Race Reports, September 2010

Viking Chase, North Yorks Moors, 26th September

7.8m / 1800'

Jan Young

Cleveland Search and Rescue team must have been well pleased with the fee payers for the Viking Chase Fell Race. Good turnout against a chilly wind; first outing for buffs, thermal headbands, gloves, long sleeves. Starting and finishing at Lord Stones cafe/carpark, route headed west on a short circuit of Carlton Moor, back through the start, then off east, following Cleveland Way paved paths, ascending three more summits. Hasty descent off Hasty Bank, before turning west to follow lower track to Lord Stones finish.


I must be improving, as I passed runners, but not on CW paved path descents, sooooo greasy! Give me mud anytime! Tom R. ran, while Joan waved her camera and his boys cheered us on. Surprise box of chocs for me, oldest female grump! You've got to be in it to win it!

Note: Tom came 12th and was first MV40 Gadgie!

Truro Half-Marathon, 19th September

Shaun Roberts

Runner disproportionately pleased to receive spot prize. Truro? What the ... ? Well, I've been on me hols, doing some camping down in Cornwall, bit of surfing, bit of pasty-munching, a lot of sampling Cornish beer, as you do, and I noticed this race. Noticed it, as I took the precaution of searching for races before I went, to be honest. My knee's been giving me a lot of pain, stopping me from training for the Kielder Marathon, and I thought it was about time I gave it a bit of a test - so I gave this one a go ...

Quite a nice course, as it turned out - they have the same trouble getting police approvals here as in the rest of the country, so this was the first running on a new route, off the A-roads, partly on paths, cycle tracks ... and quite hilly.

There were two very long drags - obviously with some nice descents to follow, but by the Law of Sod, these were the bits that gave my knee problems. Can't complain, mind, as I got round in 1h37m, feeling quite good, and only a couple of minutes off getting a gadgie prize. So I really have no excuse now to stop me getting some long miles in. Nice goody bag for once - T-shirt, towel, shoe-bag spot prize, and a top-notch bottle of "Betty Stogs" beer.

Great North Run, 19th September

Alister Robson

This is the third time I've run this race and up until this time I've not really enjoyed it and have sworn, 'Never again.'. This time was different, I was properly fit, properly prepared and lastly, and I think this makes all the difference, a Strider. Going on the coach was excellent and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone next year, we arrived nice and early to a nice cooling drizzling rain.

Virtually as soon as we stepped off the coach there was a problem - Jo Porter had realised that she had forgotten her chip. I dropped my bag on the baggage bus and volunteered to go with her, which definitely worked to my advantage, if not hers, as it took my mind off the start of the race and ensured we didn't get soaked and stiff standing around for an hour before the race. Fortunately Jo's partner was kind enough to bring the chip through and we met up just after the Redheugh bridge. Chip safely collected we now had to try and get Jo's bag on the baggage bus - no problem we thought as it was only now just after 10am and the buses didn't leave until 10.10.

Unfortunately all the buses for her zone were now full and it was a bit of a dash to make the last minute baggage buses - which for some reason are the furthest from the start line..

Buzz Lightyear at the finish!Strider Marshalls.

Anyway heart rate suitably raised and warmed up we wished each other luck and went off to our respective pens. I was in pen D this year, having originally planned to run round with my wife in about 2 hours, but she got injured and as a result I was on my own, a little further back than the last time I ran in 2008, but this didn't prove a problem at all. I got off to a nice fast start and up until about 8 or 9 miles had no problems at all.

It was brilliant to see Jan cheering me on just after White Mare Pool at about half way and also great to see Dave Robson and the other fetchies at the Fetch point at about 9 miles. 9m to 12m was a bit of a struggle and I really was glad of the hard work I'd done in preparation, getting to the coast was fantastic except that it's always much further than it seems it should be from there - one banner proclaiming 400m to go seemed a particularly cruel joke as I'm sure I couldn't even see the finish from there..

Anyway I made it round in 1.44.59 according to my Garmin, although this was later rounded down to 1.45.40 officially, either way still a convincing half marathon and GNR PB. I quickly collected my medal, goodie bag and T-shirt (Slight disappointment - still no technical Tee, Brendan?), had my photo taken at the official point and then set off on my way to the Lookout pub. I was astonished to find I was first there! Anyway I made good advantage of that, and started to make up for lost time - I'd been dry for the previous 8 weeks, and gradually everyone came in. It was brilliant to see everyone, to meet people for the first time in some instances and hopefully I didn't embarrass myself too much.

I'll be honest, I don't remember a great deal about the coach journey back except for one thing. Andy, Is it possible to get a coach with an onboard toilet next year?

See you all next year I hope!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Haile Gebrselassie Ethiopia 00:59:33
1 Berhane Adere Ethiopia F 01:08:49
2557Sandra Graham F 01:40:43
4222Alister Robson 01:45:40
7830Barrie Evans 01:53:44
8393Jean Bradley F 01:54:43
8438Stef Barlow F 01:54:49
8978Dougie Nisbet 01:55:41
10826Angela Proctor F 01:58:38
12019Karen Chalkley F 02:00:32
12324Lindsay Tarn F 02:01:04
13460Joanne Porter F 02:03:04
14861Michelle Langley F 02:05:24
17399Kathryn Sygrove F 02:09:36
18863Andrew Glass 02:12:10
19215John Robson 02:12:45
20070Emma Detchon F 02:14:12
20157Jim Nicholson 02:14:21
20412Greta Jones F 02:14:48
21590Anita Clementson F 02:16:32
22802Margaret Thompson F 02:18:59
28948Alan Smith 02:31:04
38945George Nicholson 03:35:33
39306Diane Clavier F 03:54:10
39397John Everett 04:06:48

38,500+ finishers.

Simonside Fell Race, Thropton Show, 18th September

6.75M 1200' Cat BM

Dougie Nisbet

This was my third run of this quirky and entertaining fell race and a reassuringly half-decent one it was too. After what seems like an interminable series of lacklustre performances I was chuffed to have a faster than usual scramble across the boulders and heather of Simonside. There was the small matter of a little road race the following day that I was saving myself for but when you're careering down Simonside with a mad grin on your face and there's a catchable vest ahead, well, what's a man to do?

On arrival I checked the information board to check our billing; just after Children's Sports and just before the Wrestling. If I was quick I might just be back in time for the terrier racing. They're a good crowd at the Thropton Show and they make the fell runners feel a bit special, not just on departure, but on return too, with a generously sized 'runway' that takes up a decent chunk of the showfield. There's something quite buzzy about entering and leaving the showground via the main gate and feeling an integral part of the show rather than some bolted on extra.

Jan and Nina appeared on the start line, with Will running for NFR. I was in my DFR vest and recognised Denise, Matt and Ros also from DFR. I also spied my dependable pace setters Terry Hart and Eric Whittaker. Phil Green briefed us on the course details which like a lot of fell races, involved going away, going up something, going round the top of the something, and coming back again.

So down the road we went and soon hit the [optional] river crossing. Surprisingly deep and refreshing, though not into nadger numbing territory by a long way. Across a field or two then the settling down into the climb up to Simonside. I past Jan about half way up the climb which gave me a bit of a confidence boost and spurred me on up through the wood.

As you emerge from the wood with Simonside you face a route choice. On previous years I've taken the tourist route but this year I was a bit quicker and more confident and decided to follow all the bright young things heading directly up the crag. I was right on the heels of NFR's Terry Hart when he suddenly exited stage right and took the track towards the low road that follows the tourist trail to the top. Ha! He's taken the long scenic route, and I won't see him again in this race I thought ...

It's an exciting hand-over-hand scramble up through the heather and I could now see Ros ahead as we hauled our way over the crags to the summit. Although I've done this race twice before nothing ever quite prepares you for that tingle as you hit the top and take a sharp left, and you're suddenly running on the top of the world. But not for long, blink, and you'll miss the tapes telling you to turn left and go home. This race has a fine and noble tradition of runners going off-piste. The route is clearly marked, it's just that you have to concentrate very hard otherwise you'll easily overshoot the marker tapes. Running quite slowly helps.

If you read old race reports for this event you'll sense that the descent is FUN! A manic, slightly reckless, whiplashed bobsleigh ride down through the conifers. And an NFR vest ahead! I chose a point to overtake and as I shot past I did my best impression of the waiter in the opening credits of Top Cat. It was Terry Hart! How on earth did he get ahead of me? Is it true? If you take the low road and I take the high road, will you be at the top of Simonside afore me?

The run back to the showground is just a blast with a return splash through the river and final push up the lane (this year we were diverted around the sheepdog trials). Matt was there to cheer us on as I managed to close the gap on Ros, and Will and Nina were there at the gate to cheer me back into the showground and the surprisingly euphoric 'final approach' along the taped highway to the finish.

Handicap Final, 15th September

Peter Brooks

Twenty runners completed the 2010 handicap final on a cool, sunny September evening. Several runners managed to convincingly beat their handicap to finish around five minutes early. Next year, I won't be quite so generous with the handicaps.

Jan Young was first runner home with David Shipman, on his first handicap this year, first male runner to finish.

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has assisted me throughout the season with timekeeping, crowd control, security etc. the event couldn't take place without your help.

It has been a good year for the handicap with every event having a good turnout and quite a few runners taking part in all events.


1 Jan Young 45:00 18:35:00 19:15:27 40:27
2 Claire Readey 49:30 18:30:30 19:15:41 45:11
3 David Shipman 45:00 18:35:00 19:16:57 41:57
4 Lindsey Brooks 51:30 18:28:30 19:17:01 48:31
5 Tom Reeves 36:55 18:44:55 19:17:21 32:26
6 Emma Detchon 49:00 18:31:00 19:17:25 46:25
7 Alister Robson 37:40 18:42:20 19:18:24 36:04
8 Denise Mason 43:30 18:36:30 19:18:39 42:09
9 George Nicholson 41:00 18:39:00 19:19:39 40:39
10 Graham Arrowsmith 37:00 18:43:00 19:19:41 36:41
11 Paul Nolan 45:30 18:34:30 19:19:48 45:18
12 Conrad White 33:50 18:46:10 19:19:57 33:47
13 Austin Dwyer 38:40 18:41:20 19:20:30 39:10
14 Fiona Shenton 35:00 18:45:00 19:20:32 35:32
15 Joanne Porter 43:35 18:36:25 19:20:33 44:08
16 Richard Hockin 37:25 18:42:35 19:21:44 39:09
17 Dougie Nisbett 36:45 18:43:15 19:21:49 38:34
18 Andrew Thompson 35:10 18:44:50 19:22:05 37:15
19 John Hutchinson 36:10 18:43:50 19:22:25 38:35
20 Mike Bennett 33:00 18:47:00 19:24:53 37:53

Sedgefield Serpentine, 12th September


Alister Robson

This didn't get off to a great start when I discovered my Garmin was flat just before, but it turned out to be a lovely morning's run and I'm glad I chose this over Wallington 10K which was my other option as last race before the GNR. Parked up at Sedgefield cricket club and a very quick discussion with Dave Robson meant a last minute switch to trail shoes - good decision! It was a bit of a haphazard start streaming across the field and down to the underpass which takes you underneath the busy A177 and into Hardwick Country Park and then around the Serpentine lake that gives the course it's name. A bit twisty and turny and up and down around the lake and another then out on a longer straighter stretch out towards the back of the park and around the quad bikes. Nearly lost my shoe in one particular boggy patch. Struggling a little with pace without my Garmin I was reduced to asking the many course stewards, (mostly Venture Scouts we later learned), the time and how far was left - answers varied wildly, and nearly all told me it was just over a mile to go - even the guy just after half way! Out and round and finally back towards Sedgefield, cutting through Knotty Hill golf club, over at least one stile and a successful climb over one gate, back into the grounds of the hotel and round the lake again and back up through the underpass and into the funnel in what I later discovered was a creditable 50.50. Many other Striders there; Dave R, Geoff and Susan, Jo Porter, Emma and Chris that I saw. A nice little thermos coffee mug, mars bar, lucozade and pack of raisins was the reward. A nice BBQ raising funds for the aforementioned scouts led to a well deserved sausage buttie in the sunshine.

Parachute Regiment 10M, Catterick Garrison, 12th September

Jean Gillespie

Paras 10, The Ultimate 10 Mile Endurance Race... Stand By... Ready... Go

WOW, awesome, fantastic atmosphere, superb organisation, excellent course with lots of hills, dirty water and mud loads of tents selling running, fell and trail stuff for humans and dogs! Plenty to keep kids busy while you are running, big kids can play too! There was the para drop, zip lines and wipe out/gladiator style events. If you were not beat up enough after the run you could get knocked out by some big kid on the pendulum. The Red Devils dropped in after the event and we even got a fly past by a Vulcan and a Spitfire.

Have I mentioned that you had to run 10 miles as well? What more fun could a girl have on a Sunday morning? Unusually for me I didn't at any point of the race think or say "what am I doing here?" or "Why do I do this"? Perhaps it had something to do with the really fit, ripped, gorgeous muscles that I had to look at on the way around. Views they were awesome, but I didn't see much of the countryside.

I don't want to big this event up too much or it will become too difficult to get into and I will definitely be back for more next year. It is probably the best reason I have ever had to run!

Snape 10K, 11th September

Dave Robson

The medallioned Dave and Angela.

I travelled down with Angela who wanted a reasonably gentle race before the GNR. I also wanted to take it easy, so we agreed to run together.

We arrived at the village green with lots of time to spare. The entry on the day fee was only six pounds. As usual everybody was welcoming and friendly.

Faffed and chatted until the start and we kept up a good steady pace on the quiet roads, across the fields and along farm tracks. The route has no hills at all. When we were getting ready it was overcast and there was no need for sun cream. Just before the start the sun came out and it started to heat up quickly. When we got to Bedale and over half way, the clouds came from nowhere and we had a bit of rain and it cooled us down a bit. Then it warmed up again and the sun came out !

We had to cross a field used by cows at one point and Angela got attacked by clouds of flies and they seemed much more interested in her than me. I also noticed that Angela is a bit of a terror when it comes to catching runners. When they are in reachable distance the foot goes down and we speeded up quite noticeably !

We finished in 56min 28sec which we were both happy with.

This is a lovely run, a great route and the marshals and spectators were very friendly. A medal to all finishers and then we adjourned to the village hall for sandwiches and big wedges of home made cake

Good Shepherd, Mytholmroyd, 11th September


Paul Evans

The Good Shepherd is a relatively recent and low-key addition to the fell calendar, attracting this year a field of only around 50. Run from the Good Shepherd church in Mytholmroyd, it takes in a good chunk of the moorlands to the south of the Calder Valley and is, for a race with such a low turn-out, run over a very well thought-out course. Here's how it went for the lone Strider this year:

Start-CP1. Sunny start. Steady climb up a hardened track, through woods and then onto the open moors. Navigation not required as runners still bunched and route well-marked. Moors surprisingly wet. Legs feeling it by Stoodley Pike (CP1).

CP1-2. All downhill over the moors, with the weather turning and a bit of horizontal rain. Navigation still easy, as CP2 a corner of a large reservoir. First inkling that shoes not grippy enough, as I end up losing places and dignity on the descent.

CP2-3. Flat track round the reservoir, then up over trackless, tussocky hillside, peat hags and finally a sodden path to the cloven stone(CP3). Places gained back and I'm now about 9th, though one slide into a puddle does nothing for my white shorts.

CP3-4. Wet but flat stretch following obvious drain to where the path meets the Pennine Way. Due to standing water, much of this run along the top of a concrete waterpipe. On my own all the way to the descent to CP4 (Mankinholes), which is horrible - overtaken by runners who were hundreds of yards behind me on the flat, Inov8s like running in road shoes.

CP4-5. Cheeky climb back up to Stoodley Pike. Hard on the legs but appears to be harder on some of those who've just been past me. Relief to get to the monument again.

CP5-6-finish. Skies clear again for long descent through woods and pastures to road, then short, steep climb through woods to CP6. I miss a flag and get temporarily lost, along with two others. Re-directed by other runners who've found it and overtaken us, then downhill again, whipped by holly and nettles, still sliding everywhere. Final 1k a good chance to regain some lost places, as flat stretch along railway line, but not quite enough for top 10 place.

In summary, I really enjoyed this race and would probably have got even more out of it had I brought along the right equipment - entirely my error and responsible for me finishing looking as if i'd soiled myself. Definitely marked down for re-running next year.

Castleton Show 10K, 11th September

Jan Young

Nina claiming her prize.

A blue sky developed and the sun shone on Castleton Show, held on the cricket ground next to the River Esk, surrounded by the heather clad moorland. Sounds pleasant enough? As well as fudge, ferrets and flapjack, a 10k race was on offer, described as 'a road race for fell runners, a fell race for road runners'. The road race, passing over Dibble Bridge and the ford at Hob Hole, could be described as undulating; let's just say it was hilly! Good long strength sapping inclines. Lots of faces from Cleveland Hills fell race circuit. Nina had a good run, winning a bottle of wine, to go with the flapjack and home baked corned beef pie she bought at the show. That's her secret. I 'toiled' around the course; my new word for 'too overly inclined to leg it.' The course, not me. Recommended afternoon out and there's always lots of home baking and tea on offer!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Mike JeffriesNYMAC M 134.49
18 Aly Raw Bingley Harriers F45 141.34
50 Nina Mason F 748.19
67 Jan Young FV55 1654.13

76 finishers.

To the Ski Slope and Beyond

Sunderland parkrun, Silksworth, 9th September


Buzz Lightyear

Having left heavy rain in Durham , 3 Striders arrived to find it was a lovely sunny morning in Silksworth - Alan S, Alister R & new member - Buzz L.

Alan decided to take things very steady and ran with his daughter Amy, who was doing her first Parkrun. Good to see Alan back after all his injury problems this summer.

Alister looked lean, fit and raring to go for yet another PB, although he downplayed that idea. He finished only 5 seconds slower than his Parkrun PB - another great run.

Buzz needed to give the new Strider kit a test run before next week's Great North Run and worked on the principle that it was better to be laughed at by people he knows, rather than to get himself arrested whilst running on his own around the roads & lanes near his home.

Though he finished hot & steamy ( literally), he was pleased that all bits ( incl. wings ) stayed on . Striders are still ranked 3rd in the club list although as a club we have completed more runs (just) than any other club. We need some more new runners to come along.

Watergate 5K, 8th September

Alister Robson

Organised by Low Fell I only spotted this one a week or so before. Having become a bit of a 5K afficionado courtesy of Parkrun Sunderland I decided to travel up with a work colleague and do it. It was easy to find - just over the road from the Ravensdene Hotel, but a little harder to park, there seemed to be quite a few games of school footie at Emmanuel College nearby and eventually we had to park in the housing estate opposite. The route was two laps of a large pond (Parkrun deja vu?) starting on the gravel track next to the playing fields. Although it had rained quite heavily in the days before, the course was pretty dry (apart from the start where a few people splashed through large puddles) and it was the correct decision to wear road rather than trail shoes. It was pretty flat with only a couple of slight uphill sections and I was pretty chuffed with my time of 21.49. I saw Fiona briefly at the beginning and although the results showed I was only half a minute behind her, to be honest I never really got anywhere near. No goodie bag :-(

Tees Pride 10K, Middlesbrough, 5th September

Claire Readey...

Middlesbrough 10k was my third ever 10k, and I foolishly thought running should be getting easier by now. Clearly approaching a road race with even a hint of complacency is not conducive to running a good race. However, despite scorching sun and avoiding the water missiles lobbed by over-excitable children, I overcame the voices in my head telling me to walk at the 7k mark and managed to come in at 58:26. Fortunately, my children survived two pushchair misdemeanours due to Daddy being preoccupied with taking photos of the sweating crowds. I've made a mental note to never run in a t-shirt again, and will be ordering the striders livery for my next outing.

...and Alister Robson

This is my favourite 10K. It's fast, it's chip timed, it's relatively flat and it's well attended - great preparation for the GNR in a couple of weeks. Remembering to park outside the race route to avoid the road closures was a good start but we were still there very early and had time to feed the ducks in the park opposite the school. It was quite warm, a little windy and a bit of a rush to get in the right place for the start and with the loudest starting gun I've ever heard - right in my ear - we were off.

The first section is quite short up Acklam Road to the roundabout and then along Ladgate Lane past the municipal golf course, which is a nice section with a very slight climb abut with the wind at our backs. Downhill Marton Road past James Cook hospital was also going well and the bands along the way were sounding good to my ears too. Past halfway and the second water station and back along the long stretch. At this stage I felt really good and a possible sub 45 min was looking good, but towards the end of this long section 7Km in I started to slow a bit. Turning back up Acklam Road again just after 8Km and it gets really well supported again which gave me a spur and I kicked on back into the final stretch (which feels like it never ends and with some very badly paced speed bumps in the middle of the road) turning back into the school and sprinting for the line.

I finished in a race time of 46.19 and a chip time of 46.08 which is a season's best, although some way off the halcyon days of my all time 10K PB of 44.18 which I also set here in 2008. Excellent goody bag with a More Mile Technical T shirt in Durham City Harriers orange, a keyring and a medal, which always makes me feel special.

Tynedale 10M, Jelly Tea Race, 5th September

Kathryn Sygrove

"The Tynedale 10 mile race (fondly known as the "Jelly Tea" as you get both at the end!) was my pace-setting race for the Great North Run in 2 weeks' time. I had not run this race before but, like last year, had suffered a few setbacks in my Great North Run training, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to rectify the situation.

I was delighted to find other Striders there that I knew - Joanne Porter, Anna Seeley, Emma Detchon and Lynne Bargewell - and got some good race tips from other runners (wanted or not, I hasten to add!) on the bus from Ovingham to Hexham. The start was noticeable by the utter lack of signage, but Joanne P knew the way and got us there safely -some retail warehouse park with no fanfare! The weather was mild, but not too hot, and the cloud cover was very welcome.

Being me - ie chatterbox of the century - I soon found myself running and chin-wagging alongside two other ladies who were also doing a "practice run" for the Great North. We fell in well with each other's pace, and so passed the first half of the race in a very pleasant and chummy manner. At the 4-mile point, in Corbridge, my hubby and kids had beamed proudly at me, and the kids (Matt 10 and Rosie 13) had chased me along the street, after my teenage daughter had decided that street cred could go hang JUST this once!!!

My parting from my first-half chums occurred near the top of THAT ruddy monster hill out of Corbridge, which I blame wholeheartedly for my sore glutes this eve. We chivvied each other nearly to the top, then my need for water slowed me down - cannot run and imbibe fluids - and they floated into the distance.

At that point, I was about even-stevens with Joanne Porter. Thank goodness for Joanne! It took my legs another mile or so to relax after THAT ruddy hill, and although our chat was less frequent (I noticed a definite waning in energy after my body's expected stop at the 10k mark!) Joanne's presence kept me ticking over, with gentle encouraging beeps emanating from her Garmin every mile.

But my legs were starting to ache, and I needed to stretch them, so I parted company with Joanne just before 9 miles, for a brief odd-looking walk to relieve tight muscles. At that point, I envisaged having to walk the last mile, then another couple of ladies came up alongside me, chatted, and I bobbed along with them at a slightly slower, but encouraging pace. The last little hill I just had to walk up, so they trotted off a wee bit in front of me, mouthing kind words of "nearly there, keep going" behind them.

Sure enough, I had got my geography wrong. WHY I thought we would finish the race coming into Ovingham from the direction where my hubby had dropped me off -near Prudhoe -is a mystery. After all, we were running BACK from Hexham, ie the other way. DUH! Call it knackedness, call it female lack of direction (I am the worst navigator ever in the car!!) whatever, but I was SO thrilled to see that I was wrong, and the finish suddenly loomed right in front of me. Best of all, a little head appeared through the shrubbery at Ovingham Middle School, and my lovely son screamed out "MAAAM!" and ran pretty much to the finish with me. What a star!

The synopsis: (whaddya mean, why didn't I give you this at the start??!!) A very enjoyable run, but I found it quite tough after THAT ruddy hill sapped my leg energy. However, it was the perfect lead-in to the Great North Run, has given me confidence of my required pace, and I was delighted to get round in about 1 hour 36 mins, a minute (give or take seconds, I ain't got no Garmin) behind Joanne Porter. My first-half chums had finished in about 1 hr 33, came over and congratulated me, and we promised to seek each other out at the Great North Run if possible.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 PURVIS, Darren Birtley M 54:02
43 ROGERS, Stacey Heaton Harriers F 1:04:04
104 SHENTON, Fiona F50 1:10:52
158 SEELEY, Anna Durham City H F 1:14:52
447 PORTER, Joanne F35 1:35:56
458 SYGROVE, Kathryn F40 1:36:52
479 NICHOLSON, Jim V60 1:39:53
485 DETCHON, Emma F 1:42:21
501 BARGEWELL, Lynne F35 1:46:48

529 finishers.

Derwentwater Trail Race, 5th September


Dougie Nisbet

The Race

There were a bundle of Striders running in the Derwentwater Challenge and I jogged towards the Start area a few minutes before 1pm in the hope of grabbing a chat and a few photos. Unfortunately, the organisers had decided to start the challenge a few more minutes before 1pm than I had anticipated and all I saw were the receding backs of the runners as they headed up and away. So away I wandered lonely as a cloud for a while returning nearer to 2pm for the trail race. Anticipating that they might start this one early too I made sure I was lounging in the starting area in good time. Sure enough with the little hand not yet on 2 we were sent on our way.

I was curious how it'd feel doing this after the Grisedale Horseshoe the day before. Interesting. Very much like the second running phase of a duathlon just when you've hopped of the bike. Not unpleasant. Actually, yes, really quite unpleasant now I come to think about it. But I'd paid my (substantial) entry fee and made my choice. It's really a rather nice course and fiendish in a mischievous sort of way. I like the way it snakes up one side of the valley, hops over, then carries on up the other side. The terrain was much squashier than I expected but I was wearing some lovely new Salomon trail running shoes that I'd bought from that nice Mr Fisher earlier in the morning.

Towards the end of the race I was beginning to loosen up a bit and started making a few gains on the fast descent to the finish. I had to explain to the lass in front that if she hung around gassing to her mates she'd lose her place in the funnel and I'd get her time and she'd get mine. No tea, juice or sandwiches for the finishers (you'd have to do a fell race at a quarter of the price if you want that) but a cup of water and a grubby bit of Kendal mint cake. No sign of any Striders but a browse of the results showed good fast runs by everyone who did the Challenge.

Nina Mason

The Challenge

Heading over the A66 on Sunday morning the weather looked promising. Stef and I had entered the Trail Race – which has the same route as the Challenge but without prizes and starts an hour earlier. With Debs, Denise and Jane doing the Challenge we decided to switch races; a civilised race start of 1pm meant that we could head off to find a coffee shop – sustained by liberal helpings of Debs' delicious flapjack.

The race starts and finishes in Fitz Park, where we bumped in Barrie. For the cost of the race you get a well-organised check-in, baggage tent, technical t-shirt which you can collect before the race, markers and marshals throughout the course, and a PA system to encourage you at the finish. But the most impressive part is the route - setting off along the disused railway line out of Keswick, there are 8km of trails and boggy footpaths climbing up the valley by Glenderaterra Beck, then looping back following the Cumbrian Way, 6km along the contours of Lonscale Fell and a fast descent into Keswick.

The glorious weather made this a superb run, and it was great to see that the event's organisation and support (and Kendal Mint Cake) encourages a good mix of runners to get involved. For five ladies and Barrie - a great day out and enjoyable runs had by all.

Kielder Challenge, 4th September


Dave Robson

The alarm went off at 5 again. I struggled to get out of the house by 6 and then it was a fast drive to Kielder. Up the A1 which was nice and quiet, as was the A69 and then north on the rollercoaster which is the A68, those hidden summits are fun

Then through the fog to Kielder. The car park was much more crowded with double the number of entrants this year. I had run round Kielder twice before today and both times were close to 5 hours so I would have been very happy with 4hr 59min, but I wasn't holding out too much hope as I have done quite a few long runs recently.

The runners were starting first at 8.00 and as we gathered at the line, up came a woman in a midge net and said hi Dave. It was a Fetchie named Soph, who I had only met online before and we then ran the entire race together

I realised pretty early on that we were running up hills I had walked up before. If a hill was particularly long and steep Soph would say 'run as far as that tree'. At first I wasn't quite sure which one she meant and I usually guessed at a tree (there were a lot of them) somewhat nearer than she meant ! Then there would be a call of 'Come on Rave Dave' (which I haven't been called since school ). Then there was the singing, I am not going to forget both of us singing Yesterday as we crossed the dam - neither is anyone who heard us !

I had a bit of an equipment failure. I took a bum bag, the same one which had lasted most of Grimsthorpe. It had one working bottle holder left, but after about 8m the bottom of the only bottle holder broke and the bottle fell through . I had also noticed that my insect repellent spray had leaked all over the bag contaminating everything in there including my shot blocks and s!caps. I also smelt of insect repellent (we didn't have any problem with midges though !) and my companion regularly took the mickey out of me ! The bum bag ended up in the bin at the end of the race.

The fog lifted after about an hour and half and it started to heat up a bit. Kielder and the the Lakeside Walk are just lovely and there was only a light cooling breeze. The undulations are tough though, 2000 ft of ascent apparently.

We finished in 4hr 25min which is an incredible time for me on that course ! Totally unexpected and it was down to Soph, I could not have done that without her.

Then it was off to the pub for food, drink and chat. A lovely day.

Grisedale Horseshoe, Glenridding, 4th September

10M 5000' AM

Dougie Nisbet

A Grisedale view It was a gorgeous morning in Glenridding as I queued at the 'quiet' Car Park ticket machine (thanks Geoff!) and decided how many hours I wanted to buy. Better safe than sorry. Five hours should cover it. It's only 10 miles after all. Back to the car to find Will and Casper had arrived and it was time for the handover. Casper, meet Roberta, Roberta meet Casper. Will was hoping to have a good crack at this race and Casper was unlikely to attack the more technical sections of Swirral Edge with quite the same agility or enthusiasm as Will would. With leads and poop bags handed over, we were all, in our different ways, ready to go.

An amiable gathering around the village hall during which, at some point, I think the race was started, and away we headed into the fells. I've done this race before so was under no illusions about what awaited me. But it's amazing how a year can soften one's memory. As we hauled ourselves up Mires Beck it all started coming back to me. Ah yes, I remember now. This race is really really hard. I was swapping places occasionally with NFR's David Coxon who had started the race mp3-cladded, but now seemed to have other things on his mind.

The weather was very different to last year with clear visibility in all directions, which meant navigation was no fun. Up Catstye Cam and along Swirral Edge, clear and sharp as a knife. I preferred it when it was cast in mist and you couldn't see the climbs ahead. Hot on the heels of David and up onto Helvellyn Ridge, then ... where the hell did he go? It was, admittedly, very busy. There were people out walking and eating sandwiches and drinking coffee and all sorts of nonsense. A very different scene to last year. I appeared to be all alone and I hot-footed it southwards in the hope I might find someone to chase. I bumped into a rather cheery runner walking back the way we'd come, and with a nonchalant wave and a satisfied smile he said "can you tell them that No. 96 has retired?", and suddenly he was gone.

By the time I hit the Grisedale Tarn checkpoint I was convinced that David Coxon had fallen of a cliff and was lying in a pool of blood somewhere and passed on my concerns to the marshalls. After the checkpoint another runner waited for me and asked me if I had the faintest idea which way to go as he hadn't a clue. I pointed up, rather pointedly, to St Sunday Crag, and he got the message. He was waiting for me again at the top, and this time I pointed down, towards the ford, and I messed around for a bit trying to find the famous bit of scree that some say leads to a portal that magically takes you down a fast way to the valley floor. No joy, so I just aimed for the gap in the trees and hoped for the best. Not a bad descent but, as I feared, when we hit the track it was detour time (taking the overall distance to over 12 miles), back up the valley to another checkpoint on a bridge before the run in to the final assault.

I was now finding the whole thing pretty grim. Last year it was just a long gruelling but ultimately satisfying test of endurance. This year, something was different. I was really miserable. Perhaps it was the heat, or more likely, I was tackling an event that I was not really fit enough to do justice. I shall treat the race with more respect next year. Across the bridge and a bit of paddle in the beck, and a long drink. I was taking huge handfuls of water to drink and I'm not usually one to get thirsty during races. The waddling had to stop and I stumbled on to the final climb. This went on, as I thought it might, for absolutely ever. At the top the marshalls, who must have been there for hours, offered me a sweet. After some chat it transpired that it wasn't a jelly baby but actually a wine gum, so I declined. Jelly Babies had all gone.Damn the fast runners!

Now just the final descent and a lacklustre shuffle to the line and I was absolutely done. A glance at the results board showed David Coxon had been in for some time, clearly the results of some devellish site-to-site transport from the top of Helvellyn to Dollywagon Pike. I asked Roberta how she and Casper had bonded and she said "Absolutely fine, he walked beautifully on his lead as long as we went exactly where Casper wanted to go." Will finished in 8th position overall and a fair bit faster than the year before. With the detour and extra checkpoint my time worked out pretty much the same as last year, but this year with a bit more sunburn and a lot more humility. Just a short drive now to a comfy hotel bar and bed and a few beers to get in the mood for the Derwentwater Trail Race the following day.

Exhibition Park 5K, Elswick Cup, 1st September

Alister Robson

I hadn't done this for a couple of years and up until a few weekends ago this was my 5K PB, so I was looking forward to this one. The weather was fine and dry but not too hot and I felt pretty confident. Missing the turn off on the central motorway for Claremont Street car park raised the heartbeat nicely and a quick tour of Newcastle City centre and it's associated bus lanes, no car lanes, traffic lights reminded me why I try never to drive there. Anyhow arrived still with plenty of time and collected my number from the cafe. I got off to a decent if slightly fast start along past the cafe, the military transport museum and the lake and then settled down to the long flat stretch around the town moor.

At the far corner coming back into the Exhibition Park I managed to pick off a few stragglers and by the time we turned round past the tennis courts and for another lap of the lake I was flying. I managed a sprint over the line and was overjoyed to have a new 5K PB of 21.38. A decent goody bag with the now ubiquitous More Mile technical tee, a banana, some apple juice and a Running Diary. No other striders I could see I'm afraid.