Race Reports, October 2011

The Chris Hills 10 in 10

Newcastle Town Moor Marathon, 30th October


Andrew Thompson...

I was really hyped up for this race, I planned to smash my PB I set last year here and finish the challenge in a blaze of glory. It didn't happen but I gave it a go, I crossed halfway at 1hr 42 and felt good until 20 miles but I kind of knew that adrenalin alone wasn't going to carry me over the line regardless of how much I wanted it to. It didn't matter, what made the day special was that 10 Striders, (including two marathon virgins) a huge fetch gathering and numerous faces from the marathon circuit I've dipped my toe in recent months were running. Added to that were Liz Hills (Chris's mum), Al, Phil, Jeff H, my kids and dad as well as a most vocal fetchpoint at the bandstand on the moor for moral support. For the first lap I was trailing some guy to try and keep up the blistering pace I had gone off at, he must have thought I was some kind of socialite as every third step was an encouraging shout, dynamic over the fence hi5, fist pump, photo or a note perfect rendition of "you've lost that loving feeling" (thanks Phil...) it was like nothing else I've been involved in. Big well done to especially to John, Danny and Sue for getting out of their comfort zones and going the distance, and Paul E flew round the course—his first marathon in years done in a great 3hrs 10 finishing in 11th he had an exceptional run. Is that the fastest Strider marathon of the year?

Hallelujah! So with that the challenge has finished and everything seems to have fallen into place nicely and all that was set out to do has been done: I'm pleased that Liz and the rest of the Hills family liked, and got behind, the challenge. Nobody should have to go through what she and her family did and hopefully this, 7 years down the line, was a suitable gesture to let them know that Chris continues to be remembered.

Some extra pleasing news was that (thanks to a donation from Captain Brooks yesterday morning) the fundraising passed the team total of £5000 and I'm super pleased and a little overwhelmed also that about 60 people, including loads of Striders, turned out for the post-race party. Hopefully a great time was had by all.

One thing I wasn't overjoyed at was when the microphone was passed to me at the party... Had I been forewarned (Liz had a speech written down already so must have been in the know) about this I probably wouldn't have turned up so it was probably a wise move to spring it on me. Anyway what seemed like hours later when I put the microphone down with shaky hands and sweating brow I got a tap on the shoulder and there was a rather angry looking queue of people led by my wife who I had forgotten to thank... sorry!!! Poor old Anna has the thankless task of being a running widow for the last few years while doing a nightshift job and looking after our 2 kids while I have been gallivanting round the country doing what I enjoy. Also involved are putting up with the incessant mood swings that go with marathon running and listening to me harp on about it all the time. So BIG thanks to Anna. That should get me out of the dog house, for a while anyway. One dog house I will never get out of is with my dear mother who joined team 10 in 10 and did 5 marathons since April along with a lot of fundraising too so big well done and thanks to her for helping. Although she prefers to be a wallflower, she is a merciless fundraiser!

The 10 races have been great fun, even the hard slog ones I have taken good things from. The standout race for me was Coniston—number 5. Everything about the preparation went wrong-camping with kids didn't work for us first time round... added to that it was the hottest weekend of the year with very little water on a brute of a course. The first pint at the end was well earned, which makes it all the better. Close behind that was race number 2 in Caythorpe, Lincolnshire, where Richard Hall and I got lost and ran nearly 30 miles—that was the moment that I realised that sometimes conquering what is thrown at you along the way is the achievement rather than the time it takes. Number 6, the Dovedale Dipper was another long haul to the Peak District (with Gibbo Gibson this time) and it was the only one that I've felt I didn't do myself justice on but it was a hell of a route! As an add on was the GNR leading a gallant band of Tetris blocks which was something different, we (including super Strider Jean Gillespie) raised well over £1000 on the back of that day which was a great fundraising boost to set up the final straight of the challenge.

Life dictates that I can't make it to the club as often as I used to but the support and encouragement I have received from everyone has been a big help. Having people who run harder, faster and further around us mere mortals is a great incentive to improve. Also the new Parkrun has given a weekly incentive to test and better oneself when otherwise training may go stale which has been a big motivator recently as well. Furthermore there are the dedicated team of webmasters/nerds (arf!) who run a website to rival the BBC herself—you email in a report and an hour later, regardless of time of day, it is there and online. I'm sure Colin doesn't actually live in the wilds of the Dales, but is actually locked in a broom-cupboard somewhere under Maiden Castle waiting for a report to come in. Anyway, it all just goes to show that we are indeed members of a most super club.

A question that the end of one challenge brings is where to go from there... the ultra-path looks tempting though so does bettering my marathon time. At the pub I was just running through some options and setting up the coming years races when I saw poor old Anna with her head in her hands. She thought it was over! No, my love, just getting started I'm afraid... better put my blanket back in the dog house, I'm not out of it yet.

... and Danny Lim

This was my first marathon and I was really apprehensive about the whole affair. I'd never felt this nervous pre-race since my first Great North Run back in 2002. We gathered at the cafe on the Town Moor. I had the chance to meet up with fellow striders with the usual pre-race photo. The start was refreshingly free from fan-fare. Unlike the GNR, there was no silly aerobics warm-up, no cheesy music or DJ. Just a man with the starting whistle.

So far so good ... The course is 5 convoluted loops around the town moor. I believe that many runners, myself included, started off way too fast. I was pacing myself for a sub-5 hour finish. I knew from last years results, many runners that had finished beyond 5 hours. I was keeping on-pace but I was was one of the last few runners. Angela, Dave and Sue were only 20 seconds behind me. They were having their own little party at the back, whooping and cheering with every marshall they passed. As I passed Flip who was marshalling, he joked, "only 25 miles to go". Thanks!

All the marshalls were extrememly supportive and would cheer us enthusiatically everytime I passed. And there were marhalls every few minutes of the course. Though I usually run with music, I didn't need to wear my headphones because, they provided all the encouragement needed. Also, there were many points where the slower and faster runners could see each other and we would give each other cheers of encouragement. I had at times seen Dougie, Andrew and John on the course. Even the Fetchies (from Fetcheveryone.com) had set up their own fetch-point at the band stand and I got lots of cheers from there too.

The first and second laps flew by pretty quickly. I was feeling stong and looking at my Garmin, I was way ahead of schedule and very optimistically calculated a finishing time of 4:30.

On the third lap, things started getting tougher. I was forced to jog at a much slower pace. "This marathon is a serious distance!" I thought to myself. As I passed the 20 mile marker, I was in terra incognita. I'd never run this far before and wondered what monsters awaited me. The final lap was by far the hardest. I had stopped to walk for a water break and Alister cajoled me for walking, "Come on Danny, I can't take a photo of you walking!". So grumbling under my breath, I plodded on. Another mile later and my right calf then my left thigh had started to cramp up. This was very worrying as I had never experienced this in a race before. I resorted to alternating between walking and jogging. Even Flip with his dodgy dancing and singing couldn't keep me going!

I had hit the proverbial wall. But I don't think I pushed through it, but more like staggered past it in a feeble sort of way. I was hurting everywhere. My heart and lungs seemed to be exhausted. My arms felt numb. My legs had mutinied. I only had willpower to keep me going. Walk and jog. Walk and jog. Walk and jog. Eventually, I was on final approach to the finish. And what a relief it was to hear striders cheering me home!

This is the friendliest race I have ever ran to date and I would definitely recommend it to anyone including newcomers. A big thank you to all the marshalls and organisers for a fantastic race. Also, thank you Striders and Fetchies for cheering us on that day. I'm glad I did it. But I think I will retire from marathon running for the forseeable future!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Peter Stockdale UK Net Runner M 1 2:55:38
11Paul Evans M 3:10:15
30Rachel Chinnery Tynedale HarriersFV45 1 3:25:54
63Andrew Thompson M M 3:51:36
68Anna Seeley F 3:55:38
78John Hutchinson MV55 4:06:28
100Dougie Nisbet MV45 4:32:48
105Dave Robson MV60 4:38:44
114Danny Lim M 4:57:14
118Angela Proctor FV35 5:06:28
125Margaret Thompson FV60 5:27:37
127Susan Jennings FV45 5:33:59

127 finishers.

Guisborough Three Tops Fell Race, North Yorks Moors, 30th October


Shaun Roberts

1955 Peterbilt 281 tanker truck Steven Spielberg's debut film was called "Duel", and featured a lone terrified motorist being chased and stalked by the unseen driver of a tanker. Hell of a film, full of suspense, yet all through the action, you never get to see the face at the wheel of the pursuing truck. Well, next time I see that one, I'll be able to picture that driver ... and it'll be Nina Mason.



Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! She's still coming ...
We set off up the long drag of a start on road, track, woodland road, then a bit of a muddy climb before finally emerging onto some flat stuff at Highcliff Nab. Nice bit of downhill, and we emerged onto the open moor, and headed west towards Roseberry Topping. No sign of Nina yet. Perhaps the Harrier League had taken its toll from the day before. Then a choice between slippy paving stones or slippy mud to get down to the base of RT, before the slog up it. Then you retrace your steps for a bit before descending ... ah, there she is. Not too far behind, in fact.

My usual hesitant descent, and across to below the Hanging Stone and up the hill. You shout your number at the marshall at the Stone, and again retrace your steps ... yikes, she's getting closer! Step on it. Up the hill, back across the moors, through the odd stile ... "there you go, Nina" ... getting very, very close now. Legged it through the bracken to the trig point, and back into the woods. Must surely have put some distance between us now. Did my best to do a fast descent through the woods, and then absolutely shifted ass down the final stretch of road. Glanced at my Garmin, which said 5m48s-miling ... surely she can't keep up with that? Crossed the 'line' (Dave Parry), turned round to see ... Nina, just behind me.

Bloody good morning's racing!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Mike Fanning Borrowdale AC MV40 1 1:05:21
9Kay Neesam New Marske HarriersFV40 1 1:19:24
85Shaun Roberts MV55 5 1:30:55
87Nina Mason F 4 1:30:58

147 finishers.

Grand Prix Race. Mud King/Mud Queen Race.

Harrier League, Farringdon, 29th October

Mudman & Mudwoman

Twenty six Striders ran at Farringdon on Saturday in the 2nd HL fixture of the season. There was a bit more mud than at the first fixture and the races continue to be blessed with huge fields (a record for the senior women at 153?) although those blessings can be mixed as the spike marks in my foot testify!

The nine women, short of a couple of regular 'counters' because of illness and injury, performed bravely with Nina powering home as first Strider and Kathryn Sygrove, making her HL debut, running well to be Striders' third counter. The big field made for some close quarter running but all our 'girls' made it round safely. Results are provisional but show Striders as finishing in 6th place (from 10) in Division 1.

All ready for the off - what can possibly go wrong? The men's team had a fine outing with 17 runners there at the gun although it was 15 that 'broke the tape' at the end. Once again we were led home by the evergreen Phil Sanderson, running from the medium pack, supported by three debutants: Neil Sleeman (third Strider home), Stewart McConnell and Martin Wilson. The huge field (around 370) meant the first lap was a bit congested and faster pack runners had to fight their way through but it all added to the experience! It appears that the message did not get around all the clubs that the course was three laps plus a short loop at the end. As a result number of runners (but no Striders!) failed to complete the final loop so again results are provisional. Nonetheless it appears that Striders had one of their best days for years finishing 4th in Div 2 which appears to leave us in 5th place for the season. Well done to the Farringdon 15!

As most of you will know Harrier League is organised by volunteers lot least among them Vicki Thompson and Simon Smith. We owe a lot to these dedicated people so I think we can overlook the odd 'communication breakdown' or that results might take an extra couple of days to finalise - don't you?!


1 HARDY, Dan Shildon AC 33:28
24 SANDERSON, Phil 37:06 *M
58 GARLAND, James 38:41
80 SLEEMAN, Neil 39:23
81 LLOYD, Jerry 39:24
138 REEVES, Thomas 40:58
204 DAVIS, Geoff 43:04
235 WHITE, Conrad 44:16
236 MCCONNELL, Stewart 44:17
289 HOCKIN, Richard 47:15
295 ROBSON, Alister 47:33
298 HALL, Richard 47:40
316 HEPPELL, Nigel 48:43
340 WILSON, Martin 51:27
350 NICHOLSON, George 53:33
352 ROBSON, Dave 54:16

*M Medium pack - 2m30s handicap.
*F Fast pack - 5m handicap.

373 finishers. Men's team 4th of 11, Division 2.

The Striders Women, looked over by the Purple Angel of The Apocalypse.
1 JESSETT, Amy Newcastle Uni 20:34
24 MASON, Nina 26:35
54 DAVIS, Susan 27:32
68 SYGROVE, Kathryn 27:44
80 LAYTON, Roz 28:05
98 PERCIVAL, Jules 28:56
110 LAMB, Liz 29:38
115 JAMES, Corrina 29:50
123 BRADLEY, Jean 30:26
140 TINDALE, Victoria 32:44

153 finishers. Women's Team 6th of 10, Division 1.

Border Reivers Half Marathon, RAF Spadeadam, 26th October


David Catterick

Unusually for day races this is always held on a Wednesday, more surprising was the number of runners who could get the day off! Heading off from Durham at 8.00am with Alister driving and Phil clutching coffee we made steady progress towards the A69. Shortly after passing an upsidedown crane part blocking the road (we couldn't work out how that could have happened) the Brass Monkey emails started arriving with the news that entries had opened at 8.00am, 2 hours early. After 15 minutes getting through security and showing passports we were in, the sun was out and internet access was missing so no Brass Monkey entries for us. George, Paul, Barrie and Karen arrived shortly after us.

For some, a gruelling experience ... We made our way to a heated gym (with hot showers) to get ready and be briefed. This included telling us that there would be some explosions taking place that day but not to worry! Photos were to be restricted to the start and finish. The route would be tarmac at the start and end with the remaining 10 miles on forest/moor track. There were around 100 runners including RAF personnel. RAF Bases in the UK were invited to submit teams with a top prize of £750 for their base's welfare fund.

At 11.00am the starter pointed his very realistic looking gun skywards and we were off. The route was, at first, uphill with ok gradients. That was fine I thought - at least there would be some downhill. At around 2 miles we turned off the tarmac and headed into woods for some 'up and down' then more 'up and down' across the moors. On turning bends you'd be faced with such things as an old tank or missile launcher. Alister was even able to identify an old Blue Steak missile launch site. Despite the warning the explosion still came as a surprise followed by an ominous cloud nearby. Not mushroom shaped so that was ok (I think).

By the last mile it was really warm, sunny and downhill all the way to the finish where Paul was waiting who had come in 6th - well done. Before you knew it we were all at the finish hot and sweaty. Did I mention the hot showers. Then it was off to the mess for free food ( no chips this year George mentioned disappointedly ) and then the Junior Ranks Bar for refreshments, a brief presentation by the RAF charity RAFA and Prize giving by the stations C.O.

'You will line up here.' What a great way to spend a Wednesday: fantastic scenery, very relaxed atmosphere, well-organised event, good company, a bit of military history, even lovely weather and all for a good cause. All this for only £12 – This included a technical T- shirt, medal and food. I'm sure that through word of mouth numbers will just grow. 10/10.

Sherman Cup & Davison Shield, Temple Park, 22nd October

Mudman & Mudwoman

New banner. Nineteen Striders were in South Shields yesterday to represent the club at the above cross country event - seventeen ran the race while two cheered them on!

A very strong men's team, led home by Phil Sanderson, finished 11th out of 25 teams in what was a large field for the Sherman Cup (279). The women, led home by Mudwoman herself, finished 14th out of 18 teams in what was again a very large field for this event (120).

Just like Cramlington two weeks ago it was a 'nice' day if a bit windy with a distinct lack of mud!

The HL proper starts up again next week so lets see as many of you there as possible (please bring your own pins as the Mudpeople stock is now exhausted!).






Men - Sherman Cup
1 MCLEOD, Ryan Tipton Harriers 29:00
16 SANDERSON, Phil 32:30
38 HORSLEY, Will 34:19
85 GARLAND, James 36:42
117 GIBSON, David 37:48
135 REEVES, Thomas 38:33
158 DAVIS, Geoff 40:02
187 ROBERTS, Shaun 41:38
198 WHITE, Conrad 42:05
225 HALL, Richard 44:09
264 ROBSON, Dave 48:02
272 SMITH, Alan 51:06

279 finishers. Men's team 11th of 25.

Debs shows us her ... err, number.
Women - Davison Shield
1 WILKINSON, Sarah Morpeth Harriers 23:26
45 DAVIS, Susan 29:18
57 GODDARD, Debs 29:50
77 LAMB, Liz 31:29
79 BARLOW, Stef 31:38
81 BRADLEY, Jean 31:43
110 PROCTOR, Angela 35:11
115 CLEMENTSON, Anita 36:42

120 finishers. Women's Team 14th of 18.

Durham parkrun, Maiden Castle, 22nd October


Alister Robson

Hi everyone and thank you so much for making Durham parkrun #11 our biggest and best so far. Way back in February when David Ardill and I first decided that we'd like to have a parkrun in Durham we never dared to dream that we would have an attendance of 100, never mind the frankly mind boggling 240+ we had this week. We (the volunteer organising team) are so proud of everything you've helped us to achieve in such a short period of time. Special thanks to all of our volunteers, without which there wouldn't be a Durham parkrun.

At the finish. It was great and inspiring to see so many 50 and 100 club T shirts and to meet Andy Fisher, the guy who kicked off parkrun in the North East, with the first event in Middlesbrough over three years ago. Also Sharon Caddell, who was so encouraging and helpful when we set up our own event earlier this year. Some of you may also have seen the van in the car park that belongs to Sharon Gayter. This truly inspiring lady is a regular at Middlesbrough parkrun but also an internationally recognised ultra and and endurance runner. She's very kindly offered to host a book signing for her autobiography 'The Clock Keeps Ticking' after one of our events and we'll arrange that hopefully once the building works are complete at Maiden Castle.

Next Saturday, run #12 on 29th October will be our first Halloween themed parkrun. Please dress up appropriately. Although this is not compulsory, it would be amazing to see as many of you as possible dressed as Ghosts, Vampires, Witches and Wizards etc. How great are the photos going to be and how puzzled are innocent onlookers going to be? This is a fantastic opportunity for us to publicise Durham parkrun as a great, fun event. We will also have some prizes for the best costumes as judged by the organising team.

Newcastle Stampede, 16th October


Jan Young

Nine Striders joined 900 participants to squelch their way through the BHF Newcastle Stampede on sunny Sunday 16th Oct, a race/ fundraiser over a (short) 10K Royal Marines obstacle course. Nina showed intent, toe on the line in her start wave, forcing Cal into action to keep her in sight. Experienced mudlarks Jane and Denise trotted off together. Sue J, Angela and Andrea intent on heaving each other over hay bales, finished off with a night on the toon! They may be there still! Lindsay B enjoyed the challenge, while Peter B and Tony Y caught us on camera and cheered us on.

That is a serious amount of mud Jan's trying to climb out of there! The Stampede is great fun, recommended, as Striders are well used to lots of water, mud and slime!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Paul Turnbull M 28:03
11Rachel Short F 1 31:30
130Nina Mason F 13 43:08
217Cal Young M 47:01
297Denise Mason F 51:27
299Jane Ives F 51:28
445Jan Young F 1:01:04
625Lindsey Brooks F 1:12:37
684Alyson Kitching F 1:19:47
685Angela Proctor F 1:19:48
686Sue Jennings F 1:19:48

743 finishers.

Levisham Saltergate Gallows, North Yorks Moors, 16th October

11M, ideally.

Shaun Roberts

Now modelling light-blue slinky undergarments ... but what the hell's happening to my shorts??? Phil Green (NFR) is not impressed, whatever. It's a hellova long way to get to this race, the second in the NEHRA Winter Fell Series, which starts in the dinky little village of Levisham - and only Dougie and I made it down there this time. The start has been moved from the car park overlooking the Hole of Horcum, and this has lengthened the race, now making it eleven miles long. So was it worth the long drive down? Absolutely!

There's a bit of an uphill drag to get out on the open moor, then past Dundale Pond, and over to touch Skelton Tower, before a nice run over the moors. Here I met up with a lovely-looking little group of Highland cattle, who, I find, are not normally any bother at all, but on this occasion, one of them got a bit alarmed, and started doing comical little jumps into the air. Err, and then starting walking towards me - I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, I thought ... I legged it into the long heather, thinking "Sod this for a game of soldiers!" [ There may have been better things to think ... where the hell does that one come from? ]. Then on - adrenaline levels perhaps up a bit - and down the side of a ravine, through Pifelhead Wood, and across the NYM railway line before a lovely flattish section.

Off to pester some more runners ... Now something happened, several times over, that makes fell-running the wonderful sport that it is. Something unnoticed, imperceptible, but that is still going to cost half a dozen runners, including me, about seven minutes each. We missed a junction. Each of us failed to notice a turning, off and up into woods, carrying on oblivious until the front-runner turned back, saying he'd hit a dead-end. Doh! We were cursing Dave Parry, I can tell you, saying none of us had noticed a turnoff ... until running back we saw the six-foot pole covered in marker tape, extra tape showing the path ... we couldn't believe how we'd missed it!

Dave calls for even more wine to be brought forth ... Anyway, we'd run the best part of a mile extra by now ... we climbed up into the wood, up muddy steps, and then had another long fast bit back westwards, but this time with the unexpected bonus of having lots of runners to overtake! The latter parts of a fell race can be a bit of a procession, but not this time - lots of traffic, plus a sort of 'race within a race' between those of us who'd lost all this time.

Down to the railway line again, up Angel's Staircase, a bit more moor and a final little climb before a lovely run back home over open moor, in what was turning out to be lovely sunny weather.

Good selection of cakes washed down with tea in the village hall, then the usual and excellent distribution of prizes in the form of wine from Dave afterwards.

Definitely worth the drive!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Stuart Carmichael City of Hull HarriersMV40 1 1:16.03
45Shaun Roberts MV55 2 1:46:20
68Dougie Nisbet DFR MV45 10 2:02:15

82 finishers.

Abingdon Marathon, 16th October

Dave Robson

Dave RI had heard a lot of positive things about this event. It turned out to be well organised, almost completely flat, the running conditions were great (overcast and no wind) and there were supportive marshalls. There was also lots of people I knew from the fetcheveryone.com, they formed over 10% of the entrants. It would have been a great course to go for a fast time, but there was no way that I was in any shape to do this, this was my seventh marathon in less than a month. The aim had to be just to get round.

The course was roughly a figure 8 with the bottom loop covered twice. I found the top part the more scenic, but sadly we only covered that once. There was a bit of an incline on the bottom loop but it was eased by someone who had done some pavement writing in chalk. It listed some famous runners in Tour de France style and encouraging phrases. Some fetchies who weren't running had come quite a way to form a Fetchpoint, a support point for those running from fetcheveryone.com. It was in the bottom half of the course, so the runners passed it twice. I was counting down the miles to the Fetchpoint as I needed all the support I could get. They were noisy and supportive and kept me going.

I had started at ten minute mile pace and I managed to keep that up until mile 15, when I started to slow. I was hoping for a kick of energy at 17m like last week, but nothing happened. It did finally come, but not until 24.5m, a bit late, but I did enjoy the last 1.7m! 4hr 34min 32sec in total.

The 10th Durham parkrun!

Durham parkrun, Maiden Castle, 15th October


Shaun Roberts

... and they said it'd never last!

A turnout of 189 runners on a cool autumn morning, 59 of whom were first-timers, shows how good a start the Durham Parkrun has gotten off to. The trackside seemed packed at 9 o'clock, as the sun started to take the cold edge off the air. There was quite a sprinkling of Striders in the field once you got your eye in - a few running incognito - and also several marshalling, but also offering support on the way round the course, for which many thanks!

On your marks ... I thought I'd give this run another go, as last time I finished 14 seconds over the 20-minute mark, and thought if I pushed it a bit harder there was a chance of losing those seconds. I started pretty sharply, as is my custom, but was overtaken by Matt whilst still on the track. Onto the grass, which was a bit on the slippy side this time ... kept up a good speed, though ... but I started to slow down a bit towards Baths Bridge, into a bit of a breeze. Managed to sneak a quick look at the watch, though, and there was still a chance, so got my head down, and got under 20 minutes with four seconds to spare, so was well-chuffed.

Matt had come in a second over 19 minutes, also a new PB. Andrew Thompson followed me in, then a steady stream of Striders came home - 17 in all. New Parkrun PBs for Debs, Jean and Jayne as well. Dave Robson came in in last place in 58 minutes ... 'cos he was sweeping! I'd wondered why he was in a yellow bib, after telling me he was running this one ...

SO: Congratulations and many thanks to Alister and his team for continuing to organise this splendid event, which is clearly going from strength to strength ... and also, once again, thanks to all the marshalls out on the course.

Liverpool Marathon, 9th October


Dougie Nisbet

Before the off ... About one week and forty five minutes after Loch Ness I found myself shoulder to shoulder with Lindsay and Stef at the Liverpool Marathon. This was its first run in 18 years so teething problems were to be expected. It was a curious affair as one by one people got bored waiting and drifted away from the starting pens and started wandering about. The poor organisers had got everyone psyched up and ready, then nothing. Just waiting for the nod from the police to say we were good to go. We did go, eventually, and before we even crossed the start line Stef and Lindsay were already away in front of me.

I wasn't expecting miracles just a week after the Loch Ness marathon and I wasn't to be disappointed. At mile 3 the legs began to hurt and my heart sank. Mile 3! My heart was right to sink, as my discomfort got steadily worse, and before we'd even got 10 miles I knew that this had not been a good idea. My initials are not Dave Robson or Eddie Izzard, what was I thinking! Had I learned nothing from doing exactly the same thing last year with a Loch Ness - Kielder double?

We passed through some interesting places and the crowds were an eclectic mix. Some were in their curlers and pink dressing gowns with the kids picking up and throwing back the discarded water bottles, while others were more formally dressed and looked like they'd been up a bit longer. I felt that this could turn out to be an interesting day. Onto New Brighton for a long loop along the river before returning through a series of loops and turns before the approach to the tunnel.

We descended into the Queensway Tunnel, or the Male Urinals to give it its proper title. The previous 12 miles had lots of trees, shrubs, herbaceous borders, and even portaloos, so I was a bit mystified as to why so many blokes chose to wait until the tunnel to see how high they could write their name on the wall. Either that or the River Mersey was running down the sides of the tunnel. Either way, it wasn't pleasant. And then it began. Oggy Oggy Oggy! OMG, I thought. 2.01 miles of Oggy Oggy Oggy! It wasn't too late, I could just turn back, hop on a bus, and say I felt tired. No one would know.

Also before the off ... With Garmins bleeping indignantly all around at their satellite deprivation we (not me obviously) oggied our way through the tunnel. I ran on the wrong side of the road. I just didn't care. The half-way timing mat was at the bottom of the tunnel with a very bored looking attendant, which I thought was quite funny. He should have brought a book. Up the hill and out into the sunlight to be welcomed by a raucous, fully clothed and musical Liverpool crowd.

Shortly after there's a tantalising glimpse of the Finish and some great crowd encouragement then we veer aside for a tour of Liverpool. At some point I hear a shout from Lindsay (I'm walking by now) amongst the bewilderment that is Sefton Park. If I had the foggiest idea where I was I might have retired around now and it would have been the easiest thing in the world just to nip through the gappy line of cones and shave 6 miles of my marathon. But that's not for everyone. By now I had adopted the 'reward system' that I had used in my very first marathon; jog a mile, then allow 2 minutes walking reward at each mile marker. Psychologically, I knew if I kept on doing this, I would complete the full 26.2 miles, even though I was finding it pretty grim and just wanted to quit.

The support from the crowd towards the end was fantastic and it was a good downhill finish that I wish I could have enjoyed. Over the line and a slick operation soon had me medalled, wrapped and bananad. My banana fell on the ground and I stood there staring at it until a fellow runner, whose knees still worked, picked it up for me. I walked straight out the finish area and the 20 minutes back to the car to collapse in a heap and rummaged for my Striders hoodie. I then uncollapsed out of the car and walked the 20 minutes back to Finish, this time remembering to collect my baggage and locate my hoodie, which by this time I was very pleased to see.

The Mersey Tunnel! The day's entertainment wasn't quite over. I popped into Costa Coffee and gingerly descended the stairs to join the queue. There were several wails when it was announced that the coffee equipment had 'just been cleaned' and that the place would be closing. However, somewhere behind me someone said something that might have been "I don't think so". I suppose if you're working in a coffee franchise and you decide it's time to close, it's probably best not to do it if the owner of the outlet happens to be in the queue at the time. And if the owner has just run the Liverpool Marathon then he might not be too interested in whether the coffee equipment had 'just been cleaned'. We all got our coffee.

Despite a few teething problems and, for me at least, being a painful race, this was a fun marathon. I didn't do it justice by not being ready and would like to try it again in better shape. I loved the cheerleaders, steel bands, encouraging crowds, tunnel, and long and winding roads, and would like to do it again. Just a bit faster.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1John Mccole Liverpool HarriersM 1 2:34:41
68Alison Sedman Belle Vue Racers FV45 1 3:08:07
2005Stef Barlow FV35 4:22:36
2018Lindsay Tarn F 4:23:07
3151Dougie Nisbet MV45 4:49:29

5056 finishers.

The Chris Hills 10 in 10

Kielder Marathon, 9th October

Andrew Thompson...

This race last year was the ‘run at it screaming technique’s finest hour resulting in a sub 4 hour time. After a few poor marathon showings recently I did some hard training for this one and was feeling a bit more confident about the whole thing so though I would give it my all again. It’s funny though how much minutes matter in a race that will last roughly 4 hours but I knew that if I crossed half way in over 1hr 50 I probably wouldn’t go under 4 hours. I crossed in 1.53 and knew it wasn’t going to be this time. New plan was to aim for something respectable and just enjoy the day.

Maggie, Steve Cram and Andrew

That was until 21 miles when a most sporting thing happened- I’d really slowed it down and was just ambling round by then when I got a tap on the shoulder from David Catterick who could easily have gone sailing past. He said he would sponsor me £20 if I beat him. Game on! Off I sped. He was 20 meters behind for the rest of the race but when the legs are tired that is a long way. I was feeling sick and light headed towards the end but to be overtaken wasn’t an option as I would not have been able to muster the energy for a revival. For the first time in a couple of months I actually felt pleased with myself come the end of the race. It was a most sporting thing to do. What a gent!

This was a tough race but there were four first timers out there today- Colin, David, Liz and Keri (honorary Strider) who all did very well and looked less knackered than me at the end. For them their next marathon (especially if it is the Town Moor in a couple of weeks) will seem like a walk in the park. Dave finished his 6th marathon in a couple of weeks with a 9 mile sprint finish and Phil O made it look very easy going on his Long Road Back to fitness. The heavens really opened soon after I’d finished so the biggest effort for the day was to my mum and Liz who battled the last hour in the worst of conditions so big well done to all the Striders especially to them.

I am really looking forward to the final race of the challenge now, the Town Moor marathon on the 30th October. I’m having a party at the Avenue pub to celebrate the end of it all from about 6pm onwards and everyone is invited!

...and Colin Blackburn

I'm guessing this is before the race, as they're all looking mildly apprehensive ... apart from Dave, obviously: 'Just the once round, is it?' This was my first marathon but I was not alone, Liz and David C were marathon newbies too. The rest of the Striders were all seasoned marathon and ultra runners, not least Andrew running his 9th marathon of the year raising money in memory of his friend Chris Hills.

I had put the distance training in so felt I could get round, I just wasn't expecting it to feel as hard as it did. I ran much of the first half with David C and we spent a fair bit of that time overtaking people who had started ahead of us—there were no sign of timed starting areas so we had ended up towards the back. It probably meant we both ran a faster first half than we were expecting to. Around 14 miles I finally lost sight of David and settled down to finish on my own. Up to around 18 or 19 miles I felt okay. Then it started to feel harder!

For the next 7 miles I really struggled and felt like everyone was passing me. I'm sure it wasn't that bad as I think I was passing people too—although I didn't realise you could get a bus across the dam wall! Although none of the hills are the sort of thing you find on fell races to describe the course as undulating is to play down just how hilly it is. It was also a fairly driech day all round which didn't help much—though that may have been better than the heat of the previous weekend.

I finally crossed the line just over 4:20 and was relieved to get my medal, Salomon towel and very nice technical shirt—yes I have loads of More Mile event shirts but this one is definitely very special. There were some lovely women from Waitrose handing out Fairtrade bananas too!

It was great that there was loads of spectator support at various points on the course, especially at the finish, and having encouraging shouts from NFR spectators was great. The organisation this year seemed better than last year's according to the reports. The buses were plentiful and there was very little waiting—though having to go upstairs on a double-decker having just finished a marathon is plain cruel.

Just after getting changed at the end David and I were approached by a guy from Galloway Harriers who having spotted our hoodies told us that his club members always read our website and he reckoned it was one of the best running club websites around! So, that's a big thanks to all you lot for writing great reports.

So, will I do another marathon? Well, I'm entered for the Town Moor so at least one more... maybe even a PB!

Liz Lamb adds:

It was my first marathon and I knew that due to a lack of training and because of niggles from my legs and back I wasn't going to complete it easily. After all, the most I had run in training was about 15 miles before my legs would decide to give in. On the marathon, I ended up walking the last 8 miles and limping the last 4 in wind and wet and feeling so cold, I felt quite despondent crossing the line being unable to run the last bit to the finish.

I made my way down to the marquee to collect my goodies and turned the corner to the best cheering welcome out. Thank you all you Striders, you really lifted my spirits. It's what makes the Striders unique, you always remember to cheer everyone on even those near the end of the race.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
12JANE MOONEY F 1 3:06:42
719DAVE ROBSON M 4:43:08
989PHIL OWEN M 5:22:58
1056ELIZABETH LAMB F 5:50:06

1108 finishers, which is to say runners who didn't use the bus.

Hellhole Multi-Terrain 10K, Stanley, 9th October

Anna Seeley

After the cold of the past few days it was surprisingly mild on arriving in Stanley although it was blowing a gale as per usual but there was no rain. Having had the route described to me by Alister they promptly changed it again for this year’s running of the race.

After a brief delay of the start due to a late runner, who eventually won, we were off across a grassy field before dropping onto the first of many climbs. A quick loop brought us down onto the cycle paths and there we stayed till 4K when it was off into the Hellhole woods. As the aim had been to incorporate this run into a longer training run I was meant to be taking it easy but after watching Alister’s jazz hands as he pranced round the mud I decided the race was on.

The mud which reportedly had been missing from yesterday’s XC was definitely plentiful in the woods as we wound our way up and down. Passed Alister as we made the final climb out of the woods and into the fields although expected to be overtook again as the going was slow on the increasingly muddy inclines.

The final section of the run was back on tarmac paths, although there were still some climbs to come and even a stile to hurdle over. Approaching the 7k marker and the slog along the railway track back towards the start I started to catch a couple of lads. One definitely didn’t want to be overtaken so I tucked in behind him and used him as a windbreak till we started to climb towards the finish and I finally got past him. With about 1K to go I realised that it was another Strider, Jon, just ahead of me and that spurred me on to the finish, even pushing it up the last evil little hill.

There was great support on the route both from the marshals and Claire who had kindly come along to cheer us all on with the help of the kids. Fantastic friendly local race, highly recommended.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Yared, Hugos UnattachedM 1 31:22
11Lister, Sarah Blackhill BoundersFV35 1 43:17
32Seeley, Anna F 48:55
40Robson, Alister M 51:21
65Richardson, Joanne FV35 61:44

70 finishers.

Grand Prix Race. Mud King/Mud Queen Race.

A Solid Start!

Harrier League, Cramlington, 8th October

Mudman & Mudwoman

A bumper turnout of 29 brave souls (16 male and 13 female) saw the club off to a solid start in this season's HL with the women finishing an excellent 3rd in Division 1 and the men finishing in a commendable 7th in Division 2.

Jules admires Jerry's most excellent pie! Pies, mmmm ... a great new Harrier League innovation, that will hopefully catch on ... There were many debutants today and well done to you all! Some old hands were there too with Roz leading home the women and James heading the men's team back to the tent for tea and cakes (as well as impressive apple and blackberry pie, baked by newbie Jerry Lloyd, and topped with a pastry strider!).

We were blessed with reasonable weather and a dry and fast course today - but beware the rain, snow, wind and mud as the season progresses - we can't wait!!

Best Wishes


1 AISTON, Phillip Wallsend Harriers 33:25
42 GARLAND, James 37:44
73 LLOYD, Jerry 38:29
149 CLAYDON, Matt 40:22
173 DAVIS, Geoff 41:13
210 JONES, Mark 42:11
234 WESSON, Keith 43:30
243 ROBERTS, Shaun 43:55
265 YOUNG, Callum 44:50
267 THOMAS, Ian 44:50
278 HOCKIN, Richard 45:17
297 BELL, Peter 46:39
302 HEPPELL, Nigel 47:03
307 ROBSON, Alistair 47:18
328 BROOKS, Peter 49:22
337 ROBSON, Dave 50:31
343 OWEN, Phil 51:47

*M Medium pack - 2m30s handicap.
*F Fast pack - 5m handicap.

353 finishers. Men's team 7th of 11, Division 2.

And they're off!
1 ACASTER, Caroline Blaydon Harriers 26:15
16 LAYTON, Roz 29:01
20 MASON, Nina 29:20
34 DAVIS, Susan 30:08
49 GODDARD, Debs 30:33
64 IVES, Jane 30:59
72 LAUREN-MAATTA, Camilla 31:48
78 TOMLINS, Zoe 32:13
83 PERCIVAL, Jules 32:21
85 YOUNG, Jan 32:25
125 MILLER, Louise 37:01
128 TINDALE, Victoria 37:30
129 READEY, Claire 37:44
129 FREEMAN, Jayne 39:19

137 finishers. Women's Team 3rd of 8, Division 1.

Mablethorpe Marathon, Lincolnshire, 2nd October

Dave Robson

Dave leads the field at Mablethorpe... or does he?Phew, that was a tough one ! The course itself was two laps and almost completely flat apart from a climb up the sea wall near the end of the each lap. There was some wind, which mainly helped to cool us down a bit, but it did get a little too strong when we were running into it. The big problem today was the heat, it was was up to 27 degrees and there was little or no shade.

I got there with plenty of time to spare and met up with people I knew from fetcheveryone.com and some new people from there that I had not met before. During the day, I also came across about five runners from Sunderland Strollers who I have seen many times before, so there was always people to talk to. The half marathon went off half an hour earlier than the marathon. After a bit of a delay, they were off and the did a loop first which meant they passed the start and the marathon Fetchies cheered on the half marathon Fetchies. Then it was our turn to start. The first few miles seemed to take a long time in the heat.

After 3m I was thinking, this is going to be very tough. Luckily there were water stations every 3m and plenty of extra ones were put on. There were people coming out and spraying us with water, people with buckets where you could put your hat in and put back on your head. I drank loads, more than I have ever done before and I was a bit worried it might be too much. It was very well marshalled by enthusiastic clapping marshalls, the best I have ever seen in any race and I have seen quite a few good ones. They were well looked after as well. On the second lap I overtook a small van that was delivering jacket potatoes to them. The organisers are due heaps and heaps of praise for a fantastic event in very difficult conditions The main organiser uses Fetch frequently and he also put out two extra signs 'Go Team Fetch' and 'Well done Fetchies', which brought a smile to my face on the way round. There were quite a few people sitting outside their houses encouraging us on, but once on the promenade about 2 miles from the end of each lap, there was lots more support. At halfway the half marathon Fetchies supported us with shouts of encouragement and later they came past in a car shouting encouragement.

The second lap was slightly different from the first. At 20m there was an out and back section of about 1m in total along a quiet country lane (it was an all road course). I lost a lot of drive at this point. I kept a close eye on the time and worked out I could get sub 5, if I made sure I ran more than I walked for the rest of the race. I managed this with 4hr 56min 13sec. I don't think I have ever been so pleased to finish a marathon, I was completely drained.

Loch Ness Marathon, Inverness, 2nd October


Dougie Nisbet

The hotel had opened up for breakfast at 0530 for the Loch Ness Marathon so I wandered downstairs and started tucking into porridge drowned in maple syrup and washed down with strong coffee. Some time later I stepped outside into a dreich Inverness morning and walked the short distance to the coaches at Bught Park. Organisation was pretty smooth and I hopped onto a double-decker so that I could go upstairs and get a good view. Before long the mixed escorted convoy of buses and coaches left Inverness for the adventure that is the Journey to the Start.

Glad to get to the finish, methinks. The 90 minute drive to the start is, without a doubt, the most exciting part of the day. It starts with buses and coaches jostling for position as they hit the A9 dual-carriageway south, then a hair-raising wacky-races-style sprint up the hills out of Inverness to see who can get in the best position before the turn into the remote countryside. Then things settle down on the single-track before the inevitable toilet stops. Who will crack first? One by the one the buses lurch into the passing places as the mutineering and generously hydrated occupants realise that they will not survive another cattle-grid. In one beautifully choreographed routine I observed (officer) 8 lasses step confidently onto the heather, 4 of them immediately forming a neat privacy cordon of survival blankets while the other 4 enjoyed the privacy within. Presently they all swapped places before heading back to the coach, while everyone else was still frantically looking for suitable shrubbery. Obviously old hands.

The starting area eventually appeared out of the mist. Remote and surreal with DJs, music, baggage trucks and a lot of heather. Having no taste for haggis, golf or whisky, and not living in Scotland, my credentials as a Scot are pretty thin, but I do get goosebumps when the Lochaber Pipe Band walk down through the 3700 runners before crossing the Start line and then step aside and continue to play while the race is officially started.

Nessie. With the race and rain underway we belted downhill the first few fast miles towards Loch Ness. Always a tricky one to balance, knowing that energy reserves will be needed later on but not wishing to ignore the chance to get some time in the bank on the easy downhill sections. I wasn't marathon-ready and wasn't at all sure how best to judge this one. Entertainment was courtesy of a flamboyant visitor from Singapore who whistled and sang and took photographs until eventually he faded into the mist.

By half-way I stopped to use the facilities again (Pinus sylvestris) no doubt due to some excessive Black Isle hydration the previous evening (Milvus milvus) and my time was looking unexceptional. I was feeling pretty good though and although my legs were beginning to hurt a bit I had a good rhythm going and I plodded on. The famous hill at mile 18 came and went and I ran steadily all the way to the finish and was happy that I'd ran the race about right. When I checked the results later I discovered that Fiona had also been running and had been a mere hour ahead of me at the finish.

I think this must be my favourite marathon. Not too big, not too small. A great elegant moody brooding course. It's worth doing at least once.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Tomas Abyu Salford HarriersM 1 2:20:49
34Lisa Finlay Dumfries Running ClubFV40 1 2:59:06
183Fiona Shenton FV50 3:22:32
1315Dougie Nisbet MV40 4:17:02

2363 finishers.

Middlesbrough Charity Duathlon, Prissick Park, 1st October

3K run, 15K bike, 3K run

Alister Robson

I saw this advertised a little while ago and was surprised to see that there weren't more people signed up. The only person I recognised was George Harden from Sunderland parkrun. It appealed as a first duathlon as the distances were all relatively short and the bike was on an enclosed route.

When Saturday dawned I was a bit concerned as I had the Durham parkrun results to process before leaving for Middlesbrough and I wasn't entirely sure where it was. The (brief) instructions suggested parking at Stewart Park and after some small Sat Nav related difficulty I did. The track was just around the corner and I found it OK, once I'd got past all the people for the dog show. As it happened I was in plenty of time and arrived in time for the again very brief briefing and soon we were off on the first run, which it was explained was truncated slightly by the aforementioned dog show and so had one loop of the bike track first. The weather was perhaps the biggest surprise, an unseasonably warm 28 degrees and clear blue skies. My first run was pretty good and I still felt great for the first few bike laps of the track, before I started to get lapped a few times by the faster bikers. The bike track was by far the best bit, even though there were 15 laps of the 1K Prissick Base circuit, this is a fantastic facility with little gradient, some sharp and some sweeping bends and a lovely surface.

The second run was the really tough bit, my legs felt like jelly and I'm glad it was only just over a couple of Km. I managed to pick off a couple of ladies but didn't make great progress.

Most importantly I guess, the organiser, Vicky Fawcett, raised enough money to enable her to take part in the charity bike ride across California that her and a colleague have planned.

Have barcode, will travel ...

Inverness parkrun, 1st October


Dougie Nisbet

The fourth Inverness Parkrun, and the most northerly parkrun in the world, apparently. I was looking forward to doing a new parkrun and only the fifth running of this event. The idea that you can wander into any parkrun in the country and wave your barcode is quite nifty and I was looking forward to the kudos of being the most northerly Elvet parkrunner. But no, Dave Robson had been there before me, running the first ever Inverness Parkrun!

It was atmospheric and friendly chatting with fellow parkrunners in the misty Bught Park just a few hundred yards away from the Marathon Village that was being set up for the big event the following day. Three modified laps round the park with a nice long autumnal stretch between a row of trees had me nicely woken up. I'd intended taking it easy but this is easier said than done and ended up running inside 25 minutes. There were a few hiccups with the results and initially the entire field just managed to shuffle round in 1:59:59 but that (somewhat disappointingly) has now been remedied. Coffee and chat in the Floral cafe afterwards and I was sorry to think that it'd be another year before I'd get to run this one again.

Coniston 15K Challenge, Lakes, 1st October

Anna Seeley

The weather for the next instalment of the Lakeland Trail races couldn’t have been much more different from the Keswick if it tried. A cold wind and torrential rain was swapped for much milder dry conditions although luckily there was some cloud cover to prevent it being an absolute scorcher.

The first 4K winds its way through Coniston, past the Red Lion pub whose drinkers cheered us on (all probably thinking rather you than me as it was rather warm by then) before we started the climb up towards the Coppermines. The combination of the uphill, heat and unstable surface had most of the runners at times walking as we climbed up past the YH and onto the single track path up to the Pudding Stone.

Finally onto the Walna Scar road and the running became a lot easier although the undulations continued there was no more major uphills. A few sections had me slowing due my lack of ability to navigate rocky downhills but I managed to stay upright even on the descent through the old slate quarries. Passed by a few mountain goats on the rocky surfaces I quickly caught and passed them again as we hit the tarmac descent to Torver and the greatly appreciated water station.

On from Torver and it was over some rather boggy ground before descending through Torver Common Woods down to the lakeside of Coniston Water. From here the route followed that of the marathon in July but unlike then I had plenty of running left in my legs and with all the technical ground left behind I had a great run back along the school fields and the finishing arch.