Race Reports, June 2010

Cronkley Fell Race, Holwick, Teesdale, 27th June

10.5M

Jan Young

I've run this race in past times when Quakers used to organise it and am chuffed DFR have resurrected the event as it must be one of the most runnable and scenic local races on the hills. OK, it has climbs, but you can either plug away or walk them, depending on your ability. The climbs are not as severe as many fell races, which makes the route more of a challenging trail race and all the underfoot surface is runnable, including bog and stream crossings. The out and back course means you can floor it downhill on the return, as Will did, pulling away and increasing his winning margin.

Recovering in the shade after a bit of a hot one.

I jog/walked 3/4 of the route and had a fab day out in the sunshine, shouting encouragement at the runners. No pressure. Tom looked fresh after keeping his wife, Joan, company the previous day at the Durham Dales Challenge Run over 16miles, Phil's legs were still moving after all his recent miles and Nina was so close to Shaun's time!

Let's have more Striders out there next year!

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Will Horsley NFR M 1:18:46
17Thomas Reeves MV40 1:33:54
20Pippa Archer DFR F 1:34:36
36Shaun Roberts MV50 1:46:24
37Nina Mason F 1:46:54
61Phil Owen MV40 2:01:43

72 finishers.

Beamish Tram Challenge, 27th June

10km

Dave Robson

This is a lovely race which I have done several times. The organisers always keep it interesting by varying the route each year. This year it was a lap of the tram track against the tram, then a figure of eight off road (the tram was strangely reluctant to do this bit), followed by another loop of the tram track, another lap of the off road section and then a little more of the tram track with the final 1K being off road and the finish being another 100 metres further on than last year ! Six hills in 10K was hard going and the heat made it a very tough run. The surroundings within the grounds of Beamish museum were lovely.

Andy Jordan also ran, but I am afraid that neither of us got close to beating the tram!

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Nick Swinburn MorpethM 35:24
66Andrew Jordan M 50:41
89Dave Robson MV 55:51

131 finishers.

Battered & Bewildered

Rollerskiing, Hetton Lyons, 26th June

Colin Blackburn

Before I start, it was I who was battered while many of the residents of Hetton were bewildered by the weekend just gone. The bewilderment came from 20 plus people on little planks with wheels tearing and, in my case at least, stumbling around Hetton Lyons Country Park. The battering came from the odd tumble I had as I learned that tarmac was harder than snow and planks with wheels weren't quite like skis.

After XC skiing for a few years now I finally decided it was time to try the summer equivalent, rollerskiing. Rollerskiing uses most of the same techniques as XC skiing and allows you to train throughout the year. It's used by all of the top XC skiers and though I'm not exactly near the top I do need to do some technique training between the odd week away in the winter.

So, with a little trepidation I arrived at Hetton Lyons on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning for a Snowsport England training weekend to find I already knew half the people of the course from various skiing trips. People had travelled from many parts of Britain and Ireland. Aine had flown in from Dublin, several people had come up from London and several down from Scotland. Many had brought there own equipment but I hired two pairs of rollerskis, poles and boots for the weekend. Kitted out we were split into three groups, beginners/improvers, intermediates and advanced/race training. I was in the beginners/improvers as I'd not been on rollers before.

Terrible pole positioning from me!
Photo courtesy and © Mike Smith

The first session of the morning was a steep learning curve as I made the transition from snow to wheels with a few avoidable tumbles. Cycling gloves certainly help in protecting the hands. Once I'd found my wheels things went well as we went through a series of drills to gain confidence and balance. A lot of it looks silly, scooting along on one ski or trying to swat imaginary flies ahead of you but it all helps in emphasising the right body position on the rollerskis. It certainly looked silly to many of the walkers and cyclists in the park. Some of the more curious stopped to ask what we were doing, some of the younger lads passed the odd ribbing comment but on the whole people just passed by a little bemused. After a morning's skating we moved on to classic technique where the rollerskis have ratchets in them to simulate the ski gripping the snow. Oddly, despite my classic technique on snow being much better than my skating I found it the opposite on rollers. It took a good while to get a feel for the difference

After the Saturday sessions there was a 10km race using classic rollerskis. I decided my skill levels weren't yet up to racing on tarmac so I helped out with marshalling, warning people that rollerskiers wold be coming by very fast and with limited ability to stop quickly! And they did come by fast! I was amazed at the speed to top few went by at. It turned out that a few of these were from the national junior development squad. This was a serious race that formed part of a national series. That said there were a few "regular" contestants too. The winners got round the 6 1 mile loops in under 30 minutes.

Rollerski Race Start Rollerski Race Start
Photos courtesy and © Graham Beesley

Most of the weekend's participants were here for two days and so overnight accommodation had been booked at the Premier Inn on the edge of Durham. Despite only being 45 minutes from home I stayed with the rest of the crowd and enjoyed a few decent beers and a meal with them. Luckily this was the only point in the weekend when the heavens opened and it hammered down.

On Sunday morning after a good breakfast—Premier Inns do porridge though I went for the granola and croissants!—we resumed at Hetton Lyons for a second day of more of the same. For the second day we all changed coaches. I for one found it really useful to get different perspectives on things. It was then very much more of the same, lots of useful drills interspersed with some skiing. I was a little more confident on he second day as I had finally got to grips with slowing and stopping using a snowplough technique modified for rollerskis. I didn't believe it was possible, but it is. After a second excellent day of weather and skiing I went home trying to avoid hearing the England-Germany score. I made it but wished I hadn't!

There's a second rollerski session at Hetton Lyons over the August Bank Holiday weekend. I'd recommend it to anyone who fancies doing something a little different. All you need is the sort of clothes you might run or cycle in and a cycle helmet and gloves. Knee and elbow pads are useful but not essential, I wore kneepads though I didn't ever fall on my knees. All the rest of the stuff, rollerskis, boots and poles is available for hire. Go on, give it a go. At worst you'll be a little battered and bewildered but you may discover a latent talent!

Durham Dales Challenge, Wolsingham, 26th June

16M option

Tom Reeves

Joan noticed a poster for this event in Cotswold in town a couple of months ago and decided that after my self indulgence with the Bob Graham she should have her own challenge and quite right too.

Joan signed up for the 16 mile event and I was signed up and allowed to tag along as long as I went at her pace and didn't get overly competitive (what moi?). This is a challenge organised by the Long Distance Walkers Association which neither of us have any experience of (the emphasis very much on challenge not a race).

Tom and Joan race past bemused onlooker.

The day dawned and what a nice day it was. the race HQ was at Wolsingham School and the organisation was top notch we got our cards etc very quickly but l noticed that the equipment we were told we would have to carry was clearly not being carried by everyone judging by the size of some of the rucksacks and bum bags. One chap in particular couldn't have gotten much more than a sausage roll in his bum bag let alone a torch, jumper, survival bag, waterproofs, first aid kit or a mug ... the decision was made to jettison half of the kit list.

We set off at a good pace and walked up the steep road out of Wolsingham towards Hamsterley. This was the only walking we were to do over the whole event. Soon we were on the track leading out along the edge of the moor towards Allotment House. The first check point was a self clip but the next two were manned and more importantly there was cake, chocolate and selection of drinks. There was a good chance I would put on weight by the end of this event!

We got into a great pace and at the 7 mile mark on the Middleton in Teesdale road we were feeling pretty good with most of the uphill running done (plus there was ginger cake and cheese scones). The only problem was that we would soon be back in the valley bottom out of the breeze and in the dust and heat.

After an uphill bit on the road we pulled off down a cinder track down through some old mines to Bollihope, and then along by the beck to White Kirkley from here following the Weardale Way back to Wolsingham. On the run in Joan managed to take a tumble into a ditch and I forgot my instructions not to be competitive and shouted "get up", well we did have a group of runners just behind us!! I also managed to get stung on the ear by a wasp which looking on the bright side took my mind off the stifling heat and my sore feet.

Joan had recced much of the route and this paid off with a number of runners going wrong at various places, but not us. We got back to the school in a very creditable 3 hours and 7 minutes, Joan was 4th female back.

All in all this was a very well organised event with good food (pie and peas and a choice of pudding at the end), well marshalled and very friendly.

Elvet Striders 3 Peaks, 23rd June

3 hills

Geoff Watson

Louise: Striders Miss Wet T-Shirt 2010

The first running of the Striders "3 peaks" since 2001 saw 20 runners turn up to take on the challenge. The evening was warm and dry making ideal conditions. The challenge involves visiting 3 check points on hill tops in Houghall Woods, Pelaw woods and Maiden Castle woods by foot and by any route you choose. The way to do well though is to have a thorough recce beforehand.

At 7:15 the runners darted off from the cricket field in various directions. Tom and Nigel headed towards Pelaw woods followed by Dave Robson and co. George Nicholson headed for Maiden Castle hill followed by a group of ladies. I'm not sure if it was his magnetism or if he had a magnetic compass. The rest including Dougie and Louise went off to Houghall Woods.

Tom made good progress and was back soon passing across the bridge at MC. Nigel wasn't far behind. Louise opted for the wet option and took to the river near the bandstand en route to Pelaw woods on her last check point. Where everyone else was I have no idea, but you can see the order of route choice from the checkpoint times.

Tom was the first back with Nigel second and Fiona was first Lady. Jan and Callum did a great job on the finish and many thanks to Dave Shipman, Mandy Dawson and Tony Young for marshalling the checkpoints. Jan assembled a fantastic prize list of wine, beer and chocolate and everyone went home with something. There were prizes also for the fist person to a checkpoint.

Thank you to everyone who helped and took part and to Bob Johnson for letting us organise it again. Hopefully an annual event now!

Results

PosNameStepsStileBridgeFinish
1 Tom Reeves 19:35 12:46 05:00 25:13
2 Nigel Heppell 23:33 14:57 06:00 27:04
3 Fiona Shenton 06:35 12:52 23:05 29:52
4 Dougie Nisbett 07:16 13:07 23:00 30:16
5 Louise Billcliffe 07:30 13:33 25:10 34:02
6 Richard Hall 13:58 03:55 28:18 36:28
7 George Nicholson 13:38 03:39 28:10 37:02
8 Karen Chalkley 13:38 03:42 28:14 37:03
9 Zoe Evans 13:38 03:40 28:12 37:03
10 Denise Mason 13:38 03:43 28:16 37:04
11 Graham Arrowsmith 06:26 12:57 28:20 37:05
12 Andy James 08:30 16:22 30:00 39:17
13 Jim Nicholson 08:48 16:29 30:05 39:20
14 Jean Bradley 07:49 16:43 30:04 39:28
15 John Redfearn 08:47 16:15 30:03 39:46
16 Kathryn Sygrove 14:28 04:06 31:00 41:36
17 Anita Ramsey 14:29 04:03 31:00 41:38
18 Cheralyn Stott 35:20 23:28 09:05 43:45
19 Lynn Bargewell 35:20 23:28 09:12 43:46
20 Dave Robson 35:20 23:16 09:10 43:47

Castles Relay, 19th, and, 20th June

Surviving Striders at the finish
Thanks to all...

Brilliant effort from all the runners who ran 280 combined miles: Geoff W, Dave S, Louise B, George Nic, Dave R, Barry Bird, Paul Gibson, Gary Davies, Mike B, Angela, John Everett, Andy Glass, Melanie, Keith Wesson and guy who ran same leg, sorry don't know your name, Roz L, Ian Graham, Graham Daglish, Nina, Jan, Will H, Shaun, Nigel H. Barrie E. Steph. And supporters: Tony Young, Roz Roberts, Lynne, Heather, Lesley H, Ronnie, Bob Layton.

Biggest thanks to Geoff and Dave, our expert relay organisers, who spent weekends sussing the route, setting up maps! We were lucky with the weather, although Saturday was windy, we were blown along and the beaches were spectacular.

Total raised so far, £228. Next year, Whitby to Durham has been suggested, again incorporating coastal scenery and inland tracks.

Geoff Watson

Day 1

This year's sport relief charity relay started on what turned out to be a very cold and windy day for June. An early start on Saturday morning saw the team van with David at the wheel leave Chester le Street at 7am with Louise, Graham and Geoff onboard. A swift journey north brought us to blustery Berwick upon Tweed at 0830 am. David and I were curious, as we had been on our recce's, why so many farms in Northumberland have quite large industrial chimneys? Forges or other industry? Answers on an email! David suggested a bacon roll and duly went off to acquire some. Barry and Heather soon arrived. David returned with a bag of fresh pasties instead and the first leg runners, Louise and Geoff, went up onto the ramparts of Berwick town for the start at 9am (be careful of the sheer drop!).

Leg 1

The wind was blowing a gale and it was freezing. The north sea was a frenzy of white froth whipped up by the strong north westerly. A surfers paradise no doubt.There was not much time for standing around, so a few photo's and with no sign of Will and Ronnie we sneaked off at 8:55am. Down Wallace Green, left onto Marygate, down through the centre, right turn and onto the old bridge over the Tweed. A great view of the viaduct to the right and out to sea on the left. We then ran along the quayside south picking up the cycle network 1. Along the main street before climbing up onto the headland adjacent to the main east coast line. Now past the town the coast path opened up in front of us witht the sea raging below us. Louise donned her head band to control her uncontrollable hair in the wind! We passed by Scremerston and onto road again towards the Cocklawburn nature reserve. Along here we passed groups of school kids on their Duke of Edinburgh expeditions. A few cyclists and walkers too. At the end of road we hit the track again, ran past a silent gun battery dating from World War 2 facing south across Cheswick bay. Soon we could see the van at Cheswick and we rolled in 5 mins ahead of schedule to hand over to George Nicholson for the next leg (accompanied by Louise).

Leg 2

George Nicholson, Dave Robson and myself set off from Fenham crossing a field and then carefully over the main east coast railway. We then entered a field of oilseed rape which was almost shoulder height. The farmer had made an effort to trample down a path but the plants were still a foot off the ground. We struggled through this for some 500 metres bouncing along on the spongy surface. We thankfully eventually got out of the field, passed through Fenwick Steads and through another field. A brief spell on the A1 took us to the Easington Grange turn and road for the rest of the way. George was looking a little tired now after his second leg and didn't believe my reassurance that it's "not far now". At Easington Grange we handed over to Paul Gibson and Barry Bird.Miraculously we were still on schedule!

George Nicholson

Leg 2

9.50am at Cheswick Myself & Louise

Got to Cheswick in good time, not quite sure of exact meeting point so I was very relieved to see Camper Van, cars, and ‘support’ team already parked up. Very windy ( but thankfully blowing in the right direction ie at our backs ) Geoff & Louise soon came into view over the dunes – minimal delay on changeover allowed ( poor Louise ! ) and then she & I set off towards Golf club, past the beachcomber house. Geoff's earlier words of 'comfort' were ringing in my ear at this point " this used to be a military range and there may be munitions lying around ". Thankfully we survived, and carried on to follow the high tide line round the coast. Great views of Lindisfarne ( the Island, not the Group ) . Cars & Ice Cream van were lined up at the Holy Island crossing point waiting for the tide to 'go out'. We did fancy stopping for a 99 but knew Dave & Geoff would object ! From here we followed the St Cuthbert Way path for a while before turning back onto the Coastal Path again. Electric fence to negotiate at one point- Louise coped, but I couldn’t get my leg over ( guess it’s an age thing ). Spirits were lifted by the warm welcome of the support team at the remote hamlet of Fenham.

Leg 3

10.45 am at Fenham. minimal delay again at this changeover (poor George !) and set off with Dave Robson & Geoff.

Geoff apologised for this being mostly a ‘tarmac’ leg, so I guess it shouldn't have been a surprise after 5 minutes of tarmac to have to cross a very large field of waist high, ankle tugging, 'triffids' !! ( i.e unharvested oil seed rape) - walking was difficult, running impossible. Eventually emerged from this mini 'jungle' and we soon picked up the pace once back onto tarmac, crossed the main line railway ( oh no, more electric ) , until we got to .. yes more triffids !! Thankfully this was a shorter section and we quickly reached the busy A1. After 1/2 mile or so, we turned off the main highway and got onto a quiet side road leading the 2 - 3 miles down to Easington Grange. Geoff wanted to pick up the pace yet again to make up for lost time. Dave managed ok, but soon I was beginning to struggle. Not because of the distance involved, just I was not quite prepared for Geoff’s '4 minute/mile pace'!! ( OK, slight exaggeration, but you get the 'drift' ). After several times hearing his “ the camper van is just over there “.... I stopped believing him anymore. We entered the hamlet of Easington Grange at the same time as a rain shower, but again spirits were lifted by the wonderful sight just ahead of the support team. My body did finally arrive about 11.45am, and my mind followed a few minutes later. Thanks as well to Graham who drove my car down from Cheswick to here.

Nigel Heppell

Relay section: Alnmouth to Amble

A grey day and a strong, uninterupted, cold tail wind sent Geoff W, John E, and Nigel H scurrying along the beach and straight into the River Aln, fortunately no more than knee deep although it was hard to judge visually and locals had advised against it! John was quick to spot the noxious smell from the disturbed river bed and we were glad to get out the other side and begin the run proper. A rather ethereal quality to this remote stretch of dune-backed coastline was added to by drifts of wind-blown sand to mid-calf height and spume creating a hazy vista ahead. After a straightforward plod along the firm sands exposed by a very low tide we checked the map and guessed it was time to move inland over the dunes to avoid swimming across the considerably deeper River Coquet. Warkworth was resplendent in its spring/summer colours and a handy back lane led straight to the highest point near the castle. From there it was downhill to the river, lots of swans, 20-30 pairs, and on to the marina on the outskirts of Amble and a welcoming crowd of Striders.

West Highland Way Race, Glasgow to Fort William, 19th June

95M

Phil Owen

Sometime people seem to think I'm not serious about running but they are wrong. I'm deadly serious. I have ideas of what I want to do, how fast and how far but very few people if really anyone knows the plans in my head. In a way i can see why my supports were panicking a bit. I haven't planned anything. Haven't got a spreadsheet, no idea where I will be and when but I did have a plan - I just don't like it down on paper to early because the plan becomes a must do and then you get yourself all tied up in must do times that give no account for external factors and get yourself down about it and worse still not enjoy the race. And of course I just don't know for sure. I'm not fit and carrying way too much weight.

Phil at the start.

I had said a few times to Sandy when she was getting all hung up and fretting that I will be fine. To be fair she and the others supporting had a torrid time the year before. Jen by her own admission knew within 20 miles she was not going to have a good day. It happens. Her support was marvellous and went beyond the call of duty and with Jen's bloody minded determination, Jon's coolness under pressure, Sandy's magical running and Souxsie's cool words got her home. But it took its toll on them.

Whereas I had the total opposite experience supporting Karen. Some lovely running watching her as she cruised through the race without a care in the world, they looked as if they had been through a war zone. I think this was uppermost in Sandy's mind and possibly why later on Sandy and I almost fell out and for the first time ever had serious words ...

Anyway, I made my mind up how I would run this the day before. That's not to say I had not thought about it it's just I'm getting all the info and making the decision then. See only a couple of weeks before my foot was sore again near the break. Only bomb knew this. The two 23 mile hill races a couple of weeks before and even the fast 3 mile hill race I did two days before this race were testing it looking for weakness. Four months off isn't fun and seeing as I broke the damn foot again at the top of the devil I'm not going to risk the rest of the year and Hardmoors.

So, with the foot fine after the last race but with only 8 weeks back running I know I'm not going to be that fast (for me) but I will be next year - see I do think about things. This race is part of a plan which I'm afraid I will keep to myself. After this race I know I will slash the time next year (given reasonable conditions, good health and the weight loss etc ). I have a time in mind and I know how I will do this. Serious enough?

Anyway why decide the day before or even on the evening of the race?. Simple, we all do it for other races and one a bit longer than the normal isn't really any exception. I see how I'm feeling and i look at the weather. Loon & Keith (George Reid Keith H ) had got fried the day before running from the finish to the start - yes that's right . They were doing Fort William -Milngavie - Fort William (as part to the race). They called it a day at approx 70 mile on the southbound journey because the heat had got to them. Unfortunately they had hit the hottest day of the year and they were afraid they would miss registration for the actual race. The ended up doing 165 miles. A lot of it in baking heat. Respect.

So the weather says it's going to be pretty hot without a cloud in the sky. While we mill around at the start catching up with whw and fetchies friends. Looking out for the fast one's who might win (with no Jezz brag this is going to be a hard fought race). I decide i will run a fair bit faster in the cool of night , slow up a bit when it get really hot because (and i know as Scotland's sun god this is ironic) i really don't like the heat. Actually that's not entirely true. What i really don't like is blazing sunshine. So with a short speech and a minute applause for Dario we start the race.

Milngavie - Drymen-Balmaha (20 Miles)

In the fling (the fling is a race from Milngavie to Tynndrum) I'm not keen on this bit. Bit long and drawn out . However i love racing at night. Its cool and the head torches bob up and down through the park. Ghostly images chat to you as and a train of lights and you follow a train of lights. People say Hi flip, how that foot but i don't know who they are. I ended up in a nice pace group of about six . Mumbled chatting as we ran. First one? 10 times, UTMB, Hardmoors, mutual friends. The class crystal goblet at the end . You know the stuff.

Before you get to the first support point at 13 miles you cross a small meadow with a decent little hill in it. It here i always think the fling (a race of the first 53 mile of the whw for those who don't know) starts. Up to the road and some of the support cars are there but also across the road and another short climb there is another road with supporters on. I've made it in about 2 hours which was my goal. I quickly look to see if my support on the lower road but no sign. I go up to the top and again no sign of them. This is a good start. I go back down and beg some water for a refill wondering what's happened to them. I go back up and I'm just about to go when Jane spots me and asks where my support is. I say i don't know and off course they offer me drinks. I'm just heading off when Jane shouts there's mike (who we were giving a lift to) and bomb and sandy slowly followed. They didn't seem in much of a hurry and i had words. I wasn't best pleased.. I change my shoes to my ino8 mudclaws 285's that i will run the rest of the race in and went. The group have long gone an i run on my own for a while. Balmaha checkpoint is only 6 miles away.

Dawn is breaking. Only a couple of hours of dark . So different from Hardmoors in September. A after a short bit of tarmac , some forest, we start the rocky road to Conic Hill and the long 1200ft climb with the view of Loch Lomond at dawn from the top . Beautiful! I'm feeling really great and loving the run in the cooler night air. I climb the Conic and flash down the other side picking off a fair few runners loving it. Short run to Balmaha and I check in grab half a cuppa coffee and a roll and more or less head straight off.

Balmaha - Rowardenan (26 mile point)

Bit of Road again then forest track. I've been trying to get Dave (Lisrun) up for the fling next year but this section why he did the relay seem to have put him off a bit. I always forget it's quite hilly because its woodland i a just love running in woodland. Incidentally anyone (like Lisrun) who can do the Hardmoors 55 can do the fling easily. It takes me 3 hours more to do the same distance on the Hardmoors. Up and down and i get a bit of shade here and there because as i thought it's already getting hot and its still early morning. Hit Rowardenan forest car park in about 5:30 hours again spot on. My plan is to slow up a bit and not get to Tynndrum before 13 hours. Fast enough but not to fast on my unfit overweight body to knack me out in the heat. The thing i like about this place apart from its halfway on the fling therefore a quarter way (well sort off in my head). I eat and drink and head for the loo there. Off up the road and I'm heading for my favourite section.

Rowardenan - Invasnaid - Bein Glass (41 Miles)

The Shoreline rocks start just before the shoreline Invasnaid hotel but before that more ups and downs through the forest and a bit of beach. Love it. Soon I'm on the rocks i love so much. Swing round the trees and flying through the rocks and tree roots. This is just the start. It gets even better after the hotel. You can hear the gushing of the huge waterfall before you see the Hotel and it comes all too quickly. I have a drop bag here. Sports drink , sarnie and soreen cake (buttered)- Yum. I refill my hydration pack and the girls from mountain rescue offer to spay me down with insect repellent. I hadn't really noticed until now because the midges did not seem as bad as last year (because it's always worse for the support team) but they were out in force here. A lady sprayed me and then the other sprayed my legs again and rubbed it in to my calves. This took a while but i think it's important to rest and eat. Lol.

Off down the track to Beinglass and the real rocks. I just love this and wish the whole 95 miles was like this. I over take a fair few as i always do in here. I overtook a few and generally enjoyed every moment. Out the other side. Over Dubh Lochan with more fabulous views of the loch and into Bien glass campsite and the wigwams. Onto the track, checkpoint and my crew are waiting. I have a beaming smile. Coffee and a bacon roll . Wonderful. Kiss from bomb and Sandy wants me off but I'm ahead of time and out in the open i can really feel the heat of the day. I intend slowing down a bit now. Sandy says something like you will be at Auchentyre farm at x time and it tell her again no give over with that. I will be there when i get there. I control the timetable.

Beinglass - Auchentyre farm.(50-ish)

The long and winding track up and down till you hit the tunnel and then the climb past the cows that for the first time weren't there ! and then the slow climb up to the picnic table and more wonderful view s. Hat on now and a buff on my head and draped over my neck . Suncream on. I've been burnt bad twice lately while out running races and this sunshine could last till 10 o'clock tonight. Through the woods and Auchentyre farm is soon upon me. The is half way but i always like to think of Tynndrum as that seeing as its the fling end. I weigh in. Bang on my starting weight. If you're to much over or under you are out the race. My nutrition and hydration is spot on. There is a baked potatoes on offer and i eat. Jane (UC) offers me some ice cold sparkling water . I think i drink the lot. I don't think i was meant to but that hit the spot. Clair (amac) gives me some more and i drink most of that . sorry ladies Everyone asking how I'm feeling and saying I'm doing well and tbh i feel fine.

Sandy is itching to run as i can have a support runner now . We are just about to set off when the checkpoint people say i can't have support. I say i thought you could from here. That's right they say but not if you're within 4 hours of the leader. I'm astonished. None of us and considered that. Sandy want to run anyway but i point out Tynndrum is just down the road and I'm not risking getting thrown out the race for a pesky 3-4 miles. Again sandy says you have 20 minutes to get there. This is starting to annoy me now. I say again I'll be there when I'm there. Its a nice run to Tynndrum and i make good time. HapppGav Is there now after getting the train down . So good of him to support, especially as it was his birthday the previous day. It's funny only a few years before i was indoctrinating him into the cult of fetch in a pub in Buchlyvie lol. You still think i don't plan ahead lol?

Tynndrum - Bridge of Orchy - Glencoe (60-ish)

Bomb and sandy join me to run. Sandy runs for 1 second and fall over and cuts her knew. I know we should not laugh. Sorry. Bump into DaveK who has come down to support but again I'm a bit early . last time we were here i had the pleasure of crossing the finish line with him at he fling . A grand day out. Quick chat and he's up for this next year. He will storm it . I'd forgot about this long road to Bridge of Orchy . I should make more use of it . Rob K goes past . We say hi again . we have been passing each other all day.

The Hills are Magnificent. Meall Buidhe, Beinn Odhar and Ben Dorain. I hope i get to run some in our Scottish hill running fetch weekend. I should have made more of that track . I will next year. At bridge of Orchy, sandy gets patched up by Doctor Soph , John comes in) and we set of up the hill over Mam Carraigh and along to Invororan Hotel. >From there to Victoria bridge and the long slog up to Rannoch Moor. Rannoch moor is 1100ft high up . You forget how long the long slow slog up is. It's desolate and beautiful. I was cursing the blazing sun but in bad weather this will be wild it so high up and exposed.

I know i have a problem with Rannoch (another long track) and also my best friend and support was starting to bug me. This isn't easy because i love her dearly. Anyway, she was running ahead and then back full of beans but this bugs me. I feel like she is trying to push the pace again. I've run all night and all day before (and all night again) and know about pace. Plus i know I'm not fit and i want to conserve energy. I remember Loon telling me about pushing it to hard one year and the last 13 miles he was on for sub 24 and he blew up big time coming in in 27:35 I don't want that to happen. The year before he had done 22 hours. I ask sandy not to do it, to run near me and with me or behind or something but not that. It's annoying me and putting me off. . She doesn't get it and more or less carries on. We have words a few time. She runs how i want and i pick up the pace a bit. She sulks (yes you did babe) and we carry on. For some reason i develop a cough on the Rannoch. Now after the hill race two days ago i cough and coughed after and prayed i had not got a cold. Now i was coughing again and my chest was tight. Bugger.! Also when i run downhill my stomach muscles hurt. Well that a new one on me . We decide i have been running with my bottle belt to tight. I don't normally wear one but had decided to for this . It meant i could not lash down the hill losing me a fair amount of time and my one thing I'm good at . We get to Glencoe sandy's pissed off with me and I'm pissed of with her. She sulks in the car and i have a go at her. This has never happened before and i think we are both shocked. I have coffee and some pasta. Sandy does not get out the car and bomb continues on with me (keeping well out of it btw) . Part of my planning if it's hot (and its scorching now) is a cold pint at Kingshouse. It's ready for me - thanks Gav.

More arguments with sandy. I really wanted her to come over the devil with me and see the mythical town (you see it but it does not get any nearer) Kinglochleven again. Just her and me. I love sandy - she's upset and not coming and I'm getting angry. Kings House (beer) - The devils staircase-Kinglochleven. (82 miles ish ) The race starts here. Believe me. The race is often said to be a race of two halves. To Kinglochleven the first 80 and the last 15. I think it 5 miles before, here at the devil where i broke my foot at the end of January trying a winter North to South whw with George and Karen and friends. I get to the top of the devil and turn back . I love that view. I can't lash down but it's a steady jog. My chest clears up again. Most strange. By the time we are at the bottom again I'm coughing a load again . Soph gives me drugs and a squirt on an inhaler which i fail to inhale. Bugger again I hope it clears again. I weight in. Spot on. HappyGav joins me now.

Kinlochleven - Fort William. (95miles)

Two Guy have joined us. We climb out of Kinlochleven . My chest tight and i have to stop a few times. Headtorched on now and at last its a bit cooler . We have had blazing sunshine. The thing i hate most from 6am in the morning to 10pm at night ! dam it saps at your energy big time. That said apart from my chest I'm feeling absolutely fine-really enjoying myself. I know i have another problem track ahead. I hate long tracks. The lundavra track is all loose rocks and boulders. It's not impossible to run but it tough and an ankle break waiting to happen. We run where we can and fast walk . I looked up my devil time from Kinglochleven to the finish (the Devil race is the last 42 Miles of the whw) and it was 3.5 hours. That in daylight feeling very strong. 3.5 hours for 13 miles! The long slog time is passed by me and Gav catching up. He's glad to see my love life settling down for our last long chat in the whw last year (we both supported Karen) . He hasn't made the mistake of rummaging through my bags either this time. Gav has just got engaged and i offer my tips. See i have the experience here . I was once engaged for 14 years. I know . I'm surprised the ring lasted that long. My chest clears up again (go figure) and we run a bit more. Lundavra come and it's only a small bonfire this year. I'm told its 6.6 miles or something but i tell the other two that its 3 and you are on the land rover track going down the side of Glen Nevis . This is true but first we wind our way through the forests climbing and descending for an age .Its pitch black . I love it.

Then the forest opens and the track is there. Its all steady wide track ,all downhill. We jog down . A text says bomb and sandy are waiting. The goblet is almost mine . Gav hops his way down, his injury hurting. Finally we come to brave heart Car and the girls . I give my bomb a big hug and my sandy a big hug. I'd have killed her if she wasn't there. Steve and Vicky (Georges support) appear and we run in. I pick up the pace. I see the whw sign and start to sprint. I have fire in me now . The all shout that's not the finish. I've run 95 miles, I'm allowed some confusion. Now the leisure centre is in sight and i take off and sprint full out again. My team are left behind. Dam i feel good. I run through the doors in 26:47. I'm ok with that after only 8 weeks back runningand a complete lard arse. Mark (Drama queen) greets me with a big smile, and shake of my hand He looks a bit bemused i think . I'm beaming ! He asks how it was. Bloody brilliant i say but I'll smash the time when fit next year. I'm planning already.

PS ... Sleep and to the ceremony . I never had a bigger smile on my face picking that goblet up. Some races are important to me. This is one of them. We watch every get presented with there goblet while sandy drinks champers and hollers. George , Karen , Vicky john and lots of other friends We ok now. I know she's proud of me like i will be of her next year. After party was excellent with runners' supporters and those organizing the race. I can't wait till next year. I have a plan.

Summer Handicap, Round 3, 16th June

Results

PosNameHandicapStartFinishTimeNew H/C
1 Richard Hall 50:00 19:10:00 19:50:31 40:31 40:30
2 Kathryn Sygrove 50:00 19:10:00 19:56:17 46:17 46:20
3 Tom Reeves 36:55 19:23:05 19:57:29 34:24 34:30
4 Alister Robson 41:45 19:18:15 19:58:00 39:45 39:40
5 Lindsey Brooks 52:00 19:08:00 19:58:51 50:51 51:00
6 Ian Spencer 40:00 19:20:00 19:58:57 38:57 38:55
7 Graham Arrowsmith 37:00 19:23:00 20:00:12 37:12 37:00
8 Richard Hockin 37:15 19:22:45 20:00:15 37:30 37:15
9 John Griffiths 34:20 19:25:40 20:00:15 34:35 34:20
10 Emma Detchon 50:00 19:10:00 20:00:21 50:21 50:00
11 Dave Gibson 31:15 19:28:45 20:00:23 31:38 31:15
12 George Nicholson 41:00 19:19:00 20:00:28 41:28 41:00
13 John Hutchison 36:10 19:23:50 20:00:28 36:38 36:10
14 Geoff Davis 34:40 19:25:20 20:00:42 35:22 34:40
15 Joanne Porter 43:00 19:17:00 20:00:47 43:47 43:30
16 Mike Bennett 33:00 19:27:00 20:00:52 33:52 33:00
17 Austin Dwyer 39:00 19:21:00 20:01:17 40:17 39:00
18 Conrad White 33:50 19:26:10 20:01:18 35:08 33:50
19 Barrie Evans 38:50 19:21:10 20:01:19 40:09 38:50
20 Lynn Bargewell 51:00 19:09:00 20:01:25 52:25 52:20
21 Melanie Hudson 38:25 19:21:35 20:02:04 40:29 40:30
22 Margaret Thompson 52:00 19:08:00 20:03:32 55:32 55:30
23 Jan Young 40:40 19:19:20 20:06:14 46:54 40:40

Redcar Half Marathon, 13th June

13M

Zoe Evans

Zoe It all started out a bit hectic at the Redcar Half Marathon, thanks to a shortage of busses from the designated parking areas. Having stood in the queue since 9:30, the 10am start time came and went, and it was 10:10 before myself, Jane and Denise were near enough the front of the queue to get on a bus. Despite reassurances from marshals that the start would be delayed, we jogged towards the start line at 10:20 to find it suspiciously empty, and realised that we might have a good bit of catching up to do! Luckily the race was being chip-timed. The first mile of the race loops back on itself, which meant we got a few waves and puzzled looks from fellow Striders who were clearly wondering how we could be so far behind so early in the race. I decided that I would go on a mission to catch as much purple as possible! From then on, things just seemed to come together (in a way that they rarely do for me in half-marathons!), and I found myself running very comfortably at an 8:30 mile pace.

Fiona I started catching some Striders, and said hello to Alan, Mike, Greta, Alistair, Anna as I began to make up a bit of time. I kept thinking I was going too fast and would have to slow down, but I must have been having a Forrest Gump kind of day and just kept on running. The weather, although a bit dingy, did make the running conditions nice and cool, and I must thank Alistair's wife Jacquie for her most enthusiastic cheering! I finally caught Dave, George and Karen near the 11mile point and was shocked to realise I was possibly on track for a sub 1:50 time, something I have never been able to achieve before. Over the last 2 miles I felt great, and determined to crack the 1:50, I sped up on the last mile once the finish was in sight. The crowd support here was great and the music was blaring, and I spotted the 3 African runners who had won the race casually strolling along the side of the road admiring their race t-shirts and goody bags, which gave me such a boost. This is what I love about running, the fact that everyone takes part in the same race, however fast or slow they are. I crossed the line in 1:49:14, knocking almost 3 mins off my pb which I haven't been able to beat in 2 years. Karen and Jane both also got pb's too, proving that although the course isn't particularly scenic it is fast! The souvenirs at the end were great: More Mile t-shirt, More Mile socks, medal and bag which I think made up for the bus shortage!

Results

Gun PosNameCatGun TimeChip TimeChip Pos
1 Kiplimo Kimutai M 01:02:07 01:02:07 1
22 Jennie Blizard F 01:18:05 01:18:04 22
163 Fiona Shenton F45 01:33:55 01:33:45 176
541 Andrew Jordan M 01:50:09 01:47:37 528
585 Peter Brooks M40 01:52:09 01:49:55 593
627 Zoe Evans F 01:53:41 01:49:14 570
665 Karen Chalkley F45 01:54:53 01:52:39 654
685 Dave Robson M50 01:55:31 01:53:26 678
712 George Nicholson M60 01:56:34 01:54:21 699
724 Alister Robson M 01:56:56 01:54:24 703
739 Jane Ives F35 01:57:25 01:52:58 665
822 Mike Elliott M60 02:00:30 01:58:17 824
892 Anna Pethybridge F 02:05:22 02:03:51 902
1022 Greta Jones F35 02:13:03 02:10:50 1024
1144 Denise Mason F 02:22:00 02:17:33 1126
1227 Alan Purvis M60 02:37:34 02:36:07 1230

1283 finishers.

Swaledale Marathon, Reeth, 12th June

23M

Dougie Nisbet

Andrew leads the meditation.

It's perhaps a sign of my naivety that before running starting this race my thoughts were as follows: "I've done a marathon in about four hours, and Swaledale is shorter than a full marathon, so I should be able to get under four hours without too much difficulty."

Later that day as I jogged to the finish a spectator shouted "Well done Elvet, you'll get in just under 5 hours if you're quick!". Someone's having a laugh I thought. Have I really been out for five hours? After the first two or three hours I stopped counting. Come to think of it, Will Horsley did give me a funny look at the Start when he asked me how long I thought I'd take and I said, "dunno, 4, 4:15 maybe ...".

This is one of the weirdest and toughest races I've ever done. And unbelievably addictive. I can't wait until next year even though I'm still soothing this year's sunburn. It wasn't so much a race as a day out in Swaledale where it seemed impolite to pass clubmates without a bit of chat and gossip about the course, weather, and relative merits of bum-bags versus rucksacks. I ran with Steph for a few miles, which is just as well as she suddenly veered sharp right through a gate where I would've obliviously ran straight ahead and straight along the wrong track. I passed the time of day with Jan, Dave, Barrie, Phil and Anna out on the course, where, as a Swaledale virgin they kept me right about clips and mugs and water stations and cakes. I had brought my favourite Thomas the Tank Engine mug but soon figured out the clever thing to do was to top up your drinks bottle directly. I started the race ever so diffidently and I'm very glad I did as, to the best of my knowledge, the Finish never came. The last stretch from Gunnerside to Reeth seemed to pass through some sort of peculiar temporal vortex and just went on, and on, and on, for ever. Part of me is still out there.

I'm a bit of sentimentalist at the best of times and after a humungous effort like this I often feel quite melancholy afterwards. It's a good race to do when you're in a club like the Striders as the enthusiasm and support from runners and non-runners is both tangible and touching. Sipping my tea afterward the friendly faces of Dave, Nina, Andrew and Steph and Graham all hazed in and out of focus as we exchanged congratulations and thoughts on the race. Pam's excitement at the beginning of the race was infectious and Roz was a sight for sore eyes at Gunnerside, where the local support and "come on Elvet" shouts were really uplifting. I'm sorry I had to rush off early but not having achieved my sub-4 target time I was about an hour later than I thought I'd be and was meant to be at a birthday party in Southport!

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Matthew Hayes East Hull M 3:08
14 Helen Gilbert Totley F 3:40
38 William Horsley M 4:03
74 Nina Mason F 4:23
86 Graham Daglish M50 4:29
93 Andrew Thompson M 4:31
112 Ben Thompson M 4:45
141 Dougie Nisbet M 4:57
154 Stephanie Barlow F 5:01
177 Dave Robson M50 5:14
192 Gary Davies M 5:21
196 Barrie Evans M50 5:25
211 Jan Young F40 5:31
233 Phil Owen M 5:40
234 Anna Seeley F 5:40
261 Margaret Thompson F40 5:59

463 finishers.

Blaydon Race, 9th June

5.9M

George Nicholson

Aw went to Blaydon Race, 'twas on the ninth of Joon.

Travelled thru wi five other lads & lasses from Shadforth (Karen & I for Striders) Ben, Clare, Richard & Sandra (unattached) that's not quite reet ackshilly 'cos Richard & Sandra are hitched to each ovver.!

Excellent shot of Lindsay that the Chronicle let us have a copy of.

Had to bide wor time in the caad & wet at the Bigg Market whilst wearing bonny pink ponchos, and lots of other Striders took the p*** oot o' wu (and that Geoff Watson wuz sniggering alot too.)

Gathered in chaos for the start ootside Balmbra's and wuz ahint many others. cud see Dave R & Denise in front, Jacquie & Alister alangside.

Wu sang that song wi the chorus: Oh me lads, ye shud only have seen the striders ganning.......Then Git big chorch bell struck 7.15 and we wuz off, away alang Collingwood street to Blaydon.

Canny conditions for running, bit of the wet stuff, but nee clarts

Karen wus in gud fettle, there was nee stopping the lass, she wuz right belting doon Scotswood Road, t'was 'ard worrk keeping wi hor, but had te, she 'ad me car keys!

Divvent knaa wor times yet, but it were git great to see lots of other Striders oot runnin', as well as the gadgie who married wor Zoe.

Ne broon ale in goody bag mind (ah meen whats wiv this Foster's lager like?), but a canny tee short, ivrybody appreesheeyated them.

A bridge.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Ezekiel Cherop Kenya M 27:41
14 Justina Heslop Clapham F 31:25
700 Andrew Thompson M 43:34
854 John Hutchinson M50 44:43
1276Phil Owen M40 47:43
1277Alan Smith M60 47:44
1370Peter Brooks M40 48:23
1606Jennifer Copley L35 49:59
1704Lindsay Tarn L35 50:45
1939Karen Chalkley L45 52:17
1942George Nicholson M60 52:19
2050Denise Mason L35 53:09
2232Mike Elliott M60 54:23
2330Greta Jones L40 55:01
2396Jacquie Robson L35 55:34
2397Alister Robson M 55:34
2405Andy James M60 55:37
2468Jennifer Crilley L40 56:02
2597Margaret Thompson L60 57:01
2952Dave Robson M55 1:00:05
3017Lindsey Brooks L40 1:00:44
3151Jackie Smith L70 1:02:30
3200Zoe Tomlins L35 1:03:23

3541 finishers.

The Yomp Mountain Challenge, Kirkby Stephen, 6th June

23M

aka Mallerstang Horseshoe & Nine Standards Yomp

Phil Owen

A hill.

I can't believe I had never heard of this race seeing as it's been about for 25 years. First held to commemorate Falklands heroes it seems to have (and still does) a few different names. Registration was from 7am with a few different starts on offer. I was signing up on the day so decided to go for the early one as there was a limit on places. The race is very similar to Swaledale—lovely hills and 23 miles. It's run by the Rotary Club of Upper Eden and has the feel of a LDWA event & only £10.00 to enter.

After a short wind through the village the course takes you up the fells and the first climb up to Wild Boar fell a good 2,300 ft then crosses moorland and paths taking in Swarth Fell Pike, Mallerstang, Aisgill Cottages, The Riggs, High Seat, High Pike Hill, Tailbridge, Nine Standards & Fell Gate.

To say the course was marked well is the understatement of the year. Bamboo poles held bit of red tape and they were everywhere. Checkpoints galore with water were also in abundance and made for a very well run event.

Just over 5 hours to do so much the same as Swaledale taking both easy. Hot tea and sarnie at the finish (free) and another load of dosh raised for this year's charity, Help for Heroes [and Flourish Foundation, Ed]. I often think the hills to the west of the M6 get neglected a bit as you are almost in the lakes but like the Howgills these hills are well tough but, unlike a lot of the lakes hills where you get stony paths, these are lovely rolling grassy hills (bit like the Cheviots) and great for running.

Wonderful race, will be doing it next year for sure.

Tom's Bob Graham Round, The Lakes, 5th June

72M / 27,000'

Tom Reeves

For those of you who don't know about The Bob Graham Round (BGR) it is a fell running challenge in the Lake District. The idea is to complete the round of 42 tops (including all the highest in the lakes) in less than 24 hours. The round must start and finish at the Moot Hall in Keswick and can be completed clockwise or anti-clockwise. The distance was originally measured at 72 miles, although it is probably a bit shorter than this. The total height gain over the round is 27,000 feet and remember - what goes up must come down. Just ask my knees! The BGR is not a race and anyone wishing to have a go can choose any date they wish in order to complete it. Most people do it late spring/ early summer when the days are long and the bracken is still low. Of course some hard cases like to try it in winter and some also like to do it unsupported.

The night before at the campsite.

For the purpose of logistics the BGR is split into 5 legs and for supported attempts such as mine each leg has a set of runners who act as pacers, navigators and packhorses carrying all the Bob Grahamers' food, drink and kit. For more info check out the links below ...

My Bob Graham Plan:

I decided to run an anti-clockwise round (the usual way of doing it is clockwise as originally completed by Bob). My rational was Geoff Davis (the striders Bob Graham Guru) did it that way. I like to be a bit different, and for me it made sense to be able to start at a reasonable time of the day i.e. 7am, and treat it as a long day out (a very long day out). The start time is important as this then influences which parts of the round you are going to do in the dark unless you are superhuman and expect to complete it all in day light! Ha!

Ready for the off.

I set off on a beautiful warm sunny morning with Geoff, Jamie Wilkinson, Phil Owen and Phil Middleton. I had the cheers of my road crew Joan, Mandy and Janet as well as pacers for later legs Graham and David (Gibbo) ringing in my ears - I couldn't fail with such support.

The Real Start:

On the 17th of May 2008 I joined Geoff Davis and Will Horsley on leg two of Peter Moralee's BG attempt (Threlkeld to Dunmail Raise). Geoff somehow persuaded me to join them although I can't remember how. Anyway I had heard of the BG and there I was early in the morning, very early in the morning awaiting the arrival of Peter and Will via Halls Fell Ridge off Blencathra (one of my favourite mountains). Geoff had briefed me about the importance as a pacer of having food and drink ready as and when for Peter so as to not cause any delay. In due course Peter appeared with Will, sat down, gorged his face on god knows what and in what appeared very few minutes we were off. I introduced myself and then ran out of breath as we absolutely romped up Clough Head. I had done a recce with Geoff of the leg in the preceding weeks but the pace of this was another thing. I was struggling to hang on to Peter, I later found out so was Geoff, but I must admit I really had doubts as to whether I would be able to get round the leg. We reached the top and I noted the time on the sheet I had been given by Michelle, Peter's wife and off we set running along to the next top. Thankfully Peter was not as quick going down hill as he was up so I managed to get my breath back, offer him some jelly babies and that was it for the rest of the leg. Struggle up the hills and jaunt down the other side.

We eventually reached Dunmail Raise, I had a butty then headed off home to Durham. Later that day while wandering around Durham city centre I looked at my watch and thought "he'll (Peter) still be plodding round" then at teatime I looked again and thought "he'll still be plodding round", then when the news at 10 was on you guessed it ...

I turned to Joan and suggested people who did BG's were a bit nutty. I feel I am able to say this given my profession?

Anyway Joan turned back to me and suggested it wouldn't be long till I would want to have a go. Needless to say I said that was a silly idea and I would never ever do a BGR.

Back to my BG attempt ...

Leg 1: 10.6 miles (5 miles on the road) and 3 peaks
[Robinson, Hindscarth and Dale Head]

Oooh that hurts and I haven't started yet. I'd been watching the weather closely all week as, other than accidents, this is the only part of the BG you cannot control. I was pretty confident that I had trained enough (more of which I shall describe) but you just never know what the weather is going to do. I was concerned during my training that I'd get a terrible weekend with low cloud rain and wind. Now I was concerned that I was going to suffer from the high temperatures which were forecast and indeed occurring.

The run along the roads toward Newlands church was very leisurely and provided a nice gentle warming of the legs. Geoff and I changed our road shoes to fell shoes just prior to Newlands church courtesy of Graham, and I managed a full bottle of water and a Mars bar.

My first training runs:

At February half term 2010 we hired a cottage in Borrowdale and I had two firsts; my first BG recce and my first run on a leg other than leg four (leg two clockwise). I decided to start at the beginning and did leg 1. It was so exciting to be heading out onto the fells on my own - just me and my map and a description of the leg. It was cloudy all the way round and I was so chuffed to hit all three peaks spot on. The run along Hindscarth Edge was particularly exciting in shin-deep fresh snow. I ran it again 4 days later on a bright sunny day and did it only 5 minutes faster.

Back to my BGR ...

Coming down to Honister.

It was great to get off road and feel like I was starting properly. The pull up Robinson although steep was a real pleasure, as I now felt in full BG mode as I stomped off with Geoff taking up the lead! We reached the top of Robinson 3 minutes down on my schedule (maybe the run along the road was too leisurely) then gave it some welly on the decent to the col before the traverse up to Hindscarth. Jamie and his mate Phil missed out Hindscarth and met up with me on the final climb to Dale Head - the views were fantastic and we could make out virtually the whole route of leg 2. The run down to Honister got me back on time and Geoff kindly slowed down to let me run in to the applause from everyone waiting, and there were a lot of folks.

I sat down in the national trust car park behind the Youth Hostel and stuffed a bacon and egg butty down followed by a cup of tea and a sports drink. It was a hive of activity all well co-ordinated by Joan my wife who I suspect was in her element marshalling the runners. I said hi to everyone and in particular Kevin who was navigating the next leg. I'd only had a brief meeting with Kevin at the top of the difficult step on Broad Stand previously when I was supporting Peter Moralees' mega impressive attempt at 60 peaks three weeks prior to my attempt. Louise frying up! There was me, Peter (of course) Dave Atkinson and Alan Welsh we got to the bottom of Broad Stand which for those who don't know is the shortest way of getting from Scafell pike to Scafell or vice versa. It may be the shortest way but it ain't a walk. It involves a few metres of moderate rock climbing which if it was on a small crag would be straight forward but in the exposed position it's in is pretty daunting. One slip and you would go a mighty long way indeed. Because of the risk people who are going up or down Broad stand often have someone put up a rope for them to use. Well there it was, a rope with a harness attached. Peter attempted to put it on but none of us knew how to fasten the damn thing! I should have known from my years of climbing but my temporarily befuddled brain just wasn't having any of it. In the end Dave and Alan heaved Peter up while he pulled hand over hand on the rope. Dave then had ago with Alan pushing from below with little upward movement. I did a quick calculation and figured I was going to be left behind on a sloping block with a dirty great big drop to my left, so picked up the harness unfuddled my brain and figured out how to tie it. I showed Dave and Alan and buggered off up the corner saying a quick hello to Kevin who was on the other end of the rope and catching up Peter who was already nearing the top of Broad Stand.

Leg 2: 10 miles and 9 peaks
[Grey Knotts, Brandreth, Green Gable, Great Gable, Kirkfell, Pillar, Steeple, Red Pike & Yewbarrow]

This is my favourite leg.

Heading up towards Grey Knotts. So off we set up Grey Knotts with Kevin, Nigel Heppell, David (Gibbo) Gibson, Mike Bennett (and Benjie), Dave Hall and Nick Spencer. This was to be the largest team of the day. Geoff told Kevin to keep me from striding off too fast which was something I said I didn't want to do prior to the start. Unfortunately or fortunately Kevin couldn't stop me stomping off and the team was soon spread out and I got to the top of Grey Knotts 5 minutes up, the first time I had been up on my schedule so far.

I recall Kevin shouting the advice to take it easy as I ran off toward Green Gable. Did I listen to such good advice? Like hell did I!!! I had the bit between my teeth, I felt strong and I got my head down and started ticking off hills. Nigel and Dave Gibbo were duly sent along Moses Trod to meet up with us at Black Sail Pass while the rest of the team paced me up Great Gable. As usual it would seem there was cloud on top of Great Gable, but it was warm and with a light breeze unlike the day of my first recce of this leg.

A Leg 2 Recce

My first training run on this leg was a mid week affair with Nigel and Peter Moralee. Nigel and I drove across together and met up with Peter at Honister Youth Hostel in less than perfect weather. Once we reached the top of Grey Knotts we realised it was going to be a wet and windy day. I was soaked by the top of Brandreth and went from sweating buckets to shivering cold for most of the day. The going was pretty much ok till Kirkfell where we struggled to find the summit. I certainly got rather cold wandering round on the top there. Eventually we retraced our steps and found the summit and more importantly the ridge down to Black Sail pass, we struggled on as far as Pillar in low cloud and driving rain and called it a day at wind gap running back down the valley to Wasdale. We then trudged all the way back up Styhead Pass and down into Seathwaite back up to Honister. Nigel not being used to the long ascents and descents over that ground suffered with cramp at various points and I just hoped that the day of my attempt would be nothing like this as it would be a non starter.

Afterwards I knew I would need to have another run round in better weather partly so I could finish the leg and find the route off Yewbarrow which incidentally is a real knee wrecker but also to get a better idea of the route finding in general.

A quick note on training:

Unless you are a super fell athlete then the training for a BGR is not so much about speed as endurance and familiarisation with the route and the terrain. A good road runner or indeed cross country runner will not necessarily be any good on the Lakeland fells! The terrain is steep loose and unrelenting. The weather can be superb one minute and absolutely dire the next.

I decided that I would try and train at least 4 times per week. I did a run on a Wednesday with the Striders, a tempo run on a Thursday and two long runs on a weekend Saturday and Sunday. My long runs started at about 10 miles and gradually increased to 26 miles before I then concentrated more on time running rather than distance. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to get over the Lakes for a lot of runs on the actual route and there is simply no substitution for this in terms of navigation, pacing and familiarisation with the terrain. 26 miles around Durham's hills is absolutely no competition for 10 miles over the Gables and Pillar, and as for the slog up Scafell? Well more of that later.

Another leg 2 recce:

I was able to get back over to the Lakes not too long after my run out with Peter and Nigel. I was on my own and planned to do leg 2 from Honister then come back up over Styhead. The weather was lovely, a beautiful clear day I could see the whole of the leg once I was up on the tops and it makes such a difference to be able to see where you are. Coming down the North West ridge off Great Gable down to Beck Head I overtook a bloke on his own veering off to the left. I didn't think any more about him till he caught me up on Kirkfell I looked him up and down - "Bob Grahamer" I thought. Sure enough he was. We struck up a conversation and completed the rest of the leg together. He was called Mark and was planning an anti-clockwise attempt about a month after mine. This is one of the really pleasant added bonuses of doing a BG - you get to meet some smashing people from such a wide diversity but with one thing in common (no not madness) - a love of the fells.

NB: Mark had to cancel his BG this year and is planning an attempt for next year (2011) which I hope to help him out on.

My BG again ...

We picked up the North West ridge of Great Gable with ease and followed a new route for me which was down a big scree shoot. I don't think Bengie was too keen on it but we got down in good time. I caught up with Nigel and Gibbo on the path up to Kirkfell. Coming off Kirkfell down the ridge to Black Sail Pass a message was passed to me from Kevin (who took his instructions to slow me down seriously) warning me I was even further up on my schedule. Again I still felt fresh so I kept on going at the same pace. The path up to Pillar which is the next top isn't particularly steep but goes on for a helluva long way. Every time I've done it I still expect the top to arrive before it actually does. Again I got away from some of the team on the ascent; I was going strong uphill. They cut out Steeple and I met up with them on the descent from Red Pike. The last time I'd been along this part of the leg with Geoff we'd missed the start of the traverse from Dore Head across the screes to the summit of Yewbarrow - this time I was spot on and we got up in great time and great shape. The descent off Yewbarrow is a bugger on the legs and knees but importantly I knew a good path down. Kevin asked me if I knew which way I wanted to go I said "Yes" and he said, "Get on with it". He also noted when we hit the path like a true Bob Grahamer of old, "There wasn't a nice path like this when I did my round". Times were tough in those days!

I think I caught Joan and the next team, namely Dave Atkinson and Lewis Grundy, by surprise getting to the car park 34 minutes up on schedule. They hadn't even got a brew on yet ...

I spent a very pleasant 15 minutes sat under the trees in the shade with my feet in a bowl of cold water eating pasta. We were now in probably the hottest part of the day, just what I needed for what was going to be the hardest climb and hardest leg of the round. I'd heard several tales of pain and cramp from people who had completed the BGR. Indeed either way up or down Scafell it's tough.

A midweek recce with Geoff:

One of my midweek trips across with Geoff started at Seathwaite - we planned to do leg 2 from Green Gable onwards and leg 3 up to and including Great End. That would mean I could have another look at the best route between Scafell and Scafell Pike and have a good long run out. We made good progress all the way round leg 2 - the weather wasn't great but it wasn't bad i.e. cloud but no rain. Coming off Yewbarrow, or maybe going up Yewbarrow, Geoff decided he couldn't face the drag up Scafell so I gave him me car keys and he planned to go up over Styhead Pass, possibly meeting me coming off Great End. I didn't see him till I got back to the car. Turned out he decided to pop into the pub at Wasdale for a pint which stretched to two. Charming. I think he had a nice nap on the way home!!

Leg 3: 15.2 miles and 15 peaks
[Scafell, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Ill Crag, Great End, Esk Pike, Bowfell, Rosset Pike, Pike o Stickle, Harrison Stickle, Thunacar Knott, High Raise, Sergeant Man, Calf Crag & Steel Fell]

I wasn't looking forward to this first part of leg 3 - actually I was a bit nervous about all of leg 3. I'd run it twice before: once in an anti-clockwise direction with Geoff on one of our midweek excursions and once three weeks prior on Peter M's 60 peak attempt when I completed 3 legs. The day was getting hotter and the drag up Scafell was long and arduous. One of the great things about helping or indeed completing a BGR is (cliche alert) all the people you meet.

Wasdale, before the start of Leg 3.

I'd only ever corresponded with Lewis via email and he seemed a pleasant chap in our exchanges (it turned out he'd just flown back in from America the previous evening), but you just never know ... A hot day potentially tired and grumpy, could be a bad combination. Well I need not have worried - both he and Dave in between nattering about various ultra marathons kept my spirits up with words of encouragement and we made it to the top of Scafell in 70 minutes - 15 minutes faster than my schedule! Superb. Now for the hop across to Scafell Pike - not as easy as it might look on a pleasant early summer day.

Two weeks before:

I met up with Dave and we headed over to Wasdale from Seathwaite up over Styhead Pass. Dave was going to navigate leg 3 (the toughest leg) which goes from Wasdale to Dunmail Raise over Scafell, Scafell Pike, and then through the Langdale Pikes on my attempt. There are some tricky navigation decisions and we wanted to make sure we both agreed on the route. It was warm going up Scafell (as it turns out very similar to the temperatures on the day). The route from Scafell to Scafell Pike as the crow flies looks very straightforward but for those without wings it is pretty tricky either involving some mild rock climbing down or up Broad Stand (on an anti-clockwise it would be down), a descent down to Foxes Tarn then a climb up the other side to Mickledor, the col between the two mountains or (my choice) a rocky scree-filled gully then along the west wall traverse under some seriously impressive rock outcrops. We had to scramble down the very steep, loose gully then climb under a load of snow which had still not melted in the depths of the gully. We got to Scafell Pike to meet the usual crowds and then ran across via several tops to Bowfell and the fairly intricate decent down to Angle Tarn.

The plan after that was to head back to the car in Seathwaite which required another pull almost up to Esk Hause then a long decent down Ruddy Gill. On the way back to Seathwaite Farm the path goes over a small stone bridge and a very enticing stream with deep pools. Dave suggested we cool off in the stream. I assumed the shoes would come off and we'd have a plodge, but oh no, Dave was stripped down to his shorts and fully immersed in seconds. We managed to frighten off a young woman and her boyfriend who were sat by the stream but boy was it pleasant to sit in the middle of the stream and dip your head right under!!

I was dry by the time we'd covered the last mile or so to the car ...

The traverse was of course very loose but finally free of snow. It was nice and cool out of the sun in the depths of the gully and would have been quite pleasant if it wasn't for the huge boulder at the top of the second gully leading to the traverse which looks ready to go any minute and kill all in its path. We got a move on and were soon back in the sun and the heat - Scafell Pike was packed, standing room only, so we got a wriggle on and ticked off the next few hills in good order.

We were there where were you Tom? I was hoping to meet up with Mandy Dawson, Janet Raine and John Metson at Esk Hause, hopefully for a brew and something to eat, oh and some witty banter to keep the spirits up. John was then planning to complete the second half of the leg with us. Oh dear! I was going a bit faster than expected and unfortunately they didn't arrive till I was long gone. I did however meet up with my brother in law, Tom, and his girlfriend Liz. How about this - he'd only just landed in the country the day before from his job in Abu Dhabi, mind you he wasn't over just to say hello to me on a Lakeland fell. We had a brief chat and off we went.

Bowfell was to be the next potential banana skin as we would need to find the way off down through the face that is Hanging Knots. I need not have worried - the trip down with Dave two weeks before paid off, we found the route down in good time and were soon on Rossett Pike, peak number 20 on the round. The run across to Pike O Stickle feels like quite a long way after the pretty rapid ticking off of peaks since Scafell Pikes. This can be very boggy but it wasn't too bad at all after all the dry weather. Lewis dropped behind while he tried to get a signal to ring his wife Jane. I'm not entirely sure where he got to but he suddenly appeared up in front of us, he'd taken a sneaky route which he and Dave knew about.

It was somewhere along the Langdale section that I started to feel a bit sickly and my food intake began to dwindle. I kept the fluids up but as for eating anything substantial - nope, it wasn't going to stay down. A hot mid-afternoon turned into a beautiful summer evening and we met up with Jane, Lewis's wife, just before Calf Crag - she was lovely giving me loads of encouragement and to top it off I was now 1 hour 40 minutes up on my schedule.

Happiness is your wife and a banana!

The run down off Steel Fell to Dunmail Raise and the next changeover is steep and I really felt it in my knees. I had been on the painkillers but couldn't have anything for at least another hour - ouch! Dave ran off ahead at this point and I did think "eh up he's keen to get to the car". Actually it turned out he'd been taking note of my fantasising about another cold foot bath, a cuppa soup and a cup of tea. What a guy! He ran ahead to shout out the order to Joan and sure enough it was there when I arrived. This was a lovely stop - I was way up on schedule and all my chums were there to chat and give me a great boost of morale. I think I had an extra couple of minutes luxury of soaking my hot sore feet and enjoyed my cup of tea and soup.

Leg 4: 13.2 miles and 13 peaks
[Seat Sandal, Fairfield, Dollywaggon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn, Helvellyn Lower Man, Whiteside, Raise, Stybarrow Dodd, Watson Dodd, Great Dodd & Clough Head]

This leg is the one I've covered the most times - I think even I could almost manage this one in the dark, but I wasn't going to take any risks on my round.

More training:

In my training I did this leg 3 times in an anti-clockwise direction - once on my own in full winter conditions, which was brilliant. The sun was shining and I was running across and at times through knee-deep snow. I also did this leg as part of my first attempt at running two legs. This was a midweek jaunt out with Geoff and David (Gibbo). We made good progress to Threlkeld and stopped for lunch - I was testing out fell food and was thus eating a Melton Mowbray pork pie. I'd been waxing lyrical about it all the way along the Dodds Ridge - unfortunately in reality the pie proved just a little too much to eat given I still had all of the final leg to run. I surreptitiously threw the crust away and thought no more of it till I was roundly admonished by Geoff who'd noticed my littering while he was stretching in preparation for the treck up Blencathra. Geoff was very disappointed in my towny attitude and would not accept my suggestion that a passing dog would love my pie crust as a treat. Needless to say I picked it up and carried it with me only to get caught by Geoff again catching me trying to ditch it a little further up the lane. Have I heard the last of this behaviour? Have I heck as like! Running on Lakeland fells is tough and David felt the pace as we headed up Halls Fell, so much so that at the summit of Blencathra he and Geoff decided to miss out the final two tops and head back to Keswick. I pushed on, and on Skiddaw the final top had the wonderful experience of total silence and solitude in the thick low cloud. It felt like I was in another world completely on my own and in a way I was.

Back at the car the guys were there with Susan who had purchased fruit smoothies and cooked chicken legs - bloody lovely! After 15 peaks and 25 miles they really hit the spot.

All too soon we were off again with the new team. Geoff was back on the fells with me so there would be no worries about navigation. I also had Graham Daglish with me. It had been touch and go for Graham as he'd been under the weather during the week but here he was and he kept up the pace and banter all the way. Finally I had Dave Gunning, another new person to me. I asked Geoff to take the lead up Seat Sandal as I was feeling the pace and wanted to try and take it easier for the rest of the round. As Geoff noted later, he pushed on at a quick pace and kept looking round to see if it was too quick but there I was right behind him all the way. The next top is Fairfield and it's a real bugger! All scree and it's a straight up and back down, so from a psychological point of view it can be pretty tough to not really be going anywhere. Geoff and a Cranstons sausage roll. I must admit it was the toughest climb of the round so far and I was glad to be jogging back down to meet up with Graham who'd taken a direct route from the road to the bottom of the climb up Dollywaggon. Dave was laden down with malt loaf, chocolate-covered raisins and high-energy cola-flavoured jelly sweets. Try as he might, and Dave did try to persuade me I'm afraid, I just wasn't up to the malt loaf (my stomach was not in good shape). The raisins and jelly sweets however went down a treat and I was fed them on a regular basis. I asked the time at the top of Dollywaggon hoping I hadn't lost too much time only to be informed by Geoff that we'd made up another 20 minutes. I of course told him off as I was hoping to take it a bit easier over this leg - indeed he was the one at the changeover who'd emphasised that this leg would be completed in the time as scheduled, as it would be difficult to make up much time on it. We witnessed a wonderful sunset while jogging between Watson Dodd and Great Dodd. Geoff hinted that this just wasn't a proper night section as the torches didn't come out till we were heading off Clough Head - you can't please some people. He also suggested my climbing style i.e. hands on hips was interesting, and I quote "You look like a demented queen". Charming! Mind you I noticed he chirped up somewhat when he polished off one of my Cranstons sausage rolls at Threlkeld.

Leg 5: 12.5 miles and 3 peaks
[Blencathra, Great Calva and Skiddaw]

I was now starting to contemplate actually making it round. I knew that I had plenty of time and probably could have more or less walked it and still got to the end in under 24 hours. Of course, in the dark it can be easy to trip twist an ankle and really screw things up! This was clearly my most attractive support team - sorry lads. I had Susan Davis, Louise Wilkinson, Louise Billcliffe, Dave Gunning and Joe Faulkner (navigating). I was informed later that by Joan, that Joe had previously won a prize in an event as the organisers thought he was a female!

All too soon I had to get out of my chair and start the long pull up Halls Fell Ridge off Blencathra - my legs had stiffened while I was sat, so the first 10 minutes were a bit uncomfortable.

My first bimble up Halls Fell:

This was in February on a fantastic winter day sunny clear and a fresh dump of snow the day before. I must admit I was a little nervous as I left Joan and the boys in Threlkeld and started the long slog up the fell. I wondered what condition the ridge would be in and how challenging it might be in full winter conditions. I've never kicked steps along a frozen ridge in fell shoes on my tod. I needn't have worried the snow was perfect for kicking steps and it was pristine condition not a footstep in it. The exposure in places was pretty exhilarating actually, especially when I got myself right on the crest of the ridge. I met a fellow BG recce-er on the way down from the summit and never saw anyone else for the rest of the leg till I got up onto Skiddaw. There was so much snow that I was able top leap over the gates on the way down much to the delight of walkers on the way up. Great fun, this is what it's all about.

We got into a good rhythm and got to the summit in a magnificent time of 54 minutes - it was now Sunday! Louise W was in fine spirits and promised that should I start to flag she had a couple of jokes to perk me up - she also had jelly babies. Heading over to Mungrisdale was hard work - I needed to walk for a few minutes and I haven't a clue how Joe did it, but he got us to the river spot on. Amazing! On the way over Louise W suddenly said, "Hold on" and disappeared into the dark, only to reappear a few minutes later informing us that she had just rescued a lamb from a peat bog!

Great Calva is the next hill and the penultimate peak on an anti-clockwise BGR. I can't imagine many people go up other than on a BGR, as it's not the most exciting of hills and is a bit out of the way. Going up it was terrible - I really ground to a halt. The girls all kept on encouraging me and Louise W told me her joke which I must admit I can't remember at all. What I do recall is that it was so awful that the pain of hearing it did take my mind off my tiredness for a short while. I attempted to eat a caffeine gel and nearly brought it back up. Louise B produced some beef crisps and I had a couple and they hit the spot. We all managed to stick together pretty well up Skiddaw and it was great to see Louise B and Susan make it up in good order. This was their first time pacing and I know they were hoping not to struggle and hold me up - well they needn't have worried. Susan chatted away to me all the way up and down Skiddaw. On the way down I commented that my running style had become a bit weird at which Susan suggested I was "mincing", another motivational quote from the Davis charm school? As I saw the lights of Keswick drawing ever closer I was able to speed up a wee bit and mince down with aplomb.

20 hours and 53 minutes!

Here's one ... the Friday night before my round I was chatting with some of the gang at the campsite at Bassenthwaite when Geoff came back over. He told me with a wicked grin on his face that the chap he'd been chatting to commented that I was too fat to do a BGR. Needless to say if I needed more incentive to make it round this was it!!!!! So I was doing my BGR not only for myself but also for all the fat fell runners.

Joan came up and met me on the path down from Skiddaw, just above the car park at Latrigg. The dawn was just about arriving and we were listening to larks on the way down. The run down through the woods was a bit of a blur and I felt rather emotional as I ran across Fitz Park in the early dawn, and there they were: Joan, Graham, Geoff, Mandy, and Janet, still all cheery and chirpy outside the Moot Hall at 3.55am. I managed to stay standing for the photos and Mandy produced a bottle of Cava - not that I could even contemplate drinking it. I'd almost forgot about the time and was so pleased to find out my finishing time to be 20 hours and 53 minutes - this was way better than I'd ever dared to imagine. I had set a time which I felt would be doable and give me a bit of space for errors, tiredness and the usual hassles, so to have beaten that time by over two hours was just the icing on the cake.

Now for the thanks ...
It's over ...

To all the guys and gals who ran and supported me on the day.
To all my fellow striders who wished me well.
To my boys for trying to remain interested when I waxed lyrical about the BGR.
To Geoff Davis for superb support throughout, with great advice, encouragement and some grand days out on the fells.
To Susan for letting me borrow Geoff for our midweek jaunts.
Finally to Joan for putting up with my obsession for the best part of 6 months and doing a brilliant job on the day - I wanted for nothing.

Kentmere Trail Race and Challenge, Cumbria, 5th June

17Km

Mrs Zoe Evans, former spinster of this parish

The Kentmere 17km has replaced the Garburn 24k in this year's Lakeland Trail series - last year the Garburn was cut short because of snow, and although they kept the shorter distance this year, the weather couldn't have been more different! The weather in the Lakes was beautiful, perhaps a little too beautiful for running... from the very first mile it was hot hot hot! Four Striders completed the Challenge (myself, Dave, Jane and Denise) and Debs and Dougie braved the Race. The scenery as ever was stunning, which was our justification for walking a few bits - so we could admire the view - it wasn't as if we were baking hot and knackered or anything! Water and Kendal mint cake at the 7k and 13k points were very welcome! Having walked for a while in the middle of the race I got a bit of a burst of energy after this and sped up again for the last few kms. The sheep were quite friendly too (I think word had got round about the cows at Raby Castle and they wanted to out-do them in the "animal supporter" stakes). The start/finish areas at the Lakeland trail races are always great, especially in warm weather as they have live music, food stalls, bouncy castles and running merchandise, another lovely run!

Dave Robson adds:

Just to let you know that Dave Walker from the club also did the Kentmere challenge as well. He came in round about the 1hr 58min mark. He probably entered this race before he was a Strider.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1DEEGAN, Jon Ambleside AC MV40 1:13:51
33EVANS, Carol Settle Harriers FV40 1:29:07
189GODDARD, Debra F 1:50:42
247NISBET, Dougie MV40 1:57:22

329 finishers.

Allendale 8, 5th June

8M

Richard Hockin

Richard glides up the final hill. The weather was hot and sunny for this race over nearly eight miles, organised by the Allen Valley Striders. It took place on traffic-free rural roads through upland meadows and a few small woods in the valley of the river East Allen, in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It's not every day that a dynamic low down hi5 is captured on camera...

 

 

 

 

 

It was good to meet up with Jo, Emma and Andrew who put in sterling performances to overcome the twin challenges of hills and heat. The race forms one of the events of the Allendale Fair, so there is a chance to take in all the other activities and enjoy the convivial atmosphere. A really good day out, and a race to be recommended.

 

 

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1JAFFRAM, Rammond Teviotdale HarriersVM 0:46:42
13MORLEY, Sonia Tynedale Harriers VF 0:51:34
63HOCKIN, Richard SVM 1:02:14
94THOMPSON, Andrew SM 1:07:15
136PORTER, Joanne SW 1:14:55
182DETCHON, Emma SW 1:26:32

195 finishers.

Ossy Oiks Fell Race, North Yorks Moors, 1st June

8.5M / 1,800'

Phil Owen

Another of the wonderful Esk valley club summer series. So far the have all been wonderful ( for me anyway - Anna may have a different view). The last one was the Fox and Hounds and it's as tough as old boots ( probably one the hardest I have ever done ) but a feature of these is how different they all seem.

We met up with a Fetchie friend, Dave A who travelled up from Dewsbury just for the race (and had done 11 miles that morning ) at the end of Cod Beck Reservoir and after the usual Parry banter we were off.

I guessed there must be some single track because the start was a mad dash for places. Up alongside the woodland with Pamperdale Moor to our left and along to a turning at Chequers to Oak Dale and past Jenny Brewster's spring and another small reservoir. I recognized this as part of the Cleveland way but had never gone this way on it before. A long climb to Hambleton Hill and more or less back the way we came until we diverted to Jenny Brewster Gill and a lovely finish through a pinewood. Just over 8 miles and another wonderful race. Much more trail and a lot easier than the Fox and Hounds. The informal nature of these events was shown in my mate getting a made up prize (its always wine or beers from M&S) for furthest travelled.

Next one: Whorlton Run, Tuesday 15th (7:15pm ) 7.2 miles and 1080ft ( take all these with a pinch of salt mind ) usually £6-00 to enter but you're just as likely to get a bottle of wine as the winner!