Daily Archives: 25th July 2012

A 5K double, Exhibition Park, Newcastle, Wednesday, July 25, 2012

5K + approx 5K

Dougie Nisbet

You have to pay attention with orienteering events otherwise you blink and you’ve missed them. It’s worth keeping an eye on the websites of the local clubs (e.g NATO, NN, CLOK) as there are often interesting bits and bobs popping up all over the place. I noticed there was an orienteering event in Newcastle Exhibition Park organised by NATO and as it’s just round the corner from work it seemed like a good way of getting some quality fartlek without going out my head with boredom. I like to get to orienteering events early because I like bags of time to get round. And I like to do the long courses.

I was very early indeed and did that thing that I only do when I’m really bored or I’m trying to impress Allan Seheult. I ‘warmed up’ (as I believe the expression is). Normally I use the first bit of a race to do this, whether it’s a 5K or a marathon, that’s what the first bit’s for. But I was bored and I went to find where the start was before the courses opened. I found the Finish, so I went under the underpass (you would hardly go over an underpass I guess), and found myself on the Town Moor. There was the Start. Not very orienteeringy though – all that white plastic banner stuff. A big banner, and a Police car. And lots of water bottles being unstacked. Back to the Finish, then back to the Car Park (registration), then back to the Finish (which apparently was the Start too – are you still following this?) and away I went.

I have my orienteering race kit pretty honed nowadays. Dumbledore specs and fast-settling compass on stand-by and onto the Moor. It became apparent very quickly that navigation was not going to be a problem. Even using ‘mini-kites’ as controls it will still dead-easy to spot the controls a mile away. So a lot of it came down to how fast you could run, punch your card, and avoid the cattle. I recognized the bumpy bits from a Harrier League when it had been covered in snow, but on this warm evening it was simply a matter of pointing the compass and running fast. I had someone to chase, and someone chasing me, and could see them both all the way round (which kinda defeats the point of orienteering). After the last control my chasee had got away, and my chaser had caught me, so I pretty much lost interest in things. And I kept noticing something strange …

There seemed to be runners. People with numbers on their vests. Even though I was still racing, curiosity got the better of me and I paused to ask one obvious warmer-upper what he was doing. Apparently there was a 5K on this evening and you could enter on the night. Well, as it was a nice night, and it wasn’t even 7PM and I’d just done a short-fast orienteering event, I thought this sounded a bit of a hoot. I got to the finish, handed over my card, but instead of heading back to the carpark, turned round, and headed back onto the Moor to investigate.

DougieTen minutes later I was standing in the registration tent literally dripping sweat onto my entry form for the Elswick Cup (whatever that is). At twelve quid it was a bit dear (that’s about twelve quid more expensive than a parkrun), but I was here now and was having a rush of blood to the head. I paid up and wandered off to find out when the race started. I was probably the most clueless entrant in the race. I was also exceedingly hot and bothered. Orienteering rules state that you must have full leg-cover, in case you get stung by stingy nettles or something, so I was feeling pretty overdressed. I’d also entered the race as a Strider and was running in a Northern Navigators top. I pinned my number to my NN vest and wandered around a bit trying to find a shady bit to cool down.

About 30 minutes or so after finishing the orienteering I found myself on the Start line (remember the mysterious Start sign from earlier?) for the Elswick Cup. Not much to say about it really. I ran it hard and hot and finished in an ok time. I wasn’t likely to medal. There was a tech-tee at the end (’cause I really need another one) and a bottle of water. And some fruit. I didn’t hang around to see if I was in the prizes and headed back to the car, back past the Orienteering Finish which was just packing up. With two-fast 5K runs under my belt I headed back to Durham and was home before 8PM. It’s nice to do something a bit daft once in a while.

Cock Howe and Beyond, Chop Gate, North York Moors, Wednesday, July 25, 2012

BM / 7M / 1500'

Dave Selby

Starring Rachael Bullock, Nigel Heppell and Dave Selby

Before... a non-plussed DaveMonday evening I was still on the fence about this event. Then Rachael (aka Fatty) said that she was keen to run up a steep hill and get wet and muddy. So lured in by camaraderie and the false sense of security given by the positively tropical conditions of Durham we set off to Chop Gate. Within ten miles of Chop Gate the cloud was low, it was cool (but pleasantly so) and those all too familiar water droplets were falling from the sky. Not quite the conditions we were expecting. The hill we were about to ascend was encapsulated in cloud. I suppose what you don’t know (see) cannot hurt you?

All signed in and dressed ready for action I observed the field while Fatty filled herself with banana(s). I find it unnerving that I have more fat in my big toe than some of the runners. I’m sure it is not healthy to have so little body fat. They must get very cold in the winter.

We met Nigel who had brought along his support and cheering team. Nice idea. With the race announcement over with we were off. The initial path up the hill is relatively narrow, so to thin out the crowd the run starts with a lap of the car park. Then upwards the run begins. The first hurdle was a farm gate as there was too much of a queue for the stile. Shortly over the gate I made a mistake in following a group of runners up a very narrow path that then decided to walk. Slowly getting past them I rejoined the main route to see Fatty had taken the correct route and was a good distance in front. Here the fun really began; a 534 to 1310ft climb over ~1.2m to the summit (see route profile generated by Fatty’s fancy watch) – good and overall runnable climb. A small exposure of shale made the path lovely and greasy over a steep section for about 10m. Watching those in front slip was quite amusing. Before we got to the summit the juniors were making their way down. And by the time we got to summit the cloud had cleared and the rain had all but stopped. From the top there was a blissful 1m of downhill only be to greeted by another climb from 987 to 1240ft over ~0.75m. The next ~1.5m only had a slight incline and took us full circle back to the summit, along the way giving us beautiful views and a wee glimmer of red sky from the setting sun in the west. From the summit more fun, down the hill we came up at the start. After... a happy Dave, proving once and for all that fell racing makes people happy.This part was awesome. One final obstacle before the finish line, the farm gate, over the top I went and the last few hundred yards to the finish line where Nigel and his support crew were already waiting. Moments later Fatty came sprinting across the line with a huge smile across her face.

There were plenty of prizes to go round at the end – we took a bottle of wine and two boxes of Marks and Spencers three pack of Walnut Whips (which apparent contain more calories in total than we burnt during the run – so disappointing. The only downside to the long prize ceremony was the innumerable midgies that thought Fatty tasted quite good. Apparently she is really itchy at the moment. It must be the young blood. We then headed to the Buck Inn for refreshments and nibbles that were well deserved by all.

The End…

The ups and downs


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Matthew Hammerton Romsey RR M 41.43
14 Catherine Williamson Loftus & Whitby F 48.38
28 Nigel Heppell M55 3 54.50
53 David Selby M40 60.42
65 Rachael Bullock M60 65.35

78 finishers.

Summer Handicap, Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Phil Owen

Another excellent turn out for the July summer handicap. The trail in the woods had dried out a far bit since Anna and i Marshaled the clamber the previous week and some good times were posted.

Susan Davies was fastest lady in 39:25 and Jerry Lloyd fastest man , posting an amazing time of 31: 28 so soon after the Outlaw Iron Man Tri.

Great to see so many really going for it. Well done. Many thanks to Paul Evans for popping down just to help out. Great stuff. 🙂

Sedgefield Trail Race, Hardwick Hall, Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Melanie Hudson

This is part of a series of three 5k trail races, you don’t have to do them all though. The previous one was at Chester-le-Street, which Dave and I did in May, the next one is at Hamsterley Forest at the end of August.

This one was held at the lovely ornamental park of Hardwick Park. It only cost £3 to enter plus £2 for parking. It uses exactly the same course as the Sedgefield parkrun. It is a two lap course, which I don’t normally like, but its such a pretty route I don’t really mind on this one. Its mainly on paths so we were fine in our road shoes. It’s a fairly flat course, with a very slight incline at the beginning and then a bit of a hill towards the end of the first and second lap but nothing too bad.

The race takes you past various follies, along the side of a lake, over a pretty stone bridge, beside a river and through a wood.