Race Reports, May 2010

Raby Castle 10K, 30th May

Zoe Tomlins

I'm developing a love-hate relationship with the Raby Castle 10k. I hate the never-ending, gut-busting hills which go on forever, and then you run downhill only to have to go back up them all over again. Something about the third hill just before the 5k and 10k points just turns my legs to jelly and my breathing to something that sounds like Darth Vader.

However, I have decided that the stunning location, the enthusiastic supporters, the beautiful wildlife (deer, sheep, cows - the cows actually lined up to moo at the runners!), and the ever present Sea of Purple (15 Striders), do make up for all the hills. After a few rain showers before the start, the weather cleared up to make way for a beautiful hour of running during the race. I knocked about 4 mins off my time from last year so was pretty pleased with that, it's certainly not a PB course for most people, although I think Steph Barlow managed to crack 50mins for the first time!

A truly lovely run if the hills don't kill you, with a very nice red t-shirt at the end. Highly recommended!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Paul Lowe NYMACM40 35.02
12Aiveen Fox MorpethF 37.36
30 David Gibson M40 41.38
53 Michael Bennett M55 43.40
128 Adrian Jenkins M40 48.36
149 Stephanie Barlow F35 49.57
167 Dave Robson M55 50.47
180 Zoe Evans F 51.44
210 Jennifer Copley F 53.14
237 George Nicholson M60 55.12
240 Lindsay Tarn F 55.15
244 Michelle Langley F 55.25
253 Dave Walker M45 56.05
321 Margaret Thompson F60 64.50
331 Jackie Smith F70 66.13
336 Dorothy Jenkins F40 67.06
352 Andrew Thompson M 77.18

352 finishers.

Sunday Run, Middleton, 23rd May

miles and miles and miles...

Nigel Heppell

A bright, hot and sunny Sunday found a number of Striders gathering under the Post Office sign on Middleton-in-Teesdale Market Place, mostly for the first time in their lives, before our leader arrived and executed his meticulously planned run based on the concept of 'there must be a path somewhere along here', and so we headed off for the river and turned upstream in the direction of Low Force.

Alas, no sooner had we started along a well used track than the man with the map contacted a boulder and went over on his ankle in rather spectacular and gruesome fashion and concluded his exertions for the day bathing his foot in the river Tees; you could say he had petered out but it was a bit more dramatic than that.

After a moment or two consolation/discussion Will stepped forward brandishing an electronic map device and said words to the effect of 'follow me' - that's never an easy option in my experience - so off we went, to find the proper path for the Pennine Way on the other side of the river, and bounded across the the fields through some very interesting and attractive scenery.

Millie and Casper ran twice as far as the rest of us but we humans were kept going by Will with his collection of phrases such as 'there's an interesting bit coming up', 'if we just go on a bit further', 'it's only a kilometre more', 'once you get over this hill', etc,etc, and before you knew it we arrived at High Force, 5.5 miles from town.

The return route was just as hot under the brilliant sun although we took a different route onto the opposite bank culminating in a short stretch of road with a mysteriously obscured right of way from which we were evicted by someone who suggested it wasn't there - further enquiries are being pursued!

2hr 45min after leaving, we were back in Middleton and a bunch of hungry runners picnic'd on the village green until in true British style the rain started.

A long and hot run enjoyed by all, thanks to Peter for organising it and we hope there is no lasting damage to your ankle.

Will adds:

To conclude the enquiry about the mysteriously absent right of way on our return journey - this path has been legitimately closed by the council because it has been dangerously eroded by the river Tees. There was a sign there to that effect but I guess it has been stolen. They have told me that they will put a new one up. It made for an interesting diversion and took our minds off our tiredness and thirst at that point.

Edinburgh Marathon, 23rd May

Two reports ... from Andrew Thompson:

A tale of Hercules, Spartans and a Chariot of Fire with a faulty wheel....

Two B-movie horrors for the price of one: Attack of the pink headbands! Revenge of the white polythene bags!!

I had planned to smash my PB on this one, having had my 30th Birthday, and subsequent celebrations, on the Friday it would have been the perfect way to round off my birthday weekend. The day was a scorcher, the sun cream was sweated off within yards of the start and the slow roast started. The plan was the same as London last month, to hit half way at 1hour 50mins then keep up the 8.30min mile pace as long as possible before dealing with the end at the end.

I was running with my friend who I train with on a morning (unfortunately based in Newcastle as he would be an asset to Striders) who was new to distance running, but an absolute machine over shorter distances. We strode through half way exactly on schedule but I was worried. My friend, strangely, wasn't and kept yelling (from 10 meters in front) that all we need is some PMA. I kept bleating that things were going to get messy later if we kept that pace but he laughed and repeated his PMA slogans.

Sure enough the moment I was worried about came, niggling away from about 16 miles and building to a point where by mile 20 the only aim was to complete the next step. The heat was immense and there seemed to be an age between water stops. I had gels taped onto my belt but I didn't have enough energy to unclip them, it was horrible! Some good folk had turned their hose pipes on and that brief half second shower was like utopia. I shuffled and stumbled along until mile 22 when I had to stop and walk for a minute or two. From then to the end it wasn't pretty. I got to the last mile needing to do it in 7 minutes to go sub 4 so I started my now traditional Chariots of Fire ending. Arm aloft I hurtled towards a glorious end with my head full of fire and encouraging thoughts. Now also traditionally, my Spartanesque charge ended in less than a minute, it wasn't going to be this time. Deflated, I crawled to the end and got there at 4hours and 7 minutes. I don't even do sub 7's in a 5k let alone when I can barely walk. Welcome to old age I thought to myself.

My friend had left me at 22 miles as he strode gallantly towards the end. He said that his last mile took 20 minutes due to cramp and he did 4hours 5 minutes. It was a big shame, it would have been a Herculean achievement to go sub 4 when his previous longest distance was 8 miles. The man showed absolutely no fear and full respect is given for that.

My mum and Jean ran and both did good times- mum chopped 15 minutes off her previous Edinburgh best with a 5.13 and Jean put in a good run as well doing 4.45. I saw Anna at the club on Wednesday and she said she did a 3hr 47 time despite walking the last 10 miles- great effort! I also saw Phil looking as relaxed as if he was out for a summer stroll on the race, I believe was treating it as a training run for a 100 miler in the near future, unbelievable.

I was disappointed that I went over 4 hours after going under a couple of times recently but I guess you have to run with what else is against you and the heat was a huge factor; all part of the learning process.

It turns out that the BBC were looking someone looking suitable knackered to put their photo next to their report- 'Edinburgh Marathon runners feel the heat' (link below) and I was their man in my new pink headband, I may not have got the time but I got the glory. They must have known it was my birthday!

... and from Mike Elliott running the half-marathon:

Striders go international again to foreign parts (i.e. Scotland) ...

Set off with a fully laden car in beautiful weather up the 68, with all windows open and had a necessary stop at Carter Bar more of that later. Arrived at YH and claimed a parking space within ten yards of the front door. Got settled in on 2nd and 3rd floors after being run over by a woman scooter driver getting into the lift (namely Judy, what else could I expect from that kind of driver).

According to the locals weather for Sunday was going to start with a temp of 20 degrees and get warmer. Recognisance of the starting area for the first Scotch half marathon in London Rd proved a struggle as the first five houses in the road were posted with a different road name. Anyway it turned out to be 3 min walk back to the YH and a comfortable bed. Unfortunately had to sleep with the windows open, as it was too hot, which then let all the noise of the emergency sirens (nearly as bad as hearing the bagpipes at ten miles distant) (Northumbrian Pipes are better). Sunday 0550 more noise this time from the alarm to say shower, breakfast (corn flakes and porridge) and race preparation time plus sun cream for the promised weather ready for 0800 start. 0730 off to the start and deposit our baggage discovering not a ray of sun to be seen only clouds.

The warm up guy on the mike welcomed the 5000 and assured everyone that the temp was 12 and would rise to 17 with blue skies all the way, needless to say the it started to rain with big drops fortunately somebody turned the tap off and it stayed fine but claggy. Colour coded starting pens red white brown yellow (ours) and black were filling up with a mixture of each colour. On your marks Ready Steady Go, on what was a flat course; in places it was rough due to the big gaps in the chippings due to the lack of tar, then a slight inline about 10m then turn around and come back.

The first point of note was the scotch parliament which was still standing despite not enough nails being used to hold the beams up originally (no falling sunbeams today) - Holyrood Park (the lady of the house was not present to hand out sweets), - Queens Drive passing Arthur's seat on the right, then left passed Meadowbank stadium before heading towards Leith but not to see Britannia we turned right to the prom at Portobello and the 10k marker but there was no time to get the bucket and spade out to build sand castles and on to Musselburgh at 9m weather still overcast and claggy (so much for the local weather forecast).

Mile 9 - 11 the slight incline passed the race course and the Scottish mining museum round the roundabout and back down the slope to the accompaniment of a short refreshing shower and shouts of Come on Striders from whoever, Thank you.

Our speed down the slope left runners from Blackhill Bounders and Derwentside in our wash and wake. Next marker was the 3 furlong pole of the race course then 2 furlongs and onto the race course proper which had been covered with rubber matting to level out the bumps this only gave you an extra spring in your stride and you felt just like Tigger bouncing to the finish line to claim your well earned banana and goody bag - School bars, Lo salt packs, Lucozade, Water, Mixed berry bars, Sugar free herb drops, Cereal mix, Jelly beans, (eat your heart out Brendan), Deodorant sprays, Sweat band, Medal and the all important T-SHIRT.

Time was just after 1000 and then raising your eyes in relief at having crossed the finish line what did you see (not the that sea) but see no clouds and feel the temp soar unfortunately for the marathon runners who started at 1000. Looking back down to earth Aberdeen Angus (not the Hartlepool monkey) but the burger plus beer a very welcome sight, even better to come across the field was the SHOWER BLOCK.

Suitably refreshed in all departments it was back to Edinburgh by BUS. Stopped at Carter Bar on the way home to fill in the hole in the wall with the bricks and mortar we left earlier. Mike was 1858th in 2.02 and Greta was 2004th in 2.04 beating our estimated time by 8 and 6 minutes respectively. Will we be back next year? Maybe, just for the INSIDE showers and that banana.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Steve Littler Wesham Runners M 2:26:30
28 Sarah Gee Reading F 2:38:16
1703 Anna Seeley F 3:47:18
3185 Andrew Thompson M 4:06:53
4806 Phil Owen MV40 4:25:55
7790 Margaret Thompson FV60 5:13:19

9460 finishers.

Snods 6, Snods Edge, 19th May


Karen Chalkley

A rough-looking bunch of Striders at the start.

Being new to Striders I was a little nervous going to another club to run but there was no need to be at all. George, who I normally run with (that is, until near the end of a run when his competitive streak hits in and he sprints ahead! And I don't blame him!) Had gone to Italy earlier in the day so couldn't join me. It was nice that I shared the journey with Barry and his mum as it didn't give me time for the nerves to take hold, we were too busy talking!

When we arrived all the Striders were friendly as usual and made me feel welcome. I think it helped that I had donned Zoe's Strider top again, having borrowed it for the Pier to Pier at the weekend (I will wash it again Zoe) The smell of food cooking coming from the hall was lovely and certainly helped to spur me on to finish as quickly as I could. Yes everyone, that was me running fast, I bet you're impressed!! It was certainly a good turn out from the different clubs to such a lovely run through a lovely part of the countryside. Although the course was rather undulating I thoroughly enjoyed it. The only down side for me was when the children were happily announcing 'only another 1.5 miles to go' with big smiles on their faces. I don't wear a watch and had wrongly estimated I was nearly at the end so that came as a huge blow! At least most of that was down hill which was great. Even the last uphill bit wasn't too bad seeing everyone at the finish line ahead cheering you on, a real boost.

The food was great too, such a choice of hot and cold. I managed to try nearly everything; well I had just exerted myself hadn't I! The table quiz was fun. I even guessed some of the answers. Ok they weren't all right but I tried! And what a run of luck our members had on the raffle. I think there was almost a battle between the table I was on and Jan's to see who could win the most. It must have been a draw?

And all that fun for no cost at all, definitely one to attend next year I think.

A an even rougher-looking bunch of Striders at the start.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Patrick Duffy Crook M1 0:36:48
3 Will Horsley 0:38:59
6Tracy Laws Chester le Street F1 0:39:56
12 David Gibson 0:41:14
21 Tom Reeves 0:43:08
24 Shaun Roberts 0:44:11
25 Mike Bennett 0:44:14
33 Conrad White 0:45:30
39 John Metson 0:46:46
40 Graham Daglish 0:47:05
49 Graham Arrowsmith 0:48:32
51 Nina Mason 0:48:50
55 Nigel Heppell 0:49:55
59 Barrie Evans 0:50:59
60 Stef Barlow 0:51:16
61 Susan Davis 0:51:22
66 Dougie Nisbet 0:52:33
68 Dave Robson 0:53:11
77 Anna Pethybridge 0:55:49
79 Phil Owen 0:55:58
80 Jean Bradley 0:56:18
81 Karen Chalkley 0:56:54
83 Peter Brooks 0:57:16
84 David Shipman 0:57:22
87 Louise Billcliffe 0:58:07
88 Joanne Porter 0:58:16
89 Denise Mason 0:58:39
94 Emma Detchen 1:05:21

96 finishers.

Clive Cookson 10k, Whitley Bay, 19th May

Ian Spencer

Everywhere has one of these, or at least should have; a nice, flat, two-lap 10k race which is well organised, marshalled and supported by club runners. Most of the race is on tarmac but a bit of it is on gravelly paths, however not enough to stop it potentially being a p.b. course. Although it's not completely traffic-free, there weren't enough cars to worry about. The flies caused more problems as it was a warm, humid evening. Changing and parking facilities are good in the new school. Some showers would have been nice but I don't suppose you can have everything. The best bit, though, was the stylish technical tee-shirt and a book (a history of the Great North Run) in the goody bag, either one of which was equal to the entry fee. Not only that, I won a spot prize - a pair of socks. Haile Gebrselassie, eat your heart out!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1DAWSON, Michael Morpeth Harriers & AC M1 33:25
19MOONEY, Jane Morpeth Harriers & AC F1 37:19
150 Ian Spencer 49:04
152 Alistair Robson 49:25

213 finishers.

Windermere Marathon, Brathay, 16th May


Dave Robson

Dave happy to have finished another marathon. I left home early on Saturday morning to support the 10 marathons in 10 days runners. They do the Windermere marathon route every day and the final day is the day of the race itself. I got to Brathay and registered and spoke to some of the runners and other friends from Fetch who had arrived to see them start. The 10 in 10 runners are an amazing group of people, I am very impressed and in awe of them all. Both the fastest male and female records were beaten this year.

I then drove down to the Swan at Newby Bridge and watched most of them through there and then onto the hill at 21m to see most of them through that bit. Lots of people from Fetch and friends and relatives of the runners at both points to chat to, so time flew by. The day had started pretty cloudy but it was pretty warm by the end.

Then off to Wilf's in Staveley to meet up with my daughter and partner and later my son and his partner. Lovely meal later and then I had an early night whilst the youngsters had a few drinks in the village.

Up early this morning for a light breakfast for me (but not for them, I just looked on enviously) and then drove to Brathay. Lots of chat, saw the 10 in 10 runners off again and then prepared for my own race. I had no idea how I might do. 4.30 - 5.00 would be fine. 4.15 would be great, sub 4 no chance.

I started off steadily and after a few miles I was just over 9 min/mile pace, which was nice. How long would that last ? Got to halfway in dead on 2hr and I started to dream a little. Then I remembered the third quarter is the hardest part, lots of ups and downs in that section so I said to myself 'get through that and see where you are at 20m'. Well I was 3hr 5min at 20m and starting to tire, so sub-4 had gone. I kept going to some Fetch supporters at the top of the steep 21m hill and got lots of cheers and encouragement ('get running', 'we'll be watching to see if you walk any more' !), but then as three years ago, I just seemed to lose everything in my legs just when I could have put my foot down. I resorted to telling myself just to grind it out. Managed to reach 25m in 3h 55min so realised I had an excellent chance of a course pb. The last mile and bit was tough and I had to walk up the steep drive, but I got home in 4hr 10min 53sec a course pb and my third fastest marathon ever, so I was very pleased.

I was very tired after the finish, I just had to lie down for a while. Its been some time since I have so tired after a marathon. I think last weekend's races were the reason, but overall I was very happy.

Ravenscar Coastal Half-Marathon, 16th May

Ian Spencer

I ran this race and it was fantastic! It really is a must-do event and deserves to grow and grow. It is in a very good cause: Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue. It is also very beautiful and great fun with a nice ultra-friendly atmosphere.

It's tough, though. In a way, calling it a half marathon gives no clue to the nature of the thing. It reminds me of The Beast in Dorset; an endurance event rather than a race at a classic distance. The first part is along cliff-top tracks which are undulating but not too demanding. There are outstanding views of the fabulous North Yorkshire coast. Then, you do some serious oh-my-god-I'm-going-break my-leg down hills. This is followed by some real hands-on-your-knees type up hills.

At about the half-way mark you are on the return leg, along the very welcome break of a disused railway line. No spectacular views but lovely and traffic free all the same. Much of this is a very gentle uphill so it's a relief to be back on the cliffs.

Ravenscar is minuscule! So, there is no problem finding the race HQ in the church hall. The organisation was very good but some more marshals out on the course might not have gone amiss. I think a couple of runners went off-piste, as it were. God knows how; as the route seemed pretty clear to me. I did wonder, though, what would have happened if someone had got an injury out there in the wilds? It could have been a couple of miles to get help. In bad weather the race might have been quite hazardous. I wonder whether it might almost be better to treat it like a fell race and ask runners to take a phone and waterproofs if the weather was likely to be bad. Fortunately, the conditions were perfect. The drinks stations were great but the toilets were not as there was just one sit-down for the men and ladies loo broke down at some point.

I love this sort of race. Someone just shouts 'go!' at the start and there is no tat such as a t-shirt at the end just nice tea and flapjacks. My time? I hoped you wouldn't ask. Err ... unofficially, 2 hours, 10 minutes and some seconds. But it was hard. Really. But I will definitely do this one again next year.

Pier to Pier Race, Sunderland, 16th May


Shaun Roberts

We had another massive turnout at the Pier-to-Pier - no less than thirty-three Striders again this time. There was a chance of rain in the forecast, but we were lucky, and missed the few showers that were around, and also had wind that was more behind us than in our faces - and the sun was out. A low tide this year, so plenty of space on the beach at the start, and the finish was on hardish stuff, unlike the squishy end to the race we had last time. Pretty ideal conditions, really.

And they're off ... followed closely by Mike Bennett ... doh!

The hard bit first, which is to say the run on the beach, this year on quite firm 'undulations' of sand [ What would you call them? Answers on a postcard ... Oh, just in from Nigel: 'Bedform ripples'.] Nice to get up onto the cliff after this and get into your stride. Gibbo went past me just before this point, and I looked round to see how far in front he'd got when we got to the grass - nowhere in sight, so I could tell he was in for a good one. Warming up quite a bit at this point, so I was actually quite glad of a drink, even though we were only a couple of miles into the race - took my vest off yet again, and I was fine. Around three miles is where Mike Bennett usually goes past me, and I was expecting much the same this time, but I hadn't seen him at the start - he'd arrived very late, started after everyone else, and had to work his way through the field, so he didn't pass me this time. He got to see every other Strider in the race, mind ...

Round Souter Lighthouse, then down past Whitburn Firing Range, and then like last year, the whole field in front of me avoided descending early to the beach, and cut back up to the grass at the top, joining the top end of the prom. Round the sea front in balmy conditions, then the run-in on good firm sand to the finish.

David had finished with a fantastic time of just over 45 minutes - showing how his marathon training had paid off, as well as demonstrating (again) how unnecessary marathon recovery seems to be! I was pleased to do a bit faster than last year, followed by Mike with, hot on his heels, Graham who had a great run on not a great deal of training. Sandra Graham was then first Strider lady home, also collecting third FV45 prize - well done Sandra! Andy Jordan was next home, a lot quicker than last time, as was Nina, a full four minutes faster than before. Nigel, Andrew, Stef and Barrie were next, followed by Debs who was - well - really quite chuffed to be in front of Dougie. Lots of good runs further down the field, far too many for me to waffle on about here, but it was good to see lots of familiar faces out racing again, and indeed familiar old faces if that's not being rude.

Congratulations also to Jan Young for taking the third FV55 prize! This wasn't one of those races where there were only three FV55 runners, either - remind her 33 other 55+ women started this one when she starts being modest. I don't think she realised she was in the frame for this, as no sooner had she collected her top-quality picnic rug than she turned around and started running back to the start - Swaledale training!

Excellent race once again.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Alasdair Tatham North York Moors ACM1 38:16
30Claire Simpson Chester le Street F1 43:23
46 David Gibson M40 45:05
94 Shaun Roberts M50 48:31
123 Michael Bennett M50 50:25
128 Graham Daglish M50 50:37
188 Sandra Graham F45 352:55
192 Andrew Jordan M 53:00
208 Nina Mason F35 53:34
277 Nigel Heppell M50 55:21
296 Andrew Thompson M 55:57
310 Stephanie Barlow * F35 56:18
341 Barrie John Evans M60 57:00
353 Debs Goddard * F35 57:21
379 Dougie Nisbet M40 58:00
403 Alister Robson M 58:51
409 Peter Brooks M40 59:02
420 Elizabeth Lamb F45 59:19
464 Jane Ives F35 60:20
465 George Nicholson M60 60:21
482 Denise Mason F 60:49
492 Alan Smith M60 61:07
495 Karen Chalkley F45 61:11
502 Jan Young F55 361:24
509 Mike Elliott M60 61:38
530 Zoe Evans F 62:35
590 Jim Nicholson M60 65:33
605 Greta Jones F35 66:05
721 Cheralyn Stott F35 71:21
722 Emma Detchon F 71:22
778 Alan Purvis M70 75:04
797 Margaret Thompson F60 75:57
805 Lynne Bargewell F35 76:47
806 Katherine Haigh F 76:49
813 Jackie Smith F60 77:24

865 finishers.

* Subject to dental records check.

Summer Handicap, Round 2, 12th May


PosNameHandicapStartFinishTimeNew HC
1Luke Barclay50:0019:10:0019:49:0739:07
2Austin Dwyer50:0019:10:0019:49:0739:07
3Dave Robson50:0019:10:0019:50:1840:18
4Lindsay Tarn46:5019:13:1019:54:3141:21
5Tony Galiphant40:2519:19:3519:55:5636:21
6Mike Elliott50:0019:10:0019:56:2046:20
7Paul Nolan50:0019:10:0019:56:2146:21
8Karen Chalkley44:0019:16:0019:56:5840:58
9Jane Ives43:1519:16:4519:57:0940:24
10Dave Gibson33:0019:27:0019:58:1631:16
11John Griffiths36:0019:24:0019:58:1834:18
12Barrie Evans40:2519:19:3519:58:2238:47
13Zoe Tomlins40:4519:19:1519:58:3739:22
14John Hutchison37:3519:22:2519:58:3836:13
15David Walker41:2519:18:3519:58:5040:15
16Graham Arrowsmith37:4019:22:2019:59:1936:59
17Conrad White34:3019:25:3019:59:2733:57
18Denise Mason41:1019:18:5019:59:3240:42
19Adam Nolan40:0019:20:0019:59:3739:37
20Susan Davis39:2019:20:4019:59:3738:57
21George Nicholson41:2519:18:3519:59:3841:03
22Andy Jordan36:0519:23:5519:59:3835:43
23Shaun Roberts33:1519:26:4519:59:4533:00
24Richard Hockin37:1519:22:4520:00:1137:26
25John Metson35:4019:24:2020:00:2036:00
26Stephanie Barlow38:4519:21:1520:00:2739:12
27Dougie Nisbet36:4519:23:1520:00:4537:30
28Fiona Shenton35:0019:25:0020:01:0036:00
29Jen Copley42:3019:17:3020:01:0443:34
30Mike Bennett33:0019:27:0020:01:0434:04
31Lynn Bargewell49:1519:10:4520:02:1751:32
32Alister Robson38:2519:21:3520:03:2141:46

Ripon 10M, North Yorkshire, 9th May

Dave Robson

Before... ...after. Spot the difference.

Up early for this lovely run and I picked up Denise and Roz who were also doing this one. Grey skies and a little rain all the way on the drive down and the weather was like that for the run itself. Only at the prize giving did the sun come out.

The aim today was to just to keep going and not to worry about speed or anything like that. I ran all the hills, but very slowly. I ran most of it with Denise as we were going at about the same pace. We passed three sets of deer, one guarded by a stag with an impressive array of antlers. We also passed some beautiful houses, churches, Fountains Abbey and ran through woods full of bluebells. Just stunning countryside.

The marshals were friendly and encouraging, the other runners were chatty, we had a choice of finishing mementos - I chose a buff. I love the races that Ripon Runners put on.

After the finish we had tea and cake at the cricket pavilion and then the prize giving which was impressively quick after the finish. Well done to Roz who won her age category in a great time:-)

My legs felt very stiff at the start, but they got much looser after about 2m, but there wasn't much in them. That was fine, I wasn't expecting any more than that

A lovely day out. If you haven't done this race do it, its great !


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Gary Dunn Thirsk & Sowerby HarriersM40 54:26
37Keziah Paxton Thirsk & Sowerby HarriersF 1:08:29
151Roz Layton F55 1:19:49
305Denise Mason F 1:36:20
306Dave Robson M50 1:36:30

372 finishers.

Fred Whitton Challenge, Coniston, 9th May

112 Mile Bike Challenge

Dave Shipman

Myself and a colleague from work completed the Fred Whitton Challenge on Sunday 9th May, so I can recommend it to any of the many Striders who have taken to two wheels as well as running. Its a daunting 112 mile circuit of the Lakes, starting and finishing in Coniston and taking in all of the major Lakeland passes - including Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands and Whinlatter, then at a hundred miles throws in Hardknott and Ryenose just for good measure to see off the legs completely.

So what was it like ... its reputation stands as the hardest one day ride in Britain, could well be, certainly after years of long distance and touring cycling it's the hardest ride I have ever done. There is an enforced cut-off at 12 at Buttermere Youth Hostel (about 50 miles), so our plan was to start early and ride steady, we were on the road by 7, cold and still, perfect weather thank god, as training in the previous weeks had been plagued by high winds and cold rains!! Pessimistic, my plan was to carry on as far as possible if I made the cut-off.

Dave enjoying the day out. It was straight into the climbs outside Coniston, over the top to Ambleside then up from Windermere and the first serious hills of Kirkstone Pass - misty and cold on the top, with the first crowds, who'd gathered at various points in the early stages but had then evaporated after about 60 miles - probably gone off to do something more interesting than watch sweaty lycra crawl by!! Followed by a great descent and trawl round to Keswick, before Seatoller and the steep climb towards Honister. Feeling fine at this stage, but delayed by a puncture entering Keswick. Repair time allowed for extra food and drink, and the experience of hundreds of swifter cyclists flying by as I wrestled with tyre and new inner tube ...

Seatoller was the first 'Oh God, why am I trying to do this' moment, quickly followed by a rapid dismount and 50 yards of walking until the severity of ascent dropped to a manageable 1 in 4 !! A bit like in fell races. Buttermere Youth Hostel offered the usual sandwiches, bananas, mountains of flapjack, energy drink and water, but no tea and I was craving tea, but never mind. Onwards and very upwards, fell off at the top of Newlands, when desperate zig-zagging caused me to clip the grass bank, contributing to a stiff neck and shoulders later, but no real harm done.

Dave still enjoying the day out. Until about 70 miles I was still feeling pretty comfortable, but then it all started to go wrong, legs and head had gone as far as they wished for one day, I was clearly holding Alan back and slight rises were becoming big lumps in front and underneath my wheels. At the 85 mile checkpoint I had had enough and if there had been a broomwagon would have gladly got in it. There wasn't, the local taxi company said they would take me back to Coniston for around 50 quid - fancy saying that to a Yorkshireman - so it was time to take stock. Alan went on alone and I ate as much as I could, washed down with 3 mugs of tea. Twenty minutes and some sound guidance from local cyclists / volunteer marshalls and I was on the road again. Of course I walked up Hardknott and Ryenose passes, but even cars do that (though some of the top riders apparently ride the lot), wore my brakes out on the descents, then it was a pleasant-ish last few miles back to Coniston.

By then I had decided that I could and would finish, which was pretty pleasing, especially as that meant I would never have to do it again. EVER!!

Official time was 11 hours 17 minutes, average speed 10 miles per hour, thousands of feet of climb, which, taking in the puncture and several food and survival breaks, I was pretty pleased with. Because of the bad winter and the early time of year ( by September I am usually a lot fitter on the bike ) it was too far, and the relentless hills make it really tough - my longest ride in training was 70 miles, which was woefully short in terms of ideal training, but with the atmosphere and the camaraderie on the day you do get helped along. And then there are the views, you really do feel you have seen most of the Lakes and then some more by the end of the day, away from the passes there were some fabulous quiet lanes and spectacular scenes.

It took my legs at least a week to recover - jogging round the Snods Edge 10k was a weird and weary feeling - but now at least I know I will get round any other rides this summer!! Bring on the Darlington Festival Rides and the Cyclone, they will all seem flat after the "Fred."

Go on ,give it a go.

Cleveland Sprint Triathlon, 9th May

Swim 400m, Bike 11M, Run 3M

Peter Brooks

Out of bed at 4:45am on Sunday morning to get down to Stokesley before 7am for registration.

Registered ok and then walked the half mile back to where I had parked to pick up my bike etc. Faffed about a bit setting up my transition area and suddenly realised that it was 7:50 and I was due to start in 13 minutes. I hadn't even got changed so I went to the leisure centre, got changed and just about got to the poolside on time. I was the fifth swimmer to set off and initially had the lane to myself. I jumped into the pool and started to swim, I felt my eyes sting and realised that my goggles were still on top of my head. D'OH!!!!!!! I stopped to put them on properly and carried on. I had a plan of swimming two lengths and stopping to catch my breath, I stuck to this and finished the swim in about 12:45, the fastest I have ever swam 400 metres. It was then a 250 metre barefoot run back to transition, the official time includes the run to transition.

T1 passed without anything noticeable, Louise and I left T1 at about the same time on the bike, My legs felt heavy and I was struggling to catch my breath at first, but soon got into a rhythm and, even though the roads were wet and slippy, managed the undulating 11 miles quite steadily.

As I went into T2, my feet felt like blocks of ice and I struggled to get my new, fluorescent orange, running shoes on and about 3 other competitors went past me in transition. The 3 mile out and back run was nice and flat and gave me a chance to see other runners on their way back to the finish. My new shoes did the job and I was 3 minutes faster on the run than two weeks ago.

I was all finished in 1:26:25 by 9:30am which left us to have a great day out in North Yorkshire.

Cateran Trail Ultramarathon, Glenshee, 9th May

55M 7450' climb

Phil Owen

Still on the comeback trail and quest for fitness but like the fantastic Highland Fling 53 miler I did a coupe of weeks ago this for me is unmissable A couple of years ago the Dario the race director and Mr West Highland Way race thought it a good idea to put on a race on along the old cattle drovers trails in the Highlands of Perthshire from the Spittal o' Glenshee. Those of you who know the area may have been skiing there in the past. Its a tad hilly. Sadly Dario died whist running some hills with his friends and my good friend Karen took over the reins.

The race starts at the Spittal o' Glenshee Hotel and looking it up on the net, none of us wanted to stay there as the reviews were terrible. However it had just been taken over and Karen had been saying they were trying hard to turn it around. Mind, there is hardly anywhere else to stay so we had no choice. I’m glad we all stayed though because this hotel could not have been more helpful and positively enthused about the race. The rooms although dated were clean and tidy and everything worked.

The race was marshaled by lots friendly well known faces from the whw family down to help out. I love the fact that the family (those who have completed the whw) heed any call to help out. A lot of them do the Hardmoors110 as well.

Quick talk and we were off at 6am. The first 13 miles were really my cup of tea as it was mainly tricky ground but a feature of this race are the ever changing surfaces. Hard packed trail and about 20% on narrow tarmac farm roads. The fist checkpoint at at the Den of Alyth 41K and a marathon done. Wonderful varied changing scenery made this a pleasure to run. We had al been worried about the navigation but who ever was responsible for the signage had done a great job and everything was easy to follow.

Through a wonderful woodland and up and down hills until at the top of a big climb i came upon a bit of tarmac with '2 mile of down hill' spray painted on the road. Wow! Fantastic descent into the 2nd check point at Blairgowie and back up into the hills. Once you leave these little villages and towns the landscape is just so beautiful and you can soon be in the middle of nowhere Bridge of Cally, Kirk Michael and then the last checkpoint at 78K at Enochdhu. Only 10K to go. Just over six miles.

Unfortunately there is 4.5 mile of climb to the top of the Spittal o' Glenshee mountain and the end of the tough 55 miles.. This seems to go on forever but once at the top you turn back to see the most glorious mountains in all their glory before hitting an amazing 1.5 mile down hill run straight into the hotel bar at the finish. Wonderful race and fantastic atmosphere in the bar as just about everyone was staying there.

The ceremony was great with everyone getting beautiful silver Quaich whilst Karen telling everyone not to tell anyone about he race and keep this gem all to ourselves.



Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Jack Brown MV 7:54:00
Helen Johnson FV 10:26:01
Phil Owen 12:53:24

Haltwhistle Challenge, 8th May


Dave Robson

Gee that was a bit of a toughie ! This was the first year they had invited runners to this event, it was walkers only last year and 37 runners started two hours after the 140 or so walkers today.

They didn't want runners running through the town so they started us on the north edge of the town and finished us on the south edge. This meant we covered less distance than the walkers in theory and it was a bit less than the advertised 26m, I measured it as just under 24m. I say in theory because we had a long walk from Race HQ to the start and a long walk from the finish to Race HQ, so we did cover close to 26m but not the normal way !

Apart from that it was a lovely event. I left home early, picked up Phil Owen and got there about an hour before the start. Chatting to other runners and then made our way to the start. We were told to beware of cows and their calves but this was only likely to be an issue for the front runners, so that was a relief.

Within about a quarter of a mile, we started to climb and climb. We got to Hadrian's Wall which looked lovely, but there was a very strong wind from the north which had made in hard going. It was also sunny all the way round, so in spite of applying sun cream I resemble a beetroot at the moment.

We ran in the vallum for a while which took away some of the fierce undulations, but we did have to run along a section of the wall. Well I say run, but the climbs were very steep so they had to be walked. After a mile or so we headed further north and then west before returning to the wall and headed down to Greenhead for the halfway checkpoint which was serving soup. I opted out of that and headed on and caught up with Phil who had been running more hills than I was, but had been slowing down on the tarmac sections. After another climb ! we reached the Pennine Way which I had expected to be wider, but it was a narrow path. In this quarter we were overtaking walkers all the time and this meant no concerns about which way to go. Overall it was very well marked and i did not get the map out at all. This section was peaty moor with some boggy sections so I was glad I had chosen trail shoes.

Then down off the moors to the South Tyne valley, along an old railway line and down to the river and the lovely area around Featherstone Castle and from there back to Haltwhistle.

Pie and peas afterwards. A lovely run, very similar to the Swaledale Marathon for those of you who have done that.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Ken Maynard 3:32
5Howard Jones* 4:25
28Phil Owen 4:48
28Dave Robson 4:48

38 finishers.
*top eighties' pop sensation?

Cock Howe Fell Race, North Yorks Moors, 3rd May

6.6m / 1,175'

Jan Young

Jan gets her leg over.
Photo courtesy and © David Aspin

Most of the climb came at the start, vertical up onto the open moor, from Chop Gate car park. The weather threw a snow flurry at us, but it's May! Thank goodness it was clear visibility, as I needed map and compass because, as is becoming usual, the pack disappeared. Instructions said 'Touch the cairn and return by outbound route'. I'd touched two cairns; I knew I'd gone wrong! On return I found I'd run further than the correct route, but was chuffed I had not shortcutted.

What does all this say about my map reading skills? Who cares? Views were good and points awarded for taking part.

Will H. posed for the camera with Casper on the descent, still had a top five finish, collecting his winning wine before I turned up. Phil O. enjoyed his descent and post-race pot of tea with Anna and I in the community hall.





Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Dave Smith Pickering ACMV40 1 46:42
5Will Horsley NFR M 48:46
16Pippa Archer DFRF 1 53:04
54Phil Owen MV40 67:11
57Jan Young FV55 93.11

58 finishers.

Kirkbymoorside 10k, North Yorkshire, 2nd May

Dave Robson

I got down to Kirkbymoorside in plenty of time for my first time in this race. I realised that I had never been into the town before which is surprising considering I have relatives living only about five miles away. In all those years visiting the area, I had never been into the town. And it was lovely :-)

They had closed off the main street and I got there just in time to see the young children (some very young !) race up the main street, turn round and run down again. Lots of people clapping and cheering, a lovely atmosphere. There was also a brass band playing :-). It was pretty cold today and I had taken a waterproof with me to keep the wind off me. About 300 or so runners. As I was expecting a tough course I was thinking that anything under 55min would be fine.

I assumed this would be very like the Helmsley 10K that I did a few weeks ago and that is not far away. It was similar but the climb out of Kirkbymoorside was nowhere near as long as the one out of Helmsley. After about a mile it turned into undulations, although heading directly into the wind and some rain made it harder. Through a couple of lovely villages with loads of people cheering us on and finally we started to descend with the wind behind us. This was fun :-)

I flew down into the town and finished in 49min 1sec and I measured it a bit long, so I was over the moon about that time on this course.