Race Reports, January 2012

Slaughterford 9, Rudloe, Wilts, 29th January


Phil Owen

A lot of driving lately: Lakes for a Lakeland100 recce; 400 mile round trip up to the West Highland way for a meet up with friends and a lovely 6 hour, 30 mile trail run among the weekend runs and hill climbing; and this weekend a 700 mile round trip to visit my brother and do the superb Slaughterford 9. The race is a mixture of boggy muddy trail, bit of country road and track but not too much, starting near Corsham and is organised by Chippingham Harriers. And what a fantastic job they did!

Very cold and misty we parked up at Leafy Lane playing fields and into the changing rooms where tea and coffee were on offer and after a quick talk everyone runs the half Km to the start near Rudloe. The start is downhill on a country road. My bro' decided to go for a pee at the start so we started right at the back of the narrow country lane. (When I race it next year I will be near the front as the lane becomes a narrow track and then a single track mud fest making overtaking very difficult.) We had timing chips so I expected to go over a mat at the start but we didn't but hell I was out for a nice run with my bro so I wasn't bothered about time at all and didn't look at my watch or put a stopwatch on.

Phil in deep water The track road turned to track then a narrow woodland path of mud and bog through Rudloe Wood then Collets Bottom Wood with almost continuous ups and downs, slipping and sliding. You would think with all the aggressive soled fell shoes I have you would have had some decent footwear on but my choice of shoe had been based on what was in the car boot as I hadn't thought to much about the race but this was one where I definitely needed a lot of grip and the NB trail didn't have any! Woods gave way to fields and muddy slippy grass. To be honest we could not see much in the thick cold mist but I kinda like that — gives the race an eerrie ghostly feel. Erkwell Wood, Hussy Hill Wood, Weaver Wood followed and up to Slaughterford. Every turn was brilliantly marshalled, all smiling and encouraging. I'm really loving this race!

Endless misty country fields all with their little muddy hills followed on our way round to Colerne and then we turned back towards the start. Before I knew it there was muttering around me about the river crossing and a very step mud fest of steps down to the crossing appeared. Down to the stream and the first little kick in the race's tail, instead of crossing you have to travel up the stream about 50 metres and about thigh deep freezing cold water! Magic. Then the real kick, the finish is about a mile of very steep very grassy very muddy hill — just wonderful.

So to round up, a truly almost perfect course, tougher than many a short fell I have run, chip timed, brilliantly marshalled in beautiful countryside with a decent t-shirt in the goody bag all for, wait for it, £8.00! No doubt about it, if my bro' isn't out of area next year, and maybe if he is, I'll be back to race this one properly.

A perfect 9.

Ferriby 10, Skidby, East Yorkshire, 29th January

10 miles

Alister Robson

Alister, ready for the off, completely sober and properly equipped. Good to see.

A strange race this one, my first in the V40 category if you don’t count parkrun. First I should make clear it’s nowhere near Ferriby. Having being going for nearly 60 years, (and with a very healthy field of 559 this year who can blame them), they obviously didn’t want to change the branding even when the route changed some years ago.

The route itself starts and finishes at the local landmark of Skidby Mill, just outside of Beverley and Cottingham and takes in a loop of the surrounding countryside on surprisingly open roads (more on that later). It’s a course of two halves, descending quickly at the start into the village of Little Weighton before climbing gradually but remorselessly up to the half way marker just short of Riplington. From here it falls all the way to just short of the finish, back at Skidby, except for a nasty sting in the tail – a short sharp climb up the slip road.

It’s a friendly, well organised run, with mainly club runners, although Jacquie was a little disappointed, (she says), to find there were no entries on the day. I was very pleased with my time and especially a very healthy negative split (no real surprise in the end given the course profile but still..) I was also very pleased to kick on in the last 3 or 4 miles and finally get the better of a Scarborough AC runner who I’d been having a battle with for most of the race. I was slightly less proud of myself when I discovered in the results that she was a FV55…

Something that disappoints me at this and many other recent events (Brass Monkey/Brampton to Carlisle etc) is the amount of runners hogging the right side of the carriageway when the road is ‘live’ and even more foolishly running with headphones on. I’ve heard the arguments that the middle of the road has less camber and that people like to have their routine and ‘can’t run without their tunes’ but I think that it’s mostly selfish, dangerous and disrespectful to the marshals who aren’t just jobsworths and fun sponges and who are there, (often on a voluntary basis), to ensure the runners safety. I hope it doesn’t lead to more race organisers having to impose closed roads with all the added expense that that incurs when with a bit of common sense it can be avoided. Rant over.

A lovely long sleeved white tech tee with a purple Skidby windmill logo was the memento.

Northern XC Champs, Pontefract Racecourse, 28th January



Tom at the Races. Striders were represented at the prestigious Northern X/C Champs on Saturday by nine determined souls. The weather was bright but cold when we assembled at Pontefract Race Course and we were all pleased that every Strider who had pre-entered actually turned up to run! The women were first up for a change and Fiona led home the team of six purple warriors after their two laps of the fast, flat(ish!) course. Former Strider Keri Pearson was also there running for her new club 'City of Hull AC'. The women finished 18th of 25 teams and were 4th among the teams from the North East.

Just three Striders men were there to take part in the highly competitive Senior Men's three lap race and Dave Gibson led us home. Although there were only a few patches of mud the 'fast' course meant there were no letups in the pace, and there no sections were you could take your foot off the gas without being passed by club vests of every conceivable hue. Nonetheless, an experience none of us would have missed and, as one of our new x/c converts said, "far better than a night on the town"!


1 Steven VERNON Stockport Harriers 39:52
384 Dave GIBSON 53:17
459 Tom REEVES 55:46
491 Geoff DAVIS 56:52

687 finishers.

Fiona legging it down the home straight.
1 Lizzie ADAMS Hallamshire Harriers 30:40
103 Fiona SHENTON 38:46
133 Nina MASON 40:29
165 Susan DAVIS 42:55
189 Jan YOUNG 45:43
216 Angela PROCTOR 52:08
221 Sue JENNINGS 53:58

235 finishers. Women's Team 18th of 25.

Cathedral Relays, Durham, 22nd January


Jan Young

While lots of Striders had a trip away last Sunday, 5 stayed home and flitted round 1.8ml/3k in this local relay. The route, fast and flat, was two loops of the cricket field and riverbank past the bandstand.

While the fastest time of the day was run by Dan Garbutt of DCH (8.52), our Will Horsley (10.35) and Matt Claydon (11.58) did their best to close the gap, but unfortunately were one man down. Striders' ladies fared better, with Fiona Shenton leading the first charge (13.03), handing over to Louise McGolpin (16.07) and Jan Young bringing the team home (14.58). The team finished 26/32. Speediest lady: Ashley Gibson of Morpeth (10.32).

Don't be put off by fast times and quality of the field ... we weren't! A good time trial run for us all on a windy day.

Grand Prix Race. Endurance Champion Race.

Brass Monkey Half Marathon, York Racecourse, 22nd January

Dougie Nisbet

Dougie with Dave WestonWe turned onto the avenue to the racecourse and I saw a sight unfamiliar to me. Lots of places to park, even for a coach. This must be what it's like when you're organised and turn up to races with time in hand. I made a note to try this out as it sure looked more relaxing than driving round and round looking for somewhere to park with just minutes to spare before kick-off. As chief-of-the-clipboard I'd been a bit anxious about parking and I relaxed a little as we pulled into the side of the road just a couple of hundred metres from the racecourse. Billy the Bus wasn't so sure. He'd spied the marshalls ahead waving coaches into the racecourse car-park and he was quite keen to get a piece of the VIP treatment. "This is a long way to walk for my cup of tea!", he exclaimed, so we scrambled back on the coach and headed for the racecourse. Sure enough, parking cones were swept aside and we were waved straight through to the racecourse and were soon parked pretty much right outside the front door. Like royalty. Lovely.

Mike ElliotThe chaos from last year was absent this year as we'd all had our race numbers posted to us. So I found myself a cup of coffee and made an impulse buy of a packet of shotblocks (Blackcurrant) and settled down to wait. I decided to have a couple of shotblocks now and eat the rest during the race. They really were very nice. Presently I threw the empty wrapper in the bin and headed for the start.

A blustery and sunny start soon gave way to a blustery and sunny first mile, a shoelace malfunction, then some fierce cross-winds. With lots of Striders running there was the added excitement of spotting purple vests and giving chase. It took me a few miles to settle into my stride but then I started to feel very comfortable and, for the first time in months, race fit. It was a great feeling. I gradually and cautiously lifted the pace and around mile 8 I was slowly, but imperceptibly, closing on a Strider vest. Who could it be? Oh joy of joys, that head belonged to the crimson crown of Kathryn! It's been absolutely ages since I last beat Kathryn in a race as she has improved steadily throughout 2011 and so this was a big confidence boost. It took a long time to close the gap so I had plenty of time to consider my overtaking quip. I settled for a condescending pat on the shoulder and a pitying smile as I went past in the sure knowledge that this would shatter her resolve.

George, Denise and AlisterI should, as Mr Diamond once observed, have known better. Just half a mile from the finish I heard that unmistakable patter of tiny feet. I glanced around in horror only to see Kathryn attack with a ferocious intent. I immediately lifted my pace and gave chase but this was no half-hearted effort and she soon opened up a comfortable gap of about 20 metres. My immediate thoughts would not be permitted on a family website but I was secretly impressed. Smart move, well played. I would have done the same thing myself, and did indeed do something very similar at Gibside in 2009 to steal the gallop on Debs.

NeilBut Kathryn had mis-timed her attack. We turned left away from the main road and as we approached the final corner I realised the gap was closing. We were both exhausted from our battle so this was not going to be an elegant energised sprint built upon a saved reserve. I attacked on the final corner and ran for the line as surely as if the Captain had fired a couple of photon torpedoes up my jacksie. I braced myself for the counter-attack, but it never came. It was a close thing and I'm sure if Kathryn had attacked just a couple of minutes later than she did she'd have certainly crossed the finish line in front of me. Still, we were both happy! Having me to hunt down had given Kathryn a PB, and having Kathryn hunt me down had elbowed my time to a sub 1:45. Even if did mean I was dangerously close to the dry boak as I collapsed on the bench while someone relieved me of my timing chip, and the spike in in my heart-rate as reported by my garmin is Davesomething I prefer not to examine too closely. Things did, as they say, go a bit fuzzy. I don't think I was alone as Jane and Dave also needed things to lean on after crossing the line. But the rewards were worth it.

Our return to Durham was via a good pie and chips at the Dawney Arms and finally my coach-master duties were over (I can't believe how tricky it is to count up to 30 - especially when Jim Nicholson is heckling!). Soon I'm home and settling down to beer and curry. The phone rings, and it's for me. It's Richard, from Gillingham's coaches. They've found my bag! Excellent! Er, hang on, I didn't know it was missing. And isn't Richard actually calling me at home, from, er, my mobile. Ah.....


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Chip Time
1 Yared Hagus Wallsend Harriers M 1:06:42
30 Felicity Milton Heaton Harriers F 1 1:17:45
91 Neil Sleeman M 1:24:00
145 Till Sawala M 1:26:13
145 Stewart McConnell M 1:29:39
353 Shaun Roberts M55 1:33:32
371 Jerry Lloyd M40 1:33:32
383 Graham Daglish M55 1:34:00
683 Andrew Thompson M 1:42:10
697 Alister Robson M 1:42:12
788 Roz Layton F55 1:44:49
815 Dougie Nisbet M45 1:44:53
818 Kathryn Sygrove F45 1:45:14
925 Jane Ives F40 1:48:06
1074Karen Chalkley F45 1:52:53
1139George Nicholson M60 1:54:05
1154Ian Spencer M50 1:56:17 *
1197Claire Readey F35 1:55:58
1201Corrina James F35 1:56:05
1260Greta Jones F45 1:58:11
1278Denise Mason F 1:58:28
1282Martin Wilson M40 1:57:57
1316Dave Robson M60 1:58:56
1467Barrie Evans M65 2:07:14
1491Susan Jennings F45 2:07:29
1520Mike Elliott M65 2:09:13
1523James Nicholson M60 2:10:37
1543Angela Proctor F35 2:10:33
1582Jacquie Robson F35 2:14:04
1676Margaret Thompson F60 2:27:15

1712 finishers. *Gun time - no chip time.

Sedgefield Winter Handicap, 15th January


Mike Elliott

At 1000 on a cold and frosty morning, a grand group of 14 Striders mustered in Fishburn's Workmans Club along with 51 others to pick up their numbers and race briefing for the Sedgefield winter handicap. Kick off was just down the road on a white covered hill, started with Sue, Angela, Joanne, Jayne, and Joanne following in the footsteps of the race director who had walked the course earlier and reported no problems.

Will receives his prize.

Picked up the old railway line which had some uncomfortable ruts especially where the gates crossed the track. A 1.5m stretch along this sheltered cutting it was easier to run on the frost covered grass than the well worn track, passed Holdforth Farm and Bridge [could have been 'Drop Five Farm' oh dear country humour], to the marshalls showing us to turn right along the farm track passing dog walkers on the way who were muffled up to the eye balls as it was -2°C, the dogs were sensible and had their fur coats on.

Then it was a loup ower the farmers barricade and between the two cars and on up the hill to the next set of marshalls, mam with 2 little kids who were encouraging us to keep warm saying we should run faster.

Across the farmers field missing what looked like frozen sausages [it was dog crap], sharp right and on up the hill passing Town End Farm into Bishop Middleham were we were spied on by the local photographer. A short stretch of footpath down to the next marshall who pointed left up the tarmac hill only to go down again. Another left turn onto a track taking us passed a little lake or big pond up the steps across the bridge up the steps more friendly marshalls pointing left onto the track and the way home. Further along the track we came to a cross roads, not to worry this time big kid marshalls pointing straight on through the sheltered cutting and then I was passed by Will Horsely going like a steam train [see why in the results], on to the bottom of the starting hill, all the way to the top [of course] with a little 100 yards down hill to the finish.

We all finished within five minutes of each other then followed the race directors instructions to go back to the CLUB for the presentation, liquid and solid refreshments. O.K. as we had all ran our guts off we got back before opening time it had to be Tea, Coffee or Water.

First home was 16th Will Horsely in a run time of 37.06 and received a trophy and a bottle of wine [which he did not share] for being the Fastest Man. 26th Mike Elliott 59.05, 27th John Hutchinson 59.15, 31st Sue Jennings 59.51, 37th Angela Protecter 60.11, 46th Richard Hocking 46.28, 49th Greta Jones 56.53, 51st Joanne Porter 62.08, 52rd Jayne Freeman 62.12, 53rd Joanne Richardson 57.13, 54th Alister Robson 49.14, 56th Angela Robson 62.41, 58th Peter Bell 45.49, 62nd Louise McGolpin 55.50 - 64 finishers.

A well organised event by Sedgefield Harriers. Look forward to the Neptune relays Hardwick Country Park on Wednesday April 25, Registration 1800 - 1830, kick off 1845.

Will Horsley adds:

Fourteen Striders turned out for a very cold and frozen Gerry Kearsley Handicap Race, organised by Sedgefield Harriers. Runners went off in two minute intervals depending on expected finishing times. I was last, by myself, so had a lot of chasing to do. I started to pick off runners from about half way in the village of Bishop Middleham, the only section of road on the whole route. The rest of the route is on cycle tracks, farm tracks and footpaths in pleasant countryside around Fishburn. The frozen ground made this race faster than last year as some parts of the route would otherwise be quite boggy. The handicapper had done pretty well as it looked like most runners were finishing within a few minutes of each other.

I won a prize, which was a very big and shiny new trophy, for being the fastest male runner on the day. The winner looked really rather shocked to have won, which is understandable as he didn't particularly have the physique that you might associate with race winners. This is a very sociable event and quite low-key. It is also free, which probably explains its popularity with Striders! Well done everyone.

Clay Bank East, North Yorks Moors, 15th January

5.7m / 680'

Jan Young

Driving through thick fog on motorway, we packed compasses and maps into bumbags. No need, no fog on Clay Bank, but ground frozen rock solid, so no shoe cleaning. We climbed Cleveland Way paved path, skirted edge of Urra Moor in biting headwind, buffs over noses, crossed moor to Round Hill, touched the cairn, descended Carr Ridge, hurtled down through Greenhow Plantation to finish. The long queues at registration felt like 200 again, 170 ran.

Shaun, 1st MV55, got the points, but not the wine, as Dave Parry awarded it incorrectly. He's slipping up with his results these days and we have to keep him right! Looking at stats, Nina, (Nigel were you trying to catch her?) was 9.5 mins behind first female, which says something about quality of field. Cal, running steadily, finished in a solid 117/170 - good to see him out racing again. Phil 'the hill' Sanderson, NFR, led the way as expected. Thank goodness he runs on Striders' team at Harrier Leagues.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Phil Sanderson NFR MV40 35.38
19 Fiona Blackett DFR F 1 39.56
88 Shaun Roberts MV55 1 48.30
95 Nina Mason F 7 49.28
109 Nigel Heppell MV55 4 51.12
117 Callum Young M 37 52.24
145 Jan Young FV55 3 56.03

170 finishers.

Colin's Sunday Social Run, Edmondbyers, 8th January


Shaun Roberts

Many thanks to Colin for organising a great run from Edmondbyers on Sunday! A lovely run out to the west of the village onto the moors getting all the climbing out of the way, then a nice undulating stretch back with the wind behind, pausing for a murder mystery tale at a crumbling house on the way ... great stuff! Pam and Paul organised a walk as well, and there were also four other walks, runs and bike rides that people sorted out for themselves. All followed by a great lunch, washed down by a choice of good beers.

On the green at Edmondbyers. A Sunday well-spent! Any more Sunday Run possibilities, folks?

Old Monks Race, Hart Village, 8th January


Alister Robson

Is it just me or are there a lot more runners about this year? Last time I did this race in 2009 it was quite a small affair, this time well over 200 were on the start line. I was a little bit gutted to be missing Colin’s Sunday social run, but I needed something a little quicker to fit into what passes for my training plan.

This is a lovely run with lots of elevation and surface changes – something midway between a light trail and a fell race proper and ideal for someone who wants to dip their toe in the latter. I guess the nearest equivalent is something like Gibside or the Hellhole. Today was perfect conditions for running; cool, bright and still. There’s a longish section downhill to start and the field really took off here – I’d done this too last time and ended up blowing towards the end, so I backed off a bit. It soon starts to climb again though and I made a conscious effort to back off again here; I was lucky enough to run with Tom Williams of the Marathon Talk podcast in the Great North Run last year and he drilled into me then, something that has stayed with me since – namely that most runners could improve by going uphill a little less hard, and downhill a bit harder so as to maintain a consistent level of effort. This stood me in good stead and I felt quite comfortable until the field in front of me stopped to walk on a narrow hill – I wasn’t too disappointed.

Once you hit the top it’s nice and flat if a touch exposed – I was certainly glad it wasn’t as windy as last week! Finally you turn and can see the sea and reappear in Hart village. I gave it my all but couldn’t quite catch the triathlete lady I’d been having a ding-dong battle with most of the way round. Still over the line and very happy to have knocked more than two minutes off 2009’s time. The only other Strider I saw, Aaron, was already in by that point although he said he struggled a bit. It was also nice to see a few familiar faces from Durham parkrun and other races and also Sharon & Bill Gayter – clearly fully recovered from her 7 day treadmill world record just before Christmas.

Congratulations to Hartlepool Burn Road Runners & AC for putting it on. It’s a great run and if anyone else is keen on trying it, it’s also on again in July. I’m not sure if we’re allowed advertorials but I called in at The Olde Mill at Metal Bridge on my way home for Sunday dinner and both food and service was fantastic! Anyone know any good routes and fancy a social run starting and finishing out there one Sunday?

Resolution 10K, Town Moor, Newcastle, 1st January

Sue Jennings

Today we did the Resolution 10K - Peter, Angela, Dave, Lyndsey, Maggie and me so a good turn out from the Striders. I had a few misgivings about entering a race on New Year's day but dont know how but managed to stay alcohol free on New Years eve (the first time in all of my drinking career - which must be way over 30 years ha ha).

Quite, quite mad, the lot of 'em. It was cold, but dry (it was pouring down in Durham) so we were pleased to see the rain had managed to stay away from Newcastle and there was a pretty good turn out all round considering - and I understand all entry fees go to a local charity which is great.

Someone had said that there is a hill on the Town Moor but I thought they were kidding - they weren't though there really is a big hill - in fact there are 2! And we had to run them twice!!!!!! It was good fun though - cold, muddy but lots of people cheering you on. Bring it on again next year I say.


1 Phil Wylie Bristol & West AC M 31.27
27 Claire McManus North Shields Poly F 138.27
108 Peter Brooks MV40 45.42
115 Dave Robson MV60 46.38
174 Angela Proctor F 58.16
175 Sue Jennings FV40 58.48
184 Lindsey Brooks FV40 62.58
190 Margaret Thompson FV60 64.58

204 finishers.

Grand Prix Race. King/Queen of the Mountain Race.

Captain Cooks, Great Ayton,NYM, 1st January

5m / 885'

Shaun Roberts

Lots of rain and wind overnight, but getting close to Great Ayton the weather seemed pretty mild, with just a bit of breeze. Met Mike in the car park, and another runner asked if it was 'shorts or tights' .... shorts we said, definitely. I thought of him as we headed out into the driving rain that came in five minutes before the start. A start that was unusually punctual, I should say ... in previous years we've started half an hour late, but Dave Parry's new streamlined entry system worked a treat, and handled a record turnout of nearly 300 runners. Numbers are definitely on the up in fell races at the moment ...

Last orders outside the Royal Oak.

The usual fast road start, out into the aforementioned rain, then off onto increasingly muddy tracks and then open fields before the fast walk up towards Captain Cook's Monument itself. Felt pretty good coming up, and overtook a few on the way ... wanted to make as much progress as I could before the clarty slippy descent to come. Nice to get the wind to the rear as we turned back northwards, then we had some slippy paving to skate over or skirt round, and then the awkward steep muddy descent. Note to Graham: I was just slightly less "like an old woman with a zimmer frame" coming down here this time. After this, strangely, the thick clarty sections to come were a dream to run on - just hammered straight through the stuff.

Guess which Strider had a skinful of booze still circulating round the system? Clue: it wasn't just the running jacket that was green ...

The last couple of miles across fields and down decent tracks were brilliant ... great to really stretch the legs out. I got to the finish just 12 seconds down on my best time for this one, so I was happy with that. David ('Gibbo', 'The Gibmaster', ...) Gibson was already there after what looked like a fast run. Mike came in soon afterwards, doing well coming back from injury, with Nina finishing strongly not far behind. Didn't see Aaron come in (Do you need a visit to the kitmistress, Aaron? Always a pleasure ...) then Jan was along, also finishing very strongly, her sciatica not hugely apparent, given that she had nearly a hundred other runners behind her! Phil had a good run, having nearly 50 runners also behind him, and even Alister was well in front of the sweeper, with not at all a bad run - you really had to see him in the flesh before the race to appreciate how much he'd had to drink the night before!

Great way to start the year ... thanks to Jan for organising the meal in Stokesley afterwards ... a good crack, as ever.

Alister Robson adds:

If I'm being honest I don't remember a great deal about this one thanks to the exertions of the previous evening when I was (over)celebrating a fantastic year of running ...

Some hazy recollections include; Phil banging on the door at 9am to wake me up, trying to fill in the entry form, trying to start my Garmin only to realise I'd forgotten it, being too cold and wet to take off my jacket, wearing my buff on my head as it was so cold and I'd forgotten my hat (and gloves), slipping and sliding up and down a ruddy great hill and a huge moment of relief when I thought for one horrible second that we still had to climb Roseberry Topping.

Still a lovely dinner and pint in the pub on the way home (no change of dry clothes) then straight back to bed where I stayed for the whole of the rest of the day.

Kids - don't fell race still drunk - it's not big and it's not clever, (but if you must, make sure that you pack your running kit before you go out the night before!)


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Jim Bulman Unattached MV40 32.31
13 Cath Williamson Loftus & Whitby F 1 36.22
58 David Gibson MV40 12 40.01
112 Shaun Roberts MV55 7 42.52
126 Mike Bennett MV55 9 43.46
134 Nina Mason F 6 44.28
165 Aaron Gourley MV40 31 46.03
197 Jan Young FV55 2 48.49
247 Phil Owen MV45 31 53.38
256 Alister Robson M 56 54.45

295 finishers.