Race Reports, May 2012

Angel View Run, 31st May


Katherine O’Mahony

I’ve been meaning to get out of Durham and to race on some decent trails for some time so when Yusuf mentioned his plans to do the Angel View Run I was keen to get involved. Although not strictly an Elvet Strider (I’m a Durham City Harrier- but a nice one I promise!) the races regularly attended by the Striders appeal much more to the cross country, fell or trail runner. Having also gone to the George Ogle memorial race on Wednesday, my legs were feeling a little dead when we pulled up to the hotel car park. After verbally pursuing the idea of just watching and cheering on everyone else, my thoughts were met with a reply which was something along the lines of “don’t be silly” from Alister. So I took inspiration from Yusuf, who would probably race every single day if he could, and convinced myself what I really wanted to do at that moment in time was hurl myself up and down 5 miles of slippery hills in ‘light’ (I quote Alister- who was a lot more optimistic than myself that evening) rain.

The start of the course was pretty narrow with uneven terrain, making it difficult to control your footing or see what was ahead of you. I grimaced at some gleeful shouts about how this was “proper cross country” as mud splashed onto my beautifully washed white Nike knee length socks, but once everything was nicely wet and dirty I felt like it was time to get stuck into race mode. The course opened up a bit onto the road where we started to climb uphill and I shot out after feeling boxed in on the narrower start. The real beauty of huffing and pufffing up a hill is knowing that at a later point you will be cruising down one so upon turning at the top I left my legs to unfurl and make friends with gravity while I started day-dreaming about consuming a post race pizza. Unfortunately I’m not one to take in the scenery during a race and I don’t remember any particularly stunning parts, my mind is often too pre-occupied with thinking about having a nice sit-down once the pain is over! At the late stages I tripped on a rock and went absolutely flying. A group of very nice men got me to my feet and we got off quickly again because despite having two large gashes on my knees, I was strangely starting to enjoy myself in the funny way that all runners do when it’s tough and you are hurting

Adrenaline carried through and the finish came quickly enough with Alister hot on my heels, finishing in what was a commendable time, given that he had also raced the day before and embarked on his first outdoor swim on Tuesday (something tells me this is probably a standard week in his life). Andrew was next with Yusuf, who should win some kind of award for smiling in my opinion, coming shortly after. All in all, a good evening of racing with the icing on the cake being free chips and sandwiches. I had to chuckle at the hotel staff, who commented on how quickly the food went. They obviously don’t feed runners on a regular basis!

Quite, quite mad, the lot of em ... I would like to give a special thanks to Alister, who drove to both races this week. I have attempted to pay him back in beer but still think he deserved mention.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Mark Mcleod Elswick Harriers M 27.32
17Jane Hodgson Morpeth Harriers F 30.11
46Katherine O'Mahony Durham City Harriers F 35.11
57Alister Robson M 36.31
65Andrew Thompson M 37.15
79Yusuf Kuruner M 40.03

105 finishers.

Ossy Oiks Fell Race, North Yorks Moors, 30th May

5.7M / 1,800'

Shaun Roberts

Having the Esk Valley Summer Series on a Wednesday night isn't very convenient for us Striders, to say the least, but this little race was well worth the trip down. A gorgeous summer evening, and five Striders in attendance, including Yusuf making the most of his opportunities to get some racing in before he sadly has to head back to Istanbul. Some descriptions of possible route choices from Dave Parry before the start - they didn't make a lot of sense at the time, but gave us some food for thought afterwards - and we were off.

Before the off ...
Lovely level section here, hence the smile ...

Bit of a long if undulating drag up to the top of a wooded ridge, then some lovely gently-sloping downhill over open country to get to a moor road, after which we came upon the only steepish climb ... and that didn't last long. More lovely downhill on grass, through a wood and a stream, and back up to the ridge before a very scrabbly descent through a cleared section of forest, then a lovely fast downhill to the finish.

Mike was already there, having had a great run, winning his age category - and mine. Nigel was right behind me, having had a much better descent through the tree stumps than I did, followed a few minutes later by Yusuf and then Jan, absolutely hammering down the lane to beat some poor sod who she'd had in her sights.

Perfectly-formed little fell race, which I can thoroughly recommend ...


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Cameron Taylor Esk Valley Fell Club MJ 37.17
17Kay Neesam New Marske Harriers FV45 1 46.36
18Mike Bennett MV55 1 46.40
45Shaun Roberts MV55 3 52.22
47Nigel Heppell MV55 4 52.28
68Yusuf Kuruner M 21 56.55
72Jan Young FV55 3 57.43

99 finishers.

George Ogle Memorial 10K, Swalwell, 30th May

Kevin Williams...

After really not enjoying the heat and hills of the Raby Castle 10k on Sunday, and I mean really not enjoying them, I decided I’d get back on the proverbial horse as quick as possible in an attempt to get a disappointing Raby out of my system. So three days later was the George Ogle Memorial race, quick read of Alistair’s report from last year and the decision was made, this would be a better race, positive thinking.

Met up with Al, Victoria and Louise at Maiden Castle, we were also joined by Katherine from Durham City Harriers. No problems with the A1 rush hour traffic so we arrived at Swalwell Cricket Club with plenty of time to spare. After registration and a couple of photos with Dougie, Dave and Melanie, then a few minutes of announcements, we were off.

Striders at the George Ogle Memorial 10K The first two miles were completed on winding tarmac paths, it felt a bit like a parkrun at this point and I was happy with my progress, the field had spread out pretty quickly. A short uphill section was completed and we were onto the viaduct, once over the viaduct the route went off road and up a steep bank, no point in killing myself, so like the runners around me it was time for a 30 second walking breather. Once at the top it was down and through a kissing gate before a fast section past the half-way point water station, along the river and then back up the steps, walking again, onto the Viaduct. Just before the steps a jogger going in the opposite direction said “Well done, keep going, your 50th”!

Once on the viaduct it was a flat 2 mile stretch back to the cricket club, this was the least enjoyable part as there wasn’t much going on, nothing much to see and I couldn’t for the life of me catch the guy in front! The finish was supposed to be round the cricket pitch but it was brought forward due to a problem which resulted in the distance being a little less than advertised, around 5.75 miles.

I collected a goodie bag and demolished a banana whilst watching the rest of the field complete the course, presentations were made, and a pint of Black Sheep enjoyed. All in all a cracking little race, well organised and friendly with plenty of knowledgeable and encouraging marshals. The weather was warm and humid and the rain stayed away until 20 minutes after the finish, which was very nice of it. Very happy with my time, will hopefully visit again next year to tackle those steps again. Oh and the jogger who told me I was 50th, he was one out, good effort though, don’t know how he managed to count everybody whilst running the opposition direct!

Would definitely recommend this race to anybody, I can only seeing it get more and more popular over the coming years.

... and Melanie Hudson

Melanie and Dave happily sprinting for the finish.The George Ogle race is a scenic, multi terrain, 6 miles run which uses part of the Derwent walk. This was only the second year it had been held but I found it was very well organised. There were lots of places you could potentially go wrong but there was no worry of that as it was so well marshalled.

I had expected it to be a pretty flat course since a lot of it went along the old railway lines. However chatting to people before the start we realised it might be a tougher run then we anticipated, as there was talk of a very big hill at about mile three.

It was nice to see fellow Striders also doing this one: Dave Robson, Alister, Louise, Victoria, Kevin and Dougie.

The first few miles were slightly undulating but nothing significant. It took us by a weir and a pretty pond with a swan in it. The path started to go upwards taking us past and then across the Nine Arches viaduct. It was then at about three miles we hit 'the hill'. It wasn’t that bad really but I guess after the weekend of Lakeland trails and Raby Castle I'm getting used to hills. Plus there's always a nice downhill stretch after a hill. Once we had descended we ran through some lovely meadows before having to go up another hill to get back across the viaduct again.

The last two miles are flat or very slightly downhill. Its one of them never ending paths, it was tree lined and you can see in to the distance yet the end of the path never seemed to appear. Dave and I were running this together and had agreed to take it easy, however we seemed to go faster then we had planned on this last stretch because you get a false sense that you are nearly at the end. I found it a nice course and others seemed to do so too. I was also happy with my tee shirt, they rarely fit but for once they had the option of extra small. Also the goodie bad had cookies in :). I would definitely do this one again next year and not only because of the cookies.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
73DAVE ROBSON MV60 50.15

100 finishers.

Sheffield Half Marathon, 27th May

Sue Jennings

What a day to do a half marathon. As we set off from Durham at 6am (Greta, Angela, John and me) it was already about 16 degrees centigrade and I think all of us were thinking it was not going to be an easy run. I was hoping that the 9am start time would mean that we would miss the worst heat of the day, but sadly I was wrong.

We arrived with plenty of time and the race was actually a few minutes late getting started. We all agreed to run our own race and meet at the end. Everyone dashed off and I tried my best to pace myself at 9 and a half minute miles but as soon as I got to the first water station at 3 miles, I found this pace impossible. The water station was very poorly managed – so many people clambering for water because of the heat it must have taken me a minute to get a drink. I carried on at a decent pace for another mile but then my feet started to hurt big style. In fact they hurt nearly as bad as they had done when I finished the Sunderland Marathon! I really struggled for the next 4/5 miles (water stations all as bad as the first) then managed to pick my pace back up after 9 miles – I always seem to be able to run faster as I get towards the end – homing instinct I think. I started to count the people I was passing but got bored at 56 in the next half mile. Anyway, I finally got to the end with a sprint in just under 2 hours 16 which was very poor considering we were at half marathon point at 2 hours 17 when we did the Sunderland marathon and that felt like we had just had a jog round!

Everyone was waiting for me at the end. Angela had equalled a PB of about 1 hour 58, John a PB of 2 hours ish and Greta just over 2 hours – fantastic runs on such a hot day. We got back to the car and the thermometer was saying 33 degrees centigrade – it was awful. We then went to Greta’s friends – Denise – for showers (melting on the way) and then went out for a lovely meal finishing with a very large and well earned dessert! Great day with great company.

Grand Prix Race. Sprint Champion Race.

Raby Castle 10K, 27th May

Adam Walker

I have run the 5k fun fun two times in previous years, and my memory is filled with blazing heat, an undulating course and injury ridden runs, so running two laps rather than just the one this year didn't really fill me with anticipation, especially arriving to 25 degree heat. Was picked up by the lovely Phil and Anna, picking up Mary and Fiona on the way to eventually meet up with around 30 other Striders to form a sea of purple over Raby.

After burning in the sun for a while we all headed over to the start line, further back from the front than I would usually start with a specific race plan in mind - I didn't want to go off hard, a negative split, not exerting myself for the first 9k then finish fast with a last 1k sprint. Just before the word go, a very elite looking runner sprinted to the startline and asked if he could tie his lace, just as well we waited for him as this was Yared Hagos, a man who has set out to break all of the course records in the region, who shot off and ended up breaking the record by over a minute, 4 minutes ahead of the second place, wow. Originally set off with Neil Sleeman, but it only took me 200m to realise that he was way too fast for my plan, or for me in general. I'd heard about the first hill being the worst and can kind of remember it being bad, thankfully, with it being the first time around I was fresh enough to smile for the evilly placed photography of Phil at the peak.

You what, Phil?

Shooting down the downhill straight after the hill of death, trying to catch someone who looked my age up ahead, sandwiched in between beautiful views from all directions I started to appreciate all the things I couldn't appreciate last time because of injury, cursing and limping, I really liked this. Although there was a small hill that you meet at the bottom of the downhill, once the first 2k of each loop is over you can coast down a straight lane which was either slightly downhill or had a tailwind, either way it felt a lot easier than it should be. The sheltering of trees was then next to be appreciated, relieving you of the heat with an instant cooling feeling, and it kind of lulls you into a false sense of 'oh this isn't so bad' before sneakily leading you onto the last little hill of the loop. However, I don't think the course was that bad ascent-wise, once you've conquered that hill its only 1k of a downhill finish left, or 6k of the loop that you just enjoyed.

The second lap was pretty much just as good, passing an old running friend on a water station, despite not being able to actually drink the water, and being evilly snapped by Phil once again, this time covered in water after a failed attempt at hydration. Second time on the big hill was problem-free, the junior-looking person had caught up to me but would soon drop off the pace after the downhill, the pack I was in had now broken up leaving me to pace myself, which is something I'm not good at, decided to kick on a bit and catch a few in front of me, took me a while to catch anyone, but found and caught a few coming up the last hill.

Yusuf, looking far too cool on a hot day ... I LOVED the last km, had enough energy to plough on, coming past much appreciated support from Dave and Sam and friends from parkrun, which other spectators then caught on, shouting my name, despite the fact they had no idea who I was - I know you'll never see this but thank you - held off some fast finishers behind me to finish in 40.55, which I was more than pleased with, 19th place and 1st junior, no age category prize, but it was a moral victory :) I was handed a lovely race mug by a very smiley marshal team and went off in search of a spectator spot.

Found one just in time to see Simon Gardner and Fiona Shenton finishing together, very well done to Fiona for not only winning her age category but on coming 2nd lady! Jan Young also won her age category, good prize haul for the striders team :) Also a PB for Pippa, which on a hilly course in overheated conditions is superb!

Although I thought the run was lovely, I have been known to enjoy the food aspect of races, caterpiller cake, pringles and pork pies galore, perfect way to finish a hard day's running!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Yared Hagos WallsendM 30.16
11Neil SleemanM3539.09
13Aiveen Fox DCH F 39.23
19Adam WalkerMJun40.55
46Simon GardnerM4044.11
47Fiona ShentonF5044.15
51Alister RobsonM4044.41
76Stephen GarbuttM4046.38
94Paul PascoeM4048.02
110John HutchinsonM5549.03
114Andrew ThompsonM49.16
125Ian SpencerM5049.47
144Stephanie BarlowF3551.14
156Jane IvesF4051.52
161Yusuf KurunerM52.08
168Rachael BullockF52.51
169Jan YoungF5552.52
170Kevin WilliamsM3552.59
174Lindsay TarnF53.13
176Jean BradleyF5553.26
198Camilla Lauren-MaattaF3554.53
201Melanie HudsonF54.56
202Dave RobsonM6054.56
209George NicholsonM6055.42
211Jacquie RobsonF3555.53
214Barbara DickF4056.01
253Karen ChalkleyF5059.08
263Anita ClementsonF4060.26
291Denise MasonF63.08
299Joanne RichardsonF3563.42
305Mary DouglassSoon-to-be Strider!F64.26
311Emma DetchonF4565.24
330Philippa Kay CofferF68.16
335Mike ElliottM6569.21
338Margaret ThompsonF6069.59

360 finishers

Edinburgh Half Marathon, 27th May

Kate Macpherson

So thanks to Kathryn Sygrove setting me a challenge last summer, I found myself in the starting pen for the Edinburgh Half Marathon last Sunday. It’s been a very long time since I’ve run a half. About 10 years. And before last September I hadn’t really run for about 7 years. So I was feeling a bit nervous to say the least!

And then there was the weather. All my long training runs had been done in rain, mud, wind, sleet, fog, more sleet, a bit of ice and oh yeah, more rain. So the glorious sunshine and soaring temperatures last week added to my nerves. No matter, the training had been done and I was going to run this half however long it took me.

Speedy Sygrove headed off to her front pen and I was delighted to meet up with fellow Strider Carole Reid in my pen. The atmosphere was absolutely great, lots of laughter and and a real sense of anticipation. There were runners from all over the world, I heard French, Italian, German, saw various scandinavian t-shirts and even a group from a Mexican running club. People in the pen chatted about everything and nothing, willing the gun to go at 8am so we could get on with it!

Once we got going we had a job to hold back and stay steady, the Edinburgh Half is renown for having a fast start and lots of runners do the race for a PB. I had the mantra of ‘don’t go out to fast’ going around and around in my head. Carole and I were careful not to get dragged along and just tried to settle into the first few miles into Queen’s Park, beneath Arthur’s Seat. I was just relieved we weren’t running UP Arthur’s Seat! We headed out towards Leith Links and then along the coast path towards Musselburgh. The atmosphere was fantastic, lots of supporters cheering us on, a fab group of drummers and plenty of water stations (I think Carole though I was mad to dump bottles of water over my head...until she tried it!).

I hadn’t really run with Carole prior to this race but we seemed to keep a steady pace together and it was certainly nice to have the company! We got to 10k quite comfortably and I was surprised by how good I was feeling. The tough bit of the race was mile 9 to mile 11. Here runners go out all the way through Musselburgh and turn around at mile 11 to come back down the same road into Musselburgh and the finish. It was a bit disheartening seeing runners coming down the road towards us who were nearly finished! And by now the sun was really hot and we were running with our faces into the sun with no respite and no shade. Kate and Kathryn feeling the heat.I was willing mile 11 to appear and it always seemed to be around one more bend.

However, once we had made the turn at mile 11, we got a different perspective...we were now heading home and streams of other runners were still coming towards us heading up to the turn. It was a good feeling! As I said to Carole, it didn’t look like we were going to be last! A very welcome shower at around mile 12 gave Carole an extra burst of energy and off she went on a homeward sprint with me cheering ‘you go girl’ to her back. I just kept reminding myself that I really could finish this. Kathryn yelling and cheering like mad on the side of the road with about 100 metres to go gave me a final boost (she had finished well before!) and I was absolutely delighted to cross the line with a PB of 2.08 (and some interesting tan lines...). I was just grinning like a mad woman at the end, delighted to be able to call myself a ‘half-marathoner’ again.

I’d recommend Edinburgh for the great atmosphere, the crowds and the fast course. For those of us used to running Durham hills it’s a dream. So here’s to next year and maybe another PB!

Kentmere Trail Challenge, Staveley, Cumbria, 26th May


Dave Robson

Keeping cool ...

Melanie and I went over to the Lakes for the day to do this one. It was clearly going to be a very hot day, so we were taking lots of fluids onboard. We met up with Ellie Rodger, a Strider we hadn't met before, who was doing her first trail race.

There were the usual group of runners from fetcheveryone.com who do these races and one of them, Kev who will be known by a few Striders, did the 10K before doing the 17K, a brave man in that heat.

The course was the usual one apart from a small modification to the final climb which took us to the summit for the first time. With the weather being so dry and warm there were no mud pools to go through. The hills seemed tougher in the heat but the views were just great.

Ellie came home in a great time of 1hr 51min and enjoyed the run. Melanie came in next with 2hr 4min and I came in with
2hr 10min.

Summer Handicap, 23rd May

Phil Owen

Well, what a turnout. Amazingly 21 new starters and 38 runners in total! A few had decided for various reasons to just run a lap then help out at the finish and support the other runners which is very much appreciated.

So, 35 finishers had the bunnies in Houghall wood almost delirious with excitement! Some Striders obviously a lot faster but with an eye on big races at the weekend were slotted higher up the field so they could use the handicap as a nice run out and not overdo it. We are quite happy to do this for any of the handicaps in future, just let us know as we don't want the bunnies confused and having to check back on previous results.

Not saying some of the 5K and 10K times we were given were dodgy but quite a few Striders might want to find a race super quick and slash their PBs! No matter, you'lll only get away with it once!

Adam was again the fastest Male in 30:36 with Matt (cruelly handicapped with young Adam but will get a minute next time ) not far behind. Adams says secret is to eat 5 pizzas a week but not party with the orange girls after the school prom. Take heed Matt.

Nina was our fastest Lady but looks to have some competition in Carly who is hot on her heels. Special mention to Elizabeth D who took nearly a minute off her time. Her relentless forward progress to the GNR continues.

The biggest problem Anna, me and the other supporters had was trying to remember the names of all the new starters who are fairly new to the club. We have dabbled with the idea of numbers but for now with the help of the supporters we'll just try and remember every ones names. If you think your time is way out btw, there is a chance we got you mixed up with someone else so please do let us know.

Clive Cookson 10K, 23rd May

Louise Miller

I used to live in Tynemouth and having ran some of the handicaps with North Shields Poly I had heard of the Clive Cookson 10k, but I’d never got round to doing it. I knew it was well known for being a fast, flat course which was good for pb’s but fresh memories of my somewhat hideous run at the not so flat Sunderland mean’t I had decided to just go along, give it a shot and hope for the best.

I shared a lift with Jacquie and Alister and was surprised to find we were the only Striders taking part, but apparently it clashed with a few other races. After sharing my new super pre race snacks with Jacquie and a trip to the uber-futuristic pod like toilets in Monkseaton school (very strange!) we made our way to the start.

I had a quick chat with my very own running idol, Ian Harding, an old work colleague who runs for Morpeth Harriers (he came 27th in last years GNR and won last years Coastal Run to mention a few of his achievements). I said goodbye to Ian, secretly praying that my improved pace would mean that he wouldn’t lap me as he did a few years ago when I last ran in the same race as him!

Everything appeared to be against me (my nike+ wouldn’t pick up a signal and I’m useless at pacing myself, I didn’t have my running twin with me (Victoria) so I’d be running on my own with no ipod and it was two laps which to me is a psychological nightmare!) All this considered, I still couldn’t get the thought of a sub 54 min out of my head….

A quick brief from the organiser and off we went. Alister was up near the front but due to the heat there was no sign of the yellow hat so he just blended in with the masses and soon disappeared from view. Jacquie was a little bit ahead but I decided to hang back as it was a bit congested at the start as we weaved our way through the streets of the housing estate.

The route takes in a bit of everything from public roads, gravel paths, farmers tracks to back roads so I didn’t actually find doing two laps too boring. There were a few bottlenecks at certain points which was frustrating but before I knew the first lap was done so I grabbed a quick drink from the half way point water station and then set off for my final lap.

Physically I felt good, but mentally I was driving myself insane not knowing my pace! I obsessively attempted to find a signal on my nike+. I eventually gave in at some point in the second lap when I realised that I could still see Jacquie up ahead. I knew she was aiming for 52 mins so decided that as long as I could see her she couldn’t be more than 2 minutes ahead of me, so that was my new tactic – keep Jacquie in my sights and hopefully I might get that sub 54.

I was going quite strong and felt good, despite a slight wobble at just before 7k when I nearly snorted a little fly but I recovered well and pushed on over the final few k. I still had no idea of my time (my clock was wrong on my watch so couldn’t even use that as an indicator!) but I felt like I was on track for a pb so I pushed a bit harder. I was never going to catch Jacquie and when I started to feel a little sick at 9k I started to regret pushing too soon.

In the distance I saw Ian (who’d won in 32.49) who pushed me on to catch the girl in front (one of which I’d been back and forth with all race) then there was Alister waiting on the final corner screaming for me to sprint for the finish (just round the corner – why are these corners always so long!). I managed a sprint finish and heard someone say 52 as I crossed the line... surely not?!

I stumbled over for a chat with Run Geordie Run who had ran this prior to running Edinburgh to Newcastle at the weekend. I then found Alister and Jacquie, Jacquie informed me that her Garmin said 51.37 (a pb for her) so maybe I’d heard right?? Sure did – finished in 52.15 so smashed my 54.20 previous pb! Alister also finished in 43.17, amazing time but sadly missing his pb by 4 secs (that’ll be last time he turns down my super pre-race snacks!)

Overall, there wasn’t the huge sea of purple I’ve seen recently at races so there wasn’t much support round the course but still great company and great times for all. It was well marshalled and although not that scenic a very enjoyable race so I’ll be back next year as beating my new pb on any other course is probably going to be very difficult!


1Ian HardingMorpeth Harriers & ACM32:49
25Jane HodgsonMorpeth Harriers & ACF37:03
114Alister RobsonM4043:17
243Jacquie RobsonF51:37
248Louise MillerF52:15

317 finishers

Chester-le-Street Trail Race, Riverside, Chester-le-Street, 23rd May


Dave Robson

Dave and MelanieThis is the first of three 5K trail races arranged by Durham County Council. The next two are at Sedgefield and Hamsterley.

There were four Striders at this one, me, Melanie, Jo Richardson and Will. I had always planned to do this race after Jo Porter's report on it. It was a bonus that it fell on my birthday. An even bigger bonus was that I worked out last week that it would be my 500th race.

It was a two lap course on the area of the Riverside that I was familiar with from when the Harrier League had an event in this area. It was flat, not at all muddy and many degrees warmer than it was at the Harrier League event.

The heat meant that it was hard work. Will shot off from the start and came in fourth overall. Melanie and I took it very easy and Jo was somewhere in front of us. Towards the end of the second lap, Jo wasn't too far ahead, so she waited for us and the three of us came in together. A small field of just 59 runners

With a three pound entry fee it was one of the cheapest races that I have entered. I am going to try and go to the next two races in the series.


1James Askew SM16.28
4Will Horsley SM17.46
11Angela Hunter SF19.47
43Joanne RichardsonSF28.36
44Dave Robson VM28.36
45Melanie Hudson SF28.36

59 finishers

Windermere Marathon, Brathay, 20th May


Dave Robson

I joined the Striders in August 2005 with the mindset that at the ripe old age of 54, it was far too late to start running marathons. This resistance lasted just over a year until the Autumn of 2006 when someone sent round an email about a new marathon round Windermere. I was very tempted, so I thought that if I was going to do one marathon, what could be more scenic than running round Windermere. Anyway May seemed a very long way away...

So I entered, did some training and in May 2007 turned up at the lovely Brathay Hall next to the lake. It was a lovely location, the organisation was great and there was a great atmosphere. My children came and watched their Dad do his one marathon. Everything went fine until 21m, I was enjoying it, but soon after I was hit by cramp and my training was shown to be inadequate. The last few miles were tough. Still it had been a lovely day and I had completed a marathon and there was no way I was going to do another one. My daughter reminds me of this frequently.

Six months later the pain had receded in my memory and I entered Windermere again and more marathons and ultras after that. In 2011 I went slightly mad and completed thirty marathons or ultras in my sixtieth year. This year I am going to take it easier, but running the Windermere marathon has always been on my list, so I was back for my sixth time round the lake and my sixty fourth marathon/ultra.

Dave enjoys a well-earned beerThe event is always preceded by truly amazing people who run the course ten times in ten days with the final day on the day of the marathon. As usual I went over early on day 9 to see the runners on the route, a few of whom I know. One of them was doing the event for the fourth time, that is forty times round the lake ! Melanie came with me and we found it pretty cold on the Saturday. There were eighteen runners doing the ten in ten this year and they all finished, but it was very hard work for some of them. Some of them were out there for eight hours on some days, which does not leave much time to recover before the next day. I have been tempted by this event especially before they set off for the final day, but once I am out there on the course, my enthusiasm evaporates. It is a very scenic but it is a hilly course and the thought of doing that route every day, well not for me.

The weather on the day of the marathon was much warmer, sunny and no wind. I saw the ten in ten runners off, they start an hour before the main event, and chatted to other marathon runners who I have met at other events around the country. There was a rolling start which was new for this year. The runners were led down to the start and as soon as the first ones got there, the gun was fired. It was chip timed so that was fine

The first half down to Newby Bridge went fine, though it was a little warm. Fortunately, the clouds came over at that point and that made it easier. The third quarter of the race I always find hard. There is a 4m stretch of tough undulations on the way to Bowness. These took a toll on me and it slowed my pace. I got back in 4hr 39min, my slowest time there, but I know I am not in the best shape at the moment, probably too many races. I had a bottle of specially brewed ten in ten beer at the end, the nearest I will come to doing that event !

Grand Prix Race. Sprint Champion Race.

Pier to Pier Race, Sunderland, 20th May


Kathryn Sygrove

I last ran the Pier to Pier race two years ago, just before joining Elvet Striders, and was paggered at the end, barely able to face the final section across the beach. I have no recollection of the time, but it was probably about 70 minutes and I was so glad it was over.

Kathryn with  Alan Knebel and Dean Phillips of Sunderland StrollersThis year, I snuck it in as an extra race, the week before my Edinburgh half, as there was a bus on, and lots of people seemed to be going. When we arrived at the start, I had my number to pick up, dropped off my baggage, stuffed an oatmeal and raisin muffin down my neck, and went in search of familiar people from other nearby clubs. David Savage and Dean Phillips from Sunderland Harriers were not far away, and I decided to warm-up with them and Al Knebel of Sunderland Parkrun, with a few woops, skips and jumps for good measure. It seems that I missed the Strider group pic as a result -sorry! I also started away from our other Club members, as I like to focus on my own race, and pace myself better if running next to runners I don't know anything about. Or in this case, runners so much faster than me that it was immaterial how I ran - I was never gunna catch them.

The beach start wasn't too bad, the ascent up the sand a bit tough, and I had forgotten that overall there was a climb to the Lighthouse approx halfway. Multi-terrain ain't my baby, so I felt the difference on my legs on sand, grass, gravel paths, grass again, but was enjoying the lovely view around me towards the sea. I hadn't seen any Striders around me, only Paul Lordsmythe Smith (Crook Harriers) who yelled at me and then pretended he hadn't, as he sort of hobbled by on his dicky knees. They were still bloomin fast!

About four miles, I felt like a furnace. I suddenly remembered that the previous week I had had a fluey headache which had drained me, thought it had gone by Saturday, and hey-ho, here it was back. Oh well, I didn't feel too good at that point, but several narrow paths and gates meant it wasn't that easy to pass other people so my pace dropped a bit and I was quite glad of that right then. More grass came, seemingly weighing my legs down and it suddenly seemed a long way to the finish, but at 5 miles, I knew I had to just run steady till 6, wait for the run-in to the beach, then go for it. We had certainly moved onto much more level terrain by now, and soon came the paths along the promenade.

I was still boiling hot, but the same steady pace obviously covered greater ground on the flat even surface and soon it was the last corner before the beach. A small cluster of people supping hot beverages and eating chips clapped and cheered at the beach cafe and I really liked that. It was also a tad cooler round that curve, and I liked that even more. The beach just came at me and I started singing a song in my head, shutting out the distance to the finish line, and keeping it steady. "Come on Kathryn, last 50 metres to sprint!" yelled James Garland all of a sudden, and "C'mon Kathryn" bellowed Ali (THANK YOU both!!) and I lurched to the finish with their support.

I didn't realise till Jan Young told me later that I was First Lady Strider home (don't always notice people passing me) and was pleasantly surprised, given that I hadn't felt too good. I will definitely be back next year, hopefully without head cold, to knock a few minutes off my time! It was also a good boost for me after my DNF at Milton Keynes, and many thanks to all Striders who have enquired after my health and welfare since then.


1Luke AdamsSouth Shields37:01
14Alyson DixonChester-le-Steet40:28
43Jerry Lloyd44:14
50James Garland44:36
55Adam Walker44:56
60David Gibson45:14
164Alister Robson50:38
217Marco Van Den Bremen52:10
288Andrew Jordan54:09
347Kathryn Sygrove55:52
360Jane Ives56:15
384Stephanie Barlow57:00
406Jan Young57:33
415George Nicholson57:49
425John Greathead58:08
444Jean Bradley58:33
466Greta Jones58:59
472Christopher Hedley59:10
494Rachael Bullock60:00
505Camilla Lauren-Maatta60:15
512Debra Goddard60:30
531Juliet Percival60:57
534Barbara Dick60:59
540Denise Mason61:06
553Jacquie Robson61:26
562Alan Smith61:39
584Louise Miller62:27
596Karen Chalkey62:44
635Victoria Tindale63:50
641Claire Readey63:58
667James Nicholson65:19
669Sue Jennings65:23
725Christine Anne Farnsworth67:37
727Emma Detchon67:44
737Anita Clementson67:59
817Margaret Thompson72:38
865Rob Clark76:40

908 finishers.

Druridge Bay Marathon, 20th May


John Hutchinson

I'd entered this marathon as one of the four "Tour of Northumbria" marathons organised by the North East Marathon Group, not realising at the time it would clash with the Pier-to-Pier race. Wouldn't I rather have been there with the rest of you guys??

It was at the Druridge Bay Country Park and would make a nice day out for a walk round the lake to see the birds and a stroll on the gorgeous clean, flat almost deserted beach. The race was four laps, starting at the visitor centre/cafe, doing a loop of the first lake then up the road and back down the beach which was good firm sand, the only soft bit being ten yards at the end to get off the beach and up to the drinks station, before doing a loop of the southern lake before passing the drinks station again and return to the visitor centre for the next lap. There was only the one drinks station, but in such a position that you passed it at four miles then again two and a half miles later every lap.

Lining up at the start we met Sharon Gayter, who said she was still recovering so would only be taking it very gently (well we took that with a pinch of salt). So I set off and kept a respectful distance behind her and I fell into stride with two others, Dave and Hannah. Dave Knopp was quite a chap, he'd had a heart attack after doing a race last year, so was now running a series of marathons to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. Eventually we caught Sharon and ran with her for the rest of the first lap which we did in 53 minutes. I was feeling good so (foolishly / overenthusiastically) pressed on a bit faster than the other three. Managed the next lap in 57minutes, then the next took one hour which was when Dave passed me. Then Hannah came past. By the time we got to the beach section I could see Dave at the far end coming off the beach and Hannah already half way down the beach. I was suffering and hurting by now and regretting my earlier enthusiasm. Didn't care what time I finished, just wanted to get it over, but then with only about quarter of a mile to go I looked at my watch and saw 3hrs 55 and imagined a sub four hours was still possible, so with one last spurt I made it home in 3hrs 59.

Turned out at the end Hannah had got past Dave who beat me by a good five minutes. Sharon came in a couple of minutes later, but she'd been having problems after the second lap.

After a long lie in the sun and a snack and cup of tea at the cafe I was starting to recover. It would have been lovely to have had a walk round and enjoy the place, but the most I could do was limp back to the car. Will I do it again next year? Well ... depends on whether it clashes with the P2P, which it may well do. I was chatting with the organiser and complaining about the dates, but when organising a beach run it is very dependent on tide tables and that one Sunday was the optimal tide conditions for May.

Mile End parkrun, 19th May


Danny Lim

I had to be in London this weekend in support of my wife who was attending a wedding so had to miss the Pier to Pier race. I consoled myself by going to parkrun, Mile End in the morning and a 10 course wedding banquet in the evening!

The parkrun was held in a small but beautiful park in the shadow of Canary Wharf. The park is essentially a narrow strip of land, about half a mile in length. Like any other parkrun, the atmosphere was friendly and welcoming. I got the impression that this was a fairly new parkrun with most of the participants being first timers. Though small, it was beautifully manicured, leafy and even had a small lake. For 24 minutes, I forgot I was in central London.

The route consisted of 2 laps of this park. The course requires you to run over the same overhead bridge 4 times, so its not really a PB course (at least, that's my excuse).

One observation; Mile End is a very ethnically diverse area with over half the residents consisting of ethnic minorities. However, this wasn't the case with most of the participants. I hope this parkrun continues to grow (which it deserves to) in popularity and diversity.

Cateran Ultra, Cairngorms, 19th May


David Catterick

DavidWhy? Well having hit the big '50' in March I needed to do something. A motorbike was out and a tattoo wasn't me. So an Ultra is was! I looked at the details of many but the dates all clashed with other things. Then Anna mentioned the above. Anna was planning to run it with Flip marshalling. It is 15 miles from where my wife grew up and where my mum-in-law still lives so The Cateran it was. On Friday night I drove up to the Spittal of Glenshee Hotel that was full with some of the75 runners their supporters and marshals.

The next morning was cool and dry. Perfect. The route followed old cattle trails down to Blairgowrie some 30miles away before looping back to Glenshee. At 7am we set off. It was interesting to note that at the first hills most runners walked. Later at the first check point I discovered these were not places to stop, chat and have a picnic! When I stupidly asked where the toilets were I finally realised that this was going to be steep learning curve!

10 miles in to the race I met up with Tim, from Ayr, a seasoned ultra runner competing in his 3rd Ultra in 8 days! On we went together. 26 miles in at Alyth checkpoint were Flip and Anna. (Anna had injured herself the week of the race and was marshalling). After this the stops at checkpoints became briefer and we kept up a good pace together. With 6 miles to go we started the final climb up Glenshee. At the top we looked down on the hotel and away we went flat out downhill for a mile to finish in front of the hotel where runners were greeted by cheers and loud applause. This was followed by chat, drink and food.

David and TimDavid Hetherington, sometime runner with the Striders but now sporting a Strollers top, also ran. Perhaps next year there'll be more Striders taking part. Was it worth it? Definitely. It was not just the challenge of running the distance and the stunning scenery but also the genuine friendliness and camaraderie of all involved. Can't wait for the next Ultra!

Thanks to Steve Lumb (DFR) for help with the training, to Tim Downie for the great company, to my wife and mum-in-law for inter race refreshments and Anna and Flip for their support. I was 28th overall and joint third in age group (50 & 1/4 years old!)

Cape Wrath Marathon, Durness, Sutherland, 19th May

26.2M / 2,500'

Shaun Roberts

Keen readers of these columns may remember my having a go at this one last year, as part of the Cape Wrath Challenge week, but being thwarted (good word, that) by fifty mile-an-hour winds that forced the race to be run on an out-and-back road course, rather than actually to the Cape Wrath lighthouse. So I had to go back and do the real thing, and luckily the weather was more accommodating, if not actually helpful. The organisers did me a favour and sent me off in the last of the groups from Durness ... everyone had to predict a time, and we set off in minibusfuls to the 'ferry' across the Kyle of Durness in vaguely reverse finish order. A stiff breeze made it very cool indeed crossing in what is just a shallow motorboat, holding about eight, so as we got set for the sharp initial climb from the gangway, I left my running jacket on, over a vest and Helly, thinking they could both come off if the sun warmed things up during the race.

Well, it didn't take long to warm up. I tried to keep up with the very good MV50 guy who'd won last year's category prize, and managed it for a while, but at the top of the first climb it was off with both the jacket and the Helly - chucked this at the marshal at the first drinks station, but luckily kept the jacket in my bumbag. Then yer man failed to follow my lead in slowing down for the next long, long drag uphill, and that was the last I saw of him! Trogging up this hill, which seemed to take ages, I started to have second thoughts about how fast this race was likely to be. A bit late in the day, it occured to me that running this one "Swaledale-stylee" might be more appropriate than for, say, Sunderland! These hills just kept coming ... 2,500' of climb, in total ... and the going underfoot, on a surface that used to be a road, but which has been endlessly patched, and was very hard and stony, was turning out to be hard work. Nonetheless, I was pleased to get to the actual lighthouse in 1h28, 11 miles out, which I thought was ok. We got to run round this, then headed back, and that stiff breeze I mentioned started to make itself felt. The sun went in, and it all greyed over and cooled down. Adding in the hills we had to get over, plus strangely-aching quads and utterly flattened balls of the feet - despite very cushioned road shoes - and I was starting to struggle a bit, and so walked increasingly often up the hills.

Waiting for the ferry at mile-marker 22.

Back to the ferry, this time taking 1h45, so 3h13 so far. The chatty marshal recorded the times ("just seen an otter over there ... and there was a seal at the end of that jetty a minute ago"), handed out Mars Bars ... and what I thought would happen did happen: my temperature dropped like a stone. Into the boat, which wasn't long in coming, and I started to feel really cold, so on with that jacket (helpfully still in my bumbag), hat, gloves. Didn't worry about what others were talking about, which was incipient cramp, sitting in the boat after 22 miles running.

Wierdly, getting cold here was a blessing in disguise, as I really wanted to get warm. When we were all ready to go - and I'd been the slowest in this boat-load - I legged it towards Durness, and despite two more hills on the way, managed to keep running the whole way, now, at what felt like a good speed, and left the group behind. It wasn't in reality very fast - but it got me warm, and much, much more importantly by now, got me to the finish. Got round in an unspectacular 3h48m ... but that was 18th place of 77, so can't complain.

Top-left corner of Scotland.

A very hard, hilly, windy race. Collapsed for a while before a splendid feast in the evening in the village hall, washed down with some excellent Orcadian beers, with lots of familiar faces from last year. The Ceilidh? Err, no.

This is a great event - as I said last time, really sociable, and as challenging, or not, as you want, in a great location - and I strongly recommend it if you get the chance to make the trip.

Grand Prix Race. Sprint Champion Race.

Snods 6, Snods Edge, 16th May


Anita Clementson...

I had this race firmly marked in my calendar as a 'must do' following on from the great experience I had last year at Snods as a relatively newbie strider.

Arrived quite early on a cool but pleasant Wednesday evening. The slow trickle of purple striders followed and it was good to see faces which you don't see too often down at Maiden Castle or the Monday night runs.

The run itself starts from a lane a little walk down from the village hall. Lot's of mutterings from people claiming to take it easy on this race due to other races just completed or planned, not to mention at the least Angela taking part in a relay marathon at 3am on the Friday of that week (mad, crazy girl). Once we were off the road took a climb up, not particularly steep but quite sapping all the same for the beginning of a race. (As I live at the top of a hill I struggle with any race that starts with an ascent!). The route followed through some quiet country lanes and the first 3 miles was mostly a gentle climb. The yellow of the fields at this time of year was lovely to see and breathe in the fresh country air. There was a bit of a headwind (notably the windmills were turned off! Why??). [They have only just been erected and haven't been commissioned yet. Ed.]

I have to say there are not many races I've taken part in that are so well marshalled. At every turn, gate, sty there were a couple of cheery Blackhill Bounders with lots of encouragement and smiles.

The last part of the race was cross country and a fab downhill on soft grass which you can really make up pace and try to fill the gap with the runners in front. Right at the end there is a little climb to the posse at the top of the finishers and nice to have some encouragement from those already done.

Blackhill Bounders really push the boat out when it comes to hospitality. Back at the village hall the food on offer was fantastic. Lots of different curries (2 vegetarian options - impressively) and cakes, breads, pastries...yum yum and all for free. All washed down with a well-earned pint from the bar. On top it was all go with a quiz (our table just pipped the post by 1/2 a point...drat that Eve!!) and then the raffle. I didn't win this year but many striders walked away with a nice prize.

All in all a great night out and to me epitomises what being part of a great club is all about. Roll on next year.

Striders at Snods Edge

...and Mike Elliot

Great turn out at Snods, runners, spectators and the dog. Looked as though some good times were recorded by the faster lads and lasses. 'Middle' pack were going at quite pace and chatting all the way, and the 'slower' pack enjoying the cool fresh air whilst saving themselves for the P2P on sunday. A good performance all round, especially those first timers.

Guess you were racking your brains out trying to work out which the Strider was in front of you at the first cross roads and then at the left turn in the housing complex. 'How the hell did he get in front of me?' Then all you see is a person jumping out pressing the camera shutter and saying, 'Caught on camera, have a good run'. A comment was, 'I saw you behind that lamp post' to which the camera man replied, 'In that case I must be too fat.'

I hesitate to pick out individuals but well done to Phil Todd who is making a come back after a very long absence.

The last comment of the evening must go to my most favourite girl, Holly the dog, 'Doesn't my Master have a great to have a good sense of humour? '


*Patrick DuffyCrook AC36:32
1John TaylorPB Fitness40:40
5Jerry Lloyd41:48
7James Garland41:57
16Tom Reeves43:40
20Mike Bennett44:39
26Amanda CrooksPB FitnessF45:53
29Alistair Robson46:33
40Nigel Heppell48:40
44Mike Probert49:22
47Aaron Gourley50:06
50Colin Blackburn51:07
52Juliet PercivalF51:40
56Kevin Williams52:17
58Stephanie BarlowF52:36
60Jan YoungF52:58
62David Spence53:26
63Jean BradleyF53:58
34Melanie HudsonF54:16
67George Nicholson54:57
68David Shipman55:06
69Lyndsey TarnF55:14
78Louise MillerF58:15
79Alan Smith58:18
82Karen ChalkleyF58:32
84Victoria TindaleF58:40
92Anna SeeleyF59:55
93Phil Owen59:56
94Andy James60:06
98Jo RichardsonF61:44
100Jacquie RobsonF62:52
101Dave Robson62:53
105Anita ClementsonF63:45
106Emma DetchonF63:45
111Margaret ThompsonF68:03
112Sue JenningsF72:03
113Angela ProctorF72:03
114Pippa CofferF72:03
115Philip Todd73:48

115 finishers
* Patrick Duffy agreed not to take any prize as
  he was not from an officially invited club

SABIC Riverside Run & ASDA Fun Run, Middlesbrough, 13th May

Jo Richardson

This Sunday signified for me my second visit to a football stadium in the space of one week. Last weekend it was the Stadium of Light for the Sunderland marathon and on this occasion the venue was the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough for the Sabic 5K Riverside Run and the ASDA 2K Fun Run. I arrived relatively early with my daughter, Erin, in order to secure a decent parking space close to the location of Pizza Hut for after race comfort food and to try and meet up with my friend, Louise Trainor, from Quakers who was going to serve as my mascot for the day. Whilst I was frantically looking around the various family entertainment attractions and the swelling crowd of runners, I was able to spot two familiar purple vests at the registration desk. To my relief, I was to be joined on my 5K quest by two fellow Striders, Alister and Jacqui Robson.

I have to admit that I was rather anxious at the prospect of doing a 5K race. My only previous experience of running a 5K is at the Durham Parkrun on a Saturday morning with Erin. As Erin has never made the Saturday morning run an easy experience for me, I was just a little concerned that I would have to face the embarrassment of not being able to maintain her pace, if left to my own devices. Louise soon arrived and she, Alister and Jacqui were able to give me some positive words of encouragement before we moved to the start.

As we positioned ourselves, the gun was fired and Alister and Jacqui sprang forward. Alister was soon a blur of purple in the distance and Jacqui, as quick as a gazelle, sprinted after him. I knew almost immediately that this would be a race that I would be running on my own as I could not maintain pace with Jacqui for longer than the first km. She was just too quick! As we circled the course under the Transporter Bridge, I saw Jacqui on the opposite side of the road and I knew I would soon be on the return. I approached the entrance to the stadium on the final stretch, my throat was on fire and my legs felt like jelly. Jacquie, Alister, Jo and Erin at the RiversideI noticed Erin and Louise cheering me on from the sidelines which gave me the final burst of energy. As I entered the stadium and approached the finish line I had ‘Chariots of Fire’ ringing in my ears. I couldn’t believe the time! I crossed the line with a fantastic new PB (for me) of 25.31. It was definitely a good day for PBs as Jacqui, too, improved on her best 5K time. I am sure that I would never have achieved this without the support of Erin, Louise and my fellow club members. However, I am equally convinced that I will never be able to do it again...!

And that wasn’t the end of it...!

I still had the ASDA 2K Fun Run to complete which was a totally different experience altogether. Most of the Fun Run was pretty uneventful until Erin and I came to manoeuvre around the cones on the approach to the stadium. The boy in front of Erin suddenly stopped abruptly in his tracks causing Erin to run into the back of him. I attempted to dodge them both and went over on my ankle. I danced rather comically on the spot for a while and waved Erin on because I knew the compulsion of the finish line (and the goody bag) would be too great for her. I sprinted after her but to no avail. She galloped home without me, just catching a fairy at the finish!

Ripon 10, 13th May


Melanie Hudson

We arrived in Ripon and reported to race HQ to get our numbers. There was homemade cake, yummy :), nothing like pre race cake with the excuse that its needed for fuel. Me and Dave decided to run together as usual, I like running with him, he is very good at pacing me, otherwise I get carried away, go off too fast, get tired quickly and end up not enjoying the race. Ripon, Dave informed me, is a lovely scenic route so I really wanted to enjoy this one.

All bright and chirpy before the start. We made our way over to the start and bumped into Ian Spencer so we had a quick chat and got a Striders photo. Then we were off. Not far from the beginning we went through a wood where the floor was covered with bluebells and wild garlic, it was lovely. We came out of the woods and crossed five stone bridges in quick sucession as the path meandered over a stream. I had mixed feelings on the next section which took us through a deer park. As we entered the park I was struck with a great view of the path rising through the park and upwards to a church in the distance, however I was also feeling a bit of dread knowing that church was a mile away and all up hill! However I was feeling strong and was amazed at how easily we got to the top. We then ran along the road and past Fountains Abbey, I couldn't see the abbey as it was hidden behind a big wall, however this lack of view was only temporary as we were about it be greeted by another big hill. This one was much steeper but also a mile long, thankfully there were a few short flat bits that gave a little recovery before hitting the next steep section. The view from the top was worth the climb though as at this point you could look back and see the Abbey. The last two miles were pretty fast and easy as it was all downhill from then on. I was still feeling strong by the end and broke away from Dave to do a sprint finish. All three of us striders finished in a similar time. We had a quick chat about the race before going back to race HQ for more cake :)

I really enjoyed this run, it was scenic and I was feeling stronger then I had in a long time. Ripon 10m on the top of my list of races I will do again.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Jack Simpson Unattached M 1 0:57:35
21Emma Yates York Knavesmire Harriers FV45 1 1:07:32
150Melanie Hudson FV30 1:30:55
154Ian Spencer MV50 1:31:28
155Dave Robson MV60 1:31:29

221 finishers.

Leeds Half Marathon, 13th May

David Spence

So here we go again. A third go at the Leeds half marathon. Overnight stay at the son's in Leeds and then a short drive to the City Centre. The sun (well I think that was what the yellow round thing was in the sky) is shining. It's a nice fresh day and thankfully a little on the cold side.

The race starts and finishes in the centre of Leeds so easy to get to. Also unlike the GNR don’t have to be at the start 3 days before the off. The first few miles are easy going on wide roads but then the pain begins with a number of long drags uphill thankfully interspaced with some relieving downhills. Having survived this from 7 miles it's generally downhill back into Leeds with the last 3 miles a long straight flat road into the centre. But just to keep you honest in the last mile some sadist decides to take the race up a steep slip road. I never knew a motorway slip road could cause so much pain. Then it’s the last few hundred metres to the finish cheered on by large crowds.

And for me my best time by 6 mins and a technical T-shirt as a reward. And wonders of wonders my wife and son watching the finish thought I looked really fresh. Normally at the finish I look like a candidate for the oxygen tent. Striders training runs must be working. Now for Snods Edge!

This is a friendly well organised run with 6000 runners this year. It is now managed by the Jane Tomlinson charity which has a city centre start and finish. Also if you survive the first 7 miles then there is the chance of a good time.

Calderdale Relay, Halifax, 13th May


Jan Young

Captain David misinterprets the instructions and carries a small baguette instead of a baton.

Thanks to all runners and supporters for great weekend of good company, slept like a log Sunday night.

Thanks to ...

I have a lot to thank good mates for - specially putting up with me! (Snoring and wittering on, Paul - you'll be suprised, Will chatted more than me, but then he was never challenging his lungs!) Here's to 2013!

Bowderdale Wild Race, nr Kirkby Stephen, 13th May

10.5M 1736'

Aaron Gourley

The second race in the Wild Race series and by far the best of them in what is a 10.5 mile, 1736ft of ascent slog around one of the finest valleys in the Howgills area a few miles from Kirkby Stephen.

ElevationPicking up a flyer for this and checking the date I was disappointed to see the 13th of May was the date set which clashed with the Sunderland’s final home game of the season against Manchester United. So missing this race for the football I was even more distraught when a family christening was booked for this day meaning I would miss both the race and the football. So giving my ticket to an unfortunate Man Utd supporting work colleague I was resigned to a day of singing hymns in church. Then on the Saturday, said christening is called off due to a bout of chickenpox. So with no christening and no ticket for the match, the only thing to do was to get my kit together and run Bowderdale.

Bowderdale really does live up to its Wild Race tag. Pulling into the farm a there was a small but perfectly formed field of slightly mental runners. The weather was clear and dry but bitterly cold with a fierce wind blowing down from the fell tops.

Setting off up the farm track the route then takes a sharp uphill onto to narrow path that contours the valley along Bowderdale Beck. This continues for about three and a half miles before the long steep uphill onto the top of the fell. This hill is tough enough without a fierce wind blowing down straight into your face and taking your breath away and is comparable to the Drag on the Allendale Challenge, only shorter but no less demoralising.

Once at the top of the fell the friendly farmer awaits with a refreshing tank of water. Grabbing a drink and catching a breath it’s off for a fantastic run along the top of the fell back to the start, this time with the wind pushing on our backs.

Aaron's feetThe run back was spent trading places on the down hills and up hills with a guy from Teesdale AC, me passing on the down, him on the ups. The final two miles are a long grassy sweep down to the finish where speed is gained but attention to your footing is essential. With Mr Teesdale in my sights I took it easy coming down the fell and decided to make my move on the farm track on the final half a mile where it would be easier and less hazardous to pass.

With the attack point was set, I decided to make my move and overtake when I tripped and stumbled for a few metres before deciding there was no way I was staying on my feet leading to a rather impressive forward roll, ending up on my backside facing the opposite direction. Feeling rather stupid, I got up and staggered the final few hundred metres to the finish. Mr Teesdale greeted me in with “Blimey, did you get lost? I thought you would have passed me on that final bit.”

Oh how he laughed when I told him I fell over.

Edinburgh parkrun, Cramond, 12th May


Emma Detchon

Out in the wilds ... Another weekend away and I didn't want to miss a park run. I'm on target to share my 50th run with Durham parkrun so hoping for a celebration. Edinburgh was the destination this time, the parkrun was north of the city at Cramond Village. The course was along the promenade out and back or as described in the first timers' briefing like a lollipop, up the stick round the sweet bit and back down the stick. I arrived early so got parked easily, free to park, there's a little walk to the start but there were plenty of people around. It was a beautiful place, the sun was out and they had a boom box playing music so lots of atmosphere.

The Edinburgh (and Glasgow) park runs start at 9.30am due the sun rising a lot later in the depths of December (almost an hour later than London) and the café doesn’t open until 10am. I set off really well but held back as it was my first run after the Sunderland marathon (I should've definitely done something inbetween but didn't get time!) so my first mile was the fastest. Someone passed me with a Marathon of the North t-shirt which was nice to see. It would be a great one for a pb but there is a bit of a head wind on the way back. I was 150th out of a field of 221 - they normally get good numbers and get a lot of visiting parkrunners.

Roseberry Romp, North Yorks Moors, 10th May

5M / 1050'

Phil Owen

Jan's e-mail alerted me to this race and at first I thought It was a new race in the Esk valley summer series that had not made it to the list. However that wasn’t the case as it is in fact a fund raiser for the National Trust.

After taking young Yusuf along to his first fell just last week, he was eager for more and at Monday night run he asked if I was going. He then asked how my legs were, saying with a big broad smile 'I hope they are still tired because I going to beat you'! After a full night and day of heavy rain I was glad to see the rain stop a couple of hours before this race but I expected a mud fest. Picked Yusuf up and headed to the Cleveland hills. For those that know it, the race HQ is the same car park as the one for newton under Roseberry which as the name suggest is directly below Roseberry Topping, an iconic hill on the Cleveland way.

Very small field and we were off up the very muddy track. We turned right into 100 Aker wood and slipped our way through the mud gradually gaining height. Leaving the wood, a marshal guided us to the left and up a steeper climb to what looks like an old quarry climb. From her we wound round some more woods and up on a rear path to the Roseberry summit and another marshal.

All this time I had Yusuf in my sights as he bounced and bounded along like Tigger but he was too fast for me in the early stages. It did get me thinking if he is Tigger, who am I? Unfortunately only Pooh bear came to mind. Must be my round and stout exercises! Still in I knew we should have plenty of very muddy downhill to come and Pooh bears are built for rolling down hills. Up to the top of little Roseberry and then down a small track I’ve never noticed before. This is where Tigger was in trouble as tiggers are made for climbing not falling, stoutness out I simply rolled past him through the mud the couple of miles to the finish. Excellent new race, only ££4.00 to enter, on some trails I didn’t know existed. With it being fully marked marshalled it’s particularly brilliant race for the newbie fell or trail runners but tough enough for the experienced to get a good workout and enjoy. A Durham Uni student and friend of Yusuf ‘s need lift have won the race( he’s keen to do more but need lifts. I’ve invited him to join our FB group as I’m sure some of us can help out there ) with Hardmoors 110 ladies winner Shelly Gordon wining the ladies. Hillary, RD at Saltwell Park Parkrun after her clubs fell running was chuffed to bit to win her age category! The national trust has another of these although a quick Google search doesn’t reveal much information I managed to pick up a few flyers. Details: Bransdale Fell Race 7.5 mile 1400ft ascent, Thursday 9th August 2012 , Entries £4 ,Registration at Bransdale Mill, Postcode YO627JL , well marked route, all Profits to local National Trust.

Yusuf adds:

Yesterday's race was fantastic. One of top crazy things I have ever done in my life. There was so much mud. Almost whole race. I wanted to race with Flip but he is so damn good at running hill down with that mud. He already had experienced a lot of crazyiness but I know I ve got a long life to live :)))) I really scared that I might tradigacelly break some parts of my body when I go down. It was even hard to stand or walk but bloody Flip is fearless. But it is a fantastic memory.Wonderful race.

My next challenge is to run YOMP 23 mile. Hope I can survive that.

Tees Barrage 10K, Stockton, 7th May

Melanie Hudson

It was my fault Dave ended up doing the Tees Barrage 10K. I completed an entry form for us both but he said he was doing the Sunderland marathon the day before so it probably wasnt a good idea. I forgot to take the letter out of the post pile, put it in the box with the sudden realisation that I wasn't supposed to do that, woops :0! I guess he could have still decided to not do it but you know Dave.

It was a bright and dry day making the Tees look very nice. Forecast had not been great and very relieved they got it wrong as memories of the wind and rain at the Neptune relays are still too fresh in my mind.

We saw Will and Ian Spencer at the start but we didnt see them at the finish. We did get a glimpse of Ian at the 8k point and he seemd to be going very strongly.

My legs were pretty tired from Saturday's parkrun and Sunday's Sunderland 10k. I have never ran three days in a row in the past never mind the fact I'm still trying to regain my full fitness after illness (although I think this has made me more determined or maybe Dave's craziness is catching).

I decided to run with Dave thinking I was in for an easy ride. We set off at a lovely slow pace, plodding along and stuck behind people. Ahh this was going to be such a relaxed run. However after one mile Dave started to speed up! How could he maintain that after yesterday, surely he will blow up and we can go back to the nice trott we had going at the beginning, hmm nope, we did slow down a little from half way but not really by much.

It's a pretty flat course and lovely running along the Tees and across a couple of bridges, I would do this one again.

Sunderland Marathon, 6th May

Dougie Nisbet ...

Today was a good day to be a Strider. I'd just like to say well-done and thank you to everyone who was out today for the companionship and support, for the 10K and the marathon, and all the Strider support around the course. It really was something.

Before the off ... And a special congratulations has to go to all the first-time marathon runners. Today was not an easy course, physically or psychologically. Lots of dog-legs and switch-backs and a surprising number of nippy hills. In a particularly cruel twist the organisers decided to parallel run the finishing straight with the 18-19 mile mark - a point where many are hitting the wall. All Striders finished despite the hideous temptation of passing the finish with 7 miles to go! Well done, especially the first-time marathoners! I hit the proverbial at 22.35 miles and if this had happened around 18 miles, I'm pretty certain I would have bailed.

... and the winner in the 'Most Disorienting Marathon of the Year' Category is ... Sunderland!

... Greta Jones ...

It was an early start for my very first marathon. Mike Elliott kindly offered to be the driver for the day and picked up myself and my friend Denise who had trained and stretched in anticipation of cheering loudly. We met with John G, John H, Sue Jennings and Emma Detchon at Angela's house and headed off in convoy to the Stadium of Light.

On arrival several striders were already present and collectively we were a very impressive sea of purple. Many of those doing the 10K starting at 10am also joined us and we managed a very impressive team photo. The mood was very upbeat and supportive, especially for those of us doing our first marathon, which included myself, Jacquie, Emma, Jo Richardson, and John G. George Nick a veteran of many runs gave us all a hug and encouragement, he was planning on running his own race with Sarah Kelly to support her round the course in aid of St Oswald's Hospice.

Not a bad turnout.

The original idea was to run the race at 10.5 minute miles, the aim, to finish around 4 hours 35 minutes. We called this the 4.35 bus; however as bus is a dirty word in Sunderland it then became the 4.35 train. What an experience that was. We started really well and were consistent, thanks to Alister's impressive pacing. If you have never joined a pacing group I can highly recommend it. The team held together really well and offered support not only to each other but also to those we passed and the locals who came out to cheer us on. We were joined for many miles by a chap called Scott who was running for a cancer charity and who's aim was to run 12 marathons in 12 months, thanks to him I managed to work out how to open those sachets of water.

Due to the nature of the course which looped back on itself at many points we were able to cheer on other Striders as they passed us heading for the finish. We managed to see Paul, James and Matt quite early on as they lead the field of striders. Then came our first female Fiona, followed by John Hutch who we managed to cheer, at a couple of locations, then came Dougie, who was closely followed by the lovely Anna, whose partner Flip was not running in the marathon but was found lounging about on a park bench taking photos as we passed. Barrie Evans and Jan and Tony Young also turned out to show their support at the Barnes park area.

Angela was having a cracking run and had left the train at around mile 15. The remaining train finally splintered at around mile 16. I felt really comfortable at the 18 mile mark, but was at this time running with Dave Robson. Going past the stadium where several striders who had run the 10k and my family made loads of noise and gave such incredible support which gave me a boost. However by mile 19 I began to wonder why I was doing this and why I had bothered to make a polite enquiry. My lower spine ached but at least I could not feel any blisters on my feet. By mile 20 Sue Jennings had caught me up and the pair of us decided to run/walk for a while. If it had not been for Sue I am sure the next 4 miles would have been harder than they were.

Sue got the smell of home in her nostrils and I was unable to keep up with her but managed to continue the run/walk plan. By mile 25 if anyone mentioned another marathon I would have happily tripped them up if I had had the energy. Just as I was flagging I heard the cry of 'Jonsey get running as we are heading for sub 5 hours,' from Alister and Jacquie Robson as they were gaining on me. This gave me some incentive to push on. At mile 26 I was joined by the lovely Dave Whitmore fellow park runner and Sunderland Harrier who was marshalling at this point, and could see my struggle so ran with me up the final hill and lead me to a sea of cheering purple which included Denise, Jane Ives, Yusuf, Victoria, Louise, Mel and Rob closely followed by Jo Porter and Ethan as well as Mike Elliott chasing every photo opportunity. That is just what you need at the finish of a marathon and it gave me such a feeling of euphoria when I crossed the line in the official time of 4 hours 50 minutes and 34 Seconds.

"Never again, but then again ..."

... Alister Robson ...

It hasn't been a great month or so for provincial marathons as a friend of mine remarked the other day. Hull was plagued with organisational issues and doubts remain over the distance, meaning that the official results have been scrubbed from the record books. Promised road closures didn't materialise and there was a distinct lack of marshals. Milton Keynes and the Shakespeare Marathon at Stratford had torrential rain, the latter being cut to half distance. Manchester had torrential rain and baggage issues with some shivering for almost an hour at the finish for their warm clothes to arrive.

I was a little bit apprehensive then about the inaugural Marathon of the North at Sunderland, but I needn't have worried. The wet cold weather that had been around all week started to clear towards Saturday evening and it became clear, bright and still. Perfect conditions for marathon running in fact. We arrived at the Stadium of Light nice and early and it was immediately remarkable how nice a morning it was and how many people we knew. I grabbed a quick coffee in the Aquatic Centre and as we came round the corner past the start line we were welcomed by a sea of purple - those hoodies really do stand out a mile don't they? Before long I'd been volunteered to be on the radio (thanks Jane Ives, I think!) and it was time to assemble at 8.45 for the group photo. A whopping 24 Striders assembled for the group shot (+1 guest Durham Tri) and we still didn't manage to get everyone in.

It was only two weeks after the London Marathon for me and so I didn't want to try running it at full speed (although I knew quite a few who did!) and I also knew that there were a load of first timers, including my wife, Jacquie, who were aiming at 4.30ish pace. With that I volunteered to pace them as far round as possible at 10.30 minute miles pace. It was brilliant! I think a lot of the gang were surprised by how slow 10.30 feels like when you're fit and raring to go, and I very often had to pull them back a bit. I gave them the benefit of my huge marathon experience (two previous VLM's) and I'm sure after a while they got sick of hearing "Heads up for the photographers", "Steady going up this hill", "Thanks Marshal!" etc.

However it seemed to work and going through half way we were all a merry lot, all still sticking together and all still feeling relatively fresh. We'd gathered in a few extra runners into the little group over the course. Some nice ladies from Quakers, a friend of Emma's Hazel, a guy called Scott who's doing 12 marathons in 12 weeks (this was his 4th) for Cancer Research, all were welcome aboard the 4.35 train, the more the merrier. At about 16 miles we started to hit the buffers. I tripped over a gatepost going into Barnes Park, and Jacquie's shoulder started to cramp up, probably from carrying her water bottle. Hazel and Angela started to pull away at the front, looking very comfortable and Jacquie and I fell back a bit as I could tell that she was starting to suffer. It was great to see Jan and Phil and Barrie out on the course and indeed the spectators and marshals (including our own Jo & Ethan and Anita) were brilliant. It was great for them that the weather was so good, and so much better for the runners out on the course.

At about 17 miles I had to stop for an unscheduled 'comfort break' and after heading back through town and over the bridge, it was back to the Stadium. Dougie's report said he found that demoralising which is interesting as I found the opposite. I loved being able to cheer James ,Fiona and Matt and some others home and it gave me a boost as we headed out on the last loop out towards the coast. Jacquie had an undeniably tough time from about 21 miles to about 24 but we kept going forward (if walking) and once through Roker Park I think we ran all the rest of it back. We caught Greta and hopefully inspired her home and at the last corner back at the Stadium were the marshals from Sunderland parkrun, Jane, David and Katie and most of the Striders 10k runners.

From here it was just a few hundred meters to the finish line where the rest of the fantastic Striders support was ready to cheer us in and we could collect our medals and goodie bags. All in all the organisation was pretty good, not quite up to London's standards but a great first effort. It wasn't perfect, the first corner was far too tight causing the whole field to bunch up just after we'd set off running properly, the secure baggage area wasn't. A train whistle, I'm guessing ... I had no problem in making off with Jacquie's bag without her number and the finish line was a little bit out of the way tucked around the corner - it would have been better to finish in the stadium itself, but they also did a lot of things very right. Starting at the Stadium with all its toilets etc was a masterstroke, there were loads of great marshals and the water and isotonic drink stops were frequent and well placed. It was reasonably priced and had a tech tee in the goodie bag. Maybe Steve can have a word with Brendan?

... and Jacquie Robson:

I was nervous. Very nervous. REALLY nervous. Even the day before the race. And I was cross with myself for even thinking I could do something as daft as a marathon after vowing I'd never even dream of entering. But I have to admit it was nice to arrive at the start at the Stadium of Light to see a sea of purple, and I would have felt a bit like I was missing out if I hadn't entered what turned out to be a fantastic Striders event. There really were Striders everywhere you looked, and friends from Sunderland and Durham parkrun everywhere else! The Striders 10k runners arrived on time to wish us all well, and we all assembled in surprisingly pleasant sunny weather for a photo of the Striders and friends before the start. After a last minute kit change from my cold weather long fleecy sleeved top to a t-shirt, it seemed like no time at all until we heard the hooter and we were away. James, Paul, Fiona and Matt shot out of sight with the front runners, and Dougie and John Hutchinson bounded off, smiles on their faces and a spring in their step. Anna went on ahead, too, despite claiming she was only going to run-walk at first and would probably drop out after 15k. We didn't believe you, Ms Seeley!

Our 'running train' was made up of many of the Sunday morning crew (myself, Greta, Sue, Angela, John G and Dave R) and some welcome guests, including the tri club's Vicky Mattless, Emma's friend Hazel and a few others we'd picked up at the start, with train-driver Alister leading the way and keeping us steady at a gentle pace. Jo and Emma hung back a bit, wanting to set off a bit slower, and George stayed back to run with lady from the BBC. It all seemed a bit surreal during the first mile when I had to remind myself I was actually running a marathon. A BLOOMIN' MARATHON, for heaven's sake!

The atmosphere was great, with lots of support as we looped the stadium and headed out across the Wearmouth Bridge, with Alister reminding us to slow down every time we got carried away ('Oi, Jonesy, get back here!'), and lots of smiles for the cameras and banter with the marshals as we passed. The first 5k (the first 'parkrun' of just over 8!) was out of the way in no time and the first drinks station was upon us before we really needed it, but Coach Al insisted we all take some just in case. The water was supplied in weird little plastic pouches and the next mile was spent discussing how best to get the liquid out of them. Some were handed over already opened, some needed opening, and, even when open, it seemed you had to squeeze them very hard to get the water out. Sue and I both found the water had a tendency to suddenly jet out of the pack causing us to cough and splutter, and a few people managed to drench themselves or those around them! Still, the frequent drinks stations were welcome in the bright sunshine. I was glad I'd made the last minute change to a t-shirt but regretted not digging out the Factor 30!

Before we knew it, we were past 10k and all jogging along happily. Conversation still flowed pretty freely and the pace felt comfortable. The miles ticked by. There were some sections along a dual carriageway where we could see the front runners running the other way on the opposite side of the road, and we had fun cheering them along, going bananas when we saw fellow Striders Paul, Fiona, Matt and James pass by. A long section along the coast near 10 miles saw some of our 'train' stop for a toilet break and they then had to push the pace to catch us back up. Others were just starting to feel the first aches in their legs. Either way, the first struggles began for some of us around 10 or 11 miles. Gels and sweets and drinks were taken on board (Coach Al reminded us every time they were due), but it was at this point where I really started to notice that this was not a flat course. At all! Some of the downhill sections were quite nice on the legs, but the uphills were starting to feel a bit like hard work (although Coach Al kept reminding us to take it easy up the hills - easy for him as he bounded up them like a mountain goat, varying his pace with infuriating ease to switch to the other side of the running pack to cheer for people and chat to the marshals). I seem to remember that we saw the welcome sight of Anita somewhere near here, shouting her encouragement to us whilst simultaneously fending off some feral creatures from the nearby habitats, and it was a real boost to see a friendly face so far away from the stadium - thanks, Anita. Passing halfway I began to enjoy myself again and kept the pace up with ease. But it was not to last long! I could feel the heat beating down and was getting quite thirsty despite taking water and gel sweets on board, and towards 15 miles I began to feel a bit sick. But we all managed to stay together. We'd picked up (well, Alister had) some fellow passengers as we'd run around the course, including Scott, the Chairman of Wombwell AC who was doing one of his 12 planned marathons in an impressive fundraising effort. He seemed to enjoy our company! I really began to flag as we headed past 16 miles, and Vicky was struggling too. She dropped her pace a little and, tempted as I was to go with her, I hung on in there on the 'train' a bit longer. It was another fantastic boost to see Barrie Evans just after 15 miles, shouting us all on and giving us lots of encouragement. Thanks, Barrie! Shortly after this, we entered one of a number of picturesque parks (every one of which had Alister start planning a new parkrun!) and saw Flip Owen, reclining on a park bench and snapping photos of us, looking incredibly relaxed in the sunshine. Another boost for us as the hard slog was beginning. I realised that I was going to have to let the rest of the 'train' go on without me at this point - just after 16 miles - because Angela and Hazel, both seasoned marathoners, had picked up the pace a little, and Greta, Sue and Dave Robson looked comfortable so I felt quite depressed to have to let them go but I knew I was starting to struggle. Alister dropped back to stay with me which, before the race, I was convinced I didn't want him to (I didn't want to get divorced before mile 25!) but I was very glad of his chivalry and company. Plus he knows me well enough to realise that the set of my jaw and the look on my face meant he should just jog alongside me and not say much!!! I shovelled some more gel sweets and some more liquid into my mouth and tried to enjoy the pretty park. Luckily, there was another big boost for us in the form of Jan, who shouted and cheered and gave us great encouragement. Thanks, Jan - you've no idea how much you helped me through a really tough mile! As we popped out of the park at about 17 miles, we saw Flip again, who skipped along with us and took photos (I actually look very happy on the photos - I wasn't!) and gave us some shouts.

At 17.5 miles I found my stride again and, although my pace was slowing, I felt quite comfortable. As we reached the Stadium of Light at 19 miles, we saw the wonderful Sea of Purple out to support us, having completed their 10k runs in many cases, but shouting loud encouragement. I also got to shout James Garland in to the finishing straight, which was nice. It was wonderful to also see David Whitmore and Jane Niven from Sunderland parkrun, shouting their support, as well as Blackhill Bounder parkrun friends Sara Sarginson and Murphy-the-Beagle, and Katherine Preston. By mile 20, however, it was getting tough. Really tough. I remember saying to Alister at just over 20 miles that I was finding it really hard, and he told me I was doing really well and he was really proud of me. This brought a lump to my throat - quite unlike me - and quite telling of what was to come. At the 21 mile marker, I didn't feel all there and began having a rather surreal almost out-of-body experience. I looked down to find that my legs had stopped running and I was walking. I didn't seem to remember taking any conscious decision to do this, but it happened. I put more sugar in my body and marched along, trying to run, but I began to feel extremely peculiar and a little unsteady. As we came around onto the seafront, running towards Roker, I saw all the people coming back towards me on the opposite side of the road, up an enormous hill. Psychologically, I think that broke me and my world caved in just a little bit. Alister clearly sensed that I was really struggling and again gave me some gentle encouragement and, much to my surprise, my reponse was a strange wailing, crying, hiccupping noise accompanied by floods of tears. It carried on much like that to about 24 miles - those two to three miles felt like the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life. Thank goodness Alister was there with me or I honestly think I'd have ended up sitting on the floor at the 23 mile marker, refusing to move until a car was sent for me! And thank goodness he resisted the urge to roll his eyes and tell me to sort myself out! He just smiled alongside me, making encouraging noises and making sure I was drinking and eating enough.

We spotted Sue and Greta coming back towards us on the opposite side of the road and I remember them telling us that they were beginning to struggle a bit, too, but to me they still looked fresh as a daisy! After a long walk up the nasty drag up to 24 miles I began to get the feeling I was making progress when the route cruelly turned off the main road to force us around a mile long loop of yet another park. This was again enough to reduce me to sobbing, but I did hear Yusef shouting encouragement just as we entered the park (although I couldn't quite work out how he'd got to that point - turns out 10k is not long enough for him any more, so he'd done an extra 7-8 miles. Like you do!). I jogged quite a bit around the park with some determined marching in between and began to feel a little more human. As we left the park, I pulled myself together and realised that the quickest way to get this over and done with was to run. So I did. Slowly. But sure enough, we passed the 40k marker and, knowing there was only 2k to go, I felt a bit better. We sighted Greta up ahead, still struggling a bit, but she jogged along with us until the wonderful sight of the stadium up ahead and the lovely David Whitmore who shouted us along and then joined Greta to run her in, leaving Alister to accompany me. To huge cheering by the Striders, we made our way down the final stretch to the finish, Alister and I crossing the line together.

The relief to have finished was enormous, but, upon stopping and leaning on the barrier, I was puzzled as to why the pain hadn't stopped. I stood up straight, doubled over again and then rested on the barrier for a while in all manner of strange agony! Mike very kindly captured this moment on video - my pain is clear to see! I managed to stagger over to Greta and Sue to congratulate them, but I have no recollection of this and only know I did it because of the video! Walking through the stadium to collect my goody bag, t-shirt and medal was equally painful and the ramp up and out of to the main concourse was nothing short of torture! It wasn't until I got my trainers off and started cheering others in that the agony faded and elation started to set in. I'd done it! We'd done it! I've done a marathon!!!! Yippeeeeeeee!!! I said I'd never do one. Then I said I'd only do one. Hmmmm. When's the next one??


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Paul Wilson Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers M 1 2:43:32
32 Paul Evans M 21 3:04:17
77 James Garland M 43 3:20:09
95Susanne Hunter Blyth Running Club F 1 3:24:51
120 Matthew Claydon M 53 3:28:23
123 Fiona Shenton FV50 1 3:28:43
319 John Hutchinson MV50 25 3:52:02
532 Dougie Nisbet MV40 176 4:12:22
614 Anna Seeley M 65 4:20:02
749 Angela Proctor F 91 4:33:33
781 Dave Robson MV60 12 4:36:56
860 Susan Jennings FV40 77 4:48:08
876 Greta Jones FV40 79 4:50:34
881 Alister Robson MV40 264 4:51:02
882 Jacquie Robson F 111 4:51:02
979 Joanne Richardson F 130 5:08:01
980 Emma Detchon F 131 5:08:21
981 John Greathead M 344 5:08:31
1049George Nicholson MV60 17 5:37:50

1085 finishers.

Sunderland 10K, 6th May

Louise Miller

After setting a new pb at the North Tyneside 10k (despite feeling a bit under the weather), I was determined to set another (hopefully with a sub 54 min) on what I thought would be a flat course at the Sunderland 10k.

It was an early start to get down and see the start of the marathon. I travelled down with Victoria and Yusuf and joined the sea of purple. Both myself and Victoria were very excited about watching the start of the marathon and we weren’t disappointed – the atmosphere was fab and once they were off we had just under an hour to spare before the start of the 10k

After taking the opportunity to tease my other half by getting a photo with the Sunderland mascot (I may be divorced before I even make it down the aisle!) myself, Victoria, Melanie and Yusuf decided to see what the VIP area had to offer. We’d left it a bit late to take advantage of the tea and coffee on offer, but it was nice to have a seat and somewhere warm with nicer toilets!

We went down to the start and whilst Yusuf warmed up by running back and forth and doing star jumps (love his enthusiasm so much!) me, Victoria and Melanie stood at the start chatting, think Melanie was worried about the sun and all the layers she’d had on! As I glanced ahead and past the start line I saw a very worrying site – a rather large hill!! As I said before I was sure Sunderland was flat?!

The gun goes and we were off – there wasn’t thousands and we weren’t that far back but we certainly weren’t moving anywhere fast. The women over the loudspeaker then started saying something about mind the car? There was a car parked in the middle of the route just past the start line! So cue the start of the weaving as we attempt to get round that.

Mine and Victoria’s tactic was as always – start together and keep together and only part if one is looking much stronger than the other. Victoria was also up for going for a sub 54 min so we knew we had to be going at about 8.30 min miles. The first few miles were quite congested (cue more weaving!) and I knew we were going too fast – as we came back across the bridge I was already starting to feel tired!

We slowed a bit and over the next few miles I started to feel quite comfortable. There was a few ups which slowed us down and hurt a bit (probably more down to the fact they were so unexpected) but I was confident that we were still on track, as even though we had slowed the fast start should even things out.

I was hoping to see the marathon runners on their route at some point but it never happened (the official report said we crossed at Sunniside?!). Coupled with the heat and the fast start just after 5 mile I really started to flag. I focused over the last mile by pushing myself to pick people off. I got past some and charged up the final hill, then down the other side to where the crowds were. This give me a boost and I powered round the (biggest I’ve ever seen) corner to the finish line. When I looked up and saw the huge clock on over 56 mins I could have sat down and cried!

I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch and saw a time of 55:11. I was totally devastated – I was sure I’d put in a good effort but it seemed like the fast start, weaving around people, the heat and unexpected hills had beat me. I usually always feel great when I finish but the high just never came. Victoria finished not long after and we went for our goody bags, both feeling slightly disappointed with our times, but looking forward to getting back to the marathon watching!

* We’ve since found out the distance was apparently a little bit over 10k, so I was probably quite close to my pb!

We met up with Melanie and Yusuf after the 10k (both did great times) – I had suggested jumping in the car (Challenge Anneka style!) and driving up to Roker to see the marathon runners at the 35km mark but we were worried we wouldn’t get parked, so instead we walked to the 30km mark and cheered on from there. I felt sorry for the guys having to run past the finish when they still had another 7 mile to go but they were all looking strong! My disappointment at my 10k time was fast disappearing, I was cheering at everyone who passed and it was great seeing everyone in such high spirits even though they still had a way to go.

We then moved to cheer everyone down the finishing straight (we’d already missed some of the faster Striders). I’ll happily admit that every year I lie on the settee watching the London Marathon and feel very emotional as the runners cross the line – actually being at the end of a marathon was even more poignant and I was almost in tears when we saw the lady who had cried at the 30km pass us on her way to the finish – I actually nearly gave her a hug when I saw her sign on her back with ‘Miss You Mum’

Seeing the Striders coming in one by one was amazing – I hadn’t done any of the Sunday runs with them but still felt like I’d shared their journey from hearing how their training was going on a Monday night – an amazing achievement and they should all be very proud of themselves! I had that weird little urge at one point thinking should I?!! But I thoroughly enjoyed the spectator side of it so will stick to being sensible and will be there at the next one - but as Victoria pointed out I need something else to shout at the strangers as shouting Woo Hoo at random men didn’t quite seem right!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Yared Hagos Wallsend Harriers M 1 0:30:46
18Aly Dixon Chester le Street F 1 0:37:05
275 Jane Ives FV40 7 0:49:03
441 Melanie Hudson F 54 0:51:20
467 Yusuf Kuruner M 251 0:51:44
478 Denise Mason F 58 0:52:47
675 Louise Miller F 92 0:55:10
730 Victoria Tindale F 108 0:55:58
1182Bethan Kelly F 231 1:01:52
1189Robert Clark M 498 1:01:28
1523Philippa Coffer F 369 1:08:23

1820 finishers.

Carlton Challenge, North Yorks Moors, 2nd May

5M / 1,181'

Danny Lim

I spent my Wednesday evening crashing through the North York Moors at a much faster pace than I was accustomed to. I'm a fell walker, not a fell-runner! What am I doing here?

It was my first ever fell race. Also present were fellow Striders Jan Young, Will Horsley, Phil Owen, Mike Bennett and Yusuf Kuruner. As I queued to register, I looked to the top of the moor - it was frankly, intimidating. This wasn't anything like Parkrun. Yet, I foolishly set off at parkrun pace, dashing through muddy paths, dodging branches and sliding on wet grass. After 10 minutes of this mad pace, I could heard a voice ,"steady now Danny, the next part is all uphill". No, I wasn't on drugs, it was Phil behind me. And he was right, the uphill bit soon came and it seemed to go on and on and on. I was now paying the price and walking up. I waved to Jan and Yusuf as they passed by.

Before the off ... At the top were splendid views of the surrounding countryside. Such beauty. But I couldn't spare more than a split second admiring the view, lest I trip or even worst get left behind on the moor. Every now and then a grouse would fly out of the heather, spooked by our presence. The descent was just as mad as the start. I stupidly followed somebody down. You know you're not on the official path when you have to scale a fence or two! Somehow, I was improvising and making my own path. Everybody else slalomed down at break-neck speed but I was pretty slow, afraid of slipping. Finally it was over. A bloodied Phil (see photos) shook my hand. For Yusuf, it was also his first fell race and he loved it.

To be honest, I was hating so much of it during the race. But 2 days later, I have regained the feelings in my legs. I can't wait for the next race in the series!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1Jim Bulman New Marske Harriers MV40 1 33.52
7Will Horsley NFR M 5 37.20
25Kay Neesam New Marske Harriers FV45 1 42.41
44Mike Bennett MV55 5 45.31
85Phil Owen MV45 11 52.25
89Jan Young FV55 2 54.08
90Yusuf Kuruner M 23 54.10
95Danny Lim MV40 14 56.16

107 finishers.