Daily Archives: 8th December 2013

Eskdale Eureka, Castleton, North York Moors, Sunday, December 8, 2013

BM / 8M / 1100'

Jan Young

Sixth fell race in NEHRA Winter Series, starting from exposed car park on Westerdale Moor edge, Castleton, NYM. Fast gallop downhill to Dibble Bridge, across a youthful River Esk, skirt Westerdale Moor edge and cross Little Hograh and Great Hograh Moors against the wind, drop down into Baysdale and short steep ascent out, to have the wind on our backs along Kildale Moor edge, crossing Esk at Hob Hole by footbridge or foot wetting ford, steep road ascent for 500m, then backtrack to end with a 500m uphill finish! Some fiddly bits through heather with hidden rocks, some wider rough tracks, boggy bits always included.

Hardened fell racer, Paul E. declared race too short, he’d just got going after 8 miles. Funny I didn’t feel like that! Good to see Dave’s injury no problem, thanks to Camilla for driving and her enthusiasm and well done to Shaun, 3rd MV55 and Mike B, 2nd MV55 scoring valuable series points. [… and Jan won the FV60s! Ed.]

Five layers on against freezing wind waiting for car park presentation; Camilla had given lifts to Peter, DFR runner and regular winner and Lucy 5th female, so car loaded up with wine/ chocolate winnings!


Pos Name Club Cat Catpos Time
1 Peter Bray DFR M 1 59.12
19 Paul Evans M 12 64.54
28 Kay Neesam New Marske FV45 1 68.59
44 Michael Bennett MV55 2 73.30
50 Shaun Roberts MV55 3 76.00
100 Jan Young FV60 1 93.38
103 Dave Shipman MV55 11 96.07
104 Camilla L.-Maatta FV45 5 97.32

113 finishers

Newcastle Racecourse 50K, Sunday, December 8, 2013

Anna Seeley

When I first saw this race advertised I thought which nutters are they going to find to run 19 laps of the ambulance track of the Newcastle racecourse in December? Within 2 weeks I’d gone from no way, I’d rather shoot myself to it’s the only 50K in the north east and I fancy a new PB before Christmas. Having entered I still had my doubts as to whether I could mentally cross the finish line that many times before finally being told that I can stop but got stuck into training and decided that I’d give it my best shot.

Only nineteen laps to go!

Day of the race dawned and it was nice and mild for December but there was a slightly concerning wind. On arriving at the racecourse conditions could definitely be described as blustery so having collected our numbers and race T shirt, I hate it when races hand out the T shirts in advance as if you are going to get the chance to wear it you really have to complete the race, we sheltered from the weather before being herded to our appropriate start lines. I wasn’t the only lunatic to enter, Bill Ford and Richard Hall stuck to the reasonably sensible half marathon and Gareth Pritchard, Melanie Hudson and Dave Robson took on the marathon. All the races went off at the same time but from differing points round the racecourse so the distance was correct.

Now the race had been advertised as fast and flat. For a shorter race it would have been classed as flat but in reality the first half of each lap was slightly downhill with the second half being slightly uphill and yes you’ve guessed it, we had a headwind for the uphill! First few laps went by without too much stress, was being overtaken by plenty due to the half marathon and marathon start lines being behind the 50K one but there was no lapping going on at this stage. Phil had come to support and it was nice to see a friendly face at the end of each lap especially in the early stages when the laps seemed to flying over quite quickly.

So we went round and round and I’d completely lost track of what lap I was on but I was trying to mentally shut off. As time went there were less people running as the half marathon folks finished and there were various DNFs and then the marathon runners started to finish. I was still passing people and being passed but unlike an ordinary race I had no idea if I was actually overtaking anyone as didn’t know which lap they were on. Bill once finished his race walked round the route in reverse so I must have passed him 3-4 times and each time thought I’ve got to keep running as I’m not going to be seen to be walking at this stage. Claire Readey, who had come to support, then also walked round in reverse, it was nice to see a friendly face on the more lonely areas of the track, but I think I’d given up the idea of no walking by this stage.

My Garmin started to beep low battery at about 19 miles, my own fault as I’d forgotten to charge it properly but by 23 miles it had died and I died with it. Not knowing how many laps I had to go I mentally started to really struggle and my legs responded by refusing to run. Managed to force a run walk for the next 3 miles and finally got told that I had run marathon distance and only had 3 laps to go.

Now even in my fairly knackered state I could count down 3 laps so decided I was going to get them over with as quickly as I could, my legs responded and I was motoring again. Finally onto the last lap and as I passed each fence, there were no other landmarks to count down, I knew I was going to finish. A final push against the headwind to the line, I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to finish something in my life. Had been aiming for a sub 4.30 but had abandoned that target early on due to the wind so was happy to finish in 4.42.

I’ve run further before but that has to have been the most mentally challenging race I’ve ever run, made so much harder by the blustery conditions. Finished saying never again and already thinking maybe, I’m definitely not finished with lapped races but don’t know if I’ll ever want to see that racecourse again.

Newcastle Racecourse Marathon, Sunday, December 8, 2013

Gareth Pritchard

This was a hard event for me to commit to as on first read it just makes you say “no thanks” and go looking for another event. The marathon course is 16 laps of a the very exposed race course in December it the north of England. Me being a fair weather running/tarmac loving southern softy, it was a hard sell. The tarmac path loop is inside the race course used for the horses which has a few hills thrown in towards the end of the loop. The golf course in the middle gave you something to look at and balls to dodge on the way round.

Only sixteen laps to go!

I had already run my first marathon at windermere earlier this year and was looking forward to a flat easier and hopefully faster marathon this time round. As always with running, I have been on the way back from injury but still managed a good 9 week build up for this run. It was always going to be a gamble running in December but decided to go for it and give sub 3 hours a real go. My first marathon was 3:08 on a hard course and was confident that this would get the very large monkey off my back before 2014.

Training went very well with some big PB’s at 10 mile and 5K leading up to the marathon. Managed to hit 20 miles and 50+ mile weekly total a few weeks too 🙂 so was looking good for the big day. Knew the weather would make or break my sub 3 and felt myself sinking as I checked weather reports for the day.

I arrived early for the race which is held by North East Marathon club, a small marathon-obsessed organisation which holds cheaper small marathons round the north east. Communication with the organisation was excellent, the course was accurately measured and even had t-shirts/medals. This was the first time the event had been held here so a few small problems but nothing of real note. The coffee van was told to pack up by the groundsmen, even though the racecourse had no where to get hot drinks? A real jobsworth and a shame as I was forced to use the dreaded Mc D yuck burger house instead.

We had a staggered start for each of the 3 distances running at the same time on the same course, this turned out to be quite confusing and annoying as numbers were colour coded but only on the front. This made it almost impossible to know for sure who you were racing against as we looped round and round.

At the Start/Finish was the water station and the volunteers were great, lots of much needed cheers. The laps were counted for you but I was still not 100% sure i was on my last lap when i finished, a bit confusing for a first timer.

The sub 3 hour time was never on for me on that day, the wind was unreal and with the course being so exposed, it quickly turned into a nightmare. Down the long straight getting battered over and over again, i Crossed the line with 3:11 ish on my watch and a horrible feeling in my head as again I told myself I had messed up my marathon. It would be easy to just blame the weather, or my stupid Nike+ watch, so I will. I planned to run at 6:50 min/mile pace or quicker for the whole run and my watch happily said that was what I was doing. Not till half way (the only possible check point) which i hit at 1h35, I realised that the thing was not working right and I had no strength to pick things up. The second half was strangely more enjoyable as I settled into it and apart from a slight dip at lap 13, held the pace ok. Just not in sub 3 shape yet it turns out, a real hard one to accept. Came 3rd which I am happy with but should have been able to hit that goal.

So time to sum up this quite long report and well done for getting to the end 🙂 A very enjoyable, well run event but at the Mercy of the weather due to being very exposed and in December. Very impressive runs by fellow striders with outstanding effort at 50K by Anna, made of stronger stuff than me.

On to the next challenge and will continue my sub 3 hunt next year. More lessons leaned, still glad I did this race and would highly recommend any even organised by the Northeast Marathon club.

Stockton Winter 5K Trail Race #3, Preston Park, Stockton, Saturday, December 13, 2014

Denise Benvin

I woke up to the sound of my alarm at 7.15, and not for the first time wondered why I was getting up this early to go running when I could be laid snug in bed on this cold December morning. However I knew soon enough that I would soon have to go a meet Kerry, Karin and Kelly my fellow partners in crime for our trip to the Stockton Winter 5k trail race at Preston Park. This was my first race on a local level and I was rather nervous, and we got there in plenty of time, filled out the necessary paper work, so number in hand we had a nice welcome cuppa and got ready for the race, meeting up with other Striders also braving the cold December morning. We watched the juniors come in giving a good cheer and clap for them (I love to see the kids race). Then time for a loo stop and the start line, there was a good gathering of runners and before we knew it the race had started.

Striders excel on kids' crocodile, or indeed snake, sideways swinging thingy ... ok, ok, you come up with a clever caption!

The race itself consisted of 2 laps around the park, part path and part trail. Things started off well nice little flat bit then down hill past the lake and the swan along the trail, then yes you guessed it a HILL, no!! panic!! I hate hills, anyway I gritted my teeth and up I went at the top it was a right turn and round the outside of the park past the butterfly house and back to the start. The flat and down hill bit was welcome but as I was running past the swan in the lake which I swear was smirking at the thought of me getting up that hill. I plodded along the trail to the “HILL” and gritted my teeth once again and I could hear the voice of Mike Elliot in my head saying just keep plugging away, don’t give up now. The top of the hill reached and a left turn to come along to the finish and there he was the man himself, spurring me on and a sea of purple shouting me across the line yipee. My first race over with, so we all went in search of coffee this was not quite as successful though (note to self take a flask just in case). Presentations over with we all departed via the play area and a picture on the long snake swing. Still in need of coffee we stopped at MacDonalds on the A19, we weren’t the only Striders with this idea ha ha. Now looking forward to my next race.