Race Reports, November 2010
Newcastle Stampede, 21st November
This British Heart Foundation fundraiser took place in woods and fields adjacent to Newcastle Racecourse. Resorting to bin liner wear, we shivered through the photo call, speeches, commando demo on how to knack yer enemy, by which time I sought shelter/ heat!! by integrating myself deeper into the crowd and some on spot jumping. Then each wave met it's own PTI who barked warm up instructions, before we were let loose to run 10k including Royal Marines assault course.
Overheard spectator asking, 'Did you jump over logs?' If only she knew!! Rectangular hay bales - at least 10 sets; grab far side, haul self onto top and roll over, drop off other side. Wire and tyres section; hands and knees crawl under 2' high wires, MUD THICK and DEEP, then into waist high MUD trenches. Tunnel crawls; no knee pads and up to elbows in freezing water. Lots more FREEZING WATER/ MUD, near waist height in river crossing and woodland streams. Then the final hay bales - at least 10 sets, cylindrical this time, now I couldn't reach the far side, so dangled helplessly until my swinging right leg could reach onto bale and I could haul myself up.
Nina, all 5'2" of her, came back 2nd female in our wave. How the short ar.. got over those cylindrical bales is still beyond me ... at least her knees were more bruised than mine! She did admit afterwards, she thought I'd bunk out at stream in woods, but on I shivered and slid! The most disconcerting thing was not seeing bottom of trenches/streams and uncertainty about where your feet were. Not good places to fall over and drown in chilly liquid the consistency and colour of melted chocolate.
The fun was not knowing what the next obstacle would be and running through the woods was great, but would I do it again? Possibly ... on a wet November day? ... Perhaps memory will play tricks and I'll forget about the COLD, WET THICK MUD/WATER.
Newcastle Town Moor Marathon, 21st November
The plan today was to take it very steady and see how long it took me to run out of steam. Since Ripon at the start of October, my calf problems have restricted my running and my longest run was last Monday. That one was 13m and I ran out of steam at 8m, so the omens were not good.
Lent a hand setting up Fetchpoint (the support point for runners from Fetcheveryone) and then went off to get ready and made my way to the start. Just lots and lots of people I knew, local runners, three clubmate and lots of Fetchies. The marshalls were mainly the same ones as last year and one remembered me from last year. Some of the marshalls also marshall at the Parkrun so there were lots of familiar faces. The marshalls were very encouraging, I wouldn't fancy being stuck out there for so long in that weather.
The weather was not great. It could have been much worse because the Town Moor is very exposed and and when it windy running is a nightmare. However, it was only a very light breeze. Its was a bit cold but what made it worse was the rain. The showers did not last long but they came very regularly. I felt lucky that I had decided to run in a waterproof top.
I started at a steady 10 minute miles and was soon near the back, but that didn't worry me and I did wonder if I was going a bit fast, but it felt comfortable and I remained at that pace for almost the entire race. Others slowed so from lap 3 onwards and I started to overtake people which helped with the motivation. On the fifth lap, I was sure I was going to tire, but I still seemed able to grind out that pace. I did walk the hill on the final lap but I knew I could do that and get under 4hr 30 which was almost 30 minutes better than the time I thought I might get. So I was very happy that I didn't run out of steam
We all passed Fetchpoint five times and the support there was just great. I did get teased by one Fetchie at Fetchpoint though. Last Sunday I paced her to a 10K pb on the Town Moor and as we got near to the finish I said 'There is a slight hill coming up and you need to dig in' and as we climbed I said 'Dig in Lesley'. We got to the top and turned into the finishing straight and I said something along the lines of 'Use all that's left and go for the pb' ! Now Fetchpoint was shortly before that hill and every time I went past she used all those lines on me. That happened five times ! I will be more careful what I say next time
Anna Seeley was the first Strider home and Andrew Thompson was close behind having had a great run and gaining a new personal best ! Phil Owen ran three laps, but his knee was starting to hurt so he wisely pulled out
|22||Jennifer Bradley||Serpentine RC||F||3:23:46|
|55||Anna Seeley||Durham City Harriers||F||3:42:03|
Clay Bank West, North Yorks Moors, 21st November
4.1M / 1000'
A new race for me; very short for my kind of fell race at only 4.1m and 1000ft of climb, would I warm up before I reached the finish? Would I ever be warm again after standing for ages in the sleety rain just below cloud level on the NYM escarpment waiting in a long queue of competitors handing in their (very reasonable, lots of prizes) £6. This race is the last in the NECAA Summer Series but also counts as the fourth in the NEHRA Winter Series, consequently attracting a lot of folk with nothing better to do on Sunday morning.
At 10.30am a huddle of runners set off up a steepish track through the woods, spurred on by Caspar's usual vocal encouragement. It was soon obvious how this location got its name as the track turned out to be covered in a yellowish slithery gloop to ankle depth with a random scattering of hidden rocks and water-filled potholes.
Skirting the edge of the woods the track levelled off below the escarpment and undulated along sheltered by the trees. Drop down to Garfit Gap, back up the other side, reach the end of the plantation, hard left and start to climb again, up to the peak, brief flurry of snow here, and back down through Garfit, walk up to and through Wain Stones, trog along the paving laid down for the Cleveland Way; try to spot the supposed short cut over the edge, give up and do the sensible thing by following everyone else down the path and back to the forest track for a high-speed downhill splat to the finish.
Will Horsley won; and while a bunch of Strider/NFR/DFR's assembled in the car park to await the presentation, discussing the finer points of Berlingoism and warming their hands on Dougie's breast implants, Will ran around the course for a second time and still got back to collect his winnings!
I'm warm now, 4 hours after finishing.
|46||Shelli Gordon||New Marske Harriers||F||1||39.03|
Brampton to Carlisle, 20th November
A merry band of Striders set off yesterday on the coach, and a few others came independently - about 20 all in all. It poured en route, I envisaged running torture for 90 minutes, and only my hot flask of tea and Karen Chalkey's pleasant chat kept me awake! Was not in the mood at all, I wanted to go back to bed ...
It was brighter at Brampton, a bit nippy and a few tiny showers, but I liked the feel of the place from the start. Lots of people millling around, all very friendly and chatty. I made a fool of myself -NEVER! - by holding my Garmin up to the sky to locate the satellites, till Alister told me just to leave it on the wall a wee while!! I ignored him and continued doing the same, till another (unknown) lady did likewise, and we were challenging the skies together...yes, a friendly (mad??) buzz converted my weary mind to a state of eager readiness for the start ...
Bang went the gun! Vamoose down the hill...and we were off...Allan's words of wisdom rang in my ears..hill at 4 miles...don't go off to fast...bit of undulation 7-9 miles..then downhill...think I can hack that, I thought. But my legs had other plans...I kept wanting to get by people early on, and couldn't stop myself. Hills, fading too early, pace..an attempt at common sense kept running through my mind, but I couldn't temper my legs to slow down ...
At about 3 miles (and already after a hill!) we turned a corner into glorious sunshine, and it was almost too hot for running...flat steady roads kept on coming, and my legs refused to slow down. You will notice that I separate my legs (the physical) from my mind (the mental) [Very good idea. Ed.], which didn't know what the heck had hit it. I tried to think "pacing" thoughts, but just knew it wasn't gunna happen....was it the mini Mars bar just before the start, or the fact that I hadn't run as much that week due to extra work?
Who was breathing down my neck at 6 miles? I had been yo-yo-ing with another runner a few times, and thought it was him. Round the corner off the little bit of gravel path came Flip...grrr, it wasn't 9.7 miles where he usually turns up. How dare he! I shouted "PIG!" at him, and told he he wasn't allowed to run past without a word. Then shrieked out my 10k time at him, only to realise I had just run past the only water station and it was too late to go back ... oh well ...
Onwards and upwards..well, not really, although there were more slight gradients in the last 3 or so miles than I liked. Legs were starting to get weary, but on I plodded, amazingly still pretty much maintaining the pace from the start. Just when I thought I had reached the tip of a slight gradient, another one appeared, then the 9 mile marker came in sight, and I knew I was homeward bound. But still another small gradient, till the final drop down into the Sports Stadium. What a wonderful noise to hear Striders yelling and shouting encouragement at that last corner, it really does your heart good when you need the extra will to speed to the finish. 3 seconds behind Rich Hall...never would have believed that in a million years!
Sorry for the one-sidedness, I am still so very excited after yesterday, but there were great runs by many of the Striders yesterday, new PBs, wonderful support (thanks Angie and Jacquie) and a great feeling of camaraderie. What a great club to run with, I thought on the way home. I do hope Lindsay is fine after someone ran into her early on and she fell..and still got a PB! And let's wish Michelle well, who was ill whilst we tucked into the hotel food and continued to be all the way home...
|1||James Douglas||Border Harriers & AC||M||0:50:33|
|28||Mhairi Duff||Dumfries Running Club||L||1||0:58:49|
|351?||Phil Owen *||V40||1:20:02|
* Subject to stewards' inquiry.
Town Moor 10K, 14th November
Dave Robson ...
Seven Striders turned out for this fast, almost flat 10K. The conditions were perfect initially, no wind and sunny. A slightly different course from previous years which avoided the run in past the cafe. For late finishers in previous years this had sometimes meant trying to avoid the early finishers as they crossed the route for a coffee. This year we were taken along the back of the cafe and had a bit further to go round the lake. Apart from that it was the usual two lap route which shares quite a bit of the route with the Newcastle Parkrun.
I was coming back from an injury so I took it easy and paced a Fetchie friend. The wind picked up on the second lap so between 6k and 7k it became harder work. Keri was first Strider home, followed by David. I am not sure whether these were PBs for them, but they were very good times. Dougie was under 50min in a 10K for the first time and was very happy ! Claire and Chris enjoyed it and it was good to see Sandra at a race again, although I didn't get a chance to talk to her. My Fetchie friend flew along in the latter part of the race and got a PB and my injury did not flare up. We celebrated with cake :-)
... and Claire Readey
Another crisp, cold and sunny day for this mainly-flat, fast 10k around Newcastle's Town Moor. The course is two laps of the weekly Parkrun route, presenting a steady, and not inconsequential incline at the start, along an exposed route over the park before dropping back along the tree-lined Great North Road, rounding a pretty little lake and heading back to the start.
Well organised and well marshalled, we marked a minute's silence at the start of the race and celebrated our achievements with tea and cake at the end. Striders included Dougie Nisbet (PB), and Dave Robson, who had a successful race following injury, supporting Lesley of Stocksfield Striders in achieving a very jubilant PB.
|1||Jonathan Taylor||Morpeth Harriers||M||30.54|
|29||Claire Simpson||Chester le Street||F||1||36.46|
Copeland Chase, near Dockray, 14th November
This is an orienteering event organised by the West Cumberland Orienteering Club. It is held in the lake District and this year was held in the Eastern lakeland Fells.
There were three courses Short, Medium and Long. I completed the long event mainly because I'm naive to these event (this was my first ever) and the other guys with me Will Horsley, Jim Mann (DFR) and Yasha Chechik were all doing the long course. Pleaser note they new what they were doing! The day started cold but sunny and bright and as I headed off for the first of 15 checkpoints I felt nervous but optimistic. By checkpoint 3 my feet were very cold and wet, the cloud had descended, a very cold wind had picked up, I'd seen noone else for 20 minutes and I was not a happy bunny. I more or less found the checkpoints over the course of the next 4 hours plus but it was a tough course terrain wise and the need to be focused constantly (we were doing this as individuals) really took its toll on me.
Other than a real low point at checkpoint 11 when I sat down at the top of a rocky outcrop head in hands wondering where the hell the checkpoint was (it was below the crag) I got round unscathed. How did I do? I was 27th out of 29th, not great but I got round.
We had coffee and cake to finish and all for £8 not too bad really. Would I do it again yes but I think I'll take on a shorter course.
Guisborough Three Tops Fell Race, North Yorks Moors, 7th November
While the Striders majority earned Grand Prix points at Gibside, us 'fell freaks' earned bacon butties at Gisborough. Phil Sanderson won by several minutes. I've suggested he drinks the wine he won to slow him down.
Gibbo enjoyed the 'rugged' course, his words not mine, and must be recovered from his chest infection, as Shaun couldn't get near him. Dougie and I had a go. Just washed the silt out of socks which will never be white again.
The race over 9 miles takes in High Cliff Nab, Roseberry Topping, Hanging Stone and last trig before rapid descent down through woods to Rugby Club. The woods were steaming after rain, lots of peaty patches to splash through, walkers kept out of snot shot!
Thanks, Ros, for support.
|51||Jan Young||New Marske Harriers||F||1||1:23:29|
Gibside Trail Race, 7th November
My first race proudly donning my Elvet Striders vest.
Started the day in true team spirit collecting 4 striders on the way - Richard, Conrad, Jean & John. Striders doing their bit for the environment.
The race described as 'not flat' was quite an understatement, a little hiccup at the start meant a 15 minute delay with the race commencing at 1015 (something to do with mud!). The first hill was a blinder, pleased I turned down the few drinks out in Durham the night before!! Course overall very pleasing on they eye - difficult to orienteer where the hell I was but just keep following the one in front! - yes up another hill. Just for fun there was a nice mud slide at the end to run up (of course).
Nice encouragement at the end from fellow striders & a worthwhile goody bag.
"Not flat" - seemed to be the in-joke for this beautiful, scenic (5.8 mile?) course, but although some of the hills were steep, muddy and persistent, they were balanced by plenty of fast downhills and the opportunity to bound down at great speed with arms akimbo. I resisted the urge to shout 'wheeeee', but fully intend to lose that restraint as my running career develops. Bitingly cold, and now twice caught out with inappropriate clothing, I've learned the hard way that packing for all eventualities means you're not stung for an impulsive £40 pair of Brooke's visios from the thoughtfully placed Northern Runner rail in a field 'cos you're worried you'll get cold pins. Still, since I already own the matching top, it turned out all right in the end.
Never far from someone in purple, the encouragement along the way was fantastic. All credit to whoever provided the raucous junior Striders' appreciation chorus towards the end of the route - a red carpet and I'd have mistaken myself for a celebrity. Reassurance from Peter Brooks that yes, it's quite normal for legs to turn to jelly after a particularly relentless 'not-flat' moment gave me the encouragement to persist and not sidle off and pretend to be a supporter. The lovely Jo, who upped my pace nicely as I ran alongside her chatting about the madness of running, making me forget about my pounding heart for a while as we approached the last section of the course. A voice behind me telling me to "get a move on" as I approached the finish (so I did - thanks Peter) and then yells ahead of me to 'come on, big finish' (it was - thanks Alister) and crossing the line in a jubilant 55:38, before collecting an eclectic party bag, which included seeds to grow your own Christmas tree and a Prodigy-style, fire-print headband. Thanks to Angela and Andy for the lift, and to everyone who spared the breath to encourage me along the way. It means a lot to a newbie.
I love Striders, me.
|1||James Buis||Heaton Harriers||M||0:33:00|
|26||Sonia Morley||Tynedale Harriers||F||1||0:39:22|
|74||Mike Bennett *||MV50||0:43:18|
* Pending stewards' inquiry.
Derwentwater 10, Keswick, 7th November
In perfect, cool, sunny conditions 585 runners took to the centre of Keswick, only a stone’s throw from pencil museum (yes, really). Then, at 12.00, we set off for a gloriously scenic clockwise route around the lake. I was just getting over the flu so stayed near the back. But if you are keen on getting a good time, it’s worth being near the front. Keswick’s narrow streets make for a bit of a slow start. The race then follows a mostly flat four miles, followed by a steady climb to the races high point a bit after mile six. The rest of the course undulates until the downhill finish. None of this held back Rebecca Robinson (Kendal AC), who set a new women’s course record.
The wonderful weather had one great disadvantage. The course is not traffic free. So, day trippers, in danger of losing the use of their legs, were busy driving round the lake before stopping for sandwiches and to drain the contents of their thermos flasks.
I imagine, anyone who has done the half marathon earlier in the year will prefer that, as it goes around the lake anti-clockwise and you get the hills out of the way in the first half. Still, I’m happy to make both annual events. After all, you can’t really have too many outdoor shops, can you?
Sunderland Parkrun, Silksworth, 6th November
First places from Will Horsley and Keri Pearson made it a memorable day on Saturday at Silksworth.
Eight striders turned out to make us the first club to record 200 'runs'. We do need another 12 new runners to register and run however to put us in our rightful first club place ( hint, hint ! )
Alan and Denise Smith both recorded PBs - good to see Alan returning to fitness after IT band problems, and also to see Jacquie Robson on her first outing after a prolonged injury.
Alister had another strong run finishing in 21:43, his second fastest, and I managed to hold off Alan ( just, by 1 second ) on the run in to the finish up Puke Hill. Jan Young had a relaxed run out and took it nice n steady, saving her energy for the Three Tops fell race the following day.
But pride of place(s) has to go to Keri and Will. Keri was 1st Lady home in a time of 21:15 and Will led from the start to record a time of 17:26 and win the race by over half a minute ... excellent.