Race Reports, July 2013

Gribdale Gallop, North Yorks Moors, 31st July

7.1M / 1,750'

David Brown

Five Striders packed into a car and once again drove to North Yorkshire for another of the NEHRA Summer Series. Graded category A, the steepest of the races, vague excitement, or was it panic filled up the car. At least it was for myself and Danny, for this was our first A category - the other passengers David, Mike and Jan were seasoned fell runners, whose main concern was where to get fish and chips on the way back.

Talk of heavy rain was soon confirmed as we wound our way up country lanes for the race HQ at the base of Cockshaw Hill. Small queue to register and it was a brief warm up before we huddled under the trees to await our start. A small field gathered and I positioned myself back from centre, which is where I remained for most of the race.

Roseberry Topping.

We were off immediately ascending the main track to Captain Cook's Monument, already heart started racing and legs burning with no ease into the hills. We levelled out and found good pace as we turned along the Cleveland Way, before descending past farm buildings. Gentle rising paths took us up, and up. Wind began to nip and visibility became very poor and rain came down. Local knowledge a massive advantage especially as the field thinned out and crossroads were placed before you.

Passed Hanging Stone rock, and onward to Roseberry Topping itself. We made our way up the face of Roseberry Top, clambering on the slippery rocks, at times gasping on all fours with the wind beating us from all sides. The lead runners were fearlessly hurtling towards us as they made their descent, soon after Mike followed looking strong. Once at the peak I glanced around at the majestic views, before throwing myself into the mercy of gravity and slip sliding, wide eyed down the rocks. Met Danny on his way up, bid a polite 'fancy seeing you here' type greeting as I thankfully made it back onto safe ground.

Once upright again I was able to find my stride and enjoy the run, weaving in and out of the trees, down the trails. Through Slack's Wood, High Intake Plantation and down the steps to the car park area where we started.

Sodden, bruised, and nettled, all Striders arrived home safe and well, happy with our individual efforts. Another fantastic evening, a great race in beautiful countryside and good company. These are exhilarating races that really test skills you never knew you had, whilst giving you a wonderful tour of 'desolate' North East. I look forward to the next one.

James Herriot Trail Race, Castle Bolton, Wensleydale, 28th July

14K

Camilla Laurén-Määttä

Looking at Mel’s report from the 2012 James Herriot Trail Race, I felt this would be the perfect trail race with some stunning scenery from the moorland above Castle Bolton in Wensleydale. The recent tropical weather would also be perfect for running down those grassy slopes, so I happily sent away my completed entry form in the post. I wasn’t even put off by Mel’s warning about the discoloured drinking water. A few days before the race it turned out that the family car was needed to transport the son to an athletics meeting, but to my relief Barrie and Christine were also going to the race and there was space in their car. On the night before the event the skies opened and the rain that fell would easily have swept away most of the runners from the slopes. Luckily the downpour settled as we were driving there although the weather was rather chilly with some light showers as we arrived.

The brown water described by Mel was gushing out from the taps in the ladies’ at great pressure but according to the sign this wasn’t drinking water. I reluctantly left my warm layers in Barrie and Christine’s car and lined up for the race in running vest and shorts. Not a large turnout for Striders this time – apart from Barry, Christine and myself only Maggie was waiting for the start signal. The gun went off and I started with some slow running bracing myself for the hills I knew were to come soon. I already knew that there would be a small hill, then a bigger hill and then an even bigger hill at the beginning which I preferably would walk at least to some part. As the hill grew steeper most people in front of me did indeed start to walk and so did I. The skies were gradually clearing up and looking down behind me I had a nice view of lush fields, grass-munching sheep and a trail of runners in multi-coloured vests (many of whom were still to pass me at a later stage). The wind was blowing against us as we struggled along.

I concentrated on running down the slope at a steady speed and managed to pass another runner, although the hard gravel under my feet made running rather tough and I retreated to the softer grass banks on the side. The water at the drink stations was clear and tasty this year so probably not from the local springs! The last section of the race went downhill over soft green grass and along a country lane with a little bit of splashing involved to get across a small ditch.

Overall this was an enjoyable race – not too long and not too short with some beautiful views along the way. And my legs and feet aren’t even aching. At least not yet.

Rock and Rowel, Dacre Banks, Nr Ripon, 27th July

26.8m

Dave Robson

What a great new event this was ! The food at the checkpoints and at the finish was the best I have seen and I have done a few of these type of events. It is standard to get sandwiches and/or cake but at this event they also had vegetarian wraps and at the halfway checkpoint we had an ice cream with strawberry topping :-) The ice cream was also available to finish off the lovely meal at the end. All of this for £10 ! The ice cream was very welcome on a hot day with the sun out for the first 20m. One of the refreshment stations also had cut up watermelon which was just great :-) The organisers also provided an extra refreshment station because of the heat.

Mel pauses for breath in Studley Park.

One thing that could be improved was the route description. It was a bit concise and relied at lot on grid references. Luckily, the organisers also provided a gpx file which we downloaded to our Garmins. This meant that we had few problems, but we kept coming across people who had gone off course and others who kept having to stop to consult maps. Small parts of the route were flagged, but the majority of it had no markings. I think we would have made some major mistakes without the gpx file. But the possibility of making a mistake is part of the fun with these events and it certainly keep you concentrating on where you are going rather than fretting about your pace.

If you have done any of the Ripon 10m, the Jolly Holly Jog, the Fountains 10k or the Round Ripon Ultra, parts of the route will be familiar. I underestimated how hilly it was and assured Melanie that it wouldn't be too bad. The heat made the many short climbs a bit tougher and there seemed to be more climbs in the second half.

The course follows the Ripon Rowel footpath for some of the route and it also goes through Brimham Rocks, an interesting collection of rocks stacked on top of each other. There were hordes of people swarming all over the rocks (and an ambulance was there presumably helping someone who had fallen off one). It was a bit tricky finding the checkpoint there as there were so many people about.

At one point we had a bit of an encounter with some bullocks who came trotting over to look at us. I had to try some bullock scaring techniques which seemed to work (wait for them to stop, wave arms, make a noise and advance a little). There were a few other fields with cows and bullocks in but they just ignored us or got out of the way.

Brimham Rocks.

We kept up a reasonable pace in the first half, but the heat and sun was sapping at our energy levels and we struggled a bit in the second half. After the meal at the finish, we went round the corner to the pub and finished off with some lovely cooling refreshment.

A great event, we shall be back

Marske Victorian 10K, Cleveland, 21st July

Katy Walton

I decided to swap my long Sunday run for this 10k roads race as I had taken on a number of 10k multi-terrain races and decided a flat road 10k would hopefully show that my training was working and give me a time below 48 minutes.

Graeme, Heidi and I turned up at The Mermaid at 9.15 in time to smell the delicious breakfast cooking, not ideal pre race food so opted for a can of red bull. I registered for the race and received a large running t-shirt (they never had small) Graeme was pleased!

Following a short warm up and a chat with Louise Rodgers (super fast unattached runner) we went to the start line which was at the back of the pub on a residential street, lovely wake up call for the residents.

My race plan was to pace myself from the beginning (what no sprinting a 6.30 minute mile I hear a few fellow striders cry!) my pace was to be a steady 7.20 from start to finish. On the off I found it hard to hold back but felt stronger for doing so, I think psychologically it prepared me mentally knowing I would have enough without being tired For the whole race.

The beginning part of the race was around the streets, felt like a kid again playing tig, we then headed onto the coast path that was where the rest of the race took place. Sea to the right, road to the left with a few spectators along the way.

My first three miles were 7.10's where I found I was over taking people which felt great and added to my mind set 'I feel strong' There was a little bit of fight with a man around the 4k mark who didn't want me to pass him but I could tell in his breathing he was struggling, so I kept the pressure on and in the end he gave up and off I went again.

The forth mile was into the wind which slowed me a bit, but knowing my previous miles had be quicker than my plan I decided to give myself a little slack as i would be heading back to the loop where the wind would once again work in my favour. As I was running up to the turning point to do my second loop Indelbu Fikre ran past me at such a speed, the end is near I tell myself to keep positive.

Mile 5 was back to my 7.10 pace and then I had to really push myself into the wind for the final mile up the coast road. I was amazed that only one man ran past me up the finale stretch, all the other people I had passed never came by me which is something I'd always experience in all the races I have done in the past and it does get you down and make you tire even more.

I got through the finish at 45.32 (14secs outside my vdot time but beating my previous 10k pb at Blythe 47.46 I was extremely happy. I think I was more pleased with my pacing, how strong it made me feel, lesson learned!

Good race and a definite one to do again.

Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon, Bishop Wilton, 20th July

13.1m

Rachel Bullock

Returned to Bishop Wilton for another dose of this beautiful but fairly gruelling half marathon. It is basically a race for those who are a glutton for punishment ... so that makes it perfect for any member of the Striders. You can check out my report from last year for a slightly more comprehensive description of the route - comprises narrow country roads with a little bit of off road (track and grassy footpath) and a couple of really epic never-ending hills, plus one very steep one, which sap everything you have (over 1000 ft of ascent according to my Garmin). But I just love every minute of it.

I can only think of sexist or ageist captions for this one ... you make your own up, and send me any good ones. Ed.

There is a very nice atmosphere with it being a part of the Bishop Wilton show and plenty of support around the course, including 5 water stations this year due to the warm weather. My plan for this year was just to take it easy; I was really worried as I have been injured and was aware that I was going to hurt a lot if I actually managed to complete the course, plus, once again, I had not done any distance training.

Consequently I was really chuffed to finish in under 2 hours, 8 minutes faster than last year, and in fact with a 30 second half marathon PB. So, my game plan for future races is just not to train and just go out there and enjoy myself! Will definitely return to this one next year so I can add to my ever-growing collection of Wolds Half/Snake Lane mugs! LOVE IT!

Newark parkrun, Notts, 20th July

5K

Simon Gardner

A trip down to my sisters meant another opportunity to run a new parkrun so my running gear and bar code were packed into my bag for the train journey down.

My sister lives in a small town called Southwell which is in between Newark and Nottingham and it has some fantastic pubs so my run preparation started with a pint of scrumpy progressing to a raspberry cider and then onto lager followed by a takeaway so it was no surprise that I woke on parkrun day feeling dreadful. I did consider just having a lie in but the lure of a parkrun is too strong.

The run is held in Devon and Sconce park which just on the outskirts of the centre. I don't like being centre of attention but when they asked if anyone was from any other parkrun i stuck my hand up and shouted Durham and got a warm round of applause which was nice.

The course starts with a 250 metre undulating straight then you start the first of 3 laps. The lap part of the course has a little bit of everything , barked path, grass , steps maybe not the quickest but a nice course. It was very noticeable when checking the results just how many first timers and people new to parkrun Newark had managed to attract which is fantastic and its no surprise as the volunteer team were very friendly and supportive.

I'd definitely go back but hopefully without the hangover next time.

Northern Frontrunners LGBT 5k Fun Run, Exhibition Park/Town Moor Newcastle, 19th July

Alister Robson

I'd heard a bit about this event from quite a few sources, not least the guys and girls from Whitley Bay parkrun who were going to do it en-masse. I thought I might struggle to get through as I don't finish work until 6pm and it started at 6.45 with numbers having to be collected by 6.15. I must also have been one of the last to enter online as the event sold out, which isn't really surprising as it was only £8 for EA members. As it happens I got an early exit from work, hopped straight on a train which seemed to be timed perfectly and after a brisk walk across the city (warm up?) got there in loads of time for a coffee and a chat with a few others I recognised from other events and parkruns.

On arrival I was even quite hopeful - looking around there didn't seem to be many club runners at all and the thought even started to go through my mind that I might be one of the favourites.. That illusion was quickly shattered, but it was a beautiful evening and a great atmosphere. A bit like an even more colourful parkrun, but with Abba booming from the speakers.

The course itself was flat and fast, similar to and taking in bits of both the Newcastle parkrun and the upcoming Elswick Cup. Despite going off far too fast, and it being my 4th race of the week (and 5th in 6 days) I managed a top 25 placing and a reasonable if not spectacular time. It was very well organised and ideal as a first time event for non-runners, even having a water stop at 3k and as soon as you crossed the line.

The highlight however was the goodie bag which as well as containing a sparkling medal and pedometer had a banana as well as several other unusual items. I should also probably point out that the organisers, NFR, Northern Frontrunners are quite different from the NFR vests you might see at fell races, which are Northumberland Fell Runners and who include some of our own members.

Sunderland 5K 'Road Race', Silksworth, 17th July

Alister Robson

It's a couple of years since I've done this one and I was professionally interested as to whether the spurt in growth of parkruns in the North East would adversely affect the attendance at paid for 5K runs like this one. I needn't have worried, as there was an absolutely bumper crop of 350+ mainly club runners all by the looks of it, drawn by the appeal of a fast time. As I've written before the course is similar to the Sunderland parkrun but avoids all of the uphills which make that tough and also throws in a quick look at the 'other' smaller, fishing lake which is often hidden from view when doing the two laps of the big lake at the parkrun.

Perhaps there were even a few too many runners as the start was a bit of a scrum. I had the good luck to stay wide and back but one fast female runner wasn't so lucky, taking a nasty tumble right at the start and having to be hurdled or dodged by the majority of the field. (I checked later and Stacey was fine with only a few cuts and bruises - well enough to properly kick my a** at the NFR 5K two days later anyway.)

After the frantic start which was a bit Grand National in feel, it soon settled down. On a warm and muggy night I once again paid for too fast a start. I've now done over 100 organised 5K's - at one point do you think you actually learn that pacing lesson properly? - and struggled over the line in a mediocre time, some 30 seconds down on my best time over the aformentioned parkrun course which is undoubtedly tougher. I also got beaten on the line by both of my workmates, who at least have now both joined other clubs which makes it slightly less shameful.

Dave Robson was the only other Strider there, which surprised me a little, but I guess it is on a club night (and indeed usually clashes with the Court Inn Clamber) and was between the Crook relays and the Sedgefield handicap.

They (Sunderland Harriers) may also want to look into changing the name as it doesn't have any road in it at all that I could see?

Hamsterley Trail 10K, Hamsterley Forest, 17th July

Graeme Walton

Seemed like a good opportunity for a nice day out. Two of the kids ran the 3k fun run and then it time for Katy and I to tackle the 10k. With the weather hot and stuffy and the course billed as undulating a fast time seemed out of the question. Katy did however have aspirations of a PB!

So I offered to pace her thinking this would give me an easy run, how wrong I was. Off we went and I set off at a pace that would get Katy her PB. Within a few hundred yards Katy had dropped off the pace and it was pretty obvious that a good run here would not lead to a PB.

I soon came up against the first major hill, this went on for a while but was to followed by a lovely downhill stretch. The route was lovely with k markers throughout. The killer hill came at around 3 miles after enjoying another downhill section and cooling my feet down running through the stream. This was energy sapping in very humid conditions although I did consume a few flies that may have helped (is there protein/carbs in flies?) [Yes. 260 billion of them equate to one SiS gel. Ed.]

The rest of the race continued on the trails and although it was tough it was never boring. I find it totally different to road racing as you are concentrating fully on your footing and therefore tend to forget how hard you're breathing!

I finished in a respectable time without breaking any records. The goody bag was generous with a T-shirt included. Katy came home in around 51 minutes, an excellent run on a tough course in tough conditions. There were a few more Striders in attendance with everyone seeming to enjoy it. Apart from the insect bites of which I had 30 (Paul Beal outshone me though), a brilliant race, highly recommended.

Grand Prix Race. Endurance Champion Race.

Coastal Run, Beadnell, 14th July

14M

David Brown

I've spent many years running, camping and wandering along the Northumberland Coastline, the paths and dunes are familiar and I see it as my second home. Some years ago I spent time with the National Trust along the shoreline where I viewed in awe the bold men and women hurtling along the beach as part of the Coastal run. It was time for me to join them.

My God, didn't we have a lot of Striders at this one! The day before the run I was out in the dive boat just off the Farnes, the visibility was clear and you were able to view the route from Beadnell, follow it to the majestically silhouetted Dunstanburgh Castle. We were in the middle of a heat wave (or 'summer' as it's often called) and so I was very aware that this added a slight air of seriousness to the run, I sat in the boat sipping my electrolyte drink, with seals to one side, and mackerel tugging the line below.

Race day, and I woke to a very welcome drizzle, and a not so welcome mist that ate away at the views. At least the morning was cool, so there was little energy wasted as I strolled to the beach. I spent some time before the start looking up and down the beach, stretching, and selecting the most suitable path through the rocks where they chose to put the start line (unsure why they did this as surely they could have just moved the finish 20 yards back?). A chat with fellow Striders, and as 10:30 approached we huddled on the beach awaiting the off.

I selected to start as near to the sea as possible, thinking the sand was harder and I could run a straight, shorter line to the end of the first beach. Hooter sounds and we're off, hurtling over the rocks as we're sent into battle! The sound of 1800 feet galloping through sea and sand is immense, to be part of that is exhilarating. First 100 yards over, time to settle down, long way to go yet.

Further down the beach we dipped in the nanny, then past the nesting shorebirds, African and Arctic terns as they swooped down in anticipation of this sudden attack upon their colony. End of the beach and slight bottleneck as we left the beach and joined the road into Newton where a friend and fellow runner was supporting from his garden having had to pull out due to injury. Welcomed water station and another jaunt onto the beach.

Life on the beach.

It's here I realised I had set off far too fast (which Alister pointed out as he sailed past me ... along with what felt like the rest of the field). I was struggling, and we were only 4 miles or so in, I had to have a word with myself, concentrate on my form, and remember how much I loved running these beaches. The love finally returned as we left the beach, clambered the rocks to Dunstanburgh castle and followed the coastal paths. I felt strong on the paths and started picking off runners on the uphill.

Fantastic support as we ran through Craster, and past the 'about half way' sign. Having no distance markers forced me to mentally measure how far I'd ran and how far to go, 'about half way, about 7 miles, last beach is about 2 miles from finish, so about 5 miles to the beach'.

Sun was back, and heat was apparent, I was thankful of some shaded paths as we passed Howick and made our way to Boulmer. When we hit the roads I slowed in my trail shoes, an executive decision I made to wear whilst on recce of the course some weeks earlier, I slowed with each step as the lugs were almost sucked onto the hot tarmac. I was aware that the final stretch was approaching and heard murmurs from locals and runners advising of such.

And so it came, the 2nd and final distance marker 'about 2 miles to go', as we joined the beach at Alnmouth. I was aware not to get too excited, and at least wanted to wait until I could see the finish before I upped the pace. I concentrated on my form and posture. I was aware that somewhere my wife and son were waiting so I scanned the horizon, ensuring I looked my best ... this was to be the first time my son would see me run, and the first for my wife since 2009, so I started getting a wee bit emotional as I saw them in the distance. I approached them strongly with a vast smile, I took hold of Willow, my faithful hound, and she joined me on the last mile. I felt no need to power home now, for the feeling of running that final mile with my best mate is far greater than any PB!

I finished under 2 hours, which was my aim. But for this race, time is irrelevant, just to be part of it and to finish is enough. There is an almost ecstatic emotion, one of pride which emulates through all the competitors and supporters alike as they stand together on the beach, cheering for all the runners as they power down that beach and head for home.

As I say, time is irrelevant for this race, its beauty is enough, and I'll be back next year on Beadnell beach, I have to, I've been challenged to a sub 1:50 ...

Results

PosNameClubCatTime
1Tony CarterTyne Bridge HarriersM1:21:49
8Jo Gascoigne-OwensAlnwick HarriersF1:27:01
93 James Garland M 01:40:04
152 David Gibson MV40 01:44:32
165 Michael Bennett MV50 01:45:16
223 Rachel Terry FV40 01:48:26
316 Graeme Walton MV40 01:54:16
347 Matthew Crow M 01:55:29
349 Katy Walton FV40 01:55:29
359 Alister Robson MV40 01:56:03
364 David Brown M 01:56:26
383 Megan Bell FV35 01:57:25
452 John Hutchinson MV50 02:02:09
468 David Spence MV60 02:03:17
507 Anna Seeley F 02:05:45
511 Colin Blackburn MV50 02:05:58
544 Alan Smith MV60 02:08:11
550 Dougie Nisbet MV50 02:08:56
552 Brian Ford MV40 02:09:02
566 Camilla Lauren-maatta FV40 02:10:26
571 Paul Beal MV50 02:10:49
572 Juliet Percival FV40 02:10:50
573 Carolyn Bray FV35 02:10:50
574 Danny Lim M 02:10:58
575 Dave Catterick MV50 02:11:01
583 Jackie McKenna F 02:11:18
597 Greta Jones FV40 02:12:30
609 Melanie Hudson FV35 02:13:29
614 Jane Ives FV40 02:13:44
616 Dave Robson MV60 02:13:46
623 Phil Owen M 02:14:09
639 Katherine Preston FV40 02:15:36
650 Sarah Fawcett FV50 02:16:31
678 John Greathead M 02:17:48
687 Rebecca Fisher FV35 02:18:16
688 Richard Hall 2 M 02:18:16
691 Anita Clementson FV40 02:18:25
696 George Nicholson MV60 02:18:53
762 Barrie Evans MV60 02:24:43
769 Karen Chalkley FV50 02:25:42
804 Jill Ford FV40 02:31:22
813 Jacquie Robson FV35 02:33:24
822 Christine Farnsworth FV60 02:35:46
839 Angela Proctor FV35 02:38:02
840 Sue Jennings FV40 02:38:02
848 Robert Clark M 02:42:25
850 Emma Detchon F 02:42:44
877 Margaret Thompson FV60 02:57:01

887 finishers.

Wasdale Fell Race, Lakes, 13th July

21m / 9,000'

Tom Reeves

A month after Ennerdale and I was at the start of another classic fell race on an even warmer day! God it was hot. Although shorter than Ennerdale this is reputed to be even tougher due to the terrain and the fact the last climb is “only” up Scafell Pike, Englands highest mountain.

It was uphill from the start and very quickly downhill for me! The start takes you up Illgill head and the ridge along the top of Wasdale Screes to Whin Rigg. There follows a steep decent into Greendale and the stifling heat of the valley. If my wife Joan had been at Greendale I am pretty certain I would have stopped after only 6 miles. The race goes past Joss Naylors house and he was there with buckets of water and drinks. My head went straight into a bucket of water. There were fell runners lying all over the grass looking very poorly they had obviously not taken notice of the race notes not to go to quick at the start.

Tom before the off ...

Well I joined the queue up to Seatallan a very very long climb but at least there was a bit of breeze higher up. There were also plenty of streams to dip your head in and drink from which I duly did at every opportunity. From Seatallan the route takes you round to Pillar and a long decent then brutal climb up Great Gable. The climb up GG was physically my lowest point on the race I had eaten two gels that’s how bad it was! And I still had nothing in the legs or tank. The run down to Styhead Tarn really battered the quads and the pull up to Esk Hause strained the lungs to bursting point.

I passed a chap on the final climb up to Scafell Pike and I asked him how he was doing at which point he projectile vomited across the fell side. Needless to say he wasn’t having a great time. The run down from the summit to the finish I’m sure on any other day would be such fun but after 20 leg battering miles I struggled all the way to the end.

Both these races totally humbled me. I’ve done a few ultras and a lot of fell, but these are in a totally different league. If you ever fancy doing them you have been warned ;-)

Preston Hall Park Trail Race, Eaglescliffe, 11th July

5K

Paul Pascoe

Paul, Megan and Alister enjoying a warm evening out.

My third one of the Tees Trail Race series and joined by the usual suspects Alister and Megan. Maybe it was the thought of that free cup that drew us all in. I arrived to find both Alister and Megan slurping on slush’s what seemed a good idea on such a warm idea.

Starting down from the cafe and toilets the route is approximately 1.5 times around the perimeter of the park taking in the riverside path twice. Although you start off on the flat the path heads down towards the river, then a short undulating stretch with a slight incline back into the park.

There were plenty of spectators, especially along the river with kids jumping into the river on this hot stuffy night.

Another great turnout of runners for this successful series of races which I would highly recommend and will be back next year.

Bridges Of The Tyne 5, Newcastle Quayside, 9th July

5M

Shaun Roberts

Anyone fancy writing a few words on this one? Also: if there were any number swaps, could you let John Hutch or I know ... ta.

Results

PosNameClubCatTime
1Ian HudspithMorpeth Harriers & ACM24:46
16Alyson DixonSunderland StrollersF27:52
42 James Garland M 31.41
91 Paul Pascoe MV40 33.49
107 Graeme Walton MV40 34.26
156 Alister Robson MV40 36.09
170 David Brown M 36.36
174 Brian Ford MV45 36.45
182 Katy Walton F 37.03
201 Danny Lim M 38.02
206 Anna Seeley F 38.29
225 Philip Sykes M 39.34
235 Paul Beal MV50 39.51
237 David Spence MV65 39.58
239 Greta Jones FV45 39.59
241 Dougie Nisbet MV50 40.00
250 Peter McGowan MV50 40.50
254 Sue Gardham FV35 40.57
260 Katherine Preston FV45 41.13
275 Jacquie Robson FV35 42.13
280 Louise Barrow F 43.22
281 Victoria Tindale FV35 43.52
299 Kirsty Anderson FV35 45.14
303 Jill Ford FV45 46.17
304 Maria Dimova-Cookson FV45 46.50
311 Angela Robson FV40 47.17
321 Jennifer Jennings FV35 49.57
322 Rebecca Maddison FV35 49.56
325 Angela Coates FV40 51.01
326 Emma Detchon F 51.05

334 finishers.

Lakeland Trails Marathon, Coniston, 7th July

26.2m

Dave Robson

Two years ago I ran the Lakeland Trails marathon and it was a hot day. I missed last year's event, so it was back again to Coniston with the prospect of another hot run. Melanie did the half marathon last year and was keen to do the marathon this year - it would be her fourteenth marathon in just over a year, amazing !

In the Lakeland Trails there are usually two events, the Challenge and the Race. They follow the same course, but the Challenge goes off a bit sooner. It allows people to finish earlier in the day if they want to and also helps the organisers because the slower runners tend to enter the Challenge (but by no means are all the runners in the Challenge slow !).

Wilting in the sun after Beacon Tarn.

I have been entering the Challenge for a while, it is good to see the faster runners finish. The difficulty with the Challenge at this event is that you must register the day before and the Challenge starts at 7am. It was this last point that Melanie was not too happy with. We had the alarm on for 4.30 even though we were staying not too far away in Kendal.

Saturday was hot all day and the forecast for Sunday was getting hotter every time we looked at it. So Melanie gradually came round to being relieved that we were starting early when the forecast was for it to be cooler (but still pretty hot).

Luckily the forecast wasn't quite accurate, as it was cloudy until about 11.30 on Sunday, though it was very humid. Still that was better than being cooked by the sun. So after getting to Tarn Hows and up most of the hills and down to the south end of the Lake, the sun finally came out and it became very hot. We then climbed up to Beacon Tarn and the climb was longer than I remembered. But we made it back to the finish and about twenty five minutes faster than my time two years ago.

I have to say that the race organiser, Graham, excelled himself at the end. The finish at any Lakeland Trail event tends to go round a field or park before you go under the finish gantry. This time we were approaching the field containing the finish via the next door field which was a campsite. I was hoping that there would be a gate we would run through that would lead us directly into the finish. There wasn't, so we ran past the the finish gantry (and slightly uphill !) and then finally turned into the finish field. Do we go directly to the finish gantry ? No, we run right round the finish field (and it's a big field !) until we get to the lakeside and then head towards the finish gantry. Do we turn in when we reach it ? No, of course not, we continue round the edge of the lake before finally turning into the finish. An amusing finish to a lovely scenic event, the terrain is tough to run on at times, but I would strongly recommend this race.

To cool down at the end, lots of runners including us, ended up in the Lake, that felt good.

Anita and Kathryn ran the half marathon and they started at 10, so they had a hot race !

Harrogate parkrun, 7th July

5Km

Kirsty Anderson

Jon and I were in Yorkshire for the weekend so decided to do some parkrun tourism and try out Harrogate Parkrun which is held at the Stray, a big bit of green space just outside the city centre. The route was three laps of the green bit, half on tarmac and half on grass and apart from a bit of a slope up to the first path it was pretty much as flat as a pancake. We parked in a nearby road (all free parking) and wandered up to the Stray to find a growing crowd of people. As is usual for parkruns it was very friendly and well organised and they had pacers at 26, 27, 28 and 30 mins which was a nice touch.

Kirsty gets her arms warmed up before the off.

After the usual announcements and the rather amusing presentation of a tiny “Daddy’s little helper” t-shirt to the strapping 18-year old son of the race director (he was off travelling the following week) we were off. I started off trying to chase the 27 min pacer down but the heat got the better of me and by lap three he was long gone so I just tried to make sure I stayed ahead of the 28 min chap, which I managed (somehow clocking my second fastest parkrun ever) despite melting into a small puddle about halfway round. Jon was also not keen on the heat but finished only 10 seconds off his PB so both of us were pleased and glad we’d come. We are back in Yorkshire next year so will definitely be back (although this time I will be insisting we go to Betty’s afterwards!).

Chevy Chase, Wooler, 6th July

20M / 4,000'

Aaron Gourley

To give this report some kind of context I think it would be wise of you to read last year’s reports. If you can’t be bothered to do that then I’ll give you a quick summary. The weather was poo, the course was shortened missing out the summits of Cheviot and Hedgehope to a distance of 15 miles (if you didn’t get lost!), Sue and Angela needed rescuing after 4.5 miles after getting lost and Nigel and I made it round to enjoy tea and buns whilst admiring the quality of Northumberland’s mud that had pasted itself to our bodies.

Right, now you’re up to speed with that, I’ll begin my report starting in February when the entries opened. I received an email advising that the entries were open on the Monday and like every other email I get I didn’t respond to it until a week later, too late, the race was full!

Last year was my first attempt at this race and as it had been shortened due to the weather I felt that I hadn’t actually ran this race properly so I was a little disappointed that I’d missed the entries. A quick email to the organisers got me on the waiting list and low and behold I eventually got a place.

The long slog up the Cheviot ...

Fast forward to July 6th and the weather this year couldn’t have been more different, unbroken sunshine and hot, hot temperatures meant this was going to be tough. Arriving in Woooler for registration and kit check I was quite surprised that we were still required to carry full body cover, especially since the conditions meant the needed to carry extra fluids.

So, smothered in factor 50 suncream, I made my way to the start and we were off, up the road and into the valley towards the first checkpoint at Broadstruther. The heat was making its presence felt, this was not going to be an easy race.

With the first check point in the bag it was off up to the second at Cheviot Knee where last year’s race turned off. This is where it all started to unravel. From here the climb up to Cheviot summit becomes one long, straight hands-on-knees slog to its peak at 2,676ft. There was a slight breeze blowing across the higher reaches but it just didn’t temper the heat which was getting more intense.

On reaching the summit I checked in and had a sit down to regain my breath. This year I’ve ran an ultramarathon, ran to the top of Scafell Pike and conquered the Swaledale marathon but this was proving to be a real beast of a race. Rest over; it was back off for a near vertical descent into the valley across the burn and back up the steep, trackless valley side to the summit of Hedgehope Hill at 2,348ft.

It’s fair to say I was knackered by the time I got to this point, 10 miles in and I was beginning to suffer in the heat. The descent off Hedgehope was steep and turned my legs to jelly. These two summits had been missing from last year’s race and what a difference they make, mixed with the heat meant the next 10 miles back to the finish were going to be hard won. I was pretty much walking up to the next checkpoint where I had another sit down before heading off to try and finish the race.

Breaking into a canter, I managed to get my legs moving enough to carry me to Brands Corner where I was handed a packet of Hula Hoops by one of the marshals. The salt hit was just what I needed to tackle the next section along the burn towards the dreaded Hells Path and in the heat; it really did fell like I was in Hell!

From here I pretty much gave up trying to run, I was just too exhausted and so the last 3 miles back to the finish were a long walk. With my feet on fire and muscles screaming I crossed the finish line where a lovely lady stood with a hose pipe ready to cool down the hot racers, the best part of the whole day!

It’s fair to say I nearly put myself off ever wanting to run this race again, but I think I’ll be back next year for another crack, but only if it’s less hot.

Carlisle parkrun, Morton Park, Carlisle, 6th July

5K

Melanie Hudson

We were up in the lakes so we decided to give Carlisle's 24th parkrun a go. Dave was wearing his '50' t-shirt so we stood out as being parkrun tourists. However because of this we were given a lovely welcome by some of the local parkrunners.

The parkrun itself was three laps through the park. It was mostly on tarmac paths but there was a bit of grass. It was a bit hilly but not as bad as Hackworth or Saltwell. Even though it was morning, it was still very warm, we took it easy, as we were saving ourselves for the Lakeland Trails marathon the next day, but even so it was still a bit too hot. We were getting a bit concerned about how warm it was going to be the next day for the marathon.

Post parkrun breakfast butties and drinks could be obtained from the building at the finish. It would have been nice to stick around after as everyone seemed very friendly, however I can be a bit fussy and there wasn't anything I fancied to eat so we ended up having breakfast elsewhere.

Tynedale 10K, Ovingham, 3rd July

Gareth Pritchard

I was looking for a fast flat course to try and break my 10k pb and this race ticked most the boxes on paper and with free food at the end too. I arrived very late for this one so missed most of the strider pre race build up. You park at the local school and walk a long mile uphill to the start of the race on a narrow lane. The start is a bit hectic as it's all downhill and people are racing for the first mile finisher prise, so best stopping out their way. The winner did it in 4:19 so rocket pants type of times.

I am getting used to racing now but still make the same mistakes allot of runners do, too fast at the start and suffer for the rest of the race. I was determined not to do this so made a plan for the first time and was going to stick with it. I had just done the Blaydon race and did a classic "Gareth" mess up. Out at 5:30 pace for 3 miles, died for the rest of the race and almost stopped loads of times. I slowed down and ended 6:30 miles or worse, still quick but feeling terrible.

Another good turmout ...

So ... I would not do it this time J No GPS but I do have a nike band to show my pace, with a previous pb of 37:52 and running well, I decided 6 min miles over 10k would be achievable. It was a hot day and good conditions for running, my late arrival oddly gave me a good place near the start line as we headed back the way I came. Watch set, toeing the line and full fosters well out of my mind. After the hectic downhill first half-mile I settled into my race plan and started with my first pace checks. You have to use the hills so was running well and feeling good. I settled into a small group of runners and really enjoyed where I was running for a change. The course is mainly flat but still some hills along the way. The main problem was the heat, with only one water station near the end it was quite hard going. It was very hard to slow myself down in those first few miles, would find my pace naturally increasing or just racing, but had my plan and stuck to it. The last 2 miles were great, still able to keep 6 min mile pace up and nothing like flying past people with ease as I counted down to last mile.

Then the Green lady arrived J with 1 mile to go I was passed by a female runner going the other way, not in the race and covered in green paint? Very odd, know it was hot but still don't know what that was about.

Finished the race strong with a time of 36:57 J a big new pb and most important I felt good about the race. This just shows how important a race plan is if you're looking for that PB time. A great course, not quite flat but very fast, with pie and peas on at the end too J a great day all round.

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

Saltwell Harriers Fell Race, nr Stanhope, 2nd July

6m 1000' BS

Mark Dunseith

I looked at the list of GP races on the club website and decided that this would be a good one for me to take part in. It would be well represented by people in purple and I really enjoyed my first outing in to fell racing (Broughton Wood Wobble earlier in the year) and it was a midweek race so I should be free to attend. As it was 'enter on the night' there was also no risk of entering then double booking myself. It was only when I got nearer to the race that I realised I had the Tynedale 10k on the next evening. I decided I would do both and just run this race rather than race it.

We arrived at the top of Crawleyside bank (a place that holds only memories of pain for me so far, as cycling up that is less than pleasant) and as we stepped out if the car I was nearly blown over by the wind. Leaving Durham it was a lovely summer’s night so this was not what I had in mind for a slow Tuesday evening run. Anyway, I signed up and moved to the start line with the other Striders where I told them my plans of taking it easy.

After announcements the race started and the first 1.6 miles up to the mast was very difficult. On the DOW run the previous night I contemplated stopping after a mile or so because I was knackered but I managed to keep going so when I felt the same again during this run I told myself to keep going till we crossed the road and we'll see how we go then.

Up round the mast and there was a long downhill section. Running down the 'path' I nearly lost my footing quite a few times and again started worrying about my previous ankle injury and whether a fell run was such a good idea. One runner fell just in front of us but she told everyone who stopped to help to keep going. Danny Lim was right behind me as we reached the bottom of the hill and spotted the road. As Danny overtook me he ran straight into a muddy bog. Knee deep in mud and with me less than a second behind we ended up side by side stuck in mud.

I ran on expecting Danny to retake me but I had my sights set on Alister and Rachel in the distance (I later found out that the reason Danny didn't overtake me again was that he was trying to retrieve his shoe from the knee deep mud). In my head I did a split time for Alister and Rachel, 45 seconds. I lost sight of them and not until we were heading down to the river did I see them again, 25 seconds. When I got to the top of the bank Rachel was nowhere to be seen but Alister was just ahead of me. I put my fell running descent technique (I had previously Googled this after being overtaken by a sloth during my first fell race) into action and took Alister on the descent (most of which I spent on my backside due to being a bit too eager). I clipped my number and took off after Rachel who I could see in the distance.

The next half mile or so was terrible for running - trying to run straight on a very sloping bank so lots of pressure being put on one hip. I overtook Rachel before I got to the last climb to the finish line. I looked at my Garmin which said 5.2+ miles gone in around 50 minutes. Only 0.3 miles to go so I should break an hour, or so I thought. Cue the hill that never ends. I had nothing left to give so slowly started walking up the hill and waiting for Striders to start overtaking me again. Rachel was first and I tried a feeble attempt to cheer her on. I rounded a corner and I could see the finish line and after another check of the watch I started running with an hour still the target and to stay ahead of any Striders behind me. Up the hill and over the line in ......... 1 hour and 30 seconds. Never mind, there is always next year.

This was a good race despite not really feeling it at the start and the fact that Saltwell Harriers said it was 'the worst weather we've ever had for the race'. Lets hope its blue sky and sunshine next year.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Andy Blackett DFR         M 41.58
17 Thomas Reeves MV45 48.49
24 Karen Robertson NFR FV40 50.22
25 Geoff Davis MV55 51.12
30 Michael Bennett MV55 52.52
42 Shaun Roberts MV55 55.04
45 Aaron Gourley M 55.18
66 Rachael Bullock F 59.54
71 Mark Dunseith M 60.25
73 David Selby MV40 60.31
78 Susan Davis FV50 61.43
80 Alister Robson MV40 63.25
82 Phil Owen MV45 64.05
84 Danny Lim M 65.01
86 Katy Walton F 66.14
97 Anita Clementon FV40 78.42

98 finishers.

Anita Nott 5K, Jesmond Dene, 1st July

Louise Barrow

After expecting a lot more traffic then there actually was, Greta and I arrived at Jesmond Dene with nearly an hour to spare. After collecting our numbers from race HQ and a very thorough brief from a marshall from Heaton Harriers, we spent some time sitting in the sun and I reminisced about my childhood years spent in Jesmond Dene.

Thanks to the brief and my knowledge of the area, I knew the course wasn’t going to be flat but rather than our initial idea of using it for a training run for Tynedale on Wed, Greta decided we should just go for it as it was ‘only a 5k’! The race started with a minutes silence in honour of Anita and then we were off.

Louise and Greta.

The first part was downhill and it was hard not to get carried away with the pace. However after running down past the Fisherman’s Lodge restaurant and over the river we went over another bridge and then up some stairs and back the way we came and hit the first hill which forced us to slow down. It wasn’t too steep but continued for a while, thankfully flattening out in parts to allow you to get your breath back a bit!

At the top of the last section of hill we were back on the bridge where we started – we crossed over the bridge and into Armstrong Park. Back onto the flat and we picked the pace up again heading into Heaton Park. The front runners then started to come back towards us at this point and it started to get a bit chaotic – surely experienced runners know you stick to the left? Some of these weren’t so cue some weaving in and out to avoid collisions!

We hit another long uphill to reach the turnaround point and I seriously started to struggle but Greta and I pushed each other up and then enjoyed the long downhill once we’d turned round. We hit the flat and I was hanging on to Greta for dear life as I knew it couldn’t be much further (my watch didn’t get a signal – *Bill Ford enter Nike relating insult here!*). The crowds stared to gather so we knew the end was near, actually a lot nearer then we thought, we turned the corner and there it was – had we have known how close there was no way we’d let that girl from North Shields poly pass us!

Finished 63rd (Greta) and 64th (I) out of 139 in an official time of 25.56 and 25.57 (Garmin had us slightly faster) – however, very pleased with that as a difficult course and other than parkrun, think that’s the first time I’ve ever finished in the top 50% of the field! Free juice, crisps and chocolate at the end of what was a well marshalled and very scenic course, which I’d definitely recommend and do again. The only thing is we definitely need to take some male striders support with us – the support out on the course consisted of what looked like male coaches and was very biased towards their own clubs and there was times I could of really done with a cheer!