Race Reports, July 2012

UTLD 100, The Lake District, 27–29th July

105M

Thomas Reeves

I have previously run the 50 mile event twice so after completing the UTMB last year I decided to give the 100 a try. It’s actually 105 miles to be precise. I contacted Paul Hainsworth from NFR and suggested we run the first night together for a bit of company.

Paul and TomThe race started on the Friday at 5.30pm from the school at Coniston - personally I much prefer morning starts for races but hey ho! So off we went at 5.30 on a very pleasant sunny evening with a light breeze, perfect for running.

I had planned to try and get round in about 30 hours but unusually for me got a bit caught up in the race and completed the first two legs to Boot (14 miles) an hour quicker than I’d intended. This was my first mistake which would cost me some time later. The next leg was a leg I felt a bit nervous about as it goes across a fairly featureless moor on the way to Wasdale Head so was worried I could easily get lost if the light was poor. As it turned out we moved quickly and got to Wasdale (19 miles) in fading light.

This section from Wasdale to Buttermere goes over two serious passes Black Sail Pass and Scarth Gap and it was on these climbs that I started to feel nauseous finding it difficult to drink or eat (not great on this kind of distance running). We got into Buttermere (26 miles) and I was able to drink some tea and eat a few biscuits. I was very pleased with my navigation on the next leg over into Braithwaite we were spot on and I had a few other runners tagging along on a very dark evening. We got into Braithwaite at stupid o’clock in the morning just as the heavens opened and gave us a good soaking. We were fed spicy pasta which was a bit odd for a running event it certainly did not help my already queezy stomach. I had to start walking sections of the next leg which I would normally have ran so I was getting pretty frustrated, suggested to Paul that he could do his own thing if he wanted but he said he was just fine doing the pace we were plodding along at. Dawn broke as we headed back down the valley to checkpoint 6 at the Blencathra Centre and 41 miles in. I had a couple of jelly babies and started to feel my appetite return.

Just as I was starting to feel positive the pain in my feet began. The pain gradually increased over the next stages to Dalemain and the 59 mile mark. I managed to get some dry socks and shoes as well as tape up my badly blistered feet. I also managed to get a serious amount of food and drink inside me which was a relief. This is now when the race really begins, unfortunately my feet weren’t playing ball so I couldn’t really get into a good pace but I kept going and Howtown and Mardale head came and went.

I met up with David Gibson at Kentmere who was running the 50 mile event. We had a really good feed of pasta followed by rice pudding with a dollop of jam in it. That powered me up the Garburn Pass. On the way into Ambleside I hit a bad patch when I felt a blister on my heel tear causing me quite severe pain with every step. I must say I was all set to drop out but as I hobbled into Ambleside the pain eased and I decided I would keep going. It was only 16 miles to go!

The second night hit as we ran down Langdale and it got pretty cold so the hats and gloves came out of the pack. This was all a bit of a tired blur but 33 hours and a 105 miles after setting off, Paul and I walked into the school hall at Coniston to a round of applause a cup of tea and a bowl of veggie chilli. That was a tough event.

James Herriot Trail Race, Castle Bolton, Wensleydale, 29th July

14K

Melanie Hudson

MelanieI arrived at Castle Bolton but didn’t see any other Striders. This is a one loop, 14k trail race. I had told myself I wouldn’t push too hard and just enjoy it, so I was aiming to average 10 minute miles. I had been warned it was hilly but I hadn’t really anticipate the hill starting at only 400m into the race and for it then to carry on for 3 miles!!! By 3 miles I was only averaging 12 minute miles, hmm I needn’t have worried about going too fast. There was a much needed water station at this point and then a lovely downhill stretch for about a mile, wheeeee. Ha I should have known that couldn’t have been it for hills and at mile four there was a steep hill. Not only that but as I turned the corner the weather completely changed and I was running into a cold wind, it was pelting it down with icy rain, I was frozen. Thankfully the hill was steep but short and on turning the corner at the top we came out of the freak bit of weather and back to just a breezy, dull but mild conditions. From this point onwards it was mainly downhill and enjoyable. There was another water station at mile 6 where the marshal commented on how he had got the water fresh out of the ground that morning, being a little OCD I was hoping he was joking. I managed to make up a lot of time comfortably and finished averaging 9 min 40 miles.

It was a lovely scenic course, you could see for miles and took us through countryside and moorland. It was mostly on proper footpaths but they were rocky so you had to watch your feet and there were some sections on grass. I went for lunch in the Castle coffee shop and asked for some tap water, the waitress said it will be a little discoloured because it comes from a natural spring. Eek I guess the Marshall wasn’t joking about where the water had come from :o.

Hopefully I will bump into other Striders next year, just don’t drink the water there.

Runners snake up and beyond the hill

Half DRAM, Dundee, 29th July

13.1M

Colin Blackburn

...they didn't.

Still, I had a half marathon to run so I hobbled downstairs - whoever thought spiral staircases were a good idea was clearly not a runner with DOMS - and ate a lot of cereal. My landlord, housemate and friend, Chris, had offered me a lift to, you've guessed it, Camperdown Park before he headed off to do some orienteering. I vaguely toyed with the idea of forgetting about the race and doing some orienteering as well but I had paid £13.10 and eaten a lot of cereal. The start for the half and the full marathon was beside the Mansion House in the centre of the park and as I approached it was clear that this was a bigger affair than yesterday's parkrun. With a 1000 runners, 800 of whom were doing the half, there were a lot of people milling around. The whole thing was very well organised with various stalls - taping, energy drinks, etc., and baggage vans to take any bags to the end of the half out at Broughty Ferry.

After getting myself prepared and getting rid of the bag I set off for a light warm up through the woods, well the queues to the loos were a bit long! Near the start line I bumped into my colleague Scott who is also using this as a stage on his GNR training. We didn't have much time to chat before we were off. The course took a loop through the park before crossing a very busy road into Templeton Woods. As this race had police support the road was closed for 15 minutes to allow the field to get across. In fact the police managed the traffic at the handful of other major road crossings on the route. The minor roads were handled by a plethora of marshals and elsewhere the course was very obviously marked. The course uses what is known as the Green Circular, a fairly lightly trafficked loop around Dundee. It was a mix of surfaces from woodland tracks, secluded cycleways and the occasional but unavoidable main road pavement.

The first couple of miles were distinctly uphill and on relatively narrow and occasionally muddy tracks, so I took it easy and didn't waste any energy trying to get past people. In fact the few people who did pass me on the section were stood puffing and panting further up the hill - that's no way to race! Once the first couple of miles is over the course heads gradually downhill all the way to the finish. There was the odd footbridge or section where the cycleway rose up a road embankment, not real hills by any means but you certainly felt them after a few miles. Also, after the initial woodland section the course was fairly exposed and the sun had come out - a very, very rare event in Dundee - so I am pleased I wore my hat and that I had put some sun cream on. Given the weather, the four water stations were also very welcome, especially the last two with big bowls of jelly babies.

When my watch beeped at the 16km mark I finally felt qualified to let the thought, "only a parkrun to go", cross my mind. And it did! A mile or so further the road started to drop down to Monifieth and I started to feel I was nearly there. I grabbed a quick swig at the final drinks station, chewed a few sweets and finally saw the Silvery Tay. The last climb was the disturbingly steep railway foobridge and then it was on to the esplanade, back west towards Broughty Ferry. Up until this point I thought a sub 1:50 was on, then the headwind hit! I don't think I have ever been to Broughty Ferry on a calm day and this was no exception. My only consolation was that I had a little over a mile to go while the marathon guys would have this headwind for at least another 10 miles. I dug in, got my head down and headed for the finish. I just missed my target and crossed the line in 1:50:47 but was very happy with that and equally happy to be comfortably in the top third of the field.

With my medal and goodie bag collected - Haribos, cereal bar, a nice High-5 drinks bottle and a 10% discount from a local tiling company! - I found my bag, got changed and headed back to the bus that had been laid on to get us half DRAMers back to the start. Once the bus had negotiated the Dundee traffic and dropped people at the bottom of the park - did he not realise how tired our legs were? - I got back to the start line to see the first marathon runner come in in 2:43. That's a great time given the final three miles are uphill and the headwind - though chatting to him briefly he said that the headwind did die down a bit. He still beat me getting back on a bus!

Unfortunately Chris didn't offer to collect me but today there was no way I was jogging home so I just ambled back which I think helped my legs. I got back in plenty of time to watch the last hours of the far from disappointing women's road race! Well done Lizzie Armitstead! Well done also to the organisers, marshals and police that made for such a great race.

I then fell asleep and dreamed of getting a half marathon PB in the GNR...

North East parkrunathon, 28th July

34.1M

George Nicholson

The rate of growth of parkruns has been quite phenomenal. This time last year there only 3 established parkruns in our region. Durham was about to commence, and since then 7 more have been added.

It would take a brave man to attempt to run these 11 parkruns in one day. It’s not just the fact that the distance of 34.1 miles has to be conquered, it’s managing the logistics of driving to each of the venues and ensuring supporting runners will be there to meet, greet, and navigate the routes. Twitter & Facebook make that job a lot easier. As this was also a fundraising event and required the additional eye-catching fun element of fancy dress, it requires that ‘brave man’ to be a ‘super man’ ... "cometh the hour, cometh Paul Smith"

Although Paul is a Crook AC runner, he is well known to many of us. He is also widely known and admired for his ‘Runstreak’. To date he has run every single day for five and a half years, 2000+ days. When he told me he wanted to run for ACORNS Childrens Hospice it was my turn to be ‘choked’. A magnificent gesture...

Paul and LouiseThe day started at 9.00 am at Durham parkrun and provided many of the day’s ‘highs’ There were of course the usual large number of striders running, marshalling, and helping to organise this event. It was wonderful to see Emma, Greta, & Dougie turn up wearing their Acorn’s tops. My son-in-law, Julian Hart, from Birmingham only had time for this first run and was pleased with his 12th place. It was also announced at the Start that Michael Spedding was running. Michael is the brother of Olympic Bronze Medallist Charlie Spedding. Both he and Charlie were School running buddies of mine and his presence revived good memories of our XC races round Houghall Woods way back in the ‘black ‘n white’ days of 1967.

From Durham the parkrunathon entourage commenced its journey round the North East. First we headed South to Sedgefield, then onto Tees Barrage, Middlesborough’s Albert Park & Stewart Park, next stop was Redcar. Mid-afternoon it was ‘head back North’ to Sunderland (the only time we had rain!), Whitley Bay, Newcastle Town Moor, Gateshead, and finally at 10.00 pm Chester-le-Street’s Riverside.

Again many memorable moments along the way including the presence on a couple of occasions of Sharon Gayter, international ultra-marathon runner & multiple world record holder. She could only act as ‘starter’ at Tees Barrage, but did she make a special journey to run the final Riverside Run at Chester-le-Street.

Support from Striders was also amazing. 23 running at Durham, Adam Walker also ran at Sedgefield & Sunderland, Stephen Garbutt came to Riverside. Kevin Williams & Billy Ford did the first 5 on the trot. They could not give their time for the afternoon, but did return for the finale. Kevin to support & Bill ran Gateshead & Riverside making his contribution 21 miles and 7 runs in total. Mike Elliot & Greta also ran at Strider’s spiritual parkrun home at Sunderland.

It was a great thrill for me to watch Paul run at each of the 11 venues, naturally I did not have the ability to run every one, so I took the ‘soft’ option and ran every alternate one: Durham, Tees Barrage, Stewart Park, Sunderland, Town Moor & Riverside.

We kept the best for last. A very emotional one for me in fact, and I know the same feeling was experienced by Paul as we crossed the line. He described it as the best of his 2030 runstreak days. I wish I had the means to describe the euphoria I felt, a kind of “ make this moment last forever “ feeling.... The pace may not seem that fast, 26:40 for 5k, but believe me at the end of a 13 hour day, over 18 miles of similar pace running, and you are determined to keep alongside an international ultra-runner, it felt VERY fast , especially when most of the folk around me were 2 decades younger! It’s only dumb pride that overruled what my lungs, heart & legs were telling my brain. Paul SmithThe light was fading fast, and this added to the 'theatre' of the occasion. Riverside is a compact 3 lap course and the wonderful group of supporters were able to cheer us on at several places. Surely only running in the Olympic 5000 metre final could equal the experience

£1250+ raised for Acorns that day! What more to say? It was indeed another good day at the Office.

Great contribution as ever from the dozens of Striders who ran & supported ’Superman’ Paul Smith’s great challenge.

Camperdown parkrun, Dundee, 28th July

5K

Colin Blackburn

Last weekend I struggled through the, essentially, half marathon that is a low tide Coastal Run and this weekend I'm up in Dundee for the Half DRAM (Dundee Running Adventure Marathon) aka the Dundee Half. I was still tired from the previous week's exertions and far from prepared for tomorrow's but what else is there to do on a Saturday in Dundee? Well, the sensible option would be to have a lie-in followed by a leisurely breakfast while watching the Olympic Men's Road Race. Instead I took the sillier option of trying my first ever parkrun, having registered in a fit of madness on the Friday! The park in question is Camperdown Park and is about 4km from where I stay when up in Dundee. It's a park I've orienteered in before - in fact I almost broke my leg in this park a couple of months ago and so I blame this particular park for my current lack of fitness! It's also the park from which the half marathon will start.

Not being sensible enough to have a bike up in Dundee I decided to jog/walk to the parkrun, which by the time I got across the far side of the park was pretty much 5km. I then sat and rested a bit while watching the race director and other volunteers put up the start/finish and mark the course in the very nice sunshine. A few minutes later another newbie turned up, Joe was based down in Catterick but on leave up in Dundee. He was as clueless as me as to what was happening. As 9:30 approached (remember this is Scotland where an extra half-an-hour in bed is compulsory) 50 or so people had gathered for Camperdown's 11th parkrun. The RD mentioned that the numbers were down a little as this was the weekend of the five day Tour of Fife. There was then a brief description of the course, a loop which because Camperdown is on a slope would involve a couple of climbs.

A few seconds later we were off along a nice mix of park roads and tracks. The course was very well marked and marshalled with all side paths and tracks being coned off and marshalls looking after all the key junctions. The up and down nature of the course meant that I yo-yoed a little with the woman that I eventually just beat, while Joe was well ahead having gone off with the fast guys. Just short of 25 minutes after starting I crossed the finish line and got my various barcodes scanned. After a brief chat with Joe, who'd enjoyed it as much as I had, I decided to head home. That meant another 5km walk/run (slightly more walking this time!) before putting my feet up to watch the last hours of the disappointing men's road race. I then nodded off and dreamed of my legs recovering for the next day's ordeal...

Sedgefield Trail Race, Hardwick Hall, 25th July

5K

Melanie Hudson

This is part of a series of three 5k trail races, you don't have to do them all though. The previous one was at Chester-le-Street, which Dave and I did in May, the next one is at Hamsterley Forest at the end of August.

This one was held at the lovely ornamental park of Hardwick Park. It only cost £3 to enter plus £2 for parking. It uses exactly the same course as the Sedgefield parkrun. It is a two lap course, which I don't normally like, but its such a pretty route I don't really mind on this one. Its mainly on paths so we were fine in our road shoes. It’s a fairly flat course, with a very slight incline at the beginning and then a bit of a hill towards the end of the first and second lap but nothing too bad.

The race takes you past various follies, along the side of a lake, over a pretty stone bridge, beside a river and through a wood.

Summer Handicap, 25th July

Phil Owen

Another excellent turn out for the July summer handicap. The trail in the woods had dried out a far bit since Anna and i Marshaled the clamber the previous week and some good times were posted.

Susan Davies was fastest lady in 39:25 and Jerry Lloyd fastest man , posting an amazing time of 31: 28 so soon after the Outlaw Iron Man Tri.

Great to see so many really going for it. Well done. Many thanks to Paul Evans for popping down just to help out. Great stuff. :-)

Cock Howe and Beyond, Chop Gate, NYM, 25th July

7M 1500'

Dave Selby

Starring Rachael Bullock, Nigel Heppell and Dave Selby

Before... a non-plussed DaveMonday evening I was still on the fence about this event. Then Rachael (aka Fatty) said that she was keen to run up a steep hill and get wet and muddy. So lured in by camaraderie and the false sense of security given by the positively tropical conditions of Durham we set off to Chop Gate. Within ten miles of Chop Gate the cloud was low, it was cool (but pleasantly so) and those all too familiar water droplets were falling from the sky. Not quite the conditions we were expecting. The hill we were about to ascend was encapsulated in cloud. I suppose what you don’t know (see) cannot hurt you?

All signed in and dressed ready for action I observed the field while Fatty filled herself with banana(s). I find it unnerving that I have more fat in my big toe than some of the runners. I’m sure it is not healthy to have so little body fat. They must get very cold in the winter.

We met Nigel who had brought along his support and cheering team. Nice idea. With the race announcement over with we were off. The initial path up the hill is relatively narrow, so to thin out the crowd the run starts with a lap of the car park. Then upwards the run begins. The first hurdle was a farm gate as there was too much of a queue for the stile. Shortly over the gate I made a mistake in following a group of runners up a very narrow path that then decided to walk. Slowly getting past them I rejoined the main route to see Fatty had taken the correct route and was a good distance in front. Here the fun really began; a 534 to 1310ft climb over ~1.2m to the summit (see route profile generated by Fatty’s fancy watch) - good and overall runnable climb. A small exposure of shale made the path lovely and greasy over a steep section for about 10m. Watching those in front slip was quite amusing. Before we got to the summit the juniors were making their way down. And by the time we got to summit the cloud had cleared and the rain had all but stopped. From the top there was a blissful 1m of downhill only be to greeted by another climb from 987 to 1240ft over ~0.75m. The next ~1.5m only had a slight incline and took us full circle back to the summit, along the way giving us beautiful views and a wee glimmer of red sky from the setting sun in the west. From the summit more fun, down the hill we came up at the start. After... a happy Dave, proving once and for all that fell racing makes people happy.This part was awesome. One final obstacle before the finish line, the farm gate, over the top I went and the last few hundred yards to the finish line where Nigel and his support crew were already waiting. Moments later Fatty came sprinting across the line with a huge smile across her face.
:-)

There were plenty of prizes to go round at the end - we took a bottle of wine and two boxes of Marks and Spencers three pack of Walnut Whips (which apparent contain more calories in total than we burnt during the run – so disappointing. The only downside to the long prize ceremony was the innumerable midgies that thought Fatty tasted quite good. Apparently she is really itchy at the moment. It must be the young blood. We then headed to the Buck Inn for refreshments and nibbles that were well deserved by all.

The End...

The ups and downs

Results

PosNameClubCatPosTime
1 Matthew Hammerton Romsey RR M 41.43
14 Catherine Williamson Loftus & Whitby F 48.38
28 Nigel Heppell M55 3 54.50
53 David Selby M40 60.42
65 Rachael Bullock M60 65.35

78 finishers.

A 5K double, Exhibition Park, Newcastle, 25th July

5K + 5K

Dougie Nisbet

You have to pay attention with orienteering events otherwise you blink and you've missed them. It's worth keeping an eye on the websites of the local clubs (e.g NATO, NN, CLOK) as there are often interesting bits and bobs popping up all over the place. I noticed there was an orienteering event in Newcastle Exhibition Park organised by NATO and as it's just round the corner from work it seemed like a good way of getting some quality fartlek without going out my head with boredom. I like to get to orienteering events early because I like bags of time to get round. And I like to do the long courses.

I was very early indeed and did that thing that I only do when I'm really bored or I'm trying to impress Allan Seheult. I 'warmed up' (as I believe the expression is). Normally I use the first bit of a race to do this, whether it's a 5K or a marathon, that's what the first bit's for. But I was bored and I went to find where the start was before the courses opened. I found the Finish, so I went under the underpass (you would hardly go over an underpass I guess), and found myself on the Town Moor. There was the Start. Not very orienteeringy though - all that white plastic banner stuff. A big banner, and a Police car. And lots of water bottles being unstacked. Back to the Finish, then back to the Car Park (registration), then back to the Finish (which apparently was the Start too - are you still following this?) and away I went.

I have my orienteering race kit pretty honed nowadays. Dumbledore specs and fast-settling compass on stand-by and onto the Moor. It became apparent very quickly that navigation was not going to be a problem. Even using 'mini-kites' as controls it will still dead-easy to spot the controls a mile away. So a lot of it came down to how fast you could run, punch your card, and avoid the cattle. I recognized the bumpy bits from a Harrier League when it had been covered in snow, but on this warm evening it was simply a matter of pointing the compass and running fast. I had someone to chase, and someone chasing me, and could see them both all the way round (which kinda defeats the point of orienteering). After the last control my chasee had got away, and my chaser had caught me, so I pretty much lost interest in things. And I kept noticing something strange ...

There seemed to be runners. People with numbers on their vests. Even though I was still racing, curiosity got the better of me and I paused to ask one obvious warmer-upper what he was doing. Apparently there was a 5K on this evening and you could enter on the night. Well, as it was a nice night, and it wasn't even 7PM and I'd just done a short-fast orienteering event, I thought this sounded a bit of a hoot. I got to the finish, handed over my card, but instead of heading back to the carpark, turned round, and headed back onto the Moor to investigate.

DougieTen minutes later I was standing in the registration tent literally dripping sweat onto my entry form for the Elswick Cup (whatever that is). At twelve quid it was a bit dear (that's about twelve quid more expensive than a parkrun), but I was here now and was having a rush of blood to the head. I paid up and wandered off to find out when the race started. I was probably the most clueless entrant in the race. I was also exceedingly hot and bothered. Orienteering rules state that you must have full leg-cover, in case you get stung by stingy nettles or something, so I was feeling pretty overdressed. I'd also entered the race as a Strider and was running in a Northern Navigators top. I pinned my number to my NN vest and wandered around a bit trying to find a shady bit to cool down.

About 30 minutes or so after finishing the orienteering I found myself on the Start line (remember the mysterious Start sign from earlier?) for the Elswick Cup. Not much to say about it really. I ran it hard and hot and finished in an ok time. I wasn't likely to medal. There was a tech-tee at the end ('cause I really need another one) and a bottle of water. And some fruit. I didn't hang around to see if I was in the prizes and headed back to the car, back past the Orienteering Finish which was just packing up. With two-fast 5K runs under my belt I headed back to Durham and was home before 8PM. It's nice to do something a bit daft once in a while.

Grand Prix Race. Endurance Champion Race.

Coastal Run, Beadnell, 22nd July

Tide was out, nearer to 13M than 14M

Dougie Nisbet...

Not for the first time I found myself checking myself out (so to speak) in Tesco Express Corner Shop in North Road. Despite the unexpectedly refreshing pint or two of "Ageless" beer from the Red Lion, I'd arrived back in Durham with a perishing thirst. It's very handy that Gillingham's chuck us out just a few hundred yards from an off licence on a Sunday afternoon after a tough race. I'm not one for arguing with serendipity. Judging by the purplish hue in the queue it seems I'm not alone in this philosophy.

Iain and DougieIt seemed no time at all since I was sat in the tent at the start wondering where my next safety pin was coming from. A kind voice in the corner asked me if I was expecting a good run. It seemed familiar, and I looked up to see my old friend Iain chatting to me as if it was only yesterday (rather than 20+ years) since we'd last seen each other. We used to be friends and rivals in the Dunedin Cycling Club in Edinburgh, where Iain was always the better athlete. Glancing through the results and noticing his 1:39 time, I see nothing's changed. Ah well, as an ex-member of Dunedin CC and COERC, I'm never one to deny myself a bit of reflected glory!

And so to the traditional primal start on the beach. A massed bunch of hunter-gatherers fidgeting around the start waiting for the signal to go hunting. And away we go. Nowadays I'm pretty good at not charging away like a Kathryn when the gun goes off but there's something incredibly exciting about running along a beach and I'm sure I got a bit over-excited and headed straight for the sea, carefully resisting the temptation to shout Freeedom!" as I sploshed through the pathetic excuse for a burn that the marshalls had warned us about. I'm glad I'm not the only one who runs inefficiently close to the waves to cut the corner; not because it saves time, but just because it's far more fun than going the long way round.

A few miles in and I could still see John Hutchinson ahead so that could only mean one thing. I'd started too fast too soon for too long. I glanced at my Garmin and noticed I was way into the anaerobic (My Garmin can't lie). I calmed down a bit and presently Kathryn caught me up. She asked if she might run with me to Craster. This was rather sweet and I wasn't sure if she was indulging in a bit of tactical maneuvering or asking me out to the cinema. After Craster Kathryn asked if I minded if she ran off ahead, so that she could stop and have a bit of a rest. Ever the bewildered gentleman I nodded in polite and mystefied agreement. Some time later, sure enough, I passed Kathryn as she paused and supped on a yucky gel, and I ran on by. She's up to something, I thought.

Kathryn, Claire and JeanMy parkrun the previous day had crushingly confirmed to me that I wasn't nearly as fit and fast as I'd tried to convince myself I might be. So I was periodically trying to decide whether I was 'racing', 'training', or just having a bit of a run. After Craster we see a relatively new phenomenon thanks due to the introduction of the bus. Supporters got tipped out around half way and so you pass Strider Walkers who cheer you on in the last few miles as you approach the finish. This is really nice.

About 3 miles from the finish I passed a Crook Vest that looked familiar. I glanced over to see the Lord of the Streak in a bit of a bad way. On Saturday Paul is running all 11 North East parkruns in aid of Acorns, but today was not a good day. As a very 20-something-plus parkrunner I'm not used to overtaking a regular sub-20 parkrunner, but it was clear that Paul was struggling and my Pacer gene kicked in and we ran together through a tough headwind to the line, where Prince Archie appeared and suddenly I was on my own again.

Once over the line news trickled in from a Tyne Bridges runner of a Strider lady who was having a tough time a mile or two from the finish. A posse was formed and we walked down the beach looking for our woman down. Was it Denise? No. Was it Claire? No. With everyone denying being the damsel in distress we all sauntered to the Red Lion in search of the Barbecue which many of us had fond memories of from yesteryear. The BBQ wasn't there, but the Adder Lager was still available, along with a bountiful selection of booze and nosh.

On the coach trip home having exceeded my recommended daily alcohol consumption with one pint of Ageless I contentedly chatted with Colin Sue and Angela about nasal hair, dried skin, alcohol consumption, sex, sheds, and a little bit about the race. Kathryn has also challenged me to a sub-2 hour show-down one year from now. Place your bets!

Striders on the beach

...and Kathryn Sygrove

I had a bad experience of this race in 2011 - illness en route temporarily stopped play, and I lumbered home in a reasonable time, having paid little attention to the surrounds, simply to droop in the coach at the end. Shame really, for such a beautiful and rugged run, not to appreciate the landscape, and the various terrains on offer - so much so that I really could not remember much of the route from last time!

Marco, Kathryn and GoergeStill, we started on Beadnell beach, a bit soggy and cloudier than expected, and the race started in a flash. 2 miles over very wet sand, with one rivulet pulling you down to your knees, we ploughed on with drenched shoes and socks! Actually, I was going easy at first after a manky virus, wondering if I should be attempting this distance and terrain so soon afterwards. Off up the beach and onto coastal paths, a bit of road through a village, and back onto the sand towards Dunstanburgh Castle. It seemed to get warmer, there was definitely some wind, and I was feeling well invigorated at this stage.

I even raced across the boulders coming off the beach, like a mountain goat, and onto the narrow stony coastal paths round the castle. You see, I had someone in view by now - Dougie - and that was too much to resist. I caught him up and we ran till 8 miles together, beyond the Castle, up over fields, into Craster, and back out across field tracks including some rather steep ones at that. Time passed well and the sun was really warm by then, but my energy was already starting to fade.

I had a wee pitstop for Gatorade and snack bar, and then felt like lead. Dougie was ahead, but I felt too worn out to catch him. I put my head down and did whatever pace my legs could manage but it felt really hard. I think we went over some more field tracks, and - oh yeah - that pig of a hill about 9 miles!! which I had completely forgotten about. It was very warm by now, and I was already willing the race to be over. But the water stations at Boulmer refreshed me Yellow vestsand I ran off with a new lease of life up the road to the final stage - about 2 miles of sandy beach to the finish.

Wham! into the fierce headwind, sand blowing up at you, and I'd had enough. I strode forcibly forward, with marching arms, which seemed to do more than a pitifully ineffective attempt at a jog at that point. "It's like being in slo-mo" another runner joked at me. How true! After a while, I started to jog again, end in sight, though it came v-e-r-y slowly due to the sand pulling your feet down, and the wind pushing you back. There seemed to be too many flags at the end, and one was placed rather cruelly, so as to appear to be the finish, but it wasn't!! There was still a wee way to go! A few congratulatory cries from other Striders helped push my weary legs over the finish line, less than 2 minutes behind Dougie. All finishers got yellow jerseys, a la Bradley Wiggins, which made me smile. At the Red Lion Pub, I thanked Dougie for his companionship and threw down the sub-2 hour gauntlet for next year, which he grinningly accepted. Watch this space!

Results

PosNameClubCatPosTime
1Ian HardingMorpeth HarriersM11:16:54
27Jane HodgsonMorpeth HarriersF11:28:17
85David GibsonM40421:37:36
130Jeremy LloydM40601:42:18
138Michael BennettM50171:43:11
141Fiona ShentonF5031:43:19
209Alister RobsonM40871:48:26
239Steve LindsayM50311:49:57
286John HutchinsonM50401:53:28
308Marco Van Den BremerM401211:54:56
309Juliet PercivalF40181:55:04
466Dougie NisbetM401602:04:46
489Colin BlackburnM50882:05:34
502Kathryn SygroveF40442:06:22
513Angela ProctorF35192:06:54
547Carolyn BrayF35212:09:30
559George NicholsonM60262:11:01
567Melanie HudsonF312:11:41
569Dave RobsonM60272:11:47
583Jean BradleyF50232:12:27
617Greta JonesF40692:15:56
622Sue JenningsF40712:16:06
627Denise MasonF2:16:33
636David ShipmanM502:17:32
662Alan SmithM60342:19:21
708James NicholsonM60382:24:25
716Anita ClementsonF40892:25:14
728Christine FarnsworthF2:26:35
736Claire ReadeyF35402:28:03
742Mike ElliottM60432:29:05
751Nicola Van Den BremerF40942:31:05
788Margaret ThompsonF6042:43:21

809 finishers.

Bupa Great North 10k, Gateshead, 22nd July

10k

Rob Clark

This was a race that I really enjoyed last year so I had no hesitation in signing up again even if at £25 the entrance fee is a bit steep. I know the Great Run’s are not everyone’s cup of tea but I really enjoy them as the atmosphere and camaraderie among runners is second to none in my opinion.

Before the race I met up with a couple of runners I used to run with at Run North Tyneside before I joined the Striders and we chatted about the race and what times we were hoping to achieve. It was really nice to catch up with them and to see how far they’ve progressed as runners as well, as well as taking part in the cheesy warm up as we were all in the same pen.

As for the race itself I started strongly as we came along Saltmeadows Road and down past Gateshead College, heading towards the Quayside. My plan was to start slow and steady and build up gradually, however as I passed the Sage and came under the Tyne Bridge I still felt strong as I passed old drinking haunts in Buffalo Joes and Baja Beach Club.

The course continued a bit further along Gateshead Quayside before turning back the way we came. It was the stage where I started to hit the wall so to speak and as I headed past the Sage back to Gateshead Stadium I had reverted to run/walking as I had nothing left. Anyone who has done this race before will know about the steep bank with 800 metres left, I didn’t even attempt to run up this as I was running on vapours at this stage.

Once up the bank the race finished with a lap around the track in Gateshead Stadium, where I did my very best Steve Cram/Brendan Foster impression as I crossed the finish line, finishing in 1:03:18 knocking 7 minutes off my time from last year. I was disappointed with this time as I felt confident beforehand that I could achieve the sub 60 but it wasn’t to be. Overall I felt frustrated with myself as I felt I could have achieved this had I ran smarter, still you live and learn and I’m not going to dwell on this.

Would I do this race again next year?. Yeah I probably will as overall it is a good day out and if your new to running and wanting to dip your toe into running it is ideal as it is aimed at all levels and the atmosphere is superb, despite the hefty price fee. However in my opinion I think the course could be relooked at to maybe include the Newcastle side of the quayside and the Millennium Bridge rather than running past Buffalo Joes and Baja Beach Club before turning back. Food for thought for next year maybe?.

Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon, Bishop Wilton, York, 21st July

13.1

Rachael Bullock

I had been wanting to do this race for a good few years, but had never been brave enough, because I knew it was a toughy. But I decided this year I would just go for it, despite having done a complete lack of distance training. I think seeing all the other Strider’s going off every weekend to run epic distances made me believe that surely, with a bit of ‘mind-over-matter’, I could manage a mere 13 miles!

My parents live in Pocklington, just 10 minutes drive away from the start, so getting to the race was nice and easy, and it was nice to have them as my ‘support crew’, cheering me on at various points on the way round! And it was a lovely day, nice and sunny, but not really too hot, and there were plenty of drinks stations on the way round (also with wet sponges) to keep refreshed. There were also lots of friendly marshalls.

Rachael with mugThe route itself, in my opinion, is just lovely. Very scenic along small, quiet country roads, and also about 2 miles of off road about half way round, which was a nice break from pounding the roads. It is hard work though. It felt like the whole first half of the race was uphill to some extent! Certainly between 3 and 6 miles you are climbing relentlessly and wondering when it is ever going to flatten out. But at 6.5 miles there is a wonderful downhill section off-road, and it was in the shade too. After that, everything feels ‘relatively’ flat. Steep hill at about 9 miles but it’s not too long. The real killer is the hill at 11 miles, which is a horrible drag for about half a mile when you are really very tired, and I did end up walking some of this one, and I was not the only one! But fortunately I knew that the last mile or so is another fantastic downhill, all the way to the finish. There was plenty of support at the finish and a nice hand-thrown pottery mug (I do love a good mug!). Somehow the miles had just seemed to tick over - I finished in a time of 2 hours 4 minutes which I was pretty satisfied with and really I was just chuffed to finish in one piece and with a smile on my face :-) I loved every minute of it.

The race is normally held in conjunction with the Bishop Wilton show, but unfortunately this year the show was cancelled because the field was too wet. But I can only imagine that it would add to the niceness of the event. I am definitely going to be persuading some more Strider’s to join me next year!

Sedgefield Harriers Summer Handicap, Fishburn, 19th July

6M

Will Horsley

Strider's present: 3; Mel Hudson, Will Horsley and John Greathead. Conditions: Wet, muddy, warm, overgrown, lots of stings and scratches and mouthfuls of flies. Feel: Friendly but competitive, small number of participants. Plenty of anticipation building up at start due to the handicap system so later runners can see those who start ahead and know who they have to chase as well as seeing who is left and knowing who will chase them. I set-off on the maximum handicap at about 7:30pm with two other runners both from the organising club. I managed to pull out a small lead over them which I extended a little bit over the course. I have done this race two or three times before both winter and summer and usually start picking off the back markers in Bishop Middleham at about 3 miles.

Not this time. Didn't start overtaking until the home straight at about 4 miles and never caught my fellow Striders. I did manage to hold off the two lads who started with me. I was convinced they were right behind me all the way and this meant I worked harder than I had really wanted to but at the line I had a comfortable margin. I duly secured the fastest time on the night and a bottle of wine. Still two minutes slower than when I did the race in January in absolutely freezing conditions. I was not surprised to be slower due to general lack of running and racing, but also because the ground was incredibly boggy and slippery in several places. I don't mind this, being a fell runner at heart and I reckon it slowed my rivals down more than it did me. Mel was ahead of her handicap time, a great effort especially considering she did the Clamber the night before. John must have been pretty much spot on his handicap, also a good effort in the sludge, whereas I was about two minutes over but I got a bottle of wine. For a free race there were surprisingly few Striders present, but I guess that's the Clamber effect. Sedgefield were also right down on numbers as it clashed with a local party for one of their soon to be departing members - I would have thought a friendly club handicap race would have been the perfect send-off.

Looking forward to the next Winter edition. Also, Sedgefield Serpentine race on 9th Sept, not free though.

Court Inn Clamber, 18th July

Pam would like to, "thank everyone who helped out tonight marshalling or otherwise supporting the race - I really appreciate it! Thanks also to everyone who ran the race. The results are below as prepared by Alister, who did a great job."

Shiny, happy people.Rachael leads the Striders through the woodsAnita minds her head!The hovering men.

Results

PosNameClubCatPosTime
1Tim AllsopSunderland StrollersM40130:45
2Adam WalkerM16132:28
9Tom ReevesM40334:43
11Simon GardnerM4034:58
15Victoria BootheSunderland StrollersF30135:53
17Mike BennettM5036:17
34Marco Van den BremerM4038:05
40Paul PascoeM4039:05
47Kevin WilliamsM3040:08
48David SelbyM4040:18
49John HutchinsonM5040:26
52Melanie HudsonF3041:23
57Paul BealM4041:59
58David SpenceM6042:01
62Carolyn BrayF3042:21
63Camilla Lauren-MaattaF40342:31
68Rachael BullockF2043:11
73George NicholsonM6045:12
76Katherine PrestonF4045:54
85Emma DetchonF3048:47
87Anita ClementsonF4050:12
88Nicola Van den BremerF4050:31
89Jill FordF4050:41
90Brian FordM4050:41
93Sarah TulipF3051:28
94Angela CoatesF4052:43
95Angela RobsonF3059:17
96Rebecca MaddisonF3059:17

97 finishers.

Prudhoe Miners Run, 15th July

5m

Alister Robson

Two new 5 mile races in one week? Well not quite as this one was actually a re-introduction of a race that was last run 70 years ago albeit in reverse as they couldn't run the original route. The only thing it had in common with the Bridges of the Tyne earlier in the week was the distance too.

Where the Bridges of the Tyne was a flat out and back this was a loop which didn't start and finish at the same place. Starting just downhill from Prudhoe's Waterworld leisure centre, where the parking was, you climbed up that first little hill and followed the mainly downhill (and into the wind) section to the A695, before a sharp left up to and beyond West Mickley. Those who supported George when he recently carried the Olympic Torch nearby and came back to the Blue Bell pub will know the road and climb! The route proceeded up and up for about a mile until eventually and thankfully it flattened out at the top of the valley and then it was all down hill to finish at the school, familiar to those who run the Prudhoe XC.

Dave Selby's friend, and potentially future Strider Alice, recent ladies winner at the Bamburgh 10K had another great run finishing 3rd lady. I had a tough battle with a couple of Blackhill Bounders eventually managing to hold them off, Dave S was next in after me, closely followed by Anna with Dave Robson next as Melanie put her famous sprint finish on hold and kindly allowed him over the line first. There was a lovely, if exceptionally bright yellow, tech tee to all finishers and after a painful walk back to the leisure centre Anna, Mel, Dave and I rounded a lovely sunny morning with a coffee and a bacon butty and some cake.

I think there'll be a bigger field next year!

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Steve Rankin Sunderland Strollers M 1 30:25
9 Michelle Holt Sunderland Harriers F 1 33:48
24 Alister Robson M 11 37:47
48 David Selby M 19 42:54
49 Anna Seeley F 14 43:07
67 Dave Robson M 26 46:28
68 Melanie Hudson F 18 46:29

110 finishers.

Butterwick Hamsterley 10K, Hamsterley Forest, 15th July

David Catterick

Apparently this charity 10K takes place every year (previously run by John H) but this year was the first time I'd heard of it. Hamsterley Forest has some fantastic tracks and trails in it and, once you get away from the car parks, is very picturesque and is home to interesting flora and fauna including DFRs.

The pre-race information did make it clear that it would be mostly trail will two big hills one at the start and one midway so no 'surprises' then (for most of us at least). My step-daughter had arrived unexpectedly this weekend from Norwich and fancied a run that had hills as apparently there are no hills in Norfolk!

A fine day's shopping in the forest ... The sun was out and the sky was blue for a change as the 300 runners turned up including 10 Striders. Parking for those not arriving early was challenging but otherwise organisation was excellent with lots of marshals and white arrows. Appropriate running music was provided but Bishop Auckland Hospital Radio.

We walked up the track to the start and off we went straight along to hill number one. As usual I headed off far too fast and before long was very hot and it felt increasingly humid. Further along however there was a nice breeze before the next hill at around half way. At the top there was a lovely long run down and then a pretty flat fast final 3k.

The finish line caught a few runners out as it wasn`t signposted and, without realising, I found I`d finished the race. Pretty soon all the striders were in and it was time to collect the goody bags, which, considering the £13 entrance fee, was quite generous. Contents varied but I now own a cotton t-shirt, stopwatch, sport relief socks, Mars bar, medal and drink. Hopefully there was still a decent amount of money left over for The Butterwick Hospice.

Overall a well organised local run in lovely surroundings in aid of a good cause and, as ever, great company.

Riverside parkrun, Chester-le-Street, 14th July

5K

Kevin Williams

Saturday 14th July saw yet another new location join the North East parkrun family - this week it was the turn of Chester-le-Street to have it's inaugural event, named Riverside after it's location in Riverside park. The regular Durham parkrun was called off for the first time in it's history, we were due to run the alternative course because the Miners gala taking over the finishing straight of the normal course, but due to the amount of rain that has fallen in July, the cricket pitch of the alternate course was too waterlogged to accommodate 150+ runners completing two laps around it.

As it happens I'd already pencilled in the Riverside parkrun due to it being so close to home, having looked at the course description it looked like it was going to be fast and flat with only a small section of grass, although it's multi lap which isn't may favourite type of course. One thing to note is you do need to pay for parking at Riverside park, it's only 60p an hour though.

After the usual introductions from the Race Director Natalie Scott, we were off, it was quite a narrow start and took a couple of minutes for the field to spread out, it's an anti-clockwise route and before too long you are running just a couple of feet from the river. I found myself tucked in behind Alister who in turn was just a few places behind Paul Smith. The first lap was fast and furious, the second pretty similar, as the course is quite narrow you get so see the runners on the early part of the lap as you are heading along the river and back towards the start. On the third and final lap I started to tire and I was more than happy to take the right hand turn to the finish. It definitely felt quick, I managed to knock 41 seconds off my parkrun PB, not a chance I could do the same time after the energy sapping fields of Durham though.

The organisers had brought a huge cake along which the completing runners gratefully accepted, there was also Bucks Fizz which I somehow managed to miss. There's a cafe cooking fresh sausage and bacon sandwiches and selling tea and coffee, although it didn't seem to have an inside area though so there might not be many people hanging around on cold winters days. I think this will be quite a popular parkrun, the park was already busy at 9am with a bootcamp underway and numerous dog walkers, looks like quite a busy place with good amenities.

13 Striders completed the course, with Adam coming home in 12th and then taking up the role of barcode scanning! Wallsend Harrier's Yared Hagos completed his first ever parkrun and set what looks to a course record that will stand for a very long time, an amazing 14:43. So that's 11 North East parkruns now, we are spoilt for choice.

Leeds Hyde Park parkrun, 14th July

5K

Angela Coates

A trip to Leeds was on the cards to see the fantastic Rhys Darby, who I hear you say - you know that actor off Flight of the Concords, who? Never mind, an awesome New Zealand comedian," an ex-New Zealand soldier who likes to dance, wear novelty shirts, perform physical comedy theatre, act in Hollywood movies and hunt for mythological creatures" - as he says about himself in his book. Anyway, I noticed on the Elvet Striders facebook page that Emma was also heading down to Leeds that weekend and found out she was thinking of possibly going to Roundhay. As we were staying about a mile from Leeds Hyde Park we were doing that parkrun and mentioned this to Emma who said that she may fancy that one instead.

Saturday morning and the sun was shining, Paul and I jogged up to Hyde park for the start and saw Emma immediately in her striking Striders Tee, Paul and I in our striking Striders vests. We felt a bit alien at first, but like all parkruns we were made to feel very welcome straight away through the kind introduction from the race Director, who I think was called Andrew. He welcomed us to Hyde Park and we got a round of applause at the start of the run. I think he possibly thought that we had come down because of our 'flooded' course but we explained that we were down in Leeds anyway.

So we set off, Paul shot off (as usual!), so did Emma actually leaving me to 'steady away'. The course consists of two and a half laps of Woodhouse Moor - from the start the course crosses directly across the centre of the park, to the northern most tip before completing two and a half laps around the perimeter and finishing near the eastern most point. There were 248 runners today and it was their 249th parkrun. Paul came in 45th at a time of 22:02, Emma was 136th at a time of 27:22 and myself 154 with a time of 28:28. It was quite a tough run with inclines and it's the first parkrun I've done that laps itself so psychologically I thought it may have made it harder, but not really. It's a lovely park and setting and would recommend it to anyone visiting Leeds. We got a few 'come on Elvet Striders' as we passed by the Marshals so that was really nice and it just shows how friendly and welcoming all parkrun volunteers are (well the three different parkruns I've done).

Well parkrun done, well pleased Paul and I headed back to the Premier Inn while Emma headed off for a spa day in Harrogate. A quick shower then headed into Leeds for a look around and a fantastic show to look forward to on the night. Fitting a parkrun in on a trip away - mad or just committed. It seems that everytime we are looking to go away we check to see if a parkrun is nearby, and why not. It's a great event, it takes less than an hour in all and you feel good about yourself afterwards and get to treat yourself for the rest of the day. hence pasties, cakes and tapas and a bit of cider.

Another run to add to your red Tee and another for the most events list Emma!

Bridges Of The Tyne 5, Newcastle Quayside, 10th July

5M

Simon Gardner

As soon as I read about this race I entered it, from what I read this was a race that ticked all the boxes as far as I was concerned. It was flat, relatively short (5 mile) and it was on the quayside at Newcastle which is a fantastic backdrop for a run especially with Tyne Bridge having the olympic rings on show.

I arrived early as normal and made my way the Tyne pub which also served as the registration area. They very quickly gave me one of those start fitness bags which contained number and a small booklet about the Tyne Bridge Harriers. They look to be a very young club by northeast standards but have grown very quickly with lots of members who have moved from other clubs.

I was soon joined by Katherine and Mark, Katherine had already given me lots of information about the race as she works with one of the organisers and she had kindly volunteered Mark to be official photographer (no pressure Mark).

It wasn't long before lots of other Striders turned up and after a quick group photo we made our way to the start line which was near the Pitcher and Piano pub, you could tell that this was going to be a high quality race with lots of top club runners lined up at the very front. I found a little spot just behind at the front but knowing I would not get in the way of the top runners.

Soon we were off and I did my usual trick of going too fast but I soon settled down into what felt like a hard but hopefully sustainable pace. Once we had ran under the Tyne bridge and past the swing bridge it started to thin out and it was easy to find plenty of room to try and settle into a rhythm. When I was approaching the half way mark the 3 front runners ran back past me already heading back to the finish line.

The race is an out and back run and the only climb (thankfully short) is around the turning point, it's then a short section on grass then a nice downhill section taking you back onto the quayside path. I spotted a few Striders on the stretch back home and it's great to get a shout of support when your tiring a little. I decided to try and push on as conditions were perfect and while I was somewhat tired I felt I had enough for a good last mile or so.

The finish is further down the from the start not far short of the Tyne pub itself and it felt so good to finally cross the line. I was really pleased and surprised with my time 32:03. After chatting to Adam who was first strider home in a very impressive 30:35 we found a spot near the finish to cheer the rest of the Striders home. It was then back to the pub for some food and a drink, hopefully this will become an annual event. It's an excellent run, well marshalled and in a great area to run.

Results

PosNameClubCatPosTime
1Ross FloydMorpeth Harriers & ACM25:55
16Alyson DixonChester-le-StreetF28:50
33Adam WalkerM30:35
61Simon GardnerM4032:03
111Alister RobsonM4034:52
150John HutchinsonM5537:10
192Dougie NisbetM4539:49
194Carolyn BrayF3539:52
218Jacquie RobsonF3541:35
219Katherine PrestonF4041:36
234Louise MillerF43:25
235Victoria TindaleF3543:32
237Emma DetchonF44:02
247Ann TowersF5545:21
248Mike ElliotM6545:38
255Angela RobsonF3546:49

273 finishers.
Elvet Striders were 3rd Vet Women team

Kilburn Feast, 8th July

~7m

Alister Robson

I didn't know much about this one so read up using the reports which were submitted last year by Peter Bell and in 2010 by Andy Glass. Jan had emailed earlier in the week looking to share a lift, there were entries on the day and the start was a nice civilised 2pm so I thought, "Why not?"

Kilburn took a little bit of finding but we arrived, nicely early which was lucky as with all the recent rain, (I seem to be typing that a lot recently), the field which is normally parking was closed, so we had a little walk to the outskirts of the village. 'The Feast', an annual summer fair was in full swing with some usual stands (tombola) and some unusual ones (Crockery smashing/throw a bean bag at the politicians).

Registration in the village hall was easy and we retired to the village pub to get a pre-race coffee. Blackhill Bounders were already there in force 'pre-loading'. Jan also pointed out the expensive 'Mouseman' furniture which I had never heard of before

The course is one big loop and sets off slightly downhill before a short climb just after the first mile marker, sneakily taking you back down again to 3 miles and beautiful Bylands Abbey but it then climbs unrelentingly all the way up to 6 miles, when finally you drop back down to the village. It's a little further than 7 miles and on roads all the way, which seems quite common in North and East Yorkshire. Sensibly headphones were banned so you can hear the traffic and marshals instructions but you don't see many cars anyway.

I had one eye on my watch as I was looking at Peter's time for last year and was pleased to beat it, but will be even more pleased when Peter is back to full fitness and pushing me every step of the way as usual. Jan came in looking relaxed but said she found it a struggle - even picturesque roads just aren't her thing and she'd rather be out in the wilds or up on the tops. The prizes were extensive, especially for the over 65s - anyone in that category who hadn't already won a prize got a bottle of wine anyway. The oldest were in their eighties and I thought that course was tough at half their age!

Not a bad way to end the weekend and a well earned pint after.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 James Bulman New Marske Harriers MV40 38.13
20 Emma Yates Knavesmire Harriers FV40 45.35
76 Alister Robson MV40 53.18
166 Jan Young FV55 62.47

261 finishers.

Hebburn Triathlon, 8th July

400m swim / 20k bike / 5k run

Lindsey Brooks

I’d done a couple of triathlons and was desperate to do another. I’d heard a few positive comments from this triathlon and no negative comments so thought I’d give it a try.

Before the race: An email is sent before race day to advise of start times; race numbers are collected on the day. There is a briefing before the race which was held by the swimming pool area.

The race:

Firstly, the swim: a 400m swim, which is held in the leisure centre. The swim starts at 7:30am and staggered at 30 second intervals; my swim started at 8:00.30. A marshal is positioned at the end of each lane counting each swimmers lengths and you are advised when you have 2 left to do. Getting nearer to my start time, I started feeling the nerves starting to twitch. As soon I was in the water, I don’t know if it was the adrenalin kicking in but once I set off on the swim I felt great.

Next, the bike: This is 20km bike and a 2 lap course. Marshalls are on the course but there are also signs en-route pointing where you need to go as and when necessary. Marshalls were great in encouraging you along the way. The bike route is on roads but these are not closed. Most of the roads are small estate roads which are not too busy there are a couple of stretches on dual carriageway.

Lastly, the run. This is 1 lap of 5km on pavements through a housing estate. This is not marshalled but pointers show the right direction.

Afterwards: Prize-giving and buffet in the Longship afterwards.

Stewart Park parkrun, Marton, Middlesbrough, 7th July

5Km

Alister Robson

If it's Saturday it must be a new parkrun launch right? This one had been on the cards for ages, Middlesbrough Albert parkrun (the first in the North East) was starting to become almost too successful, regularly attracting over 300 runners and a plan was formed to start this in the newly refurbished Stewart Park in Marton. Middlesbrough Council have been right behind parkrun from the early days and they moved mountains to get this one up and running. Sharon Caddell, one of the Run Directors at Albert Park is the Event Director and she and her team of fantastic volunteers put on a great first event for the 106 runners who made it, a now usual mix of newbies and parkrun tourists.

The race was started with a few words from Ray Mallon, so-called 'Robocop' when he ran Middlesbrough CID and since 2002 elected Mayor of Middlesbrough. He was hugely encouraging of parkrun - even going so far as to joke that he'd have to get the council to build a new park to hold a third parkrun in!

Loads of atmosphere ... The course though wet, hardly surprising given the recent rain, was fine, although there was one large puddle which couldn't be avoided and which you had to go through twice, Stewart parkrun being just over two laps. It's not flat either which was a bit of a surprise to me, as I'd walked the route with Sharon previously and not noticed the incline. It starts just outside the refurbished Captain Cook birthplace museum and from there you drop down on nice wide paths to the 'map of the world', straight over that, a quick detour on grass to skirt the outside of the car park, a tight turn back upon yourself then back onto the path that leads around the lake and (up and) into the lovely tree lined park. Well, what you can see of it, given the mist.

All around the course yellow arrows guide you and after some twisting and turning in the trees you pop back out at the 'map of the world'. After the second time you turn right and come into the old stable block courtyard and finish in front of the lovely cafe.

I had a decent run, finishing 13th and only got beaten by two ladies which counts as a success for me.

Next week it's the launch of Riverside parkrun at Chester-le-Street - let's hope they have slightly better weather, but everything else goes just as smoothly!

Osmotherley Phoenix, Morth Yorks Moors, 7th July

26M

Melanie Hudson

Having never done a marathon and at the most only ever ran 17 miles I was very nervous about today. I had kept it pretty quiet that I was doing this run as I wasn't sure I would manage the full distance.

We arrived and parked up. The car parking is at least a mile away from the start/finish. It is not too bad before the start, but it is a bit harder at the end ...

Melanie on Round Hill. We arrived in the village to a lovely atmosphere, it is held in conjunction with the Osmotherly Summer Games and they block off the main street so that all sorts of stalls can be put up.

The route follows the Cleveland Way for the first half. There was a lot of mist about and there were times you couldn't see very far ahead. The rocks were slippery and I managed to fall on the descent from Scarth Wood Moor, but thankfully there was no damage. We got to Scugdale and the first manned checkpoint which had wine gums and jaffa cakes.

We then started the long drag up to the top of Carlton Bank but we missed out on all the views as the mist was down and we could only see about 50 yards. Then the tricky descent to Lordstones cafe which we took slowly because the rocks were slippery. There was another checkpoint at the bottom with slabs of malt loaf, flapjack and chocolate covered rice crispies. We couldn't resist. At this point you could decide if you wanted to turn off for the shorter 17m route or continue on the 26 or 33. We continued on the 26 mile route as planned. It felt a bit nervous as I knew up until that point I had the option of a shorter run, I was now committed to the 26 miles.

After the cafe you could choose to go over Cringle Moor, the next hill (not sure of its name) and Wainstones or you could contour round all three. We chose to contour round but that route is always muddy, today it was just a quagmire. We rescued a whole group of runners who had contoured round Cringle Moor and were about to head off up the next two hills without realising. Down to Clay Bank and more food :).

Then another big climb up Carr Ridge and to Round Hill (the highest point on the North Yorkshire moors) followed by a lovely descent to Chop Gate and yet more food. The hill out of Chop Gate is a monster, especially having run 16m at this point. Then it was paths through the heather which were hard to run on they were so muddy. Dave was feeling a bit tired at this point (as he had done a marathon only a week ago), but it was only temporary and he felt much better a couple of miles later once we had got to the Wheat Beck checkpoint (and you guessed it, more food)

The next bit was to Oakdale Head. We went up to another moor which again was very boggy. We were at about mile 22 now and I lost my enthusiasm and got a bit emotional. I just felt that if it wasn't an unrunnable hill, or slippery rocks it was bogs. At this pint I was tired and just wanted to get to the end and was getting frustrated that we were having to walk these sections. Thankfully Dave was very calm and patient with me. We were soon on runnable surface and could see Osmotherley in the distance, I felt like we were getting somewhere and closer to the finish and despite having very tired legs and pain in my knee I felt much happier. It was now mainly downhill to the finish.

It is only four months since I finished my radiotherapy so I felt very very happy to have completed a difficult marathon. I was a bit emotional as I never imagined I would have ever managed 26 miles, especially so soon after being ill. I couldn't have got around without Dave's patience, encouragement, company and great navigation skills.

Lower Hutt parkrun, New Zealand, 7th July

5K

Dave Walker

parkrun - Kiwi style

As soon as Adam told me that parkrun was starting in New Zealand I knew that I had to get my running shoes on. It was disappointing that it was not closer to my New Zealand ‘home’ in Christchurch (Hagley Park would be a great location for a parkrun) but Lower Hutt, the location of the first Kiwi parkrun, is on the North Island!

A plan was hatched to combine my first parkrun for over seven months with my first visit to the capital and a bit of an adventure trip back. The idea was thef late flight up to Wellington, spend some time in the city, do the parkrun at Lower Hutt, a city in its own right about 5 miles north of the capital, then get the ferry back to the south island, followed by the coastal train back to Christchurch. The trip did not get off to a great start with my Chch to Wellington flight, a 45 minute journey, being delayed by 3 hours due to our plane being ‘trapped’ in Auckland by fog!

Things improved from that point on. The most obvious difference between UK parkruns and the Kiwi version is the start time; over here it is 08:00! I understand from the organisers that this is due to the fact that so many kids over here have sporting activities starting at nine which parents want to watch that they thought numbers would be down if they didn’t start early enough for runners to get round and off to watch their children play hockey/rugby/football/netball. Apparently some of the Australian parkruns start at 07:00 to avoid the heat!

After a day seeing the sights of NZ’s capital city, I was up bright and early, into my little hire car and off to Lower Hutt. The directions from their website were excellent and I was in the riverside car park a good 30 minutes before the start. The route of the Lower Hutt parkrun reminds me much of Chester le Street riverside (interested to note that it now has its own pr and well done to all the Strider who graced its opening event last week). As 08:00 approached runners started to appear and I emerged from my car, proudly wearing my Striders vest. There were a few ‘G’days’ and ‘mornings’ greetings exchanged with the ‘locals’, but not the approaches which I think a ‘strange’ club vest would stimulate at Durham pr. As some of you may know I have been injured for some while – due to a foolish first attempt at water skiing (I tore my left hamstring and have never had bruising like it!), so I am carrying 10kgs too many and have not run (giving it its most generous definition!) more than 6k this year. So I knew I was going to be slow and that it was going to be hard work.

We were promptly called to the pre-run briefing – not as polished as Alister’s – but it was a deputy race director as the usual guy was over in Europe to run the Stockholm marathon, but it covered all the familiar info. I was in for an ‘out and back’ route along the Hutt River, under the road bridge and through Strand Park. The course was mainly on tarmac pathways but with the turn round loop and the ‘finish straight’ on grass.

Start/finish of parkrunPromptly at eight o’clock, 55 runners lined up on the narrow path for the start. I was comfortably ‘tucked’ at the back of the field for the ‘off’. It was over six months since I had run ‘competitively’ with other runners and so as we set off, I was ‘drawn’ into the pace and forgot all about running my own ‘race’. At the 1k mark (interestingly the route was well distance marked, which I thought was ‘frowned upon’ by UK pr), as we hit a bit of a hill (well ok a short incline) I realised that I had covered the first km over a minute faster than I had been managing on my most recent ‘plods’ around Hagley Park back in Chch. As you will have realised that came back to ‘haunt’ me as the run progressed. I settled into my current pace and enjoyed the run. Taking into account the stunning scenery New Zealand has to offer, Lower Hutt is a bit of a disappointment in that regard, but the air was clean and fresh and the ‘mid-winter’ conditions were better than may of the UK summer runs this year. But there was no castle nor cathedral looking down on me as I ran along the riverside path.

The sections on the grass were cruel on my tired legs. It had been wet and these parts of the course were ‘soggy’ to say the least. The last 300m section of squelching slowed me down (even further) but I broke the 30min barrier which was my pre-race target. This time put me in the bottom half of the field, but overall I was happy enough. The winning time was 18:11, I can hear Adam saying “I would have won it!”

I had a chat with the officials and volunteers afterwards and talked about the spreading of the pr ‘family’, apparently the Auckland pr is due to start very soon, another for my list to do, hopefully I will turn in a time closer to my usual as I inch my way back to fitness!

Chevy Chase, Wooler, 7th July

12M, or indeed 15M, or as much as 18M

Sue Jennings ...

Angela and I set off from Durham and headed up to Wooler for the Chevy Chase – we were a bit worried about the weather and course as we knew from others who have completed it in the past that it is tough – boggy and hilly and with the weather having been so bad over the last week, I think we were expecting to be up to our knees in mud and water!

When we arrived, we were disappointed to find that the route had been changed because of the weather (which was even worse at Wooler) and that the new course would only be 12 miles – hardly worth the 70 mile drive up to Wooler! We met up with Nigel and after managing to get all our kit sorted and a map, all of the runners set off at 10.30am. Angela and I were pretty much at the back from the start but managed to keep up with several other runners until the first check point (3.5 miles). At this point, I wanted to get a drink and this meant that we had a gap between us and the other runners and with the awful fog, we very soon lost sight of everyone – you could see 50 feet at the most!

A picture tells a thousand words ... here's a cracker from Nigel. We navigated for a mile or so with our map then came to a cross roads which wasn’t on our map – we were lost and we didn’t know what to do – continue on and potentially get more lost or go back to the first check point. We made the sensible decision not to carry on but to ring Andy to see if he could speak to the organisers and get some advice of what we should do - whilst waiting for them to call we headed back to the first check point. The organisers phoned us though and told us to stay put whilst they worked out where we were. We had been sensible with kit and had full weatherproofs, lots of food and whistles. Angela was told to blow her whistle 6 times every minute so the mountain rescue could find us. We did start to get cold after 30/45 minutes and did some extra training to keep us warm – squats, lunges and star jumps – the rescuers probably heard our laughing rather than the whistle!!!!!

They were great guys and were pleased that we were uninjured and that they had had a chance to get out on a "real" rescue and told us not to be daft with our apologies for getting lost. They said that it was lucky that a lot of other people didn’t get lost in the fog.

We were taken back to the finish where we had tea, sandwiches and cakes – all very nice – and waited for the awards ceremony at 3pm. Nigel was just coming in as we got back. The organisers apologised as the distance they had given as 12 miles was actually a lot further and most of the walkers/runners had done somewhere between 15 and 18 miles and most had got lost at some point. This made us feel a little better as most of the participants were very experienced on this terrain.

Needless to say we are now looking for a course to "hone" up our map and compass reading skills and we hope that something like this never happens again. Chevy Chase again next year? More than likely lol.

... Nigel Heppell ...

Yes, due to weather conditions (the MC said if anyone fell in the burn they’d be rescued at Seahouses; and visibility on the tops was such as he couldn’t see his own feet) we were told that an alternative race route was now in force and the distance truncated to a lowly 12 miles from the expected 20.

Nigel after a bit of a cleanup. It was wet and the clag was down and it stayed that way until the end when the general consensus was that the actual distance travelled was a minimum of 15miles with, as testament to the poor visibility and the potential for getting lost, some admitting to 18miles!

A further indication of conditions was the special prize awarded to a group of marshals who took drinking water out to the Langlee Crags checkpoint on the previous evening and who had to self-rescue after getting lost, only to lose the location of the water supply on the actual race day. Not that we needed it; I drank only 100ml over the whole race but probably absorbed 10 times that much through my skin.

Memorable parts include several sections of true compass navigation, a glorious high-speed descent over 2km off Cheviot Knee, ever-cheerful marshals, and unlimited tea and buns at the finish.

... and Aaron Gourley:

I thought I’d add my Chevy Chase experience to the others as it seems everyone who took part had a very different experience.

Leading up to this race I’d been a little apprehensive as to whether I was fit enough. I’d not trained as much as I perhaps should have and after my blow-out in the Swaledale marathon in June, I was beginning to doubt my fell running ability over the longer distances. Add to that the atrocious weather leading up to this race, made me a bag of nerves on my journey up to Wooler. You can imagine my disappointment when the women at registration told me the course had been changed due to the weather and would miss out both Cheviot and Hedgehope summits reducing the course to "12" miles instead. I was now feeling a little more confident that I’d be able to complete this shortened course in a decent time should I not get lost in the fog or swept away in the burn.

Doh! The start of the race was a charge up the road for about three quarters of a mile before turning off onto the tracks to the first checkpoint. Straight away I was given a taste of things to come as the ground squelched beneath my feet and visibility began to reduce as we headed up the valley. The first checkpoint was found with no problems, a quick drink and off onto the second at Cheviot Knee. By now the field was thinning out as the fog got thinker and the ground softer. Hanging on to a guy who claimed he’d run the Chevy every year since 1994, I remained confident that he might lead me in the right direction. And so he did. Checking in at Cheviot Knee (approx 5.5miles), I had a quick drink then headed off for what I believe to have been the best downhill section of fell running I’ve ever done. This is not part of the normal race which would have headed up to the summit, but the conditions made this the most fun/terrifying 11 minutes of running I’ve done as I went for it on the long down hill to the next checkpoint at Hawsen Bridge. By now I was catching up with the walkers who were all in good spirits as they cheered on the runners.

A quick stop at Hawsen Bridge to catch my breath and tighten my shoes back up it was off to Housey Junction before a bit of an uphill slog to Langlee Crags where a dead sheep welcomed you to the checkpoint. Keeping close to my navigator, I was hoping he really did know his way now as a myriad of paths split off in all directions from here to the next checkpoint at Brands Corner. With the very dense fog and the field well spaced out now I’d have definitely got lost at this point had I been by myself. At Brands Corner I was back at the foot of the valley where it was a little bit clearer, but no less grim. My navigator was beginning to slow now so it was with regret that I went past him, but a quick look at my watch said that the distance I’d covered was around 11miles. At this point I thought not far now, then it dawned on me that I still had Hell’s Path checkpoint to get to then it was around 3 miles from there to the finish.. "If this is a 12 miler I’ve gone wrong somewhere," I thought to myself. Arriving at Hell’s Path, my watch read 12.6 miles and the marshals confirmed that it was around 3 miles back to the start. Feeling a little dejected, it was off up onto Hell’s Path which had a series of helpful little placards to take your mind of the slog. My favourites being, 'Onwards and Upwards', 'He who limps on is still walking' and 'WOW'.

Once at the top of Hell's Path it was a gentle downhill to the farm where I almost missed a turn, only the silhouette of a runner from the corner of my eye stopped me from making a navigational error so close to the end of the race. Back on the right track it was a welcome relief to see tarmac and civilisation once more. Crossing the finish line with 15.48miles on my watch it wasn’t quite the 12 miles I’d expected but was a brilliant race which I’ll definitely be back next year for. I must also congratulate the organisers for getting the race on in such dire conditions and to all the marshals who get top marks for their dedication and support (and the endless supply of jelly sweets).

Tynedale 10K, Ovingham, 4th July

Simon Gardner

After a PB during Saturday's Durham parkrun I was really looking forward to this run, reading previous reports it sounded like it could be a chance for me to improve my 10k PB. I was picked up by Paul and Angela and we then stopped off in Newcastle to pick up Katherine and arrived with plenty time to spare in a local council carpark and after a short walk we found lots of Striders already in the school ready to run. I then spent what felt likes ages trying and failing to find an empty toilet ! (I still get nervous before any race and usually take several trips to the little boys room !!) It was soon time for the long walk up to the start line and the main discussion when walking up was just how warm and humid it was!

Great turnout for this one ... After a short hold we were off and it had a little bit of the Blaydon Race type start about it but thankfully with the mile long downhill I could find some space and try and settle into a rhythm. Anyone who ran at Raby Castle will know how hard it can be running in dry heat but this was awful it was just so humid and warm. From mile 2 to 3 I felt I was struggling but just kept telling myself to try and hold on and thankfully from mile 3 to 4 I went past several people and started to feel better if somewhat tired. The last 2+ miles were really really uncomfortable even though I felt my pace was good and I was passing lots of runners I was desperate to stop however this is not the Strider way (especially as it was my first run in a Striders' vest) so it was back to my tried and trusted way of breaking it down into laps of the track. It felt so good to see the 6 mile marker and I managed a good sprint to the finish and crossed the line in 41:39 which was a new PB. I'm very pleased with the result as it has to be one of the most uncomfortable races I have done in a long time, huge credit to Alister, Stephen and Maggie who did the Saltwell Harriers fell race the night before!

A great turn out and given the conditions an excellent performance by all.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 CAIRNS, Steve Tyne Bridge Harriers MV40 33:09
31 HODGSON, Jane Morpeth Harriers F 37:25
108 GARDNER, Simon MV40 41:39
172 ROBSON, Alister MV40 44:38
193 PASCOE, Paul MV40 45:27
225 THOMPSON, Andrew M 46:47
247 WILLIAMS, Kevin M 47:44
272 GARBUTT, Stephen M 48:41
293 FORD, Brian MV40 49:19
346 HEDLEY, Chris MV50 51:10
358 BULLOCK, Rachael F 51:39
361 JONES, Greta FV45 51:44
391 SPENCE, David MV60 53:25
392 SMITH, Alan MV65 53:25
415 PRESTON, Katherine F 55:23
428 ROBSON, Jacquie FV35 56:19
429 JENNINGS, Sue FV45 56:32
431 MILLER, Louise F 56:39
438 TINDALE, Victoria F 57:00
481 ELLIOTT, Mike MV65 62:28
505 THOMPSON, Margaret FV60 67.42
506 COFFER, Philippa F 68:16
507 PROBERT, Alex F 68:16

515 finishers.

Darlington Pit Stop, Croft Racing Circuit, 4th July

10K

Emma Detchon

We’re always being told at work (Teesside Uni) to promote our new Darlington campus so when Jo Richardson said she was doing the Darlington Pit Stop 10k I thought I might as well join in. I got there early as it said limited entries on the night but it didn’t seem to be a problem, I think they must say that to put people off from entering on the night and to make their admin easier. They had a children's race beforehand, well over 8s, so poor Erin missed out and a wheelchair race which makes the night a bit more of a fun occasion.

The course is 3 laps and flat but you can feel the slight gradients on the course, the first section being slightly down so we all started a bit quickly. I realised it was so hot and humid that it wasn’t going to be a great run so I settled into the usual plod. Jo ran ahead but had to pull out after the first lap feeling sick and a bit dehydrated. So onto the second lap where just before 5k the first man came flying past on his way to the finish. After that I got to see a few of the faster runners come past, always good to see how focused they are.

After a big cheer from Jo and Louise I felt much better on the final lap and managed to get past a few people. Although its laps and flat it’s got quite good views, it’s very tempting to cut the corners off but you’re only cheating yourself! I crossed the finish line and was handed a Darlington Harriers mug full of water, I guess they were trying to save on plastic cups but without washing them out it was full of dust and bits and I couldn’t have drunk it. It’s a nice run and a 10k PB for me!

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

Saltwell Harriers Fell Race, nr Stanhope, 3rd July

5.5m 1000' BS

Dave Selby...

Striders group at SaltwellRunning Striders: Shaun, Alister, Geoff, Dave, Susan, Jan, John, Mike, Phil, Nigel, Colin, Camilla (first fell race), Dougie, Will, Maggie, Stephen, Me (Wavey Davey), and Mike's daughter, Rosa (first race, ever).

Weather: Perfect for running; broken skies (shock, horror, some blue could be seen), low cloud, cool, lazy breeze, no bugs and no rain.

Dave approaches the finishGetting ready (putting my white socks on) just below the start line at the top of Crawleyside Bank I immediately felt embarrassed and somewhat intimidated. The abundance of athletic, high endurance muscles was high, and the sense of an over presence of folks that had clearly fell raced since their time in the womb. And then there was me.

After a wee delay, 117 runners gathered at the start line for a briefing. As per usual the planned route had changed. In brief, it was DIY up hill where we ran over shale (yes, there will be geology in this report. This rock is a potential source of oil and gas) to the furthest radiomast (~0.75m). Anticlockwise around the mask we followed the fence line (strict instructions to stay on the left of the fence. No idea why) for ~1m. This took you across some rather interesting uneven heather covered moorland, bog with a hint of quagmire, and peaty earth, and over sandstone (a rock that is a potential reservoir of oil and gas). The route then continued across the road (B6278) and then headed south on almost level but wet ground for about 0.5m. A hairpin turn started you off on a blessed 1m decline that terminated at the stream. Then into the stream (which was strangely quite refreshing) to punch your number, before following the streams path, firstly contouring slightly up hill and then abruptly down to the start of the finale of the route – the hill of terror - a hill of varying gradients all the way to the finish line. Six miles of bog, peat, heather, stream, oh and hill loving fun complete. Great fun was had by all, especially by me. It was then off to the Moorcock Inn for the presentation, refreshment, a bit of grub, and prizes.

Question: What is the secret to making bog coloured socks white?

...and Camilla Lauren-Määttä

Having done a few 10k, half-marathon and cross country races I needed a new challenge and a shorter fell race seemed like a suitable one that didn’t involve a lot of extra training. I was told that Stanhope fell race is a good and fun introduction to fell running so it seemed like a good taster race. To be on the safe side I packed down my (dog)whistle, map and compass and headed to Maiden Castle to meet up with Dave Shipman and Will Horsley, just to discover that Dave was dressed in a smart suit, so apparently I had missed something about the dress code (it later turned out that he didn’t actually run in his suit). Will kindly gave us a speedy lift in his 4x4 (I think there must be a correlation between how fast people drive on narrow roads and their fell-running pace) whilst explaining the course, which apparently involved wading through bogs and streams in waist-high water. He conveniently parked his car right on the start line, which I guess is one of the main reasons to owning a 4x4.

There was a good turnout of Striders (Shaun, Geoff, Dave, Susan, Jan, John, Mike, Phil, Nigel, Colin, Dougie, Will, Maggie, Stephen, Alister, Dave Selby, Mike's daughter Rosa and myself). Most racers looked liked very seasoned fell runners, but when the organisers asked for runners who hadn’t done the race before a fair few raised their hands. We got a detailed explanation about how to stay on the right side of the fence and not crossing streams so that we wouldn’t get lost. Apparently, anybody less than 5 feet tall was also in danger of being washed away by the stream. This seemed suitably adventurous compared to Blaydon or the Great North Run, where the most likely fatality is being hit by a car.

Camilla approaches the finishThe route started by a reasonably comfortable ascent along a gravel trail, but soon we were trampling on boggy ground and dense heather moorland near the radio mast. Dave’s regular training on Waldridge fell was apparently good preparation for this and he merrily bounced off disappearing into the distance. There were also a few wide ditches to hop over before crossing the road. Next came the most enjoyable part of the race, with a gentle grassy down-hill slope and postcard views over moorlands and hills. Wading into the stream to punch the race number at the check-point was also rather fun (and even on me the water only reached up to mid-calf level). After this, there was some not too strenuous running along the stream. I spotted Dave’s purple vest in the distance and made sure I didn’t lose sight of him and the other runner in front of me, as I wasn’t too keen to get lost. We were getting closer to the finish and as Will had explained there was a very steep uphill gradient. I’d decided not to walk, but for a while it seemed that my walking was just as fast as my running so I resorted to some walking at the steepest section. However, being a slightly shorter and lighter runner I managed to overtake Dave in the hill. Eventually, I also managed a half-hearted sprint thanks to Alister and others cheering in all Striders by the finishing line.

I thoroughly enjoyed the race and would definitely recommend trying out a fell race. The atmosphere at the presentation in the Moorcock pub afterwards was very friendly and cheerful with some free food and prizes (real ale) for everybody, regardless of position.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Nick Swinburn NFR M 39.45
10 Will Horsley NFR M 45.56
24 Karen Robertson NFR FV40 49.35
29 Geoff Davis NFR MV55 50.75
33 Mike Bennett MV55 51.36
41 John Wandless MV40 53.04
56 Shaun Roberts MV55 57.05
62 Nigel Heppell MV55 57.34
69 Alister Robson MV40 58.33
78 Susan Davis NFR FV50 61.32
81 Dougie Nisbet DFR MV45 62.24
83 Dave Selby MV40 63.00
88 Stephen Garbutt MV40 64.10
95 Phil Owen MV45 65.17
96 Jan Young FV55 66.10
98 Colin Blackburn NFR MV50 66.53
100 Camilla Lauren-Maatta FV45 68.05
102 Dave Shipman MV55 68.47
108 Rosa Bennett F 77.00
113 Maggie Thompson FV60 88.01

113 finishers.

Hamsterley Forest Marathon, Weardale, 1st July

John Hutchinson

David Catterick picked me up from the Duke at 8:15, then Kathryn from Meadowfield. Looked like it was going to be just nice conditions for running - cool and a bit cloudy. Arrived at Hamsterley Forest and met up with Dave Robson. Also met my old friend Liz who ran the Kielder Marathon, but this time she was marshalling. Then met Yvonne Jones who was also marshalling - nice to see her again after so long. Then a lady caught sight of our Striders tops and came over and introduced herself as Claire Readey's aunty.

So at 9:30 we set off, me with David Catterick and Kathryn with Dave Robson. Flat along the road to the Grove then it started to climb. David and I takled the first long hill at a jog and passed another chap walking up, but by the time we reached the top he came sailing past us. Said this was his tactic for the hills, so we made a mental note of that for the second lap. After that a nice level bit then the slow descent back down to the Grove. Second lap we needed to walk the hill a bit and it certainly did seem to be working. By the third lap I had to walk even more of the hill and David pressed on ahead. By the top I was all done and even the final descent I couldn't manage to pick up speed. Back and feet hurting and barely walking the last bit of road back from the Grove to the finish at the visitor centre. Finally limped home in 4hrs 23 mins. Never saw Claire's aunty after the first lap, but there she was at the finish with Claire ( and Gem), having done it in 3hrs 58. Kathryn was next Strider back, then Dave Robson.

Then it was off home - thanks for driving David, there was no way I could have managed! I'll lave the others to give their version of events. I think they actually enjoyed it!

Lakeland Trails Half-Marathon, Coniston, 1st July

13.1M

Melanie Hudson

When I got to Coniston it was yet another dull and raining day but guess the way the summer is going it was no surprise. I knew once I got started I would be okay, it’s just the hanging around for the race to start that’s no fun.

There was the option of doing a half or full marathon, I was doing the half. Dave wasn’t with me for this as he was doing the Hamsterley Forest Marathon.

The race started and it was still raining very heavily. It was funny watching people trying to dodge around all the puddles. I knew well enough from the other trail races that I was going to get wet feet at some point and decided to just plough through them as it uses much less energy.

The first couple of miles were fairly flat but there was a bit of a climb at mile three before dropping back down a little. From about mile four we started to climb again until we reached Tarn Hows at about mile seven. Tarn Hows is just beautiful, even in the rain it looked stunning. We had to do a loop and a bit, it was undulating but lovely scenery is such a good distraction. At mile ten as we left Tarn Hows there was a very steep decent. Sadly this lasted for only about half a mile. I did enjoy the last section though, running along the path on the edge of Coniston lake before returning to the beginning, a lap of the field then finish. The course was a little short, my watched measured 12.7 miles but I’m not really bothered, its not like its a PB kind of course.