in tow with George Nicholson (Vocal Support and Professional Photography Services), arrive in plenty of time for a cup o' tea and a visit to the mouseman craftsman's tea room (Ah there's always time for a cup o' tea). Then after a warm up 2pm strikes and were off hooray! I can't believe it I'm doing my second race in 2 years within a week of each other J

Just over a mile in and hill one rears it's head hehe a nice 200ft climb lots of people are walking by this point however I plod on slowly to the top and Angela is by now a quarter of a mile ahead of me, she's motoring already so I resign myself to seeing her at the finish, then its downhill for a while to a lower point than we started and back up we go again! This time its only a smallish hill but the legs are heavy already and its only the 3 to 4 mile point, a shortish downhill section and along we come to the old ruined abbey hang a left and the home leg. Still more ups, downs raises and dips over the second half, in fact too many to remember!

When I finally hit the final mile just below the White Horse I thought to myself ' Aha! Fast downhill finish the entry form said and I'm on the home leg!' So off I belted getting my pace right down, unfortunately the finish is a fast finish but only the last quarter to half a mile before that there's another bloody hill lol! But only a little one, so not too bad. Then finally I see Angela she's already finished after having a cracking race (that's a PB for 7.22 miles for you isn't it Angela?) and walking back and spots me so runs a good portion of the final home straight with me (thank you! Personal Coach! ) while I push as hard as I can to beat that guy who's 250yds in front of me. Then you see the finish line with rows of supporters cheering you on congratulating you and finally a nice bottle of water with bands playing in the Heartbeat style village square. Then it's off to the village hall for a cup of tea, cake and sandwich although I donated half my sandwich and my cake to George. This is grass roots sport at its best.

Oh and the guy in front of me? I beat him and a couple of others too. It feels great to finish with a spurt doesn't it?

Anyway I highly recommend this race to all fellow striders looking for a very pretty country road race that's a tad longer than a 10k and more challenging. Will I be back for a go next year? You bet I will!

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Phil Taylor Bridlington RR M 38.18
21Tracey Waller Hartlepool Burn RoadF40 45.37
215Angela Proctor F35 64.24
287Andrew Glass M 74.08

314 finishers.

Saltwell Harriers Fell Race, nr Stanhope, 6th July

5.5m 1000' BS

Shaun Roberts

Another great evening out, thanks to Saltwell Harriers. The results have finally come out and are extracted for your perusal below. It seems a bit late now to be doing a report on this, but suffice it to say that the large number of Striders who came out to have a go at this one all seemed to enjoy it - especially if you waited until a while after the finish to ask them. The presentations in the pub afterwards were very entertaining, as usual, with over sixty prizes being given out. How they put this race on for £4 a head is beyond me...

See also the link below for Phil's very personal account of this race on his blog.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Nick Swinburn NFR S 40.10
2 Will Horsley NFR S 41.37
17 Paul Evans S 47.33
27 Karen Robertson NFR LV40 48.59
40 Geoff Davis NFR V50 51.28
48 Michael Bennett V50 53.36
57 Shaun Roberts V50 55.07
59 Graham Arrowsmith V45 55.45
61 Nina Mason LV35 56.20
66 Nigel Hepple V50 57.31
74 Phil Owen V40 58.34
80 Colin Blackburn NFR V45 60.43
90 Susan Davis NFR LV50 63.51
103 Anna Seeley DFR L 66.36
106 Alister Robson S 66.51
107 Zoe Evans L 67.16
108 James Ives V40 67.48
110 Denise Mason L 68.02
111 Dave Robson V55 68.03
112 Jean Gillespie LV50 68.21
124 George Nicholson V60 74.46
125 Karen Chalkey LV50 74.46
129 Andrew Glass S 80.26
131 Margaret Thompson LV60 84.33

132 finishers.

32nd Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon, Wet Sleddale, 3rd July

24 miles as the crow flies, but we didn't...

Shaun Roberts

Goodness me - where to start. Well, you can't beat a good cliche, so how about: "It was a game of two halves"? A very warm sunny Saturday, followed by howling wind and rain on the Sunday. Which, to be fair, was pretty much what was forecast, but driving horizontal sleety rain on the top of Harter Fell was still a bit of a shock considering it was the third of July.

There's a lot of information here on the website about mountain marathons, but for those unfamiliar, the basic deal is for teams of two to navigate from the event start to a midway campsite on the Saturday, then back again on the Sunday, via two different sets of checkpoints, each supplied at the last minute. Oh, and you have to carry everything you need on your back - tent, food, clothes, waterproofs - except, helpfully in the case of the SLMM, beer and milk. This was my first attempt at one of these, and I was glad to be going along with Nigel, who'd done three. I found it quite difficult, in packing, to try and get the right balance between comfort and risk. For every single item you're tempted to put in your pack, you have to think: "Can I do without this?" If you put a lot in, you'll end up safer, and more comfy - but you're not going to move very fast. If you head for the riskier end of the range, you might end up a bit hungry / thirsty / cold ... but you'll do more actual running.

On the Saturday, with very warm weather and apparently dry hills, the issue of water was on everyone's mind - Nigel decided on two litres, and I decided to go for about 1.2l, or two medium bottles, hoping to be able to pick some more up from streams or else just end up a bit dehydrated. I had an interesting chat with two elite competitors just before the start. Worryingly, they said that in the sun each person would need to drink about four litres each! So how much were they taking, I asked? "None" came the rather surprising reply. "You don't want slowing down going up that first hill, do you?" They were relying on collecting water all day, dry hills or not ...

We had a good start, quickly picking up the first checkpoint, going slightly adrift on the second, but recovering pretty quickly, and then all our navigational decisions seemed to be right on the money - our route was close to the optimal one put on display later at the campsite, which was gratifying. Over the weekend, we seemed to use every navigational trick in the book - bearings, aiming-off, handrails, contouring - all sorts. I hadn't done any of this stuff since going on an FRA navigation course a couple of year's back, which I can thoroughly recommend and which was a damned good crack. Despite not going wrong though, we weren't covering the ground with any degree of speed - it was pretty hot at times, and the packs seemed to weigh us down - so we didn't break any records for the day. Crucially, though, we made the campsite in plenty of time to pick up some milk and a couple of beers each - they ran out mid-afternoon.

Birds-eye view of the overnight campsite.

Gorgeous spot for the campsite at the head of Longsleddale, east of Kentmere Pike. An absolute delight to just spread out, relax in the sun, and work our way through the food supplies we'd lugged around the hills all day. The menu for the evening meal:

Mulligatawny Soup a la Ainsley Harriott
Herdwick Mutton Stew served on a bed of Lemon and Coriander Couscous
Flapjack and Raisins in Custard

... washed down with a cool Stella Artois. Not too bad, eh? Thanks for organising the catering Nigel!

Nigel found this picture: 'Can you believe this was taken in JULY?' A predictably sleep-free night snuggled up in the tent (thanks Graham!), then we arose to find that the rain hadn't yet arrived, so breakfast and packing up were pretty civilised. We marked up the maps, to show that we were to start the day with an ascent straight up the side of Kentmere Pike, or about 1700 feet of climb. As we remarked as we climbed hand over hand up the tussocky track, at least we'd get most of the vertical stuff out of the way early on. Emerging on the ridge, though, the rain came in, and by nine o'clock it was really chucking it down, or rather chucking it sideways. Would have preferred to have had my waterproof trousers on along here rather than shorts, but there was no shelter of any sort, so after collecting the first two checkpoints, we just legged it all the way along the ridge, over Harter Fell, and down to Gatescarth Pass as fast as we could to keep warm and get down out of the wind. The running seemed much easier today, as the packs felt a lot lighter.

We were glad to have all this wet stuff coming at us from behind, now, as we started to head east - again no major navigational problems. In fact, after joining a small gaggle of other pairs, we gained ten minutes on the lot of them by a cunning ruse - i.e. taking a "short cut" over a hill directly to the checkpoint. As we walked down a stream we saw the group approaching ...

Me: "We've got ten seconds to think of something witty to say to them."
Nigel: "How about: 'It's not up here'."
Me: "Excellent!"

So as the lead woman approached, of say Jan's age, but without the sense of humour ...

Woman: "Is it up here?"
Me: "What?"
Woman: "The checkpoint?"
Me: "Checkpoint? Oh there's no checkpoint up here ..."
Woman: "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" ... she wailed horribly, as if she'd removed a finger whilst chopping onions.

After a moment I cheered the poor woman up by telling her she was still on course, but this exchange had me laughing uncontrollably for a good five minutes.

Bog, bog, and more bog for the rest of the course (where had all the "very dry hills" gone?), and we were more than delighted to get back to the start for a novel combination of veg stew, coleslaw and pitta bread. Runners kept on coming in out of the wind and rain as we ate - the marquee felt like it was going to take off at one stage...

A bloody good crack!

Postscript from the organisers:

Good morning to you all, and just like to inform you that the Marquee survived the Summer Breeze, and casual shower on Sunday. We did however have to anchor the Marquee to the ground with a Camper Van and Land Rover, the metal pegs 1" diameter and 2ft long were just being pulled out of the ground. We had everyone safe, and off the hill by 5.00pm on Sunday, a big congratulations to you the competitors for your navigation and common sense which helped achieve this.

Results

Carrock Fell

Pos Name Day One Day Two Overall
Time Pos Time Pos Time
1 Michael Lumb
Stephen Lumb
4:24:33 5 3:13:11 1 7:37:44
51 Nigel Heppell
Shaun Roberts
5:56:07 58 4:51:12 54 10:47:19

98 starters, 83 finishers.

Osmotherley Phoenix, North Yorks Moors, 3rd July

33m

Dave Robson

Last year I was uncertain whether I would do this run again as I found it very tough and the warm weather made it harder. However, memories fade and when it came round to entering this one again, I could not resist it. The scenery and the views are great, the checkpoints are well stocked with food and drinks and there is a good friendly atmosphere.

The route follows the Cleveland Way out of Osmotherley, past Lords Cafe, but then avoids the three following hills which include the Wainstones, before returning to the Cleveland Way and the climb out of Clay Bank. Then after the trig point, its down to Chop Gate and a very tough climb out of there towards Wheat Beck. After some more lovely countryside, its a long climb back onto the moors and onto the Cleveland Way again, but this time south of Osmotherley and you follow the Cleveland Way back to Osmotherley.

Last year I got injured and walked quite a bit of the last ten miles. This year I had no injury problems and managed to improve my time by 30 minutes to 7hr 40min, but I can't imagine me doing doing this event much faster that that.