Race Reports, July 2014

Tees Barrage and Riverside Colleges CLOK event, Stockton, 31st July


Melanie Hudson

This was an urban orienteering event. The course centred on the Uni site at Stockton, which was south of the river and the Tees Barrage area to the north of the river.

I felt quite nervous on the way there as navigation is not one of my strong points. However I reassured myself that I had managed the couple of practice sessions I had done previously with the Northern Navigators. It was Dave's first orienteering event as well.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it ...

The event used the Sportident system where you put a dibber in a machine to record that you had visited a control and what time you got there. The entry fee was only £3 and the hire of the dibber another £1, so it was a bargain. We were given a map at the start which had the controls marked and a straight line between each one (so it went through buildings and the river).

There were twenty three control points on the long course (advertised as 4K, but I learnt afterwards that was measured as the crow flies between controls, I think I covered about 6K and Dave a bit more because of an error - see below). There was also a short and a medium course.

You can start any time between 5pm and 7pm. We got there quite early as I wanted to give myself plenty of time incase I struggled. We registered and were each handed an electronic dibber. I had not used these before so I had to admit that I was new at this and got the lady at registration to show me how to use it. I dibbed in and opened my map to work out where I had to go, there were 23 controls in total that we had to find. Dave was going to set off after me however I lost my nerve and we headed over to the first control together. However after this I decided to go solo and Dave went on ahead.

I made a minor error at control 6, I ran past it and dibbed number 9 instead. I suddenly realised my mistake when I turned around and saw control 6 behind me! I thought that was it and I was out on my first event, however another entrant told me not to worry that if I backtracked to 6 then continued from there that I would be okay, phew.

When I got to control 10 I was surprised to see Dave coming back my way. Dave explained later "I was going from control 9 to 10. There was a line drawn on the map (shortest distance) and the line continued in the same direction from control 10 to 11. I glanced at the map at control 9, followed the line and headed to the end of the line which was control 11. When I got there I realised my mistake and it was back across the Tees Barrage. Most of the time it took me 2min or so to get to the next control. Control 9 to 10 took me nearly 6 minutes !"

Once we both had control 10 Dave again went on ahead. I made a point of reading the map myself rather than just following him as I really wanted to be able to learn to do this myself.

She found it!

I did not see Dave again until I got to the last control. I thought I was catching him up and that I might beat him because of his mistake. My smugness was short lived when I realised that Dave had actually been back to the car and got changed and was heading back to see me finish. Dave finished in under 45 minutes and I finished in just under an hour. Even though I was slow I was very pleased to have successfully completed the course. I did get quicker towards the end as I started to grow in confidence. I think the fact that there is a river really helped me to navigate as I always knew which way the map should be facing. I would love to try another course with less obvious landmarks. I would really encourage people to give it a go. I feel that if I can manage to find my way around anyone can. I find it really fun, it is like a grown ups version of a treasure hunt.

Sadly, most of the local events are on Thursday evenings when we are both working in the surgery, so it may be a while before we can do another event. However we will definitely do more of these in the future when possible.

Outlaw Iron Distance Triathlon, Nottingham, 27th July

2.4m swim / 112 miles bike / 26m run

Richard Hall

Rewind back to August 2013 and I decided to bite the bullet and enter the Outlaw iron-distance triathlon. I had done a few triathlons in the past and with my lack of love for the bike, I picked out the Outlaw with a relatively flat bike course. For £285, an undoubted bargain too? Whilst I toyed with the idea of wanting to do an official Ironman branded event, the hilliness of Ironman UK put me off and an overseas event seemed like a lot more could go wrong just getting there!

My only chance of making it to the finish was if I gave the whole preparation thing a good go so I gave up hockey for the season and pretty much gave up any booze at all from January onwards (I was even more dull than normal on nights out). I thought I would get to the day and think I had done nowhere near the training I wanted but I did pretty much what I set out to do. Everything I read about training scared me in terms of the hours they suggested you did. I did train most days but never really got to any more than 12-15 hours a week even at the peak. I would swim on lunchtimes at work and force myself out to cycle at weekends. It was still the cycling I could not seem to love and the furthest I had cycled by race day was 95 miles. I couldn’t swim 1 length 3 years ago but completing the 2 mile Great North Swim in June gave me the confidence that I could do the 2.4 miles on the day. Running was always the most enjoyable part of the training and I entered a few races as it was always great to get encouragement from the Striders. I had worked up to comfortably(ish) running 20 miles by the time July came around.

So the weekend of the 27 July arrived and I made my way to Nottingham after a relaxing week off before hand. I was in a complete panic about getting injured so close to the event and also panicked about my bike malfunctioning, about being ill for the event and of course the weather for the weekend which I checked approximately 25 times a day from a week out! Registration and bike racking was the day before on the Saturday along with a 1 hour 15 minute briefing (all you do is swim a bit, cycle a bit and run a bit eh?) I paid £20 for my bike to be checked at the venue despite having already had it checked twice in the previous 2 weeks! It was all very slick but my nerves were only increased by the procession of fancy bikes and very fit looking people!!

4am on Sunday 27th July and my alarm went off. I forced down a couple of crumpets and a croissant and headed off to the venue with poor Becky who had a very long and boring day ahead of her!! It was a mass start at 6am and they had 4 bays set out – less than 60 mins for the swim, 60-80 mins, 80-100 mins and 100+. I opted for the 80-100 mins bay and got into the relatively warm feeling water which was a tropical 21 degrees. The swim was a simple 1.2 miles up the lake, around the buoys and then back to complete the 2.4 miles. The water tasted pretty rank and there was plenty of weed in there that kept getting caught around my head. It was also very cramped in parts and I got kicked and elbowed in the face which is part of the fun apparently. All said though the swim went pretty well and I was very pleased to be out of the water in 1 hr 18 mins. Unlike other triathlons I have done there were people to help you out your wetsuit and then a changing tent to get changed in – all very civilized.

So the bike was always going to be my worst bit and the wind was up to make matters worse. The bike involved a flat southern loop on quiet roads before heading up a very busy road to complete a northern loop which included the much talked about ‘Oxton Bank’ (which was apparently the only real hill on the course), followed by a final southern loop. By the end of the first southern loop (45 miles) I was feeling pretty OK and was faster than hoped. They had drinks/food stations every 15-20 miles and so it was easy to keep the fluids topped up. I spent the whole time on the way to the Northern loop panicking about Oxton bank. I had intended to get to Nottingham to check out the course before the day but had not managed it. Oxton bank came and was over with in a flash and a whimper – nothing to worry about at all. By the time I got back to the southern loop (80 miles in) I had had enough of cycling and with the wind at its highest was definitely counting down the miles. Becky had headed out to a popular supporting spot and getting a cheer on from her kept me going to the end. When I made it back to the watersports centre I was delighted to hand my bike to one of the volunteers who racked your bike for you (that must be what you get for 285 quid). The bike course had been very flat but I was still pleased to have completed the 112 miles in a little over 7 hours which was faster than expected again.

I now had 8 hours left before the 17 hour cut off to complete the small matter of a marathon. I took my time getting changed for the run and headed out in to the glorious and very hot sunshine! A quick chat with Becky and I felt reasonably OK as I started the first loop around the lake. They had drinks/feed stations every 1.5 miles and the course involved a 5km loop of the lake, an out and back into Nottingham, a loop of the lake, an out and back into Nottingham and then a final 1 ¾ loops of the lake. I felt pretty good for 8 miles or so but then it was more a matter of survival. I tried to run between each feed station and then walk for 1-2 minutes before running again. It was really hot and I was feeling pretty sick by the 13 mile point and struggling to get anything down me other than water. I tried to force down a few crisps at each station as I was conscious my top was getting covered in salt from my sweating. Nice. Becky was great support again and my running speed was highlighted by her running alongside me for a bit in a dress and flip flops. I did the first 13 miles in 2 hrs 20 but knew I was always going to slow down. By the time I made it back to the lake for the final lap and ¾ I knew I was nearly there and was going to make it, despite how sick and exhausted I felt. The support from everyone there was immense and really helped, much like the support you get from Striders at all running events. I had aimed to finish in around 15 hours but realized that if I could hobble around the last 5 miles at 12 min mile pace I would go under 14 hours.

Now for a couple of miles cool-down ...

One last push and I passed the 25 mile sign and could hear the finish music in the distance. 200 yards to go, yes I am going to make it…. Owwwwwwww, huge hamstring cramp left me stuck in the middle of the path! A few words of encouragement from passing runners and I managed to start running again and onto the red carpet for the finish. I was looking forward to being greeted over the line with the usual announcement of ‘Richard Hall – you are an Outlaw’ but for some reason the announcer was yapping on about a Commonwealth decathlete who was behind me and so that didn’t quite happen. Anyway, who cares, a high five with Becky and crossed the line in 13 hours and 57 minutes and I had done it. Now, who wants to buy a wetsuit, bike and running shoes, I am off to eat pasties.

So on reflection was I pleased I did it? Definitely yes, for the sense of achievement. Did I enjoy it? Kind of. Would I do it again? No chance!!! Sorry this has gone on a bit. If you are still reading this and had even half thought about trying an ironman one day then go for it. I am no super fit athlete, am not a great swimmer, biker or runner. I sacrificed a bit for 6 months but my training was not ridiculous and I made it. I am now £285 worse off, a stone and a half lighter but I have an Outlaw medal/t-shirt/training t-shirt/key-ring/bike gloves/mints and am most definitely NOT (according to Becky) getting the tattoo…

All Creatures Great & Small

James Herriot Trail Race, Castle Bolton, 27th July


Geoff & Susan Davis

This race has been popular with Striders since its inception and Susan and I have run it four or five times - although not since 2011. As Sunday was forecast to be slightly less hot than we’ve become used to we decided to give it another go. Although it’s registered as a fell race it’s really a trail race with a bit of climb (1,000’) and is mainly run on stony farm tracks with a few grassy paths.

Castle Bolton Castle in the sunshine ...

As advised for ‘on the day’ entries we arrived early and, after registering, we spent the time stretching, warming up and listening to the Commonwealth Games on the car radio. At the start we looked for other Striders and were pleased to see Richard Hocking, Phil Owen, Christine Farnsworth & Barrie Evans. However, Christine and Barrie were destined not to finish as Christine, just a mile or so into the race, took a heavy tumble on the unforgiving surface sustaining a cut lip and chin and a very swollen knee. Barrie, being the gentleman we all know him to be, escorted Chris back to the start and into the first aid tent for treatment.

Geoff on the climb.
Photo courtesy and © Peter Richardson

Meanwhile the rest of us continued round the hard, dry and dusty course hoping the sun would stay behind the clouds and things wouldn’t get too hot. After a couple of recent tough training runs I was confident that I could hold a reasonable pace around the 8.5 mile course without having to walk any of the hills – and so it transpired. However, I started to ‘feel it’ a bit with about two miles to go. At this point I sensed another runner draw level with me. I glanced over, noticed a Durham Fell Runners’ vest and recognised a long standing adversary of mine from the fells. He went by me but I managed to ‘cling on’ and the gap between us never grew beyond 20 yards (that’s about 18 and a bit meters Rachael!). As we approached the last half mile I could see that the gap was closing. I increased my pace slightly and with around 150 yards to go I caught him. A final ‘eyeballs out’ dash took me passed him and on to the finish in a slightly faster time than three years ago. Brilliant!

Susan too had a fantastic run finishing third in her age group (just two seconds behind the second of her vintage) and a whopping two minutes quicker than her last outing here in 2011! Things are looking good for the fast approaching cross country season! Richard came home a couple of minutes later looking strong and comfortable after a fine race – another one of us looking forward to running in the mud. Phil continued his recovery from the West Highland Way Race (all 95 miles of it) with a steady run in the sun.

So, a good day out running a very pleasant race at a splendid venue. We hope Christine’s cuts and bruises heal quickly!


1Mike JefferiesBillingham Marsh HouseM54.48
4Julie BriscoeWakefield HarriersFV58.23
45Geoff DavisMSV69.31
83Susan DavisFSV77.11
95Richard HockinMSV + 6079.39
163Phil OwenMV90.16

218 finishers

Rock and Rowell, North Yorkshire, 26th July

26M / 3000'

Juliet Percival

So, after avoiding writing the race report far too many times (Strider years = 4, race reports = 0), this one had my name on it!

If you are expecting a detailed account of the route, race tactics, pacing strategies etc etc, then stop reading now; I have the memory of a intellectually-challenged gold fish and the navigation skills of a blindfolded lemming, very happily but determinedly ploughing on in the wrong direction. So, why did I decide to do this race? Despite the navigation anxieties, this event boasted some really wonderful scenery and well stocked food checkpoints, ticking two of the boxes very high up on my list of long distance running must haves.

Tour de Rock and Rowell.

The day started well: Dave and Mel picked Rach and I up at 6am in the morning, for the drive to Dacre banks village hall, where we registered, were offered a second breakfast of tea and toast, and then applied enthusiastic amounts of sun cream for the miles ahead…the race started at 8.20 am but already it was beginning to feel a tad hot, and the predicted cloud cover had not materialised.

The first few miles to checkpoint 1 (water station but no nosh) were relatively uneventful…a pull up the hill to start, then trotting across fields, farms, stiles and paddocks, until we could see the village of Bishop Thornton on the horizon (note to self: fields spread with harvested hay are very slippy!). People seemed to be running fairly close together (runners had set off 10 minutes ahead of the walkers, there were perhaps 40 – 50 runners? and slightly more walkers) which meant that despite trying (and failing) to follow where we were on the written route description, I wasn’t too concerned about getting lost. Plus, Dave and Mel were in sight (and knew where they were going) and I had Rach as my guide, armed with enough maps and sat nav batteries to keep us going until Christmas.

Alas, it looked as though fate had something different in store, as a few miles later, Rach admitted that a troublesome niggle was causing significant discomfort, and completing her marathon was looking increasingly unlikely. She decided to reduce the pace to a walk, and as her dropping out at the next checkpoint was looking likely, she very unselfishly urged me to carry on with Dave and Mel. So, soon after checkpoint 2, on we went, expecting to meet her waiting for us the end.

The next few miles to checkpoint 3 seemed rather long….added to my disappointment of Rach’s departure, the few miles along a tarmac road (Watergate lane & Whicliff lane) before we reached checkpoint 3 were pretty tedious (extremely hot, interrupted by passing cars and not particularly scenic) but the jolly atmosphere, plentiful cake and egg sandwiches (slightly warm but yummy all the same) awaiting us the checkpoint 3 lifted our spirits, and shortly after that we turned onto the Ripon Rowell path.

Watch out for Trolls!Wow! I’d never even heard of the Valley of the Seven Bridges before! Felt a bit like I’d walked into a film set and kept expecting Bilbo Baggins to appear from behind a grassy knoll or Gandalf to come trundling over one of the old stone bridges with his cart full of fireworks. We lapped up the views, got out the cameras, kept our eyes peeled for deer, and I loved every minute of it. Just as breathtaking was the view across lake at Studley Royal and passing the church near Fountains Abbey visitor centre.

I was just wondering if by any chance Rach would get to see this (had she carried on past the third checkpoint?) when lo and behold, she appeared! Having decided to press on and see it though to the end (fuelled by an awe-inspiring amount of determination, and a double dose of ibuprofen) she had caught us up.

With over half of the mileage ahead, soaring temperatures, and the dodgy niggle to boot, Rach and I decided to slow the pace, drop back and just enjoy the rest of the day. We were so busy nattering, tucking into the food at checkpoints, and animal spotting in farmyards that the second half is rather a blurry heat haze, apart from a few more noteable bits such as ...

Time to cool things down a little.... ice creams at the 14m checkpoint. Absolute heaven! a tremendously large black and hairy farmyard pig, not relevant AT ALL in a race report but will be added to my list of bizarre things to be seen whilst running… skirting around Eaveston Lake in the evergreen wood…. a welcome shady relief from the sun and provided more memorable views. Plus I’m sure we passed a troll’s cave… so many cows! And not friendly ones I might add. (Rach being a Bullock obviously carried no weight…).

After witnessing a group of runners ahead getting charged by a rather large herd, we took a ‘creative detour’ through adjacent fields, resulting in a close shave with some barbed wire and my bladder (NB: running one, not body part…!) the 3-4 times when friendly runners shouted us back as we went the wrong way (Dougie, where were you?!) [Sorry! I'll put it in my diary for next year!! - DN] Brimham Rocks – awesome! Star Wars eat your heart out! And so many tourists, looking at us staggering by as if we were completely mad…. Rach announcing 2 miles from the end that she was up for sprint finish. I should have known! Had it not been for the 2 guys we had been yoyo-ing with for the second half, I might have voiced my dismay, but a final chase ensued, and we managed to chick one of them, yay! Perhaps a bit brutal with hindsight…they had after all shouted us back a few times when we had taken the wrong path…

Mel finished before us after some strong and steady pacing, and I’m sure Dave would have been way ahead of us too, had it not been for calf problems near the end. We had all finished in good spirits, albeit very hot and sweaty. There was a reward of jelly and ice cream followed by a very impressive spread of pasta & quiches in the village hall, and then an obligatory refreshing tipple in the local pub, luckily just a few steps away.

All in all this was a fabulous race that I would highly recommend and would hope to do again. The terrain and scenery was varied which helped the miles to fly by. Yes there were some hills, but no killer ‘climb up on all fours’ ones or steep descents. I had worn my off road shoes, but with hindsight (probably due to it being dry…perhaps not advice for a soggy year) think my road shoes would have sufficed. I originally thought the early start was a bit extreme, but it actually allowed us a couple of hours grace before the temperatures properly soared mid morning. At a ridiculously cheap cost of £6 entry, the whole event was fantastically organised, by a group of people who were busting with friendliness and enthusiasm. The food checkpoints lived up to my high expectations too!

For anyone toying with doing a first longer distance event, I’d say this one would be a great choice, and a lot less intimidating than some of the other off road marathons out there. My only advice would be to take a confident navigator with you! (or be prepared to spend lots of time figuring out the instructions en route).

So much of the experience you get from events like this boils down to the people that are involved, and a huge thank you goes to Dave and Mel for encouraging me to sign up, getting me there and back safely, and running with me when we (temporarily!) lost Rach.

And Rach, what a star. There are few people with the grit and determination she showed to carry on and complete her first marathon when running (and even walking) was hampered by injury. I’m pretty sure that she’ll be back to do this one again, and when she’s back on form, there’s no way I’ll keep up!

Looking hot but happy.

Lakeland 50 (UTLD), Lakes, 26th July


David Gibson and Tom Reeves

The race briefing to this event stresses two unwritten rules. First, never refer to the race as "just the 50" (as many will know there is a 100 mile event as well)-it’s a tough event and an arduous route. Second, if you have a time in your mind –forget it. You never know what is going to happen out there so do not be disappointed.

Tom: I missed most of the briefing due to the overcrowding in the school haal and the heat which was already apparent even at this early part of the day.

The ability to follow instructions is something I struggle with-as my family will testify as I wrestled with building an IKEA desk for my son on the afternoon of my return from the race-so...

Usual milling around at the start, posse of Sunderland Strollers and a quick good luck to Tom. As we set off it soon became apparent that this was going to be a sweltering day and suffice to say that although the first 20 miles cover some beautiful Lakeland scenes-it felt like running in a desert (or doing the Coastal Run the previous week). By the time I hit Mardale Head and checkpoint two I was nervous that the next 30 miles were going to be a very unpleasant slog. Severe cramps (despite a ready supply of nuts, crisps and water) did not really help the negative mind set. Coming out of Kentmere –Checkpoint 3 –I met up with Tim. It was at this stage that rule 1 was broken. Tim was doing the 100 and had wanted to finish in 24 hours. It was not going to happen for him today but he was fighting on. Tom in previous reports has outlined the emotional rollercoaster of the 100 so there is no need to repeat it. Suffice to state-compared to the 100 –it is just the 50. Rule 1 broken.

Tom entering Ambleside flanked by his sons.

Tom: bumped into Dawn Metcalfe a DFR runner and chatted to her at the start line. She is a very good ultra runner as i would soon discover. The run to the first checkpoint was warm but manageble. The wheels satrted to come off for me big time on the trudge up Fusedale and then along the shore of Haweswater. By the time I reached Mardale Head i was finished interms of my hopes to break the 11 hr barrier. From now on it was going to be a long grind to the finish and finsihing was all i wanted to do. Dawn raced off after Mardale head never to be seen till the end when I eventually crawled in.

Into Ambleside and I started picking up the pace and felt fresh helped on by some kind words of encouragement from Joan and the lads. Lovely round of applause at The Wainwright pub and then a trot across the fells after the steps at Tilberthwaite. A jog to the finish and checked the watch – 1-2 minutes outside my intended goal. Rule 2 broken.

Tom: It was a long old run to Ambleside and it was nice to see the boys and Joan they gave me words of encouragemnt and told me Gibbo was only 10 minutes ahead of me. I hooked up with a couple of runners, one from Germany and one from Manchester and we finsihed the run together in the rain and the cold. Yes I'd gone from mild heatstroke to being chilled to the bones in the space of 10 hours. running in the mountains is not to be underestimated!

A quick debrief with Tom the following morning. In agreement that the conditions were tough and that perhaps we should stick to cross country. As I walked away I remembered I’d signed up for another 50 in October and no doubt Tom has similar, challenging plans in mind. Will we ever learn? Hopefully not ...

Tom: That is it for me with the 50 and the 100. I feel I've done this enough times and it will be races anew next year. watch this space :-)

Elvet Striders Clamber, 23rd July


Phil Owen ...

Thanks everyone, my inbox is full to the brim this morning with the highest praise for Elvet Striders and the Clamber race from all the clubs this morning. As usual events like this can only happen with a great team effort and Team Elvet Striders did us proud.

Its been a lot of hard work, but our simple mission to provide a our local clubs with beautiful & challenging race that showed off the best of Durham trails, followed by a grand evening out seems to have been a great success.


I'll be penning a fuller report when my head clears from drinking Stephens Jackson's prize that he couldn't pick up last night. Sorry Stephen, we promise a replacement :-)

... Elinor Butler

The Clamber!! I have heard much discussion about it over the two years that I’ve been a Striders member, but due to last year’s hiatus, I’ve not experienced it myself. Until Wednesday 20th July that is. In my typically well-organised style, I arrived with about a minute to spare to pick up my number. I was kind of chilled about this race – as it took place at the usual Striders time, I’d got it into my head that it was a normal Wednesday run. Until I put my number on and saw all the different club colours: then my determination kicked in, and I realised that I was going to push with everything I had.

Go Faster Shorts!

The race was a real challenge to pace: I didn't know the route, and my race-day-zone only started 10 minutes before the race started. To be honest, I was concentrating so hard that I can't give an accurate course route, but here's my best effort: we went up some hills in the woods, down some hills in a field, steadily up some hills in the wilderness (what do you call it if it's not a field?) [Wilderness is fine! Ed.], steadily down some hills in a field, up some hills in the woods, down them again, and then there's the finish. Can you picture it? ;)

However, I do know that we passed both the Wicker people, and that it went through Houghall Woods before climbing up and out near the sewage plant (thanks Dave Robson for enlightening me just before the start!).

One of the absolute pleasures of this race were the marshals – they did such a great job of cheering everyone on, and it was so ace to run in a race where people knew your name and supported you. As I passed them, they told me what position female I was - if I didn't have my game face on before, I certainly did then!  I found my strength was running up the hills:  I could power up them, and that where I did most of my over-taking (although my over-taking was pretty modest). On the flats less brutal hills, I really felt the effort of keeping my pace, and needed to really suck it up mentally. As I felt more tired, my footing wasn't as confident which in turn required more concentration. It was a tough race.

For the last three miles I had another girl in my sights, and I made it my goal to overtake her to take my mind off my legs, which were shocked at working this intensely. She was always about 300 metres ahead: I'd see her just up ahead, and then we'd turn a corner and she'd taken off. I'd see her walking up a hill, but by the time I ran to the top, she'd taken off (I'm terrified of running downhill, so I reckon I lost some time there). The last mile of the race is downhill and then on the flat, which made for a great finish as I found the energy to really sprint. I felt like my legs were pinwheeling, like the roadrunner, and I finished in 42:24. Did I catch the girl in front? No. But I did finish 4th female overall, so I'm mighty pleased with that. :) At the end everyone gathered around with water to cheer the other runners on, and then most people de-camped to the pub for much celebrations. Unless your car was full of Tesco shopping like mine was.

Overall it was the friendliest race I’ve run, was very simply and cleanly organized, and it was fun to see all the different local running groups. I felt like I was part of a North-East posse! It was a real pleasure to participate.

Striders. Thousands of 'em.


1 Jonathan Evans Jarrow and Hebburn AC M 32:34
10 Stephen Jackson M 34:58
13 Elaine Leslie Jarrow and Hebburn AC F 37:31
14 Matthew Archer M 37:51
25 Scott Watson MV50 39:39
27 Katy Walton F 40:16
35 Elinor Butler F 42:24
52 Melanie Hudson F 44:33
67 Jess Willow F 46:53
68 Claire Readey F 47:06
69 Stephanie Piper F 47:13
70 Jane Ives FV40 47:14
71 Debs Goddard FV40 47:17
74 Nicola Whyte F 47:47
76 Lindsay Rodgers MV40 48:08
77 Ian Spencer MV50 48:11
79 David Shipman MV50 48:27
84 Emil Maatta M 49:14
87 Jean Bradley FV50 49:58
88 Kate Thompson F 50:00
90 Angela Tribe F 50:46
98 Sarah Fawcett FV50 52:14
100 Louise Billcliffe FV50 53:20
106 Kelly Collier F 55:36
107 Debbie McFarland F 56:23
111 Karen Hooper F 57:39
113 Angela Robson FV40 58:09
114 Denise Benvin FV40 58:23
115 Jane Baillie F 59:31
116 Rebecca Maddison FV40 59:31
122 Anita Dunseith F 63:33
125 Amy Farquhar FV40 63:50
126 Kerry Lister FV40 63:55
130 Laura Jackson F 76:34

130 finishers.

NEMAA #5 2014 Track and Field, Monkton Stadium, Jarrow, 21st July

3000m, Shot Put

Alister Robson

Having seen Jacquie dominate the competition in the previous NEMAA meeting, and in the recent 2014 Championship meeting I was keen to give this a go myself, especially as my NEMAA membership had just come through. (You need to be an NEMAA member (over 35) to take part). You can enter up to 3 events for a single fee of £3 on the night, although sometimes it speeds things up to pre-register. I chose the 3000m, Shot and High Jump.

First up was the Shot and the 7.62Kg weight felt very heavy in the hand. Jacquie kindly ran through the basics with me and I managed to get all three allotted throws away, improving bit by bit to 5.86m which was enough to win my age category, MV40. If I'd met some other higher standard I could have had another 3 throws.

Buoyed by this it was off to the track for a brief warmup and my first track race in excess of 25 years. I had a great run, knocking 40 seconds off my previous 3Km best, but this was only enough for plum last in the race of about 11, and which was made up mainly of older runners. I got lapped by the leaders and to be honest most of the field :-)

It also meant I missed the start of the High Jump competition and had to come in at a height of 1.35m, which I stood no real chance of clearing.

Jacquie meanwhile convincingly won her Shot and High Jump, having gallantly dropped out of the Discus in order to make sure I was OK in the Shot.

Still all great fun, and held in a great spirit. This is something any Strider over 35 can have a go at, you do however need to join NEMAA first, however this has other fringe benefits as other races throughout the year have an NEMAA championships within them exclusively for NEMAA members. I was astonished but happy to find I'd won a Silver medal for my age category at the Saltwell Fell Race.

Anyone interested in taking part in Masters or indeed Seniors Track & Field Athletics please speak to myself or Jacquie, who has a wealth of experience in this regard. It would be fantastic to put out a full squad for this next year - imagine if we could take on the likes of Durham City Harriers at Track & Field too!

Grand Prix Race. Endurance Champion Race.

Coastal Run, Beadnell, 20th July


Colin Blackburn

I've done a few Coastal Runs over the last five years but up until now I've always arrived from the south. This year when I entered I lived in Co Durham but by race day I'd moved to Berwick-upon-Tweed. It turns out that arriving from the north is quite scenic courtesy of the X18 bus. This great bus service runs from Berwick to Newcastle via the coast, including Beadnell! So an hour after leaving my house I was in a very sunny and very warm Beadnell collecting my number.

It wasn't long before I was bumping into more and more Striders as the sea of purple swelled. The afternoon start of 1:30 was pushed to 1:45 to create more of a start line by letting the tide go out a little bit more. That gave more time to sit in the shade and then take part in a Striders group shot.

Striders at the seaside.

I decided to start way down the beach to find a line through the first lot of rocks and to get my feet wet early - there's not much more fun in running than splashing through the surf! For those who don't know the race - are there any Striders left who don't? - the Coastal Run starts on a beach, ends on a beach and is a real multi-terrain race in between. It's relatively flat but has a few telling little climbs once off the beach. But on Sunday the biggest challenge was the heat! A clear sky and an afternoon start provided the hottest run I've done for a long time. With a pretty much total lack of shade there was no escape.

By Craster I was completely shot and started to slow, I certainly felt I was being passed more than I was passing. By the third and final water station I was feeling so bad that I had to stop and stand just to get enough water down. The last couple of years I'd had pretty bad Coastal Runs where I haven't performed anywhere as well as I thought I should have. At the water station, as I stood at the side of the road watching others run past, I guessed this one was going to be even worse. What the heck, I still had to get to the finish so I plodded off along the road looking forward to at least a bit more soft beach running.

Louise keeps smiling in the heat.

As I jogged those last couple of miles I was passed by so many people I was pretty much expecting to come last. The odd thing was that looking at my watch I couldn't figure out how it was going to take over 15 minutes to get to that finish flag just over there! For some inexplicable reason as I finally crossed the line I found I had taken 12 minutes off last year's time and even managed a PB! Heat, what heat?!


1 Kevin JeffressSunderland Harriers M1:18:57
34 Debbie AppletonHavering Mayesbrook AC FV401:31:21
90 Michael Tait M1:39:53
102 Graeme Walton MV401:40:42
120 Jon Ayres MV401:42:14
137 David Gibson MV401:44:09
139 Katy Walton F1:44:19
163 Rachel Terry FV401:46:21
220 Matthew Crow M1:51:15
242 Alister Robson MV401:52:30
258 David Brown M1:53:30
263 Mandy Dawson FV401:53:48
265 Colin Blackburn MV501:54:01
272 Juliet Percival FV401:54:24
288 Michael Bennett MV601:55:25
361 Lesley Charman FV402:00:19
386 Stephanie Walker FV352:01:56
433 Megan Bell F2:04:44
439 Nicola Whyte F2:05:01
456 Mark Dunseith M2:06:31
464 Kathryn Sygrove FV402:06:53
469 Lucy Cowton F2:07:02
472 Camilla Lauren-Maatta FV402:07:16
477 Fiona Jones FV352:07:39
502 Melanie Hudson FV352:09:32
511 David Spence MV602:09:46
527 Anita Clementson FV402:10:46
538 Paul Beal MV502:11:24
595 Sarah Fawcett FV502:15:14
611 Dave Robson MV602:17:13
634 Barrie Evans ? MV602:18:32
685 Ian Spencer M2:24:18
724 Louise Billcliffe FV502:27:48
733 Jacquie Robson FV352:28:43
758 Karen Anne Chalkley FV502:31:10
761 Debbie Mcfarland F2:32:01
781 Anita Dunseith F2:35:32
799 Brian Ford MV402:39:43
819 Kirsty Anderson FV352:43:39
823 Sue Jennings FV402:44:36
827 Kelly Collier F2:45:52
828 Helen Allen FV402:45:52
832 John Hutchinson MV502:50:24
846 Christine Farnsworth FV602:59:00
847 Maggie Thompson FV602:59:00
850 Robert Clark M3:03:09

857 finishers

Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon, Bishop Wilton, 19th July

Rachael Bullock

This was my third successive running of this event, but it was the first time I was going into it niggle-free! This, along with all the fell-running I’ve done lately, meant I was feeling pretty confident of tackling this lovely, yet demandingly hilly, course without too much problem. LOL. Complacency = error #1.

This course has something like 900ft of ascent. This year, the course was modified slightly – the route remained almost exactly the same, but the start/finish location had to be moved due to re-location of the Bishop Wilton Show ground. This meant that the most gruelling 3 mile stretch of relentless climbing was now between 10-13 miles, rather than between 3-6 miles. However, I put this to the back of my mind at the start of the race, which coincidentally, was a lovely long downhill stretch, some of it off-road – just my cup of tea. Unfortunately I enjoyed this a bit too much and must have been close to a 5 K PB for the first 5 K of the race…. = error #2. I totally knew I had over-exerted myself and was going to pay for this later on.

A mugs' game ...

But I strided on, refusing to slow down, just in case this was to be my day! As we approached Millington village, I started duelling with a woman in pink. I WOULD NOT let her overtake me, even though I was really busting a gut to keep it that way and knew I couldn’t keep it up for much longer… = error #3. It wasn’t long before she zoomed past me on the downhill coming out of Millington – she must be a fell-runner! By 6 miles in I was pretty damn tired and now we had a huge hill to go up – this hill up to Givendale has been at around 10-11 miles into the race in previous years. I was expecting to find it easier at only 6 miles. But I was wrong, it was still horrible. I tried to make the most of the epic downhill from Givendale. But the downhill sections are quite steep on this course though, so even they take a lot out of the legs. As we hit the flattest section of the course around Meltonby, I knew that I needed to push hard and try and keep a nice rhythm, so that I wouldn’t be under too much pressure when I got to the last 3 uphill miles at the end. I felt like I was doing ok, but now a constant stream of runners was passing me and I was passing no-one. I took an energy gel on-board, hoping for a boost. They normally work pretty well for me, but sadly not today!! Now I was really paying the price for all those errors at the start of the race!

I was now dreading the last 3 miles, and I was right to! I felt totally knackered, but I was determined. I managed to overtake a few people for the first 2 mile stretch of uphill, but by the last mile or so of the race other runners seemed to have acquired a second-wind and quite a few overtook me during that final stretch. It was a nice surprise to see my parents cheering me on ~1/2 a mile before the end. The last mile took me about 12 minutes though…eurgh! I was really aiming for sub-1.50, and this was well within reach for much of the race, but my lethargy at the end pushed me well over to 1.54. However, it seems that many people found it much tougher than previous years with the new course configuration. And my time was 2 minutes quicker than my previous best so I can’t complain. Maybe one day I will learn to pace myself better….but I doubt it.

It is a shame that this race is always the same weekend as the Coastal run. Despite the hills, it is a lovely run, which seems to draw the same people back year-after-year. However, I’m sure there are some crazy Striders out there who would be up for attempting to double-up, running this one on the Saturday and the Coastal run on the Sunday…any takers?! [Try anyone with the surname 'Robson'. Ed.]

Sunderland 5K, 16th July

Becky Fisher

The weather took a turn for the worse and I wondered what the turnout for the Sunderland 5k road race would be like as I set off from Durham on Wednesday night. In spite of the downpour that greeted us on arrival at Silksworth there were nigh on 350 runners prepared to face the torrential rain. They didn't have to! On the whistle, glorious sunshine and high temperatures were the conditions the six Striders (plus former member Adam Walker) were facing on the "fast" course. Gareth Pritchard led our Striders home, closely followed by Rob Everson. The male contingent was completed by Stephen Jackson and Alister Robson. Rebecca Fisher and Kathleen Bellamy rounded up the Striders representation at a well organised and fun event.

We were greeted at the finishing line with a Start Fitness discount card and Bibfix clips - bonus goodies. In the heat, I could have done with having the water distributed to us first!! Easy to get to, local, very friendly and an easy course to follow.

Kilburn Feast, North Yorks Moors, 13th July


Lindsay Rogers

Having mainly stuck to park runs and a few 10K races, I thought it time to push the boat out and try something a little longer. Not quite ready for 10 miles yet so when I saw the Kilburn race, I thought why not. It was in the afternoon so no early start; it is called undulating so no serious hills (supposedly); it was in North Yorkshire (almost as nice as County Durham); it was a village fete so the family could come along and best of all there was a public house at the finish line!

So all the Rodgers family headed off with the constant call from the back of the car, are we there yet and will there be ice cream. We arrived to find plenty of parking and even toilets in the car park. We then bumped into Alister on the high street so I did what was right and let the kids pester him, while he tried to get them to become parkrun volunteers. So far so good as race time approached the kids went off and attacked the tombola and Mr Robson and I found our respective places in the pack.

Alister, Lindsay, and mascots for the day ...

With the words of Alan Sehault in my mind about pacing, I set off at a steady 5.00/Km with the intention of running round in a less than an hour. First mile done and then I started to appreciate the reminder from my wife to put sun block on as it was getting very hot and very sunny. The first portion of the race is quite gentle, a small couple of hills and a nice descent, then you realise that 'undulating' has a different meaning in Yorkshire, I would read it now as very hilly! Thank goodness for the helpers at the 3 water stations and 2 sponge points, they even had a car driving round offering water to those of us at the back.

So back to the run, I will admit to drifting to a powerwalk on one of the big hills and the constant changing of the running line to find shade. There was a chap of senior age running with me, never found out his name, but thanks to him for dragging me round the undulating bits.

At mile 6 I thought one more to go and managed to pick the pace up again especially when I found out that the last portion was downhill. Then a shock as I passed the 7 mile marker with no sight of the finish line, it seems that in Yorkshire racing they are generous with the distance and so I 'sprinted' the last 700 odd yards to be cheered in by Alister and my family with the best thing of all, a photo by Helen of me with both feet off the ground.

Now to the key point, the pub at the finish line allowed for 3 pints of carbo loading and an understanding wife to drive me home! Time just a tad over 1.03 so very happy given the hills and the conditions.

This is a great race and is worth a larger strider turnout, wonderful route, brilliant organisation and plenty for the family to do while they wait, although I am not sure what Alister will do with the coconut the girls gave him. Oh and there is a pub at the finish line.

Great North 10K, Gateshead, 13th July

Natalie Johnson

On a very wet Sunday morning Alison Kirkham turned up at my house (20 mins early while I was still in me PJ’s) to collect and deliver me and others to the Great North 10k. We had a bit of a round trip to collect everyone from various locations in Durham County so we had plenty of time to psych ourselves up. Arriving at the stadium for about 9.30 we had loads of time to get absolutely soaked to the skin apart from Helen Goodram-Page who was dressed as a waterproof Grey Elephant (I kid you not ... I’m only jealous).

To amuse ourselves before the race we took numerous "before the race photos" including high jacking (it didn’t take much persuading them) a few of the 200 or so gurkhas who were obviously desperate to be part of the purple army.

Striders and friends.

Anyway back to the race. Focus. Focus. Off we went to the start. It was a staggered start with the elites going off in Orange followed by white, green and finally pink setting of at 6 minute intervals. "We" had a mixture of colours but all decided to drop back to the pink section and start together.

So after a brief warm up ... a tiny green person way in the distance moving to the music. We sort of just did our own thing for the most part and then we were off. Splitting up into smaller groups. I don’t really remember much of the first mile or two as this is always the bit I struggle with. I remember zigg zagging up a hill and I could see Kelly Colliers bun ( I said bun) in front of me bobbing up and down dodging in between people who had already stopped to walk.

Coming into the final straight ...

As we passed the Baltic the faster runners were coming back the other way. There were lots of shouts and cheers when passing fellow striders and some other clubs too. The Bounders seem like a friendly bunch. We passed Anna Seeley looking like she could have run this course about 6 times over no problem. The water station was a welcome sight at about 4k. Although it had been raining (it had stopped at this point) it was still very warm and I remember Laura Gibson mumbling something about wanting to take all her clothes off at one point. She didn’t go through with it thankfully otherwise we might just have ended up in the paper again!

We were well into our stride by now and thoroughly enjoying the atmosphere. A few up and down bits before we got to the turn around point. I like these loop back races as it takes my mind off being tired when I am fast strider spotting. At the turn around point we pretended to be aeroplanes as we zoomed around the cones making a zzzzzzz noise and giggling. Running with friends is so much fun.

Heading back along the river we seemed to loose it a little but we encouraged each other and pushed on through. Even played a little bit of motivational music on the way. Nothing makes you run harder than "the eye of the tiger". We even had a little sing song. Not too far to the stadium now but that last bit is always a push. The music helped and of course by this point early finishes were walking back and gave us some encouragement. Last little bit up to the stadium was a real killer. All 4 of us were digging in then we heard the screams and cheers from Kelly, Kirsty and Helen who had waited to cheers us in and boy did that help. I loved the finish in the stadium even though it was majority empty the atmosphere was great. Almost to the finish line as if we all just knew what to do the 4 of us held hands and crossed the line together. I’m sure you have all seen the photo. All shattered but all smiling.

Thank you Laura Gibson, Helen Goodram-Page and Alison Kirkham for a fabulous run I loved every second of it and thanks Kelly, Kirsty and Helen and everyone else who cheered for us. Shame that by the time we got to collect our bags there were no medium T-shirts left but hey ho we will survive and the large ones make for very good nighties.

And there it is my first race report. I’m sorry it’s not got any results in it or first home info as I don’t really know many of the fasties yet and this was more of a personal journey for me anyway.

Osmotherley Phoenix, Osmotherley, 12th July


Melanie Hudson

The Osmotherley Phoenix race is where I did my first marathon two years ago. Strangely, it did not put me off and now I was about to run my 31st marathon/ultra. I decided this time to do the 33 mile route.

It was clear before we even started that it was going to be very hot day.

A long and winding road ...

We started slowly uphill out of the village which meant that we had to dodge round walkers once we started to run. Then there was a climb up to the radio mast on the Cleveland Way, down to cross the road and along to Scugdale. Then another tiring climb up to Carlton Bank and the steep descent to Lordstones. At this point the 17m route cuts off and one the great things about this event is that you can decide when you get to the checkpoint which route to take. We were both fine, so the 33m was what we continued with.

After Lordstones there is a choice, you can go up over the three sisters (including the Wainstones) or contour round. We have always contoured round, there are more than enough big hills in this event and we did not fancy tackling them again having done them earlier in the year on one of the Hardmoors races. This year there seemed to be more people doing the three sisters which surprised us a little. However after chatting with people along the way some of them said that they had not realised how difficult the Wainstones would be and had regretted having taken that option.

On to Clay Bank and then the slog up the other side to eventually reach the trig point which is the highest point on the North York Moors. Down into Chop Gate and the 17m checkpoint there at the Village Hall, where the Wainstones marathon had started. We spent a little longer at this checkpoint, putting on more suncream and preparing ourselves for 'that hill' the one that hits you straight away after leaving Chop Gate. It is just so long and steep and to get that after 17m is just a killer. We had to take a couple of breaks in the climb up and Dave was concerned about an attack of cramp which he seems to get when climbing big hills well into races on hot days. He made it over the most difficult bit, but then the cramp set in. Having just recovered from his second calf injury of the year and two long races in the next two weeks he decided to play it safe and slowed down.

Mel and Dave before the off.

We discussed what to do and we agreed that at the 20m checkpoint where the 26m and 33m routes diverged that Dave would do the 26m and I would do the 33m. I had the route on my garmin, a map and the route description, however after Durham Dales two weeks ago I was a little worried that I would get lost. Thankfully there were quite a few people around to either figure out things together or reassure me that I was heading in the right direction. At a couple of quieter spots I did nearly miss a turn but my Garmin beeped to tell me and I back tracked.

At mile 25 I started to get a bad head from the heat. At this point there was a long slog from Arden Hall to Little Moor to rejoin the Cleveland Way and I was really regretting not dropping down to the 26 mile route. My headache grew worse and I felt a bit out of it. Even when it flattened out a bit I struggled to run for very long before having to walk again. Eventually it started to descend to Square Corner. I thought that was all the hills out of the way, however this was not the case. Although the remaining inclines were nothing like ones previously, when suffering with heat exhaustion, they felt like mountains.

Half a mile from the end one poor guy in front of my started throwing up from the heat and I imagine he was probably not the only one that day to have done so. Everyone I spoke to seemed to be suffering to some extent.

It was great to eventually get to the village and know that I was going to make it. I turned the corner onto the main street to see Dave cheering me in. I was so glad to get to the finish and get out of the heat.

Duns Reivers Week Fun Run, Duns, Berwickshire, 10th July


Colin Blackburn

I moved up to the English side of the border - I can't afford to have to get a new passport - a couple of weeks ago and had hoped to take part in the Berwick Curfew Run shortly after the move. Unfortunately while Alister travelled up to a race right on my doorstep I travelled down to Manchester for work! It looks like I missed a good one. Looking around for a local race I found this little gem hosted by runduns. It's a few miles over the border in the small Berwickshire town of Duns and forms part of their summer festival, the Duns Reivers Week. The town seemed to have numerous events every day for a week or so. Thursday evening included the 5K run, a shorter run for the kids, a marching pipe band and a torchlight procession followed by fireworks.

Registration for the run was pretty informal, in the town square outside Hugo's Bistro. Four quid, no numbers. At 6:28 the field gathered at the start line. At 6:29 some of the seniors, me included, were asked to step forward so the the all-too-eager juniors didn't get bowled over at the start. At 6:30 we were off. At 6:30:05 the all-too-eager juniors overtook the front-row seniors! A short closed road section took us out of the town and into the grounds of Duns Castle. After that it was a very pleasant multi-terrain run around the castle's woodland paths and meadow tracks, including running alongside a lake called Hen Poo (I didn't leave the el off). The race ended with a run back down into the town to finish just outside Hugo's.

I was pleased to get my medal after the announcement that due to the large number of entries they may not have had enough - what is it with races in the Borders in July? I'm not sure of the results but I was happy with 22:56 on a slightly undulating 5K. After the race I got a chance to chat with a few Tweed Striders, my now local club, before Elfie and I went for a Chinese. While we ate a marching band went back and fore on the street outside the restaurant window playing various Scottish classics. All a bit surreal. We didn't have time to hang around for the procession but maybe next year we'll plan ahead.

It's not exactly an easy race for Striders to get to but if anyone is up here in July for, say, the Kelso 10K, then this little race is a nice warm up and a great evening out in Duns.

Angel View Run, Gateshead, 10th July


Mandy Dawson

This is a nice low key local event organised by Low Fell Running Club over varied terrain with hilly off road sections up behind the Angel View Hotel then under the A167 to the Angel of the North and back again. It was nice to see they had some junior races with U11, U13 and U15 all getting medals.

Midsummer madness is in the air ...

I must admit the race was longer and harder than I thought and it turned out to be nearer 6 miles after a change in route from last year. As it started at 7.15 I stopped en route at M&S for a coffee and scone (not recommended pre race food but tasty!!!). I met Alister in the car park and for once Striders were low in numbers with only myself, Alister Robson, Gareth Pritchard and Kathleen Bellamy running together.

Alister went flying off and I never really caught site of him, he had a strong run coming in 35th. Due to the low numbers I ended up being 4th Lady and winning the over 45 category (yes I know it is hard to believe). [It certainly is, Mandy. Ed.]

I’m not sure if it was a one off but there was a lovely buffet on afterwards in the Hotel, a feature which often attracts Striders (not mentioning any names) and also a birthday cake for an 82 year old runner competing from Low Fell Harriers ... wow, hope I am still going then. Overall a very friendly event and well organised.

Carlton Midsummer Meander, North Yorks Moors, 9th July


Camilla Laurén-Määttä

The sun was still shining over North York Moors and there was a slight breeze as we lined up on Green Bank near Lordstones Café just outside Carlton village. According to the dictionary to meander is ‘to move aimlessly without fixed direction’ which is what I usually do in fell races, so I felt confident that I had the skills needed for tonight’s little race (6.6 km, 390 m climb). The only Striders taking part this time were Scott and I, but I would recommend the Esk Valley Summer Series races to anybody wanting to dip their toes into fell running. These short midweek races are the perfect introduction and not much more strenuous than the Striders handicap as you will probably be walking a fair bit on steeper sections.

The race started on a grassy slope and then followed the Cleveland Way past two marshalled checkpoints. It had all looked quite straightforward on the map with the footpath continuing until the woodland by Broughton Bank, but suddenly I was lost in a sea of bracken with no visible path under my feet. Surely the Mountain Rescue would find me here within the bracken sooner or later? Bracken is poisonous even to sheep so I wouldn’t be able to live on it, but I could live on bilberries and on water from the stream sipping through the bracken until they found me – and I did have a big lunch so could even survive for days.

Ok, maybe it wouldn’t be necessary – my heart lifted as I noticed the line of fell runners further down the bank. But how did they get there? I looked behind me and there were more lost fell runners in the tangle of bracken – maybe I had misled them and we would all have to be rescued together. I did feel very guilty about risking to use the Mountain Rescue’s limited resources for this, so I meandered skilfully through the bracken and, magically, in front of me there was now a grassy footpath. I was on track again, turning left by Broughton Bank and turning back by the stile/check point at Toft Hill.

Hooray, I was catching up with a line of runners struggling uphill through the head high bracken following a clear footpath. The marshal at the top of the hill told me there wasn’t much left now of the course. Going downhill, I concentrated on placing my feet on the flagstones without braking too much and at times I ran along the narrow grass verge. After a while the path turned right and the finish was grassy and only slightly uphill.

It was a great little race, with no free t shirts or mugs or PBs, not requiring superman/superwoman skills, just a little bit of everyday stamina; a mini-adventure keeping your mind and feet busy, which is sometimes all that is needed for a good day out. I’m sure the Mountain Rescue would have found me eventually had I not found my way out of the bracken.

Bridges Of The Tyne 5, Newcastle Quayside, 8th July


Mike Elliott, who wishes to remain anonymous

Along with two other Striders was driven by an excellent chauffer who did not know the way and was very good [of course] following the directions to park at the Newcastle cycle hub arriving at the same time as Paul on his vroom vroom.

A story that was related on the way from Maiden Castle to the start was how this person managed to change out of working clothes into running gear whilst driving to Maiden Castle. Wonder if the other drivers managed not to crash watching this sight.

Goody bags and numbers picked up [really no need to do the race as we had the T shirt]. The smell of burgers at race HQ in the Tyne Bar certainly puts you in the mood for running on a nice warm evening. Forgot how far the start was from the HQ so ended up at the back of the field then heard a whistle which everyone thought was for the briefing but bugger me it was the start, so off we went like the clappers. Within the first mile we had passed all the 6 bridges of Newcastle. There was no more architecture to see, the only two sights left were the muddy banks of the Tyne which had turned into a piddle little stream cos the tide was out and the other being a little more difficult to see through as it was the low sun dropping out of the sky [looked as the females of any household had forgotten to switch the light off]. The best part of the race before reaching this point was seeing the field being split up by large patches of purple.

After a long 2.5 mile we reached the hill with its turn around point. Back along the river passing the ever encouraging marshals and walkers who were out for a stroll. Now two mile back to the Pitcher and Piano [must be the only pub that allows a race to go through its lounge bar as it is on the quay side]. Then the last 1/2 mile to the blown up finish and the cheering the sea of purple plus a cool bottle of water.

The End

Oh not to forget the burger and pint in the Tyne Bar and the canny crack. See you there next year.


1 Andy Burn Jarrow & Hebburn AC M 25:54
8 Alyson Dixon Sunderland Strollers FV35 27:27
32 Rob Everson M 29:24
32 Matthew Archer M 31:01
99 Graeme Walton MV40 33:20
101 Katy Walton F 33:29
125 Alister Robson MV40 34:15
152 Paul Pascoe MV40 35:19
183 Fiona Jones FV35 36:35
186 Lesley Charman FV40 36:41
192 Richard Hall MV35 36:55
208 Jackie McKenna FV45 37:33
219 Lucy Cowton F 37:56
224 Michael Ross MV40 37:52
237 Mark Dunseith M 38:36
241 Brian Ford MV45 38:43
251 Greta Jones FV45 39:09
253 Paul Beal MV50 39:15
259 Megan Bell FV35 39:29
291 Jill Ford FV45 42:57
295 Rebecca Fisher FV35 43:18
300 Jacquie Robson FV35 43:19
309 Katherine Preston FV45 45:02
314 Angela Coates FV40 45:58
316 Angela Robson FV40 46:08
317 Kelly Collier F 46:19
329 Emma Detchon F 47:51
329 Rebecca Maddison F 48:05
333 Anita Dunseith F 49:00
334 Mike Elliott MV65 50:10
337 Lindsay Craig FV45 51:21
337 Laura Gibson FV40 52:56
342 Natalie Stones-Johnson FV50 52:57
344 Kirsty Anderson FV35 53:30
345 Kerry Lister FV40 53:31

349 finishers.

Skiddaw Fell Race, Lakes, 6th July

9m / 2700' AM

Danny Lim

As I hurtled down the mountainside, my poor legs were turning over as fast they could. Slap! Slap! Slap! Each foot plant was taking place just in time to avoid falling flat on my face. At the speed I was going, I was acutely aware that I was one bad step away from badly twisting my ankle or rolling all the way to oblivion! I glanced at my Garmin; 10 minutes and I had descended 600 feet. Not that I had much choice in the matter!

Then, a flash of colour; a young lady had just overtaken me. To my horror, a few dozen yards ahead, she fell flat on her face. For a few seconds, she lay motionless, then started groaning in a way that left me in no doubt she was in agony. "Don’t panic!", I told myself. I was trained in Advance Trauma Life Support. Airway clear? Yes! Neck, broken? Does it need to be held still? Before I could ascertain this and to my horror, two fellow runners hoiked her back up to her feet. Blood was poring from the gashes in her arms and knees. With a quick pat on the back, they sent her on her way. I stood and watched in awe as she hurtled downhill, as if nothing had happened. Clearly, these fell-runners are made of different stuff.

Only one hill: Skiddaw!

I continued my descent, at a more sedate pace. By the time I reached the bottom of Skiddaw, my legs didn’t feel like they belong to me and as much as I willed them to, they were stuck in second gear. My lower back was aching from the relentless pounding. An hour of non-stop climbing followed by that brutal descent had taken its toll. Like Rocky Balboa, I kept moving forwards, though I was in no position to give chase. As I struggled to the finish, it was the girl I stopped to help earlier that was cheering me on.

So, any takers for next year then? I had a friendly welcome and plenty of banter with fellow runners. And for the grand sum of £6, got an afternoon’s entertainment and memories to last a lifetime.

Hamsterley 10K, 6th July

Alister Robson

Everyone had been going on about how tough this was for weeks, so I'm not sure whether it was the slightly revised route, being mentally prepared for much worse or least likely, a spot of good form that led to this being a pleasing performance and race.

The start is tough, I'll give you that, before you're even properly warmed up they take you up a big hill, before a short section of flat to get your breath back (quite narrow, so no real opportunity for overtaking), then a rapid descent to get back to the same level.

A couple of miles of flat but scenic track lull you into a false sense of security before the really tough bit. Just after the water station, there's a shallow stream crossing, with steps if you don't fancy getting your feet wet, but then you turn a corner and there's the big hill at three miles.

This just drags on, I ploughed my way up it but have to admit towards the top, as it twisted and rose, just as you thought you'd summited i,t I had a little walk. I'm not ashamed, I've seen some proper fell racers do it and I only lost one place, which I quickly picked up (plus a few more) when I started running again at the top having had a breather. By now all thoughts of a good time have gone, but what I didn't know is that it was all down hill or flat from here. The last three miles flew by, pushing and being pushed by a regular XC foe, before abruptly the finish loomed into sight.

I'm not sure if the course was short, my Garmin registered just over 6 miles, but they really aren't that accurate on twisting terrain with lots of altitude changes. On finishing I watched and encouraged loudly first Marco then John Hutch, Lisa Bryson and then Jacquie come in. I can only apologise to Paul Towers and Kathryn Larkin-Bramley for not hanging around to cheer them in but by that stage I'd worked out the big drawback with this event - flies, bugs and midgies - millions of them everywhere - not surprising in a forest, by a river in July really.

I was pleasantly surprised to be just outside the top 50 and the tech tee and goody bag justified the (late) entry fee. Recommended, but use some bug repellent!

Summer Fan Dance Race, Brecon Beacons, 5th July


Kerry Lister

So, after cheering my hubby on in January at the Avalance Endurance Events Winter Fan Dance, he and his friend booked for the summer one. Unfortunately The friend got a bad back following the Durham Coast Half Marathon a few weeks back, and as it was so near the event, no money back or deferral til next time, there was, however, an opportunity to transfer the place for the sum of £10. Weellllll, I had done Swaledale, Penshaw, Roseberry Topping, Round Sheffield and a couple of other half marathons so surely I'd be ok for 'a gruelling 24km non-navigational race over two sides of Pen Y Fan, the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons. This infamous route has long been a part of SAS (Special Air Service) and SBS (Special Boat Service) Selection and is considered the yardstick of a candidate's potential to perform well on Test Week and ultimately pass the Special Forces Selection programme.' taken from the website.

Kerry at the start ...

Took the option to go 'clean fatigue' or non load carrying to the uninitiated. Rob went for the load bearing option (as expected). Borrowing Denise's fell shoes and waterproof jacket, off we went on the 6 hour drive to Brecon.

As we approached Rob kept pointing out very high points on the landscape. Not sure if he was trying to scare me or prepare me. anyhow we arrived safe and sound, settled into our hotel and set the alarm for 615am.

The morning came around and in silence we prepared separately for our upcoming challenges. The weather looked okay, the tops were shrouded in mist and the weather forecasts said 20/30% chance of precipitation. Not bad odds really.

At the red phone box of the Storey Arms 830am came and the rufty tufty load bearers had their briefing from former SAS fella Ken Jones and off they went . I had another hour to wait til my set off time so, as you do, started chatting to anyone around me. The folks at the Fan Dance are a good bunch of people, unpretentious, all 'bricking it'. Finally 930am arrived, we had our briefing, well the folks at the front did, at the back ( my natural place) we couldn't hear, however, me being me I forget instructions very quickly so probably funny miss much.

... and Kerry at the finish.

Off we went, the sun started coming out, the first hill was long, the first 2 miles were all climb, too much for me to run, and in fairness I didn't see much running at this point, I did however start overtaking people and eventually found my pace with a lovely lady called Sue (who had suffered a back problem, had surgery and found a new love of all things fitness) and her nephew Ashley ( who was training to run 6 marathons in 6 days for charity). I managed a little jog at the bottom of the summit (if that makes sense) of Pen Y Fan and left them behind for a short while, and reached the summit (886 m) in about an hour. Considering the climb I was well pleased with that, and of course had to have my photo opportunity.

Off we went again, to Jacobs Ladder, well all we saw was a precipice, fortunately there was someone who knew what he was doing to show us the way, imagine Roseberry Topping on steroids on top of another mountain and that's Pen Y Fan and Jacobs Ladder.

Once down there we hit the Roman Road, the main challenge here being not breaking an ankle or face planting (again). Plenty of 'well dones' and 'keep goings', eventually passed Rob on the return journey with his bumbag full of burst gels and massive blisters on both his feet.

Just after mile 7 was RV2 also known as the turnaround point, good glug of water and some flapjack for the return journey, a quick check by the DS that I was fit to continue and off the three if us went again, a bit of a jog here and there as terrain allowed then there it was. The monster that is Jacobs Ladder - part 2. Bigger and uglier than going down was going up. Load bearers were struggling to stay upright and keep moving, it was long, very long then that little steep scramble at the end to reach the Pen Y Fan summit for the second time. Now we knew from here it really was all downhill, well apart from the little up hill bit. 4 hours passed, which means we did not managed to complete the course in the time required for SAS selection, secretly we were all pleased about this as we didn't really want to join the SAS anyway.

With the thought of collecting our patch and enjoying the promised hog roast we practically skipped the last stretch, seeing the red phone box of the Storey Arms and Rob standing there we knew our journey was complete, we had done it!

With Hugs and handshakes from everyone we had encouraged, passed, hi fived and raced we made our way back to the car for a well deserved bath and Fan Dance Race beer. The photo with the patch and the red phone box - 2 icons of the Fan Dance Race experience, had been taken.

Was it a challenge? For sure. Would I do it again? Absolutely. Will I do it with a full load next time? Probably.

Chevy Chase, Wooler, 5th July

20M / 4,000'

Matt Claydon

As Aaron explained in last years report ones experience of this race can vary hugely depending on the weather conditions. This year my experience varied hugely all in the same race. Even before the start I felt a certain amount of trepidation having never run a proper fell race and having had limited training as I returned from best part of a year out. This was compounded by the requirement to run with full survival kit including waterproofs, fleece, food, water, map, compass, whistle, flaregun, crampons and a St Bernard. Oh and it's 20 miles up and down mountains. Well very big hills. Driving up to Wooler through rain and mist did not give me any cheer, although I knew the course had been shortened in recent years when the weather was bad and I admit a repeat of this would not have upset me. Arriving at HQ it was optimistically reported that the mist would clear, which was good as at the time I couldn't see Cheviot to navigate to.

The distance can be walked or run with the walkers heading off an hour earlier. It was a friendly hustle and bustle at the start where I arrived in time to see some friends off on the walk. An hour later I still felt a little nervous as it was our turn. I ran with a friend who turned up at the start with shoelaces untied and backpack spilling over. I at least felt organised if daunted. I had been a little surprised to see no other Striders at the start, a rare occurrence these days, so was pleased to have some company.

Going over the edge ...

Steady away for the first hour of undulating tracks I began to feel comfortable, even a bit cocky. As we approached the bottom of Cheviot I decided a sub 4 hours was potentially possible and I upped my game. The heavens opened as I tore (trotted) past some of the slower runners and straggling walkers. I caught my walking friends just before the summit fulfilling my threat from the pub the night before ( I left after a nursed pint, they stayed til 1 and hit the shots).

I lost my shoe in the deep peat bogs at the top and spent some unpleasant time retrieving it before charging (sliding) down the other side. This appeared to be an technique underused by the runners around me that I found quite successful. At least you get a rest. As I climbed Hedgehope (nearly as high as Cheviot) the clouds began to clear and I arrived at the summit knackered but dry. I had intended to stop for a rest here, but still optimistic for a good time I took a quick snap of the target in front, framed by a simply stunning panorama, and pushed on.

This is the halfway point, which if you think about too hard is quite unsettling. Luckily I have a talent for not thinking too hard about things and my confidence was growing. All downhill from here! There remains a lot of uphill for downhill, like an impossible scenic Esher print. The temperature steadily rose and stints along rabbit tracks, through gorse bushes and across bogs and rocky outcrops took there toll. A stretch along wooded riverside was stifling and I began to rapidly fade. This was around the 15mile mark, and every footfall required attention. As I (briefly) overtook the lass in front I saw her face was covered in blood. A hardy local type, she explained she had cut her lip falling on a rock. Fair play to her, she won a trophy later.

From here it was walk, jog, walk, jog back to Wooler. I did manage to pick off a few that could by now only manage the walk bit. A sprint (crawl) finish for the camera's brought me home in 66th place sneaking under 4 hrs 30. I'll definitely take it. Never ever again I thought. This is a blinking hard race, the hills which one assumes to be the hardest bit are actually relatively straightforward as long as you don't try to run up them. It's the long drag home you need to be prepared for. After 6 cakes and a coffee my friends trickled in and we enjoyed a pint in a sunlit beergarden down the way. By the end of the beer we had all agreed it was the hardest thing we had done, and that we would all be back next year.

Tynedale 10K, Ovingham, 2nd July

Conrad White

The summer seems to be full of races and the Tynedale 10K - if you have space in your race calendar - is one you could/should/maybe add to your agenda if 10K is something you want to do. This year the road bridge to Ovingham was shut to cars but not to pedestrians, which made some of the coming and going different, but the organization seemed to work efficiently. Once you have collected your number and chip it is the best part of a mile up hill to the start. Despite the pre race information I made the major navigational error and ended up with my car on the wrong side of the river so by the time I had it on the correct side, I was a bit short of time to get to the start. It was not so much as “hitching” a ride but demanding of the only van to pass for a lift - which thankfully he did for some of the way up the hill - so I arrived at the start with at least two minutes to spare.

If you want a fast start, this is the one - hell for leather down hill for the first mile (not sure when I last did such a quick mile). I think there is a prize for the first to 1 mile. The roads were closed and the course undulates to Wylam before doubling back, over the river Tyne and back along the river bank with more undulations. I have been running a bit faster recently and was hoping for a recent “best”. Personal bests happened many years ago but it’s good to know I am not inexorably slowing down year on year and there is improvement. With the advantage of that first downhill mile the times were looking hopeful. The legs were maybe not quite so sure about some of the up parts of the undulations, but there were a couple of runners who seemed to be going my way at my speed so I just hung on - especially a lady from Morpeth who seemed to be around for the last three miles (5K in the new terminology).

As it happened it was a Garmin 10K best for me (by one second over the Newton Aycliffe 10K of 2008). So felt very pleased. It also came out at nearly the same age graded percentage as I am doing in the park runs.

After I finished I went to cheer on some of the many striders, then joined some of the cheering band of purple. Unfortunately I could not stay for the pie and peas and missed the last of the striders. Apologies for not cheering everyone home.

I think this may have been in the GP years ago and with 26 striders in the results could it be one to reconsider as an option for the future?

Berwick Curfew Run, 2nd July


Alister Robson

The Curfew Run is only 1.3 miles and Berwick is 86 miles away from Durham so it was lucky I was already in Berwick that day on parkrun business.

The curfew bells strike at 8pm every evening, and last 13 minutes. Berwick was a walled city and the bells were originally to warn its residents to return to the city before the gates were closed for the evening. The Curfew Run's challenge is to complete the 1.3 mile course before the bells finish (and the gates lock).

Alister works his way past, err ... quite a young field.

The course runs along the walls and for all but a very short section is entirely on path - one small section crosses the old road bridge which was marshalled for the occasion.

Entry was on the day from 6.30pm and it was doubly lucky I was there early as the 150 limit was reached very shortly after I handed over my form and £4. Last year's entry was only 120 and so you can easily excuse the run organisers from Berwick's Tweed Striders for not expecting the demand - in the end there were so many disappointed runners, including those who'd run many times in previous years, that they agreed to put on a second wave at 8pm.

I made the first wave and on the startline felt a bit like Gulliver surrounded as I was by schoolchildren, many no higher than my waist. The start was a bit narrow but very soon the field spaced out and I was able to progress through the overkeen juniors who had a tendency to go off too quick. having said that so did I and as you cross just before the old bridge, I remembered about the climb back up to the walls. This wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, certainly nothing after Saltwell Harriers Fell Race the previous evening, and I picked off a few more of the little 'uns. The last section is again flat, even slightly downhill and I eventually crossed the line just after one junior lady and possibly even in the top 10. I was well pleased to have beaten the bells, crossing in about 8.30 although I'm not sure if results are published, aand I was even more pleased to see the goody bag - a decent shoe bag, Tech Tee, Medal, drinks bottle, snack bar, banana and a bottle of water - not bad at all for £4.

Just remember to get there early if you want to be sure of a place.

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

Saltwell Harriers Fell Race, nr Stanhope, 1st July

6m 1000' BS

Rachael Bullock

I was really looking forward to this race for multiple reasons: 1) I love fell running; 2) It's a GP race so there would be lots of friendly faces there (plus some added motivation!); 3) I had fond memories from last year after finishing 5th lady (although I put this down to the appalling weather which meant a poor turnout!); 4) It was a gloriously sunny evening and 5) I REALLY love fell running.

There was indeed a pretty decent Strider turnout, including the mean machine that is Katy Walton! Seeing as Katy had just run a pretty amazing PB at the Humber Bridge half marathon just 2 days beforehand, whilst I had had a relatively restful weekend, I was vaguely hopeful that I may be in with a rare chance of giving her a run for her money!

I felt reasonably comfortable as we set off up the hill - a long but quite gentle climb, and I managed to overtake quite a few people. Sadly, my legs weren't feeling particularly rested at all, but despite that I felt like I was going ok and making good progress, so when it started to flatten out I tried to keep going strong. Soon we started a long and gentle descent, although the ground underfoot was pretty rough - gotta keep your wits about your footing at this race. With the lack of rain recently, I was expecting pretty dry underfoot conditions, but it wasn't long before I was greeted by a rather large boggy puddle. And for some stupid reason (I guess I'm just a huge pansy) I dithered for a good few seconds trying to work out how to negotiate it! It was at this point that I heard Katy's menacing voice behind me - I can't remember what she said, but it sure struck the fear of death into me as I now knew she was right behind me and those seconds of dithering could cost me dear. This prompted me to just splash through the bog any which way, as I should have done in the first place, and surprise surprise, it did not kill me.

On I trotted, well aware that Katy was close behind and a little surprised she hadn't overtaken me yet. But then I thought ... I know her game plan ... she is just gonna let me pace her comfortably round and then overtake me on the uphill finish at the end (I had failed miserably to keep up with her during the hill session she put on last week). The descent is long and after crossing the road it gradually gets steeper and steeper, and rougher and rougher, and also pretty damp in places. I fell over in some bog at one point and witnessed several others doing the same. All the time I was convinced Katy was just behind me but I never once looked back, because that rarely works for me, it just makes me nervous and I prefer just to focus on what I'm doing. Katy didn't pass me on the descent but fellow Strider Scott did - we had passed each other a few times already and he was clearly tiring of this child's play and looked pretty comfortable on the descent.

Soon I reached the stream, where we had to go into the stream to clip our numbers! It's a VERY steep descent down to the stream, not everyone's cup of tea (including mine!) but I loved the stream! So refreshing! I wished I could have stayed in there for longer! It was pretty deep - I had soggy knickers when I came out! I wouldn't advise carrying any valuables in your pockets for this race! It wasn't until I was clambering out the stream that I realised Katy was nowhere to be seen! Turns out the purple vest I could sense behind me was that of Graeme! I was quite relieved at this point but I didn't want to relax too much as I figured I must have been doing quite well and it would be a shame to let things slip at this stage.

So I pushed on up the next hill (brisk walk rather than running at this point!) and onto higher ground again where we had to contour around the hillside - I remember hating this bit last year as again the ground is very uneven and you are running on a slant. This year I didn't find it too bad but I had a steely determination about me by now! In addition, I was still stupidly furious at myself for dithering earlier on at the bog...I couldn't stop thinking about how ashamed mudman and mudwoman would have been!! So I was feeling the need to punish myself! A short descent followed (in fact quite a horrible one for those of us who don't like steep, loose ground!) before the final uphill push to the finish. A marshal at the bottom of the hill informed that I was 3rd, or maybe 4th lady ... YAY, I thought! But then I realised there was another lady not too far behind me and so if I was going to retain my position I was going to have to run all the way up this hill with a fair amount of conviction! And with some words of encouragement from Graeme, that's what I did. I gave it my all and finished comfortably ahead of her. Turns out I had been in 4th position - I would have loved a podium finish but at least I was one place up on last year! I was completely knackered at the end, I had found it a very tough run. I would say that most finishers looked suitably knackered after the uphill finish, but some great results from fellow Striders nonetheless.

This is a great race and very friendly and fun atmosphere. There is a good amount of marshalling and taping for a fell race, so although it's not the easiest of courses (in my opinion anyway) it is still pretty beginner-friendly.

Alister adds:

Rachael neglects to mention that the Striders Ladies (Rachael, Katy & Camilla) were first ladies team :-)


Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Will Horsley NFR         M 43.16
15 Karen Robertson NFR FV45 51.17
19 Thomas Reeves MV45 51.48
36 Michael Bennett MV60 54.38
50 Rachael Bullock F 56.15
54 Graeme Walton MV40 56.41
58 John Metson MV60 57.23
67 Nigel Heppell MV60 59.19
68 Katy Walton F 59.50
69 David Selby MV40 59.57
84 Alister Robson MV40 63.33
88 Camilla Lauren-Maata FV45 63.41
120 Jan Young FV60 72.40
123 Anita Clementson FV40 74.25
128 Denise Benvin FV45 78.42

128 finishers.