Blyth Sands 5 mile race, Sunday, December 1, 2019

Jan Young

A Day of Sun, Sea, Sand & SECONDS

One hundred and seventy seven runners helped this race celebrate its 60th birthday. The event organised by Blyth Running Club, is an age handicap, oldest off first, which makes for lots of getting caught. We climbed three groynes twice, ducked under a drainage pipe twice, avoided dogs, but couldn’t avoid wet feet in calf deep water channels.

Fiona, Nina & I returned to this race after absences of too long, Conrad is a regular, Tim chose it over the Hobble and Katy made a last minute decision to run, after Dalton Park cancelled.

All agreed it needs to return to Striders’ sprint GP. It was included in the 1990s & so popular, we booked buses.

Female Striders all placed SECOND in their respective age cats.

Inexpensive £6/8, possible entry on day, never cancelled, first three mixed teams & first back in each five year age cat awarded Start Fitness vouchers, all offered SECONDS of tea, mince pies and sherry. Recipe for success.

Results
13th Conrad White 37.15
23rd Nina Mason 39.53
24th Fiona Shenton 43.57
36th Katy Walton 39.29
73rd Jan Young 49.55
140th Tim Matthews 47.32

Full results (PDF)

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Whinlatter Forest parkrun, Saturday, November 30, 2019

Jill Young

Being a self confessed parkrun addict there was no fear that a weekend away would not include a parkrun. After a friend visited Whinlatter Forest and relayed its breath taking views to us, it was top of the list for Saturday morning.

We awoke to a beautiful glittering frost, and as any parkrunner knows this means a quick check of the Facebook page to ensure the event is on! Dressed and barcodes at the ready we headed into the forest…

Met by many lovely fellow parkrunners all eager / apprehensive about what awaits, we gathered for the race briefing. A massive shout out to today’s RD Sonia doing her 100th volunteer stint today! After covering all the safety aspects, welcoming all the visitors and a round of applause to the amazing volunteers we were off!

So earlier I mentioned breath taking views! What my friend failed to mention was these are not the only things that take your breath away on this run! Hills (they are our friend), they are famous here at Whinlatter Forest! Officially the UK’s hilliest parkrun but also the most beautiful!

Today was definitely a parkrun first for me and Whinlatter, for that matter, by the presence of a dinosaur! NEVER did I imagine that parkrun would turn into a scene from Jurassic Park! The chirps of all the fellow runners pushing on and looking between the trees to not be beaten or chased down by a dinosaur!! Thankfully we managed to escape the clutches of the T -Rex and thunder down the hill to the finish.

Image courtesy of Whinlatter Forest parkrun

Met by the lovely RD and her team of amazing finish line helpers we had the obligatory selfie in the frame and picture with the parkrun sign (if you don’t do this as a tourist you didn’t attend)!

Refuelling in the on-site cafe we met some other lovely visitors from Druridge Bay,  Scunthorpe and Derbyshire.

Thank you making us so welcome, we would welcome you all to our lovely (FLAT) course any time!

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Kendal Mountain Festival 10k Trail Race, Saturday, November 16, 2019

10k

Richard Hockin

I’ve been to the Kendal Mountain Festival a few times over the years and always been inspired by the programme of storytelling, films and other presentations. So when I lined up with over 600 other runners on a cold but sunny morning at the start of the festival’s 10k trail race I felt confident in my ability to tackle a challenging course.

We ascended almost continuously over the first two miles, heading out from the centre of Kendal in a south-westerly direction over the substantial rocky limestone escarpment of Helsington Barrows. We then turned north along Scout Scar with the exquisite Lyth Valley down below us to the west, and a panorama of Lake District fells in front of us. The conditions were much easier now, on gentler gradients and short turf, and it didn’t seem long before we turned eastwards towards Kendal with the Howgill and Barbon Fells coming into view beyond. Just to add to the variety of underfoot conditions the final mile of the route included some muddy downhill slopes and back streets with many steep steps, before finishing in the town centre.

How did I feel at the end of the race? Pretty good really – I’d prepared mentally for the first two uphill miles, and once that section was over it was just a case of keeping a rhythm going and concentrating as best I could on running technique.

An exhilarating experience, setting me up nicely for the rest of the festival to enjoy some more stories of exploration and endurance.

Richard and Chief Support Crew
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A Beginners Guide to Elvet Striders Track Sessions

Tamsin Imber & Allan Seheult with contributions from Lesley Charman, Katy Walton and Fiona Jones

Our club track sessions are for ALL abilities. While track sessions may seem intimidating if you have never done them before, once you take the plunge you will see that they are fun, extremely beneficial and certainly not intimidating. You may be nervous about not understanding the session, or being slower than other people. This guide to the basics of track sessions will allay your fears.

What is a track session?

A track session is a running fitness session which takes place on the track [see Appendix]. The track sessions run by the Elvet Striders are led by club coaches, although are also completely possible to do on your own.

Each track session is in three parts: a warm-up, the main session and the cool down. All track sessions begin with a warm-up. The warm-up is really important to prepare the body’s muscles for the hard work to follow and to reduce the risk of injury. This usually involves some easy running, by dynamic mobility exercises and strides. The easy running may be a few social laps of the track. Dynamic mobility exercises are exercises which raise the heart rate and which get the muscles firing. Some examples include ‘fast feet’, walking lunges, skipping, side-steps, bum kicks, shallow squats, ‘windmill’ arms. These exercises are dynamic to prevent the muscles from being over-stretched before they are warm enough. They focus on the main groups of muscles used in running. Strides are running fast for very short distances. For example, the coach might ask you to run 2 laps of the track where you jog the bends and run fast on the straights. The aim of this is to slowly raise your heart rate to that which you will use during the main session.

The main track session follows. The main session involves a series of intervals and recoveries. Intervals are when you run harder at a specified pace (to be explained), and recoveries are when you recover from running harder. For example, you might do 6 repetitions of 3 minutes hard running with 2-minute recoveries. That would mean that you are doing 18 minutes of harder running in total. In the recoveries you would run at a much slower pace, either jogging or walking or some combination of the two. The aim is to keep an even pace throughout the session in both the intervals and the recoveries, i.e., you should cover the same distance in each interval. Whatever you decide to do in the recoveries (jog or walk) you should aim to do the same each time.

There are different paces which you might be asked to run the intervals in. These include threshold pace, interval pace and repetition pace. These paces are determined by your current fitness level and can be calculated using for example a parkrun PB, or 5K PB or 10K PB, using either the calculator in http://www.attackpoint.org/trainingpaces.jsp or a simple calculator provided in the session notes circulated in both email and FaceBook communications. If you prefer to run by effort and feel, no problem, just leave your sports watch at home. The following table indicates how running effort can be graded on a scale of 1 to 10. You should aim to run at the same effort in each interval and in each recovery. 

Rating of perceived exertionActivity Level
1Resting – no exertion
2Minimal activity – barest exertion
3Light activity – comfortable, slight difficulty breathing
4Light activity – comfortable speaking, breaking a sweat
5Moderate activity-speaking is easy, light sweating.
6Moderate activity-able to speak, moderate sweating
7Hard activity-difficulty speaking, heavy sweating
8Hard activity-Unable to speak, difficulty breathing
9Very hard activity
10Maximal exertion-cannot push any further

The main session is followed by a cool down. This is where the body is brought back gradually to its pre exercise state, reducing heart rate, body temperature and breaking down of any build-up of lactic acid from the session (this is thought to be one of the contributing factors to Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). The cool down may begin with some easy running or walking, which may be joined on to the end of the main session. This is followed by static stretches to bring the muscles back to their pre-exercise length as when you exercise muscles by contraction, they tighten/shorten. Repeating the stretches later or using a foam roller later also helps. Examples of static stretches include deep squats, hamstring stretches, glute stretches and quad stretches.

Club track sessions are calibrated by time. By this, I mean a coach will time the intervals and recoveries with a watch and blow a whistle—one blast meaning start hard running and two blasts meaning start of recovery; and usually 3-5 blasts signalling the end of the session. Thus, regardless of ability, everyone starts and finishes every interval and recovery at the same time—in true Elvet Strider tradition, “no one gets left behind”.

Track sessions can be done equally well by distance., especially if you are doing a track session on your own or with a few friends you could use sports watches if you are running by time, or use the distance markers round the track if you are running by distance. 

Why do track sessions?

Regular track sessions can improve your speed and endurance. This takes time but does happen. Improvement can be measured using time trials or by comparing over several weeks your parkrun times on the same parkrun route, preferably under similar conditions.

Track sessions enable you to learn how to pace yourself (run with even effort/speed over time). This is useful training for racing where setting off too fast could mean a weak finish or hitting a wall before the finish. (Note that in a marathon, owing to the distance, hitting a wall is unavoidable due to human physiology, however if you pace yourself well then this wall creeps up later and more gently rather than earlier and suddenly).

Track sessions are very time efficient in terms of training. The whole session may last only 45 minutes.

A key benefit of track is you can run freely without interruption, focussing fully on your running and running form. There is no uneven ground, pavement curbs or pedestrians and road crossings to look out for.

Track sessions are sociable. You get to meet lots of people running in circles. If you are nervous you could pal up with someone of similar ability and run together. You can also run with people of similar speed to help push each other. 

I am not a fast runner—is track for me?

Track is for all. Track is for beginners to elite runners. Track can help road, trail, fell running and triathlon to maintain and improve fitness. 

The wonderful thing about running in circles is no-body knows where anyone is as it all gets a bit mixed up with everyone running at different speeds. So, don’t worry if you think you might be slower than everyone else as no-one can tell. In fact, running in a circle you can always assume everyone is behind you! 

Also, be mindful that speed is not only a function of fitness. Speed is also dependent on age, number of hours a week you work, number of hours you devote to running, and family considerations. Speed is adversely affected by lack of sleep, stress and by how much else you have done that day. 

There are many games you can play running in circles! Running in circles with others also allows you to challenge yourself. For example, you could decide everyone is ahead of you and that you need to attempt to pass as many people as possible. This is good mental preparation for pursuit races such as cross-country.

If you are finding it hard, a mental trick that I play is to pretend the track it is always downhill. The long edge of the track nearest the sports centre is slightly downhill, then you spin round the bend and are greeted by the other long edge next to the river which is yet more downhill, run around the bend and …funnily enough …. you are going downhill again! 

What to expect afterwards

Some DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) is normal for a few days after a track session as you have pushed yourself, especially if you are new to track. Especially as it required 200 muscles to take a stride when running! To help your muscles recover you should eat protein between 30-60 minutes after hard exercise, drink lots of water and rest or run at an easy pace for a few days after or longer depending on your fitness. If you have more than general overall soreness/stiffness or a specific area which is sore, you could consult one of the club coaches for advice. 

I am relatively new to running—is it safe to do track sessions?

Please discuss with one of the club coaches who will be more than happy to help. 

If you are pregnant/had a baby recently/have a health condition please follow guidance from your GP as appropriate and also discuss with club coaches.

What should I wear and what should I bring to a track session?

Bring plenty of water and warm clothes for afterwards. These can all be left track-side. Wear whatever you feel most comfortable in. 

Track etiquette

There are a few ‘rules of the track’ to keep everyone safe. We all run around the track in the same direction (usually anticlockwise). You run in the inner lanes and it is the responsibility of faster runners to overtake you on your right leaving plenty of space. If you are running with a friend, do not run abreast, but in a line, or with one person on the shoulder of the other. This allows more room for faster runners to pass. When overtaking, stopping, or leaving the inside lane to leave the track, you should check over your shoulder for runners coming up behind you, so as not to cause a collision. Note that warm-up and cool downs are done in the outer lanes of the track to keep out of the way of runners doing a main session.

Finally, …

Most things in life worth doing are not easy. There is a sense of achievement after every track session

APPENDIX

What is a running track?

A modern running track is oval in shape with eight lanes. Running tracks are built following guidelines established by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations). These guidelines state the distance around the track in the most inner lane should be 400m. 

The distance around the track for the other lanes can be calculated by knowing the lane width and a few other measurements. The formula, L = 2S + 2pi(R + (n-1)w) can be used to calculate the distances around the track for the various lanes. In this formula L equals the lane distance, S equals the length of the straightaway, R is the radius of the turn, n is the lane number and w is the width of the lane.

Since the IAAF has standardized track lane widths at 1.22 meters the above formula calculates the distance around the track in lane 2 as 407.67 meters, lane 3 as 415.33 meters, lane 4 as 423 meters, lane 5 as 430.66 meters, lane 6 as 433.38 meters, lane 7 as 446 meters and lane 8 as 453.66 meters. So, if you are running in lane 8, you are running an additional 54m every lap than the guy in lane 1 (the inner-most lane).

If you are running in lane 1 (the inner-most lane), 4 laps are roughly a mile (4.02 laps to be precise). 

Running tracks can be built with different surfaces. The running track at Maiden Castle has a red, all weather surface which is made of polyeurethane (a synthetic rubber). This surface is durable and heat-resistant

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British & Irish Masters International Cross Country, Liverpool, Saturday, November 16, 2019

8k

Jan Young

STRIDER CALLED UP TO REPRESENT ENGLAND.

Our very own Stephen Jackson was selected to run in the MV35 English team at the British & Irish  Cross Country International competition at Liverpool. Running 8k in 26’04”, saw him home as third counter for the team. England finished fourth team, only one point down from N. Ireland.

We know he’s good but he can’t win the Harrier League on his own, so let’s get behind him on Saturday, preferably running, or if not,making lots of noise for our men’s & women’s teams.

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Wooler Trail Half Marathon 2019, Wooler, Northumberland , Sunday, November 17, 2019

Half Marathon

Simon Graham

Medal and T-Shirt

This is an event I do every year, not because I particularly like it (though I do), but because of the four years that this event has taken place I have taken part.

The half marathon this year, as it was last, forms part of a double event where by you can run both the marathon and the half to get a special prize. Unlike in previous years however the full marathon was being ran on the Saturday, with the half taking place on the Sunday.  Weather conditions up on the Cheviot, which the full is supposed to go over, took a turn for the worse and their Saturday route became two laps of Sunday’s half route. 

Great, what was looking to be an already soggy and boggy course had been churned up even more with the full runners tackling it twice the day before us half runners got set loose on it. Safety first though and the right decision was made for the full runners.

Been ploughed up nicely for us.

Running this event with me were two of my work colleagues, marvellous I thought to myself, this means I’ll have to put some effort in to beat them.

So onto the run itself. I’ll summarise this very quickly. If you’re not going up hill, you’re going down and on this occasion if you weren’t running in thick mud you were running in a stream. Yes, my shoes went from nice and clean to very dirty multiple times before they joined me in the shower at home.

Easiest way to clean them.

This really is a great Half Marathon and I’d highly recommend it to anyone.

Oh, and I beat my two colleagues. Just.

Results: https://www.trailoutlaws.com/wooler-hm-results-2019.php

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Espresso Round, Keswick, Sunday, November 10, 2019

12.3 Miles, 3128 feet.

Nina Mason

So, I had a ‘free weekend’…..what to do? Forecast looked good, maps out…..mmmm.

I decided to go for the Espresso Round with mum. This is the Abraham Tea Round’s shorter and lower alternative. You start and finish at the George Fisher shop in Keswick, and need to touch 4 tops, Catbells, Rowling End, Causey Pike and Barrow (in any order). No racing, no times, no pressure, and (the whole point) you can see the tea shop – the ‘prize’ – from all the tops on the route.

“I can see the tea shop” – Catbells

A little bit of cajoling convinced mum to go for it, it being a bit further than she has run recently. The weather did indeed give us a glorious day – cool to start, but sunny, clear, and just warm enough for mum to get down to short sleeves.

About to start.

The famous grouse was on fine form on Rowling End (I suspect the same cheeky chap that Jules, Nigel, and Mike ran into on their Tea Round), making lots of noise and chasing us along the path.

The famous grouse!

Mum and I jogged and walked at a fairly relaxed pace, stopping often to soak up the views, compare and eat our snacks, take photos, chat to others enjoying the fells. Naturally as we descended Barrow (the final hill) we checked the time, and I quite arbitrarily decided that we needed to finish within 4hrs 20 (despite all the time spent doing said activities without any clock watching). So I told mum to grit her teeth and get stuck in, and made her work for that last mile and a half (including dodging people and dogs in Keswick centre, before racing to the door of the shop and stopping watches at 4.18). I can only assume that every runner sets random targets in exactly the same way, including mid-run…..it’s not just me??

Espresso Round completed.

This is a good route up four very pleasant and slightly different hills, with some easy rocky sections, plenty of runnable bits (if so inclined), and cracking 360-degree views. I can definitely recommend this as a run or walk.

There are no prizes for this Round. But that didn’t matter on the day – all the glory was in spending a wonderful day out together in a fantastic part of the world.

Barrow, the final summit.

Website: https://georgefisher.co.uk/blogs/articles/2019-07-26-george-fisher-espresso-round/

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A Grand Day Out, Pooley Bridge, Sunday, November 10, 2019

40 Miles

Fiona Brannan

I find that in the running community, one of the most commonly talked about topics is shockingly, running.  One of the most frequently asked questions I seem to get is ‘so, what’s next, anything planned?’ to which my usual answer is no, not really.  I don’t often plan events far in advance, and tend to go where the mood strikes me, so here’s a brief insight into ‘What Fiona Did Next’


Many have heard of the Bob Graham Round, who devised a route across 42 Lakeland Fells and was (wait for it) 42 at the time.  Over the years, others (including Geoff) have felt that this is not sufficient and added extra fells on, to mark the passing of their extra years.  A few weeks before my 28th birthday, I decided that 28 sounded just about doable and could be nicely contained into a circuit around Ullswater, beginning and ending at Pooley Bridge.


The original birthday plan had been to complete the Abraham Tea Round with Elaine and Nina, but with Elaine having a bad knee, and Nina sensibly opting for a run out with Jan I set off on a solo mission to count down 28 completely arbitrary summits on a clear, crisp winter morning.

I began with Gowbarrow Fell, before heading up onto the Helvellyn ridge, right along to the High Street ridge, and back along the over Loadpot Hill.  My headtorch went on just before the last summit, Arthur’s Pike and I even passed a few walkers just afterwards who looked like they too had been out for a rather long day.  I stopped into the shop in Pooley Bridge before leaving, and the friendly shopkeeper asked what I’d been up to – I think I looked a bit tired – ‘over to Helvellyn’ – I’m not sure he realised I’d been there on foot!

The whole route took me around 9.5 hours and was around 40 miles, with 11,000 ft of climbing (I think, my watch ran out of battery at about 9 hours and 36 miles somewhere above Ullswater).  Summits included Wainwrights, Hewitts and Birketts (Every Wainwright is a Birkett and a Hewitt, but not every Hewitt and Birkett is a Wainwright…)

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Holly Hustle, Leeds, Saturday, November 9, 2019

Penny Browell

Holly hustle

This was a last minute decision. We didn’t have any plans for Saturday and a Leeds friend mentioned he was doing a race which didn’t offer either a medal or a T-shirt. To him this was a negative but to me it spelt out being my sort of race! So on an impulse I booked us in.

The Holly Hustle is a small race with 11k and 22k options (the latter just two laps of the former) with a total maximum competitors of 250. It’s described as a challenging trail race which is a fair description. It was definitely too challenging for some (my road-running friend hated it and dropped out after a lap) and not without its hazards (Tom managed to end up falling head first and damaging his leg and hand) but it is all runnable as long as you don’t mind a lot of mud and rocks and roots to negotiate.

Broadly speaking the lap is a figure of 8 through woods and along the river. Almost all is on muddy tracks apart from a killer hill at the end of the lap which is on tarmac. Notorious for people getting lost I was chuffed with myself for getting round the first half without making any nav errors but on the second lap I had nobody near me (all the one lappers were in the pub!) and I realised it was more complex than it had seemed when I was following other people. There are lots of river crossings and remembering this from the first lap I managed to take the wrong bridge and get myself in a right confusion. I headed back to the last point I recognised and eventually another runner turned up and pointed me in the right direction. He pointed out I should know what I was doing as I’d done it before but he obviously wasn’t aware of my ability to get lost wherever I go… After that point I didn’t see any other runners but did manage to follow the very small pink flags all the way. I finished 4th woman and in under 2 hours, injury-free and pleasantly tired which I was happy with. 

I really enjoyed the race and it had a nice relaxed atmosphere. An added bonus was starting and finishing in a pub and free soup at the end. I’d recommend to anyone who is a fan of off-road running.

Race website: https://greatowl.squarespace.com/holly-hustle

Race results:https://racebest.com/results/v359c

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Military League North Orienteering Event, Munster Barracks, Catterick, Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Blue course

Dougie Nisbet

If you can get the day of work, or not work at all, the Military League army orienteering events are great for the runner. I usually do not too badly in them, and over the years I’ve seen myself creep up the placings. The navigation is usually not too difficult and nowadays, more often than not, I’m pretty happy with my result.

Wednesday’s event at Catterick, was not one of those days.

Designated Driver

These are army events, and are put on for the army as training events. Most of them are open to civilians, in possession of a passport and a free day. So well suited to the freelancer, the homeworker, the worker on flexitime, and the retired. It’s a wondrous mix.

I was feeling pretty confident as I checked the blank map at the Start. There’s been a couple of occasions recently in orienteering events where I’ve accidentally strayed into Out of Bounds areas so I tend to check the map legend more closely nowadays. And this map had a clear section for Out of Bounds areas. In urban areas this is worth paying attention to. You don’t want to accidentally run through someone’s garden, or across a sensitive bit of parkland, or munitions, or whatever. And I noted, with interest, that Water was Out of Bounds. Well that might make things interesting.

Exhibit A

Must not be entered or crossed: Water

The first few controls were in the barracks, then we were ejected out of the gate that had taken so much security to get into, and into the surrounding area. The navigation got a bit fiendish now, especially as the water had been marked as out of bounds. Which, to be frank, I thought was pretty pathetic. I’ve seen beefier becks at Hamsterley and that is (rarely) marked as out of bounds. Who’s going to take a long detour round to the nearest footbridge when a brief paddle will do the job much more quickly.

Still, rules is rules. And from a runner’s point of view, there was a certain switch-of-brain-now satisfaction in a long tempo run along, across, and round, then back along again, but even so, it was a long way round. I mean, look at 17 to 18, and 24 to 25, and so help me God, 22 to 23. I mean, look at it again. 22 to 23, and you’re not allowed to to paddle across! My split was almost 11 minutes, when it should’ve been almost 2. I did look hard at the pipeline crossings; they were not marked out of bounds, but I suspected (rightly) than large amounts of barbed wire might be involved, and they might not be a worthwhile route of investigation.

22 to 23, the long way round

So I ran and ran, and got round. My route was functional, and I got some decent tempo running in. But, really.

So you might be ahead of me here, and can guess the next bit. I got to download, asked who the planner was, and Phill Batts brightly announced that it was he. I complemented him on the fiendishness of the course, the decision to mark water out of bounds, and dryly (I thought, but let’s be frank, probably closer to waspishly) observed that a lot of runners had taken a non-legal direct line.

Phill looked puzzled, and mildly pointed out that the blue out of bounds area, on the out of bounds bit of the map, was a dark blue, with a border, and the beck, on the map, was light blue, and without a border. So the beck was very much not out of bounds.

Bugger. Given that I’d taken the non-scenic route I was happy not to be last, but annoyed at myself for making such a daft mistake. But as I always tell myself, I’m not going to get on the podium, so however the day unfolds, an orienteering event is always a great bit of training.

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