Category Archives: GP-Mud

Mud

Wrekenton
Druridge Bay
Thornley Hall Farm
Herrington Park
Thornley Hall Farm
Alnwick

Harrier League, Thornley Hall Farm, Saturday, February 11, 2017

Joanne Patterson

Grand Prix Race. Mud King/Mud Queen Race.

Thornley Hall Farm – NEHL Cross Country

So the day had arrived.  I had been awake most of the night listening to the rain lashing off the windows and dreading the fact that I had to face my demons and have my second try at this NEHL fixture.  My first attempt at it (in fact, my first attempt at XC since I was at school) hadn’t gone great.  As is probably common knowledge by now, I got too carried away and had a nasty fall around 100m from the finish, and so didn’t get to cross the finish line.

I had arranged to travel to Thornley with Tamsin, she picked me up early and we agreed that we must be mad.  It rained the entire journey.  Pictures were being posted on Facebook of the mud and the conditions, which did nothing to calm the nerves and dread.

We arrived at the farm and it was immediately obvious that this was going to be tough.  Everywhere you looked there was mud.  Nowhere near as much grass as I remembered from the first time.

I hunted out the Striders tent and a few of us huddled inside to keep warm.  The tent filled up, the chattering and laughing started, and I didn’t feel quite as nervous.  Knowing that even you seasoned XC pros were dreading it just as much as me, really helped!  I popped out with Kerry and Catherine to cheer on the U11’s, so we could see future Strider Lewis Littlewood having a really good run.  Lots of U13s passed in the next race, minus one or both trainers in some cases – Christ.  I was going to lose my new trainers wasn’t I?  Another thing to worry about!  Shortly after that we headed back to the tent to take off our multiple layers of warm clothing ready for battle.  A few team photo’s (in the warmth of the tent) and we heard the call for the ladies to line up!

We all huddled together (with hardcore vest-wearing Lesley in the centre of the huddle) to try and keep warm, as the rain turned to sleet and we were told there was a 15 minute delay.

This soon passed, and the gun went off.  The first part of the race seems to pass in a blur.  Lots of fast ladies passing me, but I felt I was holding my own in my part of the pack.  Off the grass and through the biggest, icy cold puddle I have ever experienced – wow that was actually fun.  The first hill was slippy slidy mud – I tried to run up it the best way I could, but I don’t think you could describe it as running.  I hear cries of “I can’t do this” from other runners and I immediately feel in good company!  There was literally no avoiding any of the mud or puddles, and I just ended up embracing it, with my main worry being to stay upright.  It was horrible.  It was hard.  My feet were so heavy, the hail bounced off my face like someone had just thrown stones at me.  I can’t do this.  It’s too hard, it’s not for me.  I won’t make a difference – all the faster ladies are way ahead – they make the difference for us.  Not long after these thoughts, I see 2 purple vests holding up an injured Mandy.  Oh no somebody is hurt.  Oh no they’re some of our fast ladies.  She seems really hurt.  I should stop and help.  No Joanne, she has help, she will be ok.  But if I help, I won’t need to run anymore.  But we have potentially lost 3 ladies.  You need to run, you need to do all that you can for the team.  So I keep running.

Massive huge hill.  Jan Ellis has placed herself perfectly in the middle of the hill.  You can’t stop now, she will see you.  You can get up the hill.  I imagine Jon Ayres shouting at me about my arms, and I get up the hill with Jan’s support ringing in my ears.  Wow that was hard.  I think I am going to die – oh great, look here’s Phil and Di with a camera….I carry on steadily, always worrying about falling – I will look like such an idiot if I fall again.  My favourite part of the whole course, is the downhill bit which leads upto the hill next to all the tents – for some reason, I really like that hill.  I take at least 2 ladies with the men shouting support as I went.  I think I may have sworn halfway up, but I didn’t stop.  Crap.  I have to do that whole thing AGAIN?!  For all my mile times on my garmin were a lot slower, it felt like the second lap went so much faster.  I was back around to my favourite part again in no time, met by more male Strider support, plus some comment from Jon about my arms (supportive I’m sure).  I didn’t look over, I just put everything I had into that last hill and passed another 2 ladies (who I think promptly took their places back on the downhill but still…).  Running along that last bit to the finish seemed to take forever, but shout outs from the already finished ladies kept me going.  I have never felt anything like crossing that finish line and stopping my garmin (which for the first time ever I could not have cared less what the numbers were).  I did it.  I blooming did it.  And I wasn’t last!

Now, where are those brownies?

I never understood the love/hate thing that people have for XC until now.  I can’t wait for Alnwick.

men
posbibnamecatpackrace timeactual time
1401Dan Jenkin (DCH)MsenF43:5038:50
27551Scott WatsonMV50S47:0247:02
29546Phil RayMV35S47:0647:06
30556Stephen JacksonMsenF47:1242:12
38533Matt ClaydonMV40S47:3447:34
49521Jason HardingMV45M48:1045:40
85534Matthew ArcherMV35S49:3149:31
99536Michael LittlewoodMV40M49:5147:21
101500Danny LimMV35S49:5549:55
134507David GibsonMV45S50:5050:50
146520James GarlandMV40S51:2151:21
149514Gareth PritchardMV35F51:2746:27
216532Mark WarnerMV35M54:0351:33
239535Michael HughesMV45S55:0055:00
258525Jon AyresMV40S55:5155:51
265501Dave HalliganMV50S56:2356:23
284499Daniel MitchelMV35S57:5157:51
305549Richard HockinMV60S59:4659:46
331529Malcolm SygroveMV50S62:3962:39
341561Tim MatthewsMV50S63:4463:44
356528Lindsay RodgersMV45S66:0766:07
365544Peter HartMV35S69:0769:07
366504David BrowbankMV35S69:0969:09

369 finishers.

women
posbibnamecatpackrace timeactual time
1613Emma Holt (Morpeth Harriers & AC)FsenF31:1527:55
22416Olivia NealFsenM36:3234:52
48418Rachael BullockFsenM37:3835:58
56432Tasmin ImberFV40F37:4534:25
66419Rachelle MasonFV35S38:0338:03
91428Stephanie PiperFsenS39:0339:03
97391Juliet PercivalFV40M39:4338:03
118407Lesley CharmanFV40S40:4840:48
124433Victoria BrownFV35S41:1141:11
128415Nina MasonFV40S41:2841:28
141406Laura JenningsFsenS42:0642:06
146382Jan YoungFV60S42:3442:34
174434Victoria JacksonFV35S44:1944:19
2051120Joanne PattersonFsenS49:0549:05
235402Kerry BarnettFV40S55:5555:55
238401Kelly CollierFsenS57:3257:32

245 finishers.

 

Harrier League, Herrington Park, Saturday, January 7, 2017

UNITED WE STAND!

Photos courtesy of Tamsin Imber

Video courtesy of Aaron Gourley

Last Saturday’s Harrier League fixture at Herrington Park saw around 70+ Strider members in attendance. There were Strider men, women, young , old, fast, not so fast, new members, long servers, coaches and committee members all there wanting their club to do well and for everyone to have a brilliant day. It gladdened even the hardest heart to see it and it showed just what this club is all about. We Striders are able to come together no matter who we are, what we are or where we’re from and give our all in the service of the club. It was absolutely magnificent and all who were there should be incredibly proud!

The day itself was cloudy, mild and calm if a little damp and the tent and banner was soon up along with many more from our sister clubs. Some of these clubs have long histories stretching back to the nineteenth century such as Heaton Harriers; our next door neighbours for the day, while others are ‘new arrivals’ like Derwent Valley Trail Runners in only their second HL season. It was great to be among them all.

The Striders tent filled up quickly in anticipation of the senior women’s race. We had veterans such as Roz and Jan, welcome returners like Karen, Nina and Emma, fresh faced speedy Striders in Tamsin and Olivia, new devout converts such as Diane and Helen & tough campaigners like Mudwoman herself, Stef & Camilla. We also had one slightly apprehensive debutant, Carla, who quickly shed that apprehension and enjoyed her day to the utmost.

Although it was dry overhead the course was quite muddy in places with a couple of challenging hills and a long woodland section which contained a few obstacles for good measure. Not an easy course by any means. Nonetheless, well over 300 women lined up to do battle with purple vests well in evidence at the start particularly in the front rank of combatants.

Rachelle and Mudwoman were first to show followed by Lesley and they hurdled the fallen logs with eagerness and élan. Emma, on her long anticipated return to the Striders x/c fold, battled her way steadily from the medium pack to finish ahead of Rachelle & Mudwoman with another medium packer, Olivia, powering through at the end to finish as 4th counter. But what support they had from their team mates including the ever improving Helen, a determined Rachael, a committed Vics, a dogged Denise and many many more. No less than 30 Striderettes competed and they all ran their hearts out. But Harrier League is a savage and unforgiving arena, particularly the first division,  and with some of our regular ‘counters’ absent through injury or illness our women’s team finished 9th on the day and slipped to 8th for the season just above the relegation zone. We now have a fight on our hands that we’re determined to win!

As well as fielding 57 runners across the two main races Striders had numerous members there who came along to cheer their club mates and have an enjoyable day out. An injured Conrad gave his impression of the ‘Shipman Roar’, Anna, Katy & Allan cast their coaches’ eye over proceedings while Catherine S, Jan E, Stan, Jo P & Diane W all did their best to spur on the purple hoards. Many thanks to them!

One or two of our male runners were so far into the zone during their warm ups that they failed to hear the whistles and shouts that heralded the imminent start of the men’s race. Consequently they had a bit of catching up to do after the gun was fired! Fighting through that 500+ field on what was now a very muddy course couldn’t have been easy but Striders were fielding a very strong team. An absolutely magnificent run by Stephen, coming from the fast pack, saw him finish in 35th place overall and first Strider home. Scott too did his fare share of bursting through finishing second Strider and being closely followed by Matt A (his best X/C race thus far?!), Gibbo, Phil Ray and Jason (from the medium pack).

These guys also had some fantastic support from our other fast packers Gareth & Michael M plus Michael L, Mark & Jack from the medium pack. Pictures on social medium have also shown the grit and determination displayed by the rest of the magnificent team particularly David Browbank (retaining his shoes), Douglas Jardine (putting his body on the line in his debut race), young Emil (thrown in the deep end on his first outing) and Richard Hocking (beating over 150 younger men).

This was Striders best performance in the first division so far. All 6 counters finished in the top 80 places – an excellent display but, such is the quality of our opponents, our 6th place on the day still keeps us in 8th place for the season but with a 2 point cushion over the relegation zone and now just 2 points behind the 7th place club. Like the women we too have a battle on our hands and one that we are equally determined to win.

So we have just two fixtures to go and if any one who manages to read this far and hasn’t yet run this season, particularly those for whom we already have numbers, then I urge you to turn up at Thornley and Alnwick and run for your club. You really are missing out on a fantastic experience if you don’t!

Mudman

Ps I would like to give a special mention to Kerry and Denise for an act way above and beyond the call on duty –  the removal of all the goose poo from the Striders tent!

results

women

position bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 1786 Lorna Macdonald (Morpeth Harriers & AC) Fsen S 27:30 27:30
64 372 Emma Bain FV45 M 32:51 30:56
67 419 Rachelle Mason FV35 S 32:49 32:49
71 431 Susan Davis FV55 S 32:56 32:56
119 416 Olivia Neal Fsen M 33:51 31:56
135 418 Rachael Bullock Fsen M 34:01 32:06
141 407 Lesley Charman FV40 S 34:07 34:07
143 432 Tamsin Imber FV40 F 34:09 30:19
151 428 Stephanie Piper Fsen S 34:35 34:35
158 433 Victoria Brown FV35 S 34:44 34:44
169 379 Helen Thomas FV40 S 35:12 35:12
177 414 Marita Grimwood FV45 S 35:28 35:28
191 423 Roz Layton FV60 S 36:43 36:43
195 356 Camilla Lauren-Maatta FV50 S 36:38 36:38
196 384 Jenny Search FV40 S 36:40 36:40
200 369 Diane Harold FV40 S 36:53 36:53
204 382 Jan Young FV60 S 37:15 37:15
206 427 Stef Barlow FV40 S 37:11 37:11
218 415 Nina Mason FV40 S 37:44 37:44
221 350 Anita Clementson FV45 S 37:53 37:53
234 409 Louise Barrow Fsen S 38:28 38:28
246 385 Jill Rudkin FV40 S 38:51 38:51
247 434 Victoria Jackson FV35 S 38:52 38:52
261 389 Joanne Porter FV45 S 39:23 39:23
281 393 Karen Metters FV40 S 40:56 40:56
286 357 Carla Clarke FV35 S 41:45 41:45
296 360 Catherine Walker FV55 S 43:29 43:29
303 348 Aileen Scott FV45 S 44:10 44:10
315 421 Rebecca Dodd Fsen S 45:32 45:32
318 368 Denise Benvin FV45 S 45:51 45:51
321 402 Kerry Barnett FV40 S 46:03 46:03

341 finishers.

men

position bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 1786 Ian Harding (Morpeth Harriers & AC) Msen S 33:20 33:20
35 556 Stephen Jackson Msen F 39:36 34:16
56 551 Scott Watson MV50 S 40:28 40:28
60 534 Matthew Archer MV35 S 40:29 40:29
66 507 David Gibson MV45 S 40:37 40:37
74 546 Phil Ray MV35 S 40:51 40:51
80 521 Jason Harding MV45 M 40:59 38:19
97 536 Michael Littlewood MV40 M 41:25 38:45
122 520 James Garland MV40 S 41:56 41:56
132 533 Matt Claydon MV40 S 42:04 42:04
162 514 Gareth Pritchard MV35 F 42:27 37:07
165 540 Neil Sleeman MV40 S 42:29 42:29
227 1734 Michael Mason MV40 F 43:46 38:26
232 532 Mark Warner MV35 M 43:48 41:08
263 515 Geoff Davis MV55 S 44:24 44:24
288 519 Jack Lee Msen M 45:04 42:24
293 487 Aaron Gourley MV35 S 45:19 45:19
362 549 Richard Hockin MV60 S 47:30 47:30
412 529 Malcolm Sygrove MV50 S 49:30 49:30
445 492 Andrew Davies MV40 S 51:19 51:19
470 511 Douglas Jardine MV35 S 52:45 52:45
477 498 Craig Walker MV55 S 53:10 53:10
484 504 David Browbank MV35 S 53:37 53:37
487 510 Dougie Nisbet MV50 S 53:43 53:43
499 1749 Emil Maata Msen S 55:53 55:53
508 496 Chris Shearsmith MV35 S 57:32 57:32
511 555 Stephen Ellis MV60 S 58:21 58:21
518 545 Phil Owen MV50 S 59:36 59:36

531 finishers.

Harrier League, Thornley Hall Farm, Saturday, November 26, 2016

Velvet Strider

Grand Prix Race. Mud King/Mud Queen Race.

Results

u17 and u20 girls
pos bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 301 Isobel Chaudrey (Gateshead Harriers) FU17 M 19:13 18:08
3 280 Sally Hughes FU20 S 19:52 19:52

41 finishers.

women
pos bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 553 Alex Sneddon (Jarrow & Hebburn AC) Fsen F 29:13 25:53
30 432 Tasmin Imber FV40 M 31:57 30:17
57 417 Penny Browell FV40 F 33:06 29:46
65 413 Mandy Dawson FV45 M 33:15 31:35
74 411 Louise Warner FV35 M 33:36 31:56
78 380 Helen Tones FV40 M 33:43 32:03
81 419 Rachelle Mason FV35 S 33:45 33:45
85 431 Susan Davis FV55 S 33:55 33:55
99 428 Stephanie Piper Fsen S 34:08 34:08
105 391 Juliet Percival FV40 M 34:22 32:42
141 374 Fiona Jones FV35 S 35:26 35:26
158 425 Sarah Davies FV45 M 36:05 34:25
176 415 Nina Mason FV40 S 37:12 37:12
181 382 Jan Young FV60 S 37:24 37:24
183 369 Diane Harold FV40 S 37:28 37:28
212 351 Anja Fechtner FV35 S 38:47 38:47
214 408 Lesley Hamill FV40 S 38:50 38:50
229 434 Victoria Jackson FV35 S 39:28 39:28
241 389 Joanne Porter FV45 S 40:30 40:30
248 409 Louise Barrow Fsen S 40:40 40:40
249 359 Catherine Smith FV40 S 40:42 40:42
267 426 Stacey Brannan FV35 S 42:43 42:43
283 360 Catherine Walker FV55 S 45:03 45:03
290 402 Kerry Barnett FV40 S 46:01 46:01

302 finishers.

men
pos bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 1723 Sebastian Anthony (Loughborough) guest S 36:11 36:11
24 556 Stephen Jackson Msen F 40:25 35:25
61 521 Jason Harding MV45 M 41:47 39:17
87 514 Gareth Pritchard MV35 F 42:30 37:30
92 533 Matt Claydon MV40 S 42:35 42:35
94 540 Neil Sleeman MV40 S 42:36 42:36
103 536 Michael Littlewood MV40 M 42:46 40:16
113 507 David Gibson MV45 S 43:02 43:02
114 519 Jack Lee Msen M 43:02 40:32
163 546 Phil Ray MV35 S 44:15 44:15
171 516 Graeme Walton MV40 S 44:26 44:26
182 563 Tom Reeves MV50 S 44:35 44:35
204 500 Danny Lim MV35 S 45:07 45:07
208 534 Matthew Archer MV35 S 45:13 45:13
228 515 Geoff Davis MV55 S 45:46 45:46
240 487 Aaron Gourley MV35 S 45:57 45:57
261 535 Michael Hughes MV45 S 46:44 46:44
292 499 Daniel Mitchel MV35 S 48:34 48:34
307 549 Richard Hockin MV60 S 49:15 49:15
362 561 Tim Matthews MV50 S 51:59 51:59
395 492 Andrew Davies MV40 S 54:12 54:12
407 510 Dougie Nisbet MV50 S 55:21 55:21
412 498 Craig Walker MV55 S 56:23 56:23
433 545 Phil Owen MV50 S 60:49 60:49
437 544 Peter Hart MV35 S 61:42 61:42

450 finishers.

Sherman Cup & Davison Shield, Temple Park, Saturday, November 19, 2016

Mudman

Grand Prix Race. Mud King/Mud Queen Race.

If it’s Good Enough for an Olympian……

A bright, cold day saw 25 Striders compete over a gentle x/c course ideal for beginners. This one off cup fixture hosted by the HL tends to attract smaller fields than the league matches themselves but, without the usual pack system, we still saw a men’s field of 379 and a women’s of 286.

Thirteen Strider women lined up to do battle with two times Olympic 1500m finalist Laura Weightman. Louise managed to get closest to her followed by Sarah and Helen and these were our counters for the Women’s Vet team (we had no senior team as no u/35 Striders competed!) As ever though there was plenty of support for them from faces old and new such as Jenny Search running for the first time this season and Jan Young running her millionth x/c supported by daughter Nina, in the race itself, and grand-daughter Leigh on the sidelines. The team received some enthusiastic support from Strider children ringing bells and waving purple and silver wavy things. It was much appreciated.

As a warm up to next Saturday’s crucial league fixture at Thornley, a dozen Strider men chose to compete here today for their club and were rewarded with 13th place in the Vet Team competition. Michael led the team home followed by a determined and grimacing James. Phil Ray was our first non vet home but once again we didn’t have sufficient youngsters to make up a senior team. That didn’t stop Richard Hockin from finishing first v60 home though!

Another great x/c day out was had by all, and it was particularly pleasing to see certain children of Strider parents perform so well in their orange vests. Potential Olympians of the future sharing the stage with an Olympian of today. If x/c is good enough for them then it’s good enough for me too!

Results

men
position bib name cat race time
1 852 Carl Avery (Morpeth Harriers & AC Msen 29:10
82 536 Michael Littlewood MV40 36:09
112 520 James Garland MV40 37:21
172 546 Phil Ray MV35 39:31
215 515 Geoff Davis MV55 41:15
227 535 Michael Hughes MV45 41:33
234 497 Conrad White MV55 41:44
287 549 Richard Hockin MV60 43:46
315 561 Tim Matthews MV50 45:21
317 492 Andrew Davies MV40 45:23
357 496 Chris Shearsmith MV35 48:54
364 555 Stephen Ellis MV60 50:54

379 finishers.

women
position bib name cat race time
1 1172 Laura Weightman (Morpeth Harriers & AC) Fsen 21:29
49 411 Louise Warner FV35 28:00
81 425 Sarah Davies FV45 28:57
169 379 Helen Thomas FV40 31:47
172 384 Jenny Search FV40 31:55
177 369 Diane Harold FV40 32:07
179 356 Camilla Lauren-Maatta FV50 32:08
181 382 Jan Young FV60 32:19
190 415 Nina Mason FV40 32:38
206 434 Victoria Jackson FV35 33:17
215 351 Anja Fechtner FV35 33:44
254 389 Joanne Porter FV45 35:46
273 402 Kerry Barnett FV40 40:14
277 390 Joanne Richardson FV40 40:27

286 finishers.

Harrier League, Druridge Bay, Sunday, October 9, 2016

Grand Prix Race. Mud King/Mud Queen Race.

photo by Sarah Davies Photo by Satch Millen.

Results

men
position bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 331 Justina Heslop (Elswick Harriers) FV35 S 22:40 22:40
43 537 Michael Mason MV40 M 39:02 36:32
67 520 James Garland MV40 S 39:34 39:34
70 507 David Gibson MV45 S 39:43 39:43
80 556 Stephen Jackson Msen F 39:52 34:52
89 521 Jason Harding MV45 M 40:08 37:38
127 533 Matt Claydon MV40 S 40:46 40:46
156 563 Tom Reeves MV50 S 41:09 41:09
192 525 Jon Ayres MV40 S 41:33 41:33
224 560 Stuart Scott MV35 S 41:58 41:58
231 501 Dave Halligan MV50 S 42:05 42:05
248 519 Jack Lee Msen M 42:16 39:46
273 543 Paul Swinburne MV40 S 42:47 42:47
346 522 Jerry Lloyd MV45 M 44:23 41:53
360 535 Michael Hughes MV45 S 44:44 44:44
413 491 Alex Witty MV35 S 46:26 46:26
423 508 David Hinton Msen S 46:41 46:41
424 549 Richard Hockin MV60 S 46:46 46:46
433 531 Mark Payne MV35 S 46:58 46:58
493 561 Tim Matthews MV50 S 49:08 49:08
547 555 Stephen Ellis MV60 S 52:41 52:41
548 490 Alex Collins MV35 S 52:42 52:42
573 559 Steven Comby Msen S 59:11 59:11

331 finishers.

women
position bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 694 Stephanie Dann (North Shields Poly) FV40 S 26:42 26:42
22 417 Penny Browell FV40 M 29:43 28:03
63 428 Stephanie Piper Fsen S 30:49 30:49
65 432 Tasmin Imber FV40 M 30:51 29:11
71 419 Rachelle Mason FV35 S 30:58 30:58
93 433 Victoria Brown FV35 S 31:29 31:29
107 380 Helen Tones FV40 M 31:41 30:01
111 431 Susan Davis FV55 S 31:47 31:47
132 374 Fiona Jones FV35 S 32:10 32:10
141 391 Juliet Percival FV40 M 32:23 30:43
171 418 Rachael Bullock Fsen M 33:06 31:26
179 425 Sarah Davies FV45 M 33:11 31:31
185 1123 Nikki Malia FV40 S 33:15 33:15
208 379 Helen Thomas FV40 S 33:45 33:45
209 369 Diane Harold FV40 S 33:47 33:47
266 415 Nina Mason FV40 S 35:11 35:11
282 352 Anna Seeley Fsen S 35:44 35:44
288 382 Jan Young FV60 S 36:00 36:00
307 376 Fiona Wood FV35 S 36:34 36:34
313 359 Catherine Smith FV40 S 36:48 36:48
322 389 Joanne Porter FV45 S 37:26 37:26
352 348 Aileen Scott FV45 S 39:34 39:34
369 390 Joanne Richardson FV40 S 41:31 41:31

405 finishers.

Harrier League, Wrekenton, Saturday, October 1, 2016

Mudman

Grand Prix Race. Mud King/Mud Queen Race.

Handy Mandy Saves the Day!

Conrad shows how to play it cool. The new x/c season kicked off this year at Wrekenton with both Strider teams competing in their respective First Divisions. With a myriad of other distractions this weekend today was always going to be difficult for Striders’ x/c faithful. Nonetheless, some magnificent performances throughout the field, not least by the evergreen Mandy Dawson, saw the teams steer clear of their dreaded ‘drop zones’. Striders women finished 8th from 10 on the day while the men finished 7th from 10.

No less than 48 Striders gathered beneath the purple banner to resume, or begin, their love affair with cross country racing. Veterans of many previous campaigns, such as Roz, Jan Y & Conrad, were there rubbing shoulders with newcomers like Andrew Davies, Phil Ray, Kirsten Fenwick, Diane Harold and Faye Bell and trying to calm pre-race nerves. The weather was very ‘un-cross country like’ with sunny skies, mild temperatures, a gentle breeze – and a bone hard course! A perfect day to make one’s x/c debut.

Mandy back in great form. The women were first up and, after a disturbing absence of any of the ‘Sea of Purple’ with their toes on the start line, Mandy was first to the fore with a quick start from the slow pack melee. Rachelle and Lesley followed with Mudwomen herself keeping in close contact. But as always Striders were conspicuous throughout the 350 strong field where no less than 41 other clubs were represented. It was great to see come backs from Nina & Sue, gratifying that Camilla preferred her running to be ‘alcohol free’ and gladdening to see no less than 27 Striders giving their all for the greater glory of their club. Fresh faces and familiar faces were cheered to the echo by their club mates some of whom, like Simon, Karen, Phil and Mark, had come along just to watch.

The welcome return of Nina - a more vocal supporter you'd be hard to find! Mandy maintained her ‘lead’ to be first Strider home, & gaining promotion to the medium pack (again), while on the second lap Mudwoman came through strongly to pip Lesley while being closely pursued by Tamsin running from the medium pack. But there were some great performances throughout the field including Jean (2nd in age group), Jan Y (3rd in age group) and Roz (4th in age group)! Some great sprints for the line too – Jill and others. Well done everyone – particularly the debutants – x/c can be a ‘savage arena’ even for us ‘old lags’ and you may feel more exposed than in say a road race, but the rewards and sense of achievement are fantastic! Let those endorphins flow!

And so to the men’s race. The final event of the afternoon and a field of 532 competitors or 1,064 elbows! Striders’ first run out in the top division for more than 20 years – bring it on! A crowded start from the slow pack and a bottle neck at the first incline showed how important it is to find a position near the front of the field if such situations are to be avoided. No such problems for James Garland who had one of his best races of recent years and sped off to head the slow pack Striders. Michael and James. Only two of the clubs best athletes managed to overhaul James – Michael Mason first Strider home running from the medium pack and Stephen Jackson second Strider running from the fast pack. Incredible performances! James was followed in by debutant Phil Ray – rewarded by a strong performance in a tough race – then Jason flying through from the medium pack and Matt Claydon making a very welcome return to x/c. These guys were backed up by a further 15 Striders all of whom gave their all including Danny Lim (travelling up from Teesside), Daniel Mitchel (in his second season for Striders), veteran Richard Hockin with hair flying in the wind and webmaster Dougie just making it the start line after a very thorough warm up!

Well done to you all! We held our own first time out in the top flight so there’s much to be pleased about. But make no mistake we’re going to need a battalion of purple clad reinforcements if we’re going to hold out against the top clubs in the region. I know we can do it – so come on, let’s get cracking!

Results

men
position bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 407 James Askew (DCH) Msen S 31:34 31:34
55 537 Michael Mason MV40 M 37:00 34:30
77 556 Stephen Jackson Msen F 37:33 32:33
90 520 James Garland MV40 S 37:50 37:50
107 546 Phil Ray MV35 S 38:11 38:11
116 521 Jason Harding MV45 M 38:18 35:48
144 533 Matt Claydon MV40 S 38:47 38:47
149 507 David Gibson MV45 S 38:53 38:53
211 505 David Brown MV35 S 39:54 39:54
236 515 Geoff Davis MV55 S 40:22 40:22
255 500 Danny Lim MV35 S 40:40 40:40
260 501 Dave Halligan MV50 S 40:47 40:47
315 535 Michael Hughes MV45 S 42:31 42:31
318 499 Daniel Mitchel MV35 S 42:34 42:34
324 487 Aaron Gourley MV35 S 42:49 42:49
354 497 Conrad White MV55 S 43:35 43:35
394 549 Richard Hockin MV60 S 44:34 44:34
447 498 Craig Walker MV55 S 46:57 46:57
472 510 Dougie Nisbet MV50 S 48:29 48:29
478 504 David Browbank MV35 S 48:58 48:58
492 492 Andrew Davies MV40 S 49:51 49:51
498 555 Stephen Ellis MV60 S 50:51 50:51

532 finishers.

women
position bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 71 Chloe Price (Birtley AC) Fsen S 24:09 24:09
27 413 Mandy Dawson FV45 S 28:06 28:06
87 431 Susan Davis FV55 S 29:48 29:48
88 407 Lesley Charman FV40 S 29:49 29:49
92 432 Tamsin Imber FV40 M 29:53 27:53
103 411 Louise Warner FV35 M 30:08 28:08
106 419 Rachelle Mason FV35 S 30:10 30:10
128 433 Victoria Brown FV35 S 30:40 30:40
139 379 Helen Thomas FV40 S 30:56 30:56
166 425 Sarah Davies FV45 M 31:30 29:30
172 383 Jean Bradley FV60 S 31:37 31:37
183 369 Diane Harold FV40 S 31:56 31:56
185 356 Camilla Lauren-Maatta FV50 S 32:00 32:00
207 423 Roz Layton FV60 S 32:46 32:46
223 382 Jan Young FV60 S 33:15 33:15
228 385 Jill Rudkin FV40 S 33:25 33:25
229 427 Stef Barlow FV40 S 33:25 33:25
239 415 Nina Mason FV40 S 33:37 33:37
243 351 Anja Fechtner FV35 S 33:40 33:40
293 381 Jan Ellis FV50 S 36:12 36:12
301 403 Kirsten Fenwick Fsen S 36:41 36:41
306 422 Rebecca Talbot FV35 S 36:52 36:52
309 434 Victoria Jackson FV35 S 37:03 37:03
315 360 Catherine Walker FV55 S 37:40 37:40
316 348 Aileen Scott FV45 S 37:49 37:49
321 430 Sue Jennings FV50 S 38:22 38:22
329 421 Rebecca Dodd Fsen S 39:46 39:46
339 402 Kerry Barnett FV40 S 42:20 42:20
343 373 Faye Bell FV35 S 43:48 43:48

352 finishers.

Harrier League, Wrekenton, Saturday, March 19, 2016

Mudman

Grand Prix Race. Mud King/Mud Queen Race.  STRIDERS STORM TO SUCCESS!

Saturday’s final NEHL x/c race of 2015-16 saw Striders men’s team finish as Division 2 champions, after securing first place on the day, thereby achieving promotion to Division 1 for the first time in over twenty years! The Women’s team, already in their Division 1, also achieved their highest placing for the season of 4th on the day and 6th for the season as a whole – a solid performance that bodes well for next year. Well done to you all!

Over 120 Striders took part in HL this year and each one of them has contributed to the club’s success. They’ve done this not just by running their hearts out for Striders, but by creating a wonderfully friendly and inclusive atmosphere around the Striders’ banner whereby everyone feels part of the team, is happy to give their all when competing over what can be challenging terrain and want to come back for more.

‘They also serve who stand and cheer’ and this year we’ve had some marvellous vocal support from Striders and their families out on the course. On occasions the volume of support has been almost overwhelming although absolutely invaluable to those running in finding that extra yard of pace and determination to finish well. So thanks again to one and all, I know I haven’t been alone this season in feeling an enormous sense of pride in Striders and for what it stands.

The Women. And so to Saturday’s race. The weather was fairly benign – cloudy and cool, but with little wind and no rain, and a dry fortnight had left the undulating course in a fast and runable condition. The Senior Women were first up and a returning Helen Tones was soon near the front of the field pursued quietly by Juliet with Mandy and Steph P not far behind. And that’s how it finished as for once our medium and fast packers were unable to overhaul their slow pack club mates on the slightly shorter than normal course. Nonetheless Penny and Louise proved to be the fastest Striders on the day while Laura J ran well showing no ill effects from a very cold day at Alnwick. Jill Rudkin made her debut and displayed a very determined dash for the line and she was supported by a host of Striderettes enjoying the pleasant conditions underfoot. Among these were fellow debutant Rebecca Talbot, x/c enthusiast Catherine S, the evergreen and exuberant Jan, the regal Victoria and the bright but determined Jo R. Well done to all who ran – next season awaits with opportunities to do even better!

The rallying cry that had gone up around Striders in the preceding week was answered with gusto by no fewer than 32 senior men – one of the largest, and certainly our strongest, team in my seven seasons as x/c captain. The pre-race atmosphere was tense but optimistic as we gathered for a group photo. We knew if we finished in the top three teams we’d be promoted but, if we finished first on the day then we’d be champions – bring it on!

The Men. I felt a twinge of pride at the start as I looked around at war painted Striders both new to the club such as Jason, Andrews G&H, & Daniel and ‘old-timers’ like Keith, Mike B & Shaun the Sheep. I knew they were as determined as I was for Striders to get their ‘just reward’. Part way round the first of the three laps I allowed myself the luxury of glancing up at the front of the field where I saw two purple vests among the first ten or so runners. These vests belonged to Andrew Hopkins (making his HL debut) and Jason Harding (in his second HL race) and they maintained that position until the end finishing in 6th and 8th place overall respectively – fantastic and exactly what we needed! They were soon followed in by x/c convert Gareth having probably his best ever run in mud and qualifying for the fast pack next season! Michael M was next with a magnificent run just missing out on fast pack qual. Then came another Michael (Littlewood) and fastest Strider on the day Stephen both of whom had chosen, unselfishly, to run for their club on Saturday and their contributions proved to be invaluable.

As ever, our counters were supported by a host of Striders each fighting to finish ahead of as many of our rivals as they could possibly catch – and how they succeeded! Brave debuts came from Daniel and Richard G while there were fighting come backs from Danny and David G. There were battle royals between Striders such as that between Matt, Tom and James and magnificent medium pack surges from Mark & Jack. But I know everyone who ran tried their hearts out from the youngest to the oldest and the fastest to the slowest. I can’t tell you how proud I am of every single one of you. You are all part of this success and you all thoroughly deserve it – well done! The dark days of failing to field a full team and of relegation to Division 3 are now well behind us, we can look forward to competing in the ‘sunny uplands’ of Division 1 next season!

I hope you’ve managed to read this far because I’d also like to mention all those who came along to support on Saturday. The cheering from our purple clad spectators was very loud and inspiring not just from male / female clubmates who had, or who were about to run, but in particular from those who’d come along just to watch such as Chairman Paul, The Sage of Shincliffe (Allan S), Kate, Stan (taking photos), Conrad, Fiona K-J, Katy, Joan, Teresa & many Strider children – thanks to you all, your contributions were just as important as those who ran.

I’ll leave you with some inspiring words stolen from the Minnesotan Master:

And I, I don’t mind the pain
Don’t mind the driving rain
I know I will sustain
‘Cause I believe in Striders.

Mudman

Results

men
position bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 1939 Abraham Tewelde (Saltwell Harriers) Msen M 33:17 30:47
6 1919 Andrew Hopkins MV40 S 35:21 35:21
8 1924 Jason Harding MV45 S 35:50 35:50
40 509 Gareth Pritchard MV35 M 37:44 35:14
55 1346 Michael Mason MV40 M 37:57 35:27
90 1952 Michael Littlewood MV40 M 38:35 36:05
109 549 Stephen Jackson Msen F 38:54 33:54
141 1345 Mark Warner MV35 M 39:24 36:54
155 528 Matthew Archer Msen S 39:32 39:32
160 552 Tom Reeves MV45 S 39:36 39:36
162 514 James Garland MV40 S 39:36 39:36
168 513 Jack Lee Msen M 39:40 37:10
191 537 Paul Swinburne MV40 S 40:05 40:05
197 501 David Gibson MV45 S 40:11 40:11
215 499 David Brown MV35 S 40:37 40:37
221 520 Jon Ayres MV40 S 40:43 40:43
229 511 Graeme Walton MV40 S 40:53 40:53
247 496 Danny Lim MV35 S 41:10 41:10
268 530 Michael Hughes MV45 S 41:33 41:33
273 510 Geoff Davis MV55 S 41:38 41:38
285 1951 Aaron Gourley MV35 S 42:02 42:02
305 533 Mike Bennett MV60 S 42:57 42:57
333 1973 Daniel Mitchel MV35 S 44:06 44:06
354 1974 Keith Wesson MV60 S 45:12 45:12
355 545 Shaun Roberts MV55 S 45:14 45:14
367 522 Malcolm Sygrove MV45 S 45:53 45:53
394 541 Richard Stollery MV35 S 47:46 47:46
404 1921 Chris Shearsmith MV35 S 48:29 48:29
411 491 Ari Hodgson MU20 S 49:08 49:08
421 486 Alex Collins MV35 S 49:55 49:55
427 495 Craig Walker MV55 S 50:31 50:31
434 1972 Andrew Greener MV35 S 51:17 51:17
440 548 Stephen Ellis MV60 S 54:06 54:06

454 finishers.

women
position bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 1248 Beth Larby (Gosforth Harriers) Fsen S 26:08 26:08
14 387 Helen Tones FV40 S 28:40 28:40
21 403 Juliet Percival FV40 S 29:02 29:02
44 421 Mandy Dawson FV45 S 29:31 29:31
57 436 Stephanie Piper Fsen S 29:45 29:45
70 1207 Laura Jennings Fsen S 30:00 30:00
75 1231 Penny Browell FV40 F 30:09 26:09
94 418 Louise Warner FV35 M 30:27 28:27
115 429 Rachelle Mason FV35 S 30:51 30:51
140 366 Camilla Lauren-Maatta FV50 S 31:21 31:21
160 438 Susan Davis FV55 M 31:54 29:54
167 433 Sarah Davies FV45 M 32:06 30:06
194 397 Jill Rudkin FV35 S 33:18 33:18
197 435 Stef Barlow FV40 S 33:37 33:37
206 390 Jan Young FV60 S 34:07 34:07
207 361 Anita Clementson FV45 S 34:08 34:08
219 822 Karen Metters FV40 S 34:51 34:51
224 827 Victoria Jackson FV35 S 35:02 35:02
236 368 Catherine Smith FV35 S 35:53 35:53
246 389 Jan Ellis FV50 S 37:15 37:15
262 1247 Aileen Scott FV45 S 39:58 39:58
265 369 Catherine Walker FV55 S 41:18 41:18
266 431 Rebecca Talbot FV35 S 41:48 41:48
270 402 Joanne Richardson FV40 S 43:25 43:25

274 finishers.

Harrier League, Alnwick, Saturday, March 5, 2016

Mudman

 Grand Prix Race. Mud King/Mud Queen Race. STRIDERS ON THE BRINK!

After nearly a four month gap the Harrier League resumed on Saturday at the scenic Alnwick course. Overall attendance was slightly down, after a miserable day on Friday, but Striders still managed to put 43 runners into the field, along with many valued supporters, although this represents only 11% of the total club membership. Nonetheless, those 43 were all completely committed and determined to perform well for their club, whether they expected to finish at the sharp end, or the blunt end, of the field.

Caitlin planning for the sprint finish ahead. The Senior Women were first up and looking to improve on their 8th place in the league for the season thus far. Seventeen Strider women formed part of the 278 strong field. Juliet Percival was first to show for Striders from the slow pack, fresh from her Ultra running insanity, and closely followed by Steph P, a recent ‘x/c tourist4’ at both the Northern and National championships. Debutant Laura J wasn’t far behind them either, although the muddy conditions and cold temperatures were to take their toll on her.

Elaine finishing in 17th place and first Strider home. But Saturday saw some blistering performances from our medium and fast pack runners. Elaine Bisson in particular put in a fantastic performance to finish in 17th place, first Strider home and gaining promotion to the fast pack for the first time. A wonderful example of what can be achieved with determination and application – well done Elaine! Club vice-captain Penny was second Strider home running from the fast pack and showing her usual blistering pace and pride in the purple vest. Juliet’s hard won fitness was rewarded with third counter position and Tamsin completed the counters with perhaps her best ever x/c performance zooming round from the medium pack.

Fiona on her long awaited HL debut. As ever our counters were backed up by some resolute running from the Striderettes including Louise W and Mudwoman from the medium pack, Fiona W on her long awaited HL debut, Jan Y first in her age group, Rebecca D & Caitlin both with wonderful sprint finishes, a welcome return from Stef and valuable performances from everybody else. Well done and many thanks to you all – you’ve helped your club jump two places in the league (6th for the season, 5th on the day) and we’ve now every chance of a top half finish for the season. And who knows, next season our women could be adding to the three Harrier League Championship wins that the club already holds – something a club with 400 members can realistically aspire to!

Unless you’ve had your head buried in sand for the past few months you’ll know that Striders men’s team are in with a real chance of promotion to Division 1 this season. The determination to help achieve that goal was almost tangible in the tent on Saturday. From debutants Jason and Chris, through to old hands like Mike B and Conrad, the desire to perform well for the club was universal – and what a performance it was!

Jack Lee, fresh from a run over the snowy Lakeland fells, skated round the now muddy course, through the hail showers to finish in 24th place (in a field of 426), first Strider home and achieve his season’s goal of promotion to the medium pack. Well done Jack – a great personal achievement and a real Striders success story. Jack was followed in by an unsung hero of Striders, Jerry Lloyd, a man who achieves success quietly and without fanfare. Promotion to the medium pack again for Jerry – well done! The other counters were made up of Jason H, with a fantastic HL debut run, Michael Mason with a typically powerful run from the medium pack, likewise Gareth Pritchard straight off a night shift and Stephen J running from the fast pack and achieving the fastest time for a Strider – fantastic!

Jack on course to finish in 24th place.

The other twenty Strider men also served to fly the purple flag and come between runners from other clubs and higher finishing positions – a vital role in our success story. Michael L and Mark were running from the medium pack for the first time and both put in blistering performances, Paul Swinburne had his best HL run so far, Tom continues to improve, Richard H made a welcome return and Phil T was cocker hoop with his gutsy run. There’s so many more I could mention such as Alex C, Malcolm, Aaron, Captain Ayres, Mike x 2 and everyone else. They all dug deep for their club and their team. Times & PBs are of no consequence here, it’s where you finish that counts and whether you finished in front of as many runners from other clubs as you possibly could – and that’s what they all did, every single one of them and that’s why we finished first club in Division 2 on the day leaving us in second place for the season, just one point behind the leaders!

So, we’re on the brink of promotion to Division 1, somewhere we haven’t been for more than twenty years. The spirit in the team is as high as I can remember but we haven’t achieved it yet. We need one last effort at Wrekenton from as many Strider men as possible, whether they be seasoned x/c runners or novices, the club needs you all if we are to clear that final hurdle!

Results

men
position bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 1939 Abraham Tewelde (Saltwell Harriers) Msen S 37:33 37:33
24 513 Jack Lee Msen S 43:37 43:37
41 516 Jerry Lloyd MV45 S 44:39 44:39
45 1924 Jason Harding MV45 S 44:47 44:47
61 1346 Michael Mason MV40 M 45:14 42:44
74 509 Gareth Pritchard MV35 M 45:47 43:17
85 549 Stephen Jackson Msen F 46:03 41:03
102 1952 Michael Littlewood MV40 M 46:24 43:54
125 1345 Mark Warner MV35 M 47:17 44:47
143 537 Paul Swinburne MV40 S 47:34 47:34
165 552 Tom Reeves MV45 S 47:55 47:55
202 1951 Aaron Gourley MV35 S 48:56 48:56
203 520 Jon Ayres MV40 S 49:05 49:05
221 530 Michael Hughes MV45 S 49:40 49:40
242 510 Geoff Davis MV55 S 50:25 50:25
285 533 Mike Bennett MV60 S 52:20 52:20
289 493 Conrad White MV55 S 52:27 52:27
317 488 Andrew Rayner Msen S 53:42 53:42
344 522 Malcolm Sygrove MV45 S 55:50 55:50
370 551 Tim Matthews MV50 S 57:45 57:45
374 519 John Hutchinson MV55 S 58:05 58:05
384 540 Richard Hockin MV60 S 58:51 58:51
395 486 Alex Collins MV35 S 60:27 60:27
404 1921 Chris Shearsmith MV35 S 62:40 62:40
417 548 Stephen Ellis MV60 S 68:54 68:54
423 1828 Phil Todd MV45 S 77:15 77:15

426 finishers.

women
position bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 1239 Helen Warburton (Gosforth Harriers) Fsen S 29:53 29:53
17 378 Elaine Bisson FV35 M 33:51 31:51
36 1231 Penny Browell FV40 F 34:31 30:31
50 403 Juliet Percival FV40 S 34:49 34:49
60 439 Tasmin Imber FV35 M 35:08 33:08
72 418 Louise Warner FV35 M 35:24 33:24
80 436 Stephanie Piper Fsen S 35:43 35:43
146 438 Susan Davis FV55 M 37:45 35:45
170 366 Camilla Lauren-Maatta FV50 S 39:02 39:02
182 435 Stef Barlow FV40 S 39:32 39:32
191 1207 Laura Jennings Fsen S 40:10 40:10
197 361 Anita Clementson FV45 S 40:22 40:22
209 390 Jan Young FV60 S 41:14 41:14
227 1206 Fiona Wood FV35 S 42:31 42:31
234 368 Catherine Smith FV35 S 42:59 42:59
237 430 Rebecca Devine Fsen S 43:12 43:12
262 389 Jan Ellis FV50 S 46:07 46:07
264 365 Caitlin Mooney Fsen S 46:37 46:37

278 finishers.

Harrier League, Druridge Bay, Saturday, November 28, 2015

Mudman

Grand Prix Race. Mud King/Mud Queen Race. Mud, Wind and Rain – Again!

The Harrier League road show moved on to Druridge Bay for the first time on Saturday. Mudwoman and I arrived in good time, with the Striders tent and flag, only to see another club’s tent (identical to ours) flattened by the strong gusty wind. Flags and tents were flapping and leaning alarmingly as we unpacked our faithful shelter. With careful planning and speedy execution the thing was up in quick time without (major) incident and ready for the arrival of the Striders bus.

Cold Wet Muddy

The course was situated within the Druridge Bay nature reserve just behind the coastal dunes. With undulations rather than hills it promised to favour the speedy road runners – if it hadn’t been for the copious amounts of mud, a wind that was gathering in strength and heavy showers that were rattling through every few minutes. A surprisingly large field, given that Aykley Heads was just a week before, and a Strider turnout of 42 runners promised a competitive race and that’s just what we saw in both the Senior Women’s and Senior Men’s races.

The Hair has itOlivia Neal running for Striders for the first time (but as a non-counter while her ‘transfer’ goes through) had a brilliant run being first Strider home in 18th place and achieving promotion to the medium pack. Well done Olivia! I’m sure this will be the first of many great achievements in the purple vest! Not far behind Olivia was the experienced Sarah Davies battling through the tough conditions to also achieve medium pack status for the first time. Sarah was followed by the even more experienced Mandy who’s been competing in x/c since she first broke into a run as a toddler. The counters were completed by Elaine Bisson running from the medium pack (excellent!) and our international veteran x/c runner Fiona Shenton – a role model for the younger women (and men) in the club.

Elaine on form. These front running Striderettes were supported as ever by the ‘sea of purple’ putting in some brilliant performances such as Rachelle Mason showing great promise, Lucy Cowton a welcome return and brimming over with enthusiasm, Diane Watson – straight back on board at the earliest opportunity, Jan Ellis showing grit and determination and Jennifer Cowen on her HL debut bravely fighting through the challenging conditions. Well done to you all! An eighth place finish on the day and likewise for the season so far but things are very close and the Striderettes are just one point behind the fifth placed club – so come on, we know you can power up that league table during the second half of the season!

Old Tom The course was at its muddiest for the men’s race but this didn’t put anyone off! Least of all Simon Gardner who had the x/c race of his life leading the team home and qualifying for the medium pack for the first time. Well done Simon! Rumour has it you were even heard to say you ‘enjoyed it’. Just a few seconds behind Simon was Mark Warner – Striders’ ‘Flying Dentist’ who in just his second HL also achieved medium pack status – brilliant! Third counter was the impressive Michael Mason, also running in just his second HL for Striders, Michael just missed emulating Penny’s achievement of last season, of going from slow pack to medium to fast in successive races, by six seconds – an incredible run. The counters were completed by the ever improving Jack Lee and Matt Archer and finally by ‘Old Tom’ – no not a real ale but a tough, determined & committed runner – well done the lot o’ya!

Adam enjoying himself way too much!Just as in the women’s race the counters were supported by a team to make the club justly proud including Stephen running from the fast pack (and 500m further than the rest of the field!), Shaun the Sheep back in the fold (pun intended) on a regular basis now, John Hutch – part of the Striders’ furniture grafting once more through the mud, Adam Bent – seeming to enjoy his running far too much, Dave Spence – a very respectable performance from Striders’ ‘senior’ man and Stephen Ellis making it a family day out. Many thanks to you all and well done! The men’s team put in a brilliant performance to finish in third place on the day and an incredible third place for the season so far – just one point behind the second place club and just two behind the leader! This is our best start to the season for many a long year. Wouldn’t it be great if we were one of the two clubs to be promoted to Division 1 in this our 30th anniversary year?! It’s in our own hands – we need our runners to commit to turning out for the final three fixtures and running their hearts out – come on, let’s go to it!

Tentus Destructus

… Dave Spence

Dave Mud, Mud glorious mud nothing quite like it for …

Saturday 28th Nov dawns dry. But the weather forecast suggests rain and strong wind but maybe not in the sliver of Northumberland where Druridge Bay lies. This was to be my second ever cross country.

But with a confident step I made my way to the bus pick up.

The weather seemed to be holding up as we arrived at Druridge Bay and made (plodged) our way to the tent encampment. Things were not looking good with people in purple fighting to erect a tent which wanted to fly across the North Sea to Scandinavia. In the end defeat was acknowledged and the prospect of changing in the now near gale winds and rain in the open looked likely. But behold it wasn’t the Strider tent. This had been erected earlier by our two tent professionals Susan and Geoff next to this errant one. Phew!!!

So with as many clothes on as possible and the women huddled in the tent we waited the start of the senior races.

Having cheered on the women’s competitors and taking note of the reports they reported back from the front of the mud and warm running conditions we reported to the start and after a rather chaotic beginning settled into the race. Having started near the back I made forward progress by sliding, squelching, sinking, splodging, slurping through the many stretches of muddy gloop. But I managed to pass a number who were even slower than me. Then on the last lap I saw Adam Bent ahead of me and to my surprise I was closing on him. As I got up to him I cheekily suggested we should finish together but somehow he found something extra and I couldn’t so I watched him disappear ahead of me. Maybe next time.

I did however pick up my pace in the finishing straight with a rare burst of speed ( well humour never goes amiss) when voices told me another Strider was after me. Oh stupid pride thou willst be the death of me!!

Mud, mud, glorious mud ...Then it was back to the bosom of the tent, cake of all descriptions and changing on a wet field. I declined changing in the tent since there was a danger in my exhausted state of falling over and drowning in the lake inside the tent. Back to the bus with a well prepared driver already with clean plastic bags to put our shoes in and a relaxed drive home.

So did I enjoy the race? I must admit enjoyment is not a word I would use but I am glad I did it and now roll on the Town Moor. But after that I must remember not to put my smartphone in my rucksack and then put the rucksack and phone in the washing machine. Did I mention it was an expensive experience?

Mud, mud, vain glorious mud …

Results

Men
position bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 825 Graeme Taylor (Morpeth Harriers) Msen S 35:15 35:15
19 546 Simon Gardner MV45 S 40:50 40:50
21 1345 Mark Warner MV35 S 40:56 40:56
64 1346 Michael Mason MV40 M 42:18 39:48
94 513 Jack Lee Msen S 42:43 42:43
154 528 Matthew Archer Msen S 43:48 43:48
192 552 Tom Reeves MV45 S 44:32 44:32
234 549 Stephen Jackson Msen F 45:19 40:19
324 533 Mike Bennett MV60 S 47:24 47:24
340 1882 Steve Lindsay MV55 S 47:54 47:54
386 545 Shaun Roberts MV55 S 49:22 49:22
444 519 John Hutchinson MV55 S 51:52 51:52
464 539 Richard Hall MV55 S 52:55 52:55
468 484 Adam Bent MV60 S 53:24 53:24
472 505 David Spence MV65 S 53:50 53:50
473 1880 Peter Hart MV35 S 53:50 53:50
485 506 Dougie Nisbet MV50 S 55:08 55:08
498 486 Alex Collins MV35 S 56:44 56:44
520 508 Gareth Cardus MV35 S 60:18 60:18
524 548 Stephen Ellis MV60 S 62:06 62:06

537 finishers.

Women
position bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 331 Justina Heslop (Elswick Harriers) FV35 S 22:40 22:40
18 1172 Olivia Neal n/c S 28:15 28:15
32 433 Sarah Davies FV45 S 28:42 28:42
43 421 Mandy Dawson FV45 S 29:04 29:04
64 378 Elaine Bisson FV35 M 29:28 27:28
74 381 Fiona Shenton FV55 S 29:30 29:30
79 426 Penny Browell FV40 F 29:42 25:42
106 374 Debra Goddard FV40 S 30:09 30:09
112 429 Rachelle Mason FV35 S 30:17 30:17
138 419 Lucy Cowton Fsen S 30:40 30:40
139 418 Louise Warner FV35 M 30:40 28:40
153 436 Stephanie Piper Fsen S 30:57 30:57
164 438 Susan Davis FV55 M 31:17 29:17
186 427 Rachael Bullock Fsen F 31:51 27:51
198 390 Jan Young FV60 S 31:58 31:58
209 380 Fiona Jones FV35 M 32:11 30:11
248 361 Anita Clementson FV45 S 33:48 33:48
258 393 Jean Bradley FV55 S 34:19 34:19
276 368 Catherine Smith FV35 S 35:28 35:28
288 385 Helen Hall FV45 S 36:08 36:08
295 377 Diane Watson FV50 S 36:37 36:37
319 389 Jan Ellis FV50 S 39:56 39:56
323 395 Jennifer Cowen Fsen S 41:11 41:11
325 410 Kelly Collier Fsen S 41:37 41:37

331 finishers.

Harrier League, Tanfield, Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mudman

Grand Prix Race. Mud King/Mud Queen Race.  The Debutants Ball!

Penny, literally powering through.The grand opening of this season’s Harrier League saw Striders field no less than 17 fresh faced debutants out of the 52 Striders who competed – that must be a record! The weather gods smiled on our newbies providing a mild, calm & dry day for them to get to grips with cross country for the first time. The fields around Tanfield were choka with club tents & flags making it look like a medieval battle was about to take place (if you ignored all the cars!) and when the cavalry charge of the 300+ senior women’s field set off at 1.15pm that’s exactly what it resembled!

Rebecca dragging her dodgy knee through the water feature. Louise and Katy were first to show in the ‘fight’ hotly pursued by Sarah, Steph, Debs and a host of others. With Penny powering through from the fast pack to finish as fourth counter (behind Louise, Katy (both promoted to the medium pack!) & Sarah) the women’s team finished 6th on the day to get the club off to a solid start.

But that was only part of the story; there were some fantastically brave and gutsy performances from all the ten debutants and the other Striderettes behind them. Joan Reeves impressed on her long (very long) awaited debut together with Caitlin Mooney (more confident after running the tough Aykley Heads course on Wednesday), Joanne Parkinson (watched by a proud daughter), Rebecca Devine (nursing a dodgy ankle), Marita Grimwood (tough and determined behind her demure exterior), Jenny Search (striding impressively), Jan Ellis (joining the rest of her family in the mud), Helen Thomas (wearing the purple with pride), Clare Metcalfe (battling with so many experienced runners) & Catherine Elliott (with an impressive finishing position for ‘first time out’).

Please be aware all debutants that Mudwoman and I are very proud of you and grateful to you for joining us in what can be a tough and, at times, unforgiving arena and for wearing your Strider vests (the colours of the Suffragette movement) with pride! Well done to you all.

Alan and Stephen Well, after that emotional rollercoaster it was the men’s turn to run on what was a fairly dry course, apart from the wide water ‘jump’, a few ‘undulations’ rather than mega steep hills (they will come later in the season!) and a thick grassy surface. Dr Paul was first to show, in spite of his flu symptoms, only to be overhauled by a ‘canny’ Simon and an outstanding Stephen (finishing in 25th place, first Strider home and qualifying for the fast pack – as the kids say: “awesome”!). Other counters included Matt Archer (achieving what we know he can do), Jack Lee (perhaps the most impressive Strider debut of the day & after being given a gruelling workout by young Erin (Jo Richardson’s daughter) at Aykley Heads on Wednesday) & the ‘ever green’ James Garland. A seventh place finish for the team on the day which is solid enough but I know we can improve as the season progresses.

Ari climbing away from the Water Jump. These ‘brave boys’ were supported by numerous other outstanding performances including Rob (making his fast pack debut and looking as good as ever), Chairman Tom & Shaun the Sheep (both making welcome returns after long layoffs due to ‘knee problems’) & Alan Smith (returning after being told what we all dread hearing: “you’ll never run again”) – well done the lot o’ ya! And then there were the other six debutants: Adam Bent (going from water polo to a water jump and loving every bit of it), Andrew Rayner (looking like there’s plenty more performances to come); Alex Collins (toughing it out all the way round); David Case (enjoying that water jump); Tim Matthews (another triathlete seeing mud as the way to go) and Richard Stollery (finishing ahead of many experienced rivals). Great performances all round and a wonderful reflection on our expanding club that so many newbies want to give x/c a try and see for themselves what all the fuss is about – you are very welcome!

until next time. A final word for all the Striders unable to run but happy to come along, watch the races, cheer their club mates, take photos and eat cake! Thanks for coming and I hope you all enjoyed your day. A further final, final word – Mudman and Mudwoman are unable to attend the next fixture (The Sherman Cup, South Shields, 10th October) but we’ll leave the tent, flag, race numbers etc in save hands – we’re sure you’ll be fine although we’ll be thinking (and worrying) about you.

Results

men
position bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 1555 Michael Edwards (Sunderland Harriers) Msen S 38:15 38:15
25 549 Stephen Jackson Msen M 40:31 38:01
68 546 Simon Gardner MV45 S 42:25 42:25
99 535 Paul Evans MV35 S 43:18 43:18
147 528 Matthew Archer Msen S 44:19 44:19
159 513 Jack Lee Msen S 44:25 44:25
188 514 James Garland MV40 S 45:00 45:00
273 542 Rob Everson Msen F 46:36 41:36
277 552 Tom Reeves MV45 S 46:42 46:42
301 497 Dave Halligan MV50 S 47:18 47:18
314 483 Aaron Gourley MV35 S 47:38 47:38
320 488 Andrew Rayner Msen S 47:53 47:53
362 530 Michael Hughes MV45 S 48:55 48:55
404 541 Richard Stollery MV35 S 50:00 50:00
412 545 Shaun Roberts MV55 S 50:27 50:27
471 495 Craig Walker MV55 S 52:33 52:33
510 551 Tim Matthews MV50 S 54:26 54:26
518 484 Adam Bent MV60 S 55:10 55:10
527 486 Alex Collins MV35 S 55:55 55:55
542 491 Ari Hodgson MU20 S 57:34 57:34
547 506 Dougie Nisbet MV50 S 58:20 58:20
548 521 Lindsay Rodgers MV45 S 58:25 58:25
555 500 David Case Msen S 58:44 58:44
560 485 Alan Smith MV65 S 59:16 59:16
575 548 Stephen Ellis MV60 S 61:12 61:12
580 508 Gareth Cardus MV35 S 63:46 63:46

590 finishers.

Women
position bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 1094 Joasia Zakrzewski (Dumfries RC) guest S 26:31 26:31
30 418 Louise Warner FV35 S 32:12 32:12
31 408 Katy Walton Fsen S 32:16 32:16
42 433 Sarah Davies FV45 S 32:51 32:51
63 426 Penny Browell FV40 F 33:23 29:23
101 436 Stephanie Piper Fsen S 34:10 34:10
113 374 Debra Goddard FV40 S 34:28 34:28
129 367 Catherine Elliott FV35 S 35:04 35:04
140 438 Susan Davis FV55 M 35:22 33:22
171 390 Jan Young FV60 S 36:07 36:07
175 422 Marita Grimwood FV40 S 36:12 36:12
190 399 Joan Hanson FV45 S 36:46 36:46
192 435 Stef Barlow FV40 S 36:49 36:49
193 393 Jean Bradley FV55 S 36:51 36:51
206 396 Jenny Search FV35 S 37:12 37:12
261 388 Helen Williams FV40 S 38:48 38:48
273 406 Kate MacPherson FV40 S 39:09 39:09
297 386 Helen Thomas FV40 S 40:44 40:44
301 375 Denise Benvin FV45 S 40:54 40:54
308 818 Claire-Louise Wells FV35 S 41:24 41:24
317 369 Catherine Walker FV55 S 41:40 41:40
320 377 Diane Watson FV50 S 41:52 41:52
330 372 Clare Metcalfe Fsen S 42:35 42:35
342 402 Joanne Richardson FV40 S 43:55 43:55
346 373 Debbie Mcfarland Fsen S 44:18 44:18
350 389 Jan Ellis FV50 S 45:01 45:01
358 400 Joanne Parkinson FV40 S 45:42 45:42
362 430 Rebecca Devine Fsen S 46:00 46:00
364 365 Caitlin Mooney Fsen S 46:14 46:14
365 410 Kelly Collier Fsen S 46:18 46:18

388 finishers.