Race Reports, December 2016

New Website for 2017, 31st December

Dougie Nisbet

The new Elvet Striders website is live and available using the following link. Please visit and bookmark.

Elvet Striders Website

This existing site will be accessible for archive/reference but is no longer updated. All relevant content from this website should have been migrated to the new website which is the best place to look for it.

Any comments/questions to dougie@elvet-striders.uk

Spijkenisse Marathon, 18th December

Tamsin Imber

The Spijkenisse marathon is a small annual event which is a one loop course starting and ending at the athletics track in the town of Spijkenisse. This is a small town to the south of Rotterdam, The Netherlands. We stayed in Amsterdam for a long weekend and combined me doing this race with a festive, family mini-break:)

The run was all on cycle paths around a beautiful, bleak, mostly forested, wetland region! (So completely traffic free! Even though the area was cycle-path-tastic there were not loads of non-support cycles on any part of the route, so you were not having to look out for bikes.). It was very flat! Often the cycle path was on a raised embankment between channels of water. The channels of water ranged from narrow to large lake sized areas, colonised by birds and other wildlife. There was little civilisation!

The route was measured and chip timed. There were water stations every 5km and warm black tea and bananas at the later water stations, which I avoided myself but the Dutch seemed very keen on it! All marshals were very friendly and encouraging!


Like a Hardmoors on tarmac! It was low key and very friendly. About 200 entrants in the marathon.


Mainly Dutch but a few from abroad. I arrived by train and metro from Amsterdam and wondered where everyone was!..but I soon saw they were all arriving by bike..of course!

My aim

To try and run even pacing at 8 minute miles to finish in 3.30… by myself! So my the ‘Graeme Walton replacement system’ comprised of -all on my right arm-my sports watch, watch and a table written on the back of my hand indicating the times and times elapsed I should be at key distances!

The Race

A friendly start, cheered on by all the half marathoners who were starting 15 minutes after us! It started with one lap of the track, and then we were off onto the cycle path into the unknown! Some runners had their friends cycling next to them to support them the whole way:)

The weather was 5 degrees and dry, which was good running conditions it seemed, although in the areas without trees there was quite a strong wind.

I started by positioning myself just ahead of the 3.30 pacer group as I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss the km markers. This worked well. I could hear the pacer group chatting away in Dutch in animated voices behind me, so I joined them for a few miles to chat (luckily they were happy to talk in English). I then returned to just ahead of them so I could see the markers again. The first 6 miles felt like we were out for a Sunday morning jog! Should I be running faster? The watch said no. I followed the cycle path through the watery marsh-lands!

Part-way into the route we heard whistles from behind and a motor-bike then a peddle bike went past and then the front runners of the half marathon! That was an impressive sight! The first 5 guys were running as if their shorts were on fire behind them!

Further on, the marathon and half-marathon route separated. There I came across a marshal standing on a small step ladder outside an isolated ivy clad cottage in the middle of no-where. He waved a red flag to the right (marathon route) and a white flat above his head (half marathon straight on). (Red for danger and white for surrender?).

The cycle path continued through beautiful wild lands, a few sheep farms and woods. A guy from Portugal joined me for a bit then dropped back.

From 30km onwards it gradually felt harder and harder! And at 38km onwards I found it really really hard! The last 2 km I could not help dropping pace slightly and the 3.30 pacer group overtook me! I finished in 3.31.


I enjoyed the race and was pleased with how it went. My sports watched showed after I managed to pace myself OK, so this gave me confidence! The 3.30 pacer guy came up to me after and said I took too long drinking water at the water stations, loosing me distance. Good advice for next time 🙂

After the race I went to the communal showers in the sports centre. They were cold! Is this a Dutch thing as the other girls were not batting an eyelid and were a bit amused by my shrieking surprise?!

On the journey back I felt very nauseous, and was nearly sick on the metro and on the beautiful granite flooring of Rotterdam train station!. This was hunger as I only ate 1 jelly baby during the race. A big bowl of chips soon sorted it! Memo for next time: eat chips straight after race!

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

Angus Tait Hexhamshire Hobble, Allendale Town, 4th December

CM / 10.4 miles / 1243 feet

Velvet Strider


1John ButtersNorthumberland Fell RunnersMen Veteren 40-491:09:32
26Jason HardingMen Veteren 40-491:21:00
29Karen RobertsonNorthumberland Fell RunnersWomen Veteran 40-491:22:29
35Geoff DavisNorthumberland Fell RunnersMen Veteran 50-591:26:06
99Susan DavisNorthumberland Fell RunnersWomen Veteran 50-591:42:37
108Dougie NisbetMen Veteran 50-591:44:05
127Melanie HudsonWomen Senior1:51:20
147Diane HaroldWomen Veteran 40-492:20:20
148Joanne PorterWomen Veteran 40-492:20:21

153 finishers