Daily Archives: 13th June 2015

Durham parkrun, Saturday, June 13, 2015

Conrad White

20:20:100 – A personal parkrun challenge

We all have aspirations and goals and I am sure Striders have many of these. Goals as you know should be “SMART” – the S being “specific” and the A being “achievable”. I have three running goals – some of you may already know them. Other people – goals may involve foreign countries or long events – one of mine was much nearer to home. Having run at the inaugural Durham parkrun in August 2011 I had felt that maybe with a bit of luck and some training a sub 20 at Durham might be possible. Age is working against me, but training seems to be working for me. Last year I was tantalisingly close with a number of runs below 20:10 – but the sub 20 Durham did not materialise. I did manage it at Riverside and again at York earlier in the year but could not find the extra oomph needed to get round those tight corners and over the bridge fast enough. I have had lots of encouragement mind for which I am exceedingly thankful. Loads of people knew of my goal. I was regularly asked if “today was the day”.

The parkruns were counting up and Saturday was to be my 100th parkrun – a mention at the start much appreciated. Could it be a double celebration? Leaving home for my usual jog down the Garmin ominously said “low battery”!!!!!! Thank you Katy for lending me what must be a much lighter version – saved my bacon. I had also invested in new, more padded shoes – would they have anything to offer. Many, many thanks for all the encouragement from too many to mention – I would hate to miss anyone out.

I set off (fairly) sensibly. I tried hard. I pushed along the back field. I attacked the railway turn, the bridge and the “Horsley turn” (if it is still known as that). The watch was looking good but perilously close. My legs were sore and I had tried as hard as I could. Stopping the watch I was hopeful, but I have been caught out before with a slight difference in my time and the officially recorded time – we all know something for £19.99 seems a better bargain than something for £20 – so a 20:00 would not have fitted the bill. Andy behind knew how much I wanted it and was encouraging with his time being close (I knew my time could not be corrected up and not be a Durham PB) and Graeme when he finished had clocked me across the line, also just sub 20. The wait for the official results seemed never ending. I’m not sure if there were issues but they did not arrive until Sunday. Huge thanks to all the volunteers who work with the run behind the scene getting the results out.

As for the title – 20:20:100 – 20th position, in sub 20, on my 100th parkrun. A memorable day. Again thank you all. Have your goals, make them SMART and one day you will hopefully achieve them. If I achieve another goal – you will all be first to know about it.

Very Tidy!

Settle Saunter, North Yorkshire, Saturday, June 13, 2015

27 Miles

Dave Robson

Watch out for trainsWe have never done this LDWA event before, but it seemed in a lovely area of the country and Melanie wanted to go up Ingleborough again, the last time she went up she was eight years old.

We went over the night before and stayed in Burnley. We wondered round Thompson Park in the evening The park is fairly close to the middle of Burnley and we were amazed to see a deer about twenty meters away from us, It checked that we weren’t getting any closer and carried on feeding.

We left Burnley at 6.45 am for an 8.30 start in Settle. The parking wasn’t close to the start in the Victoria Hall and we checked in at registration and received our tally cards with all the checkpoints listed. We managed to buy a sandwich from the local Booths and had that before we started. We weren’t expecting too much food at the checkpoints, they were described as ‘light refreshments’. We were also told there would be no water at the checkpoint at the top of Ingleborough which seemed perfectly reasonable.

It was clear from the numbers in the hall that there would not many people participating (about 80 runners or walkers over four different routes – 9m, 12m, 16m and 27m). There were only 32 people on the 27m route.

We knew we had to go down a very narrow ginnel (alley) very soon after the start so we made sure we were fairly near the front (this is very unusual for us) and we were about fifth into the ginnel and were able to get through with no delay.

The first two miles or so were in Settle and were easy going. The next bit I had struggled to match the route description to the the GPS route from a previous year. There was a good reason, they had changed the course and then the route description made much more sense.

There was a small climb before Fizor, the first checkpoint but on the whole the first seven and a bit miles were easy going through beautiful countryside which was reasonably flat. However, there were quite a number of gates to open and close and stiles to climb over. We passed through some attractive villages, Fizor, Austwick and Clapham.

The long and winding road

After Clapham we started the climb up Ingleborough. It was long, rocky and tiring. We had cloud cover, but it was warm and very humid which made things a bit more tricky. We reached the summit (11m), checked in and started the steep descent, which got much more runnable after a while – we flew down some of it, trail running at its most enjoyable. Then after we had descended, the stiles (particularly ladder stiles which just sap your energy) started to come in numbers.

We made it back to Clapham (a different way) and started to head back towards Settle. The way out had been pretty flat but this time we were sent up several hills. After leaving Clapham, the route description talked about passing through two tunnels. We were a bit doubtful they would really be tunnels, but they were. I have no idea why they were there.

After Austwick we entered a site special scientific interest – Oxenber and Wharfe Woods. They were full of bluebells which were just past their best. A few weeks ago it must have been an amazing site

At the Fizor checkpoint we were told we were joint 7th. I don’t think we have ever been so high in the field before. We managed to hang on to this position until the end. Exactly seven hours it took us, but my total count was 44 stiles, 34 normal gates and 4 kissing gates. They all disrupt your running and deplete your energy. Then of course there was Ingleborough, which took quite a while.

At the finish there was tea and a meal – pie and peas followed by peaches and rice pudding. How they make any money out of a £10 entry fee is amazing.

All in all a lovely, scenic but tough day out. Certainly tougher underfoot than last Sunday’s Lakeland Trails marathon. Dave takes his anniversary tech-T for a trip up Ingleborough

Swaledale Marathon, Reeth, Saturday, June 13, 2015

23.2 Miles / 4,128 feet

Jon Ayres

Twelve months ago I’d limped over the finish line at this race cursing my lack of preparation. I’d cramped up badly at seventeen miles and from that point on saw my goal time, which looked in the bag, drift away leaving me feeling drained, dreadful and for a few moments up on the moors wondering if there was any point in putting on a pair of trainers.

From January this year, once my entry had been confirmed, my plans had been more methodical, lots more miles , more off road runs, practicing with food that might prevent the same issues and when possible getting down to the area where the event was held but still chattering away were the nagging doubts.

So to race day and registration, kit check, hello’s to the multitude of striders at the start, loo queues and last minute alteration of attire. And then the doubts returned: negative gripes, memories of when training hadn’t been good and good Lord boy what are you doing wearing road shoes? The start, up Fremlington went Ok, my plan of averaging 10 minute miles was put on hold, as expected, the slow hilly clamber eventually lead to the top and then time to push on across the top of Frem’ for a couple of miles until a quick descent and time to head out to Langthwaite with tarmac and smooth(er) surfaces. Around here Penny Browell and I joined forces and started to pick off a few runners and drag down our mile times.

Around 7 ½ miles all seemed OK and the protracted and lingering ascent of Punchard was embarked upon. For those not familiar with the course this is mixed terrain that doesn’t seem to allow a regular running rhythm (it’s bloody hard work) but by the time we reached the checkpoint at 13 miles we were still, just, inside my schedule.

The run from here down to Gunnerside split Penny and I up and also saw me sliding down the steeper descents backside first. The countryside and its fantastic views not really being appreciated as I constantly glanced for time checks.

Then the climb, the one that last year had led to me face planting to the ground screaming, really screaming, as both my legs seemed to set firm and muscles freeze hard. As someone more used to tarmac and getting upset about slight inclines I find Flemington’s a tough climb, Punchard really hard work but Gunnerside is cruel just plain cruel, the start of the ascent’s rocky, it twists and deceives and then just for good measure it’s got a second part to destroy hope and legs. Here my pace slowed to a shuffle and slow walk the miles seemed to take forever to pass but finally the top was reached and the road, trail and blessed quick drop on Tarmac that lead to surrender bridge saw me a few seconds over my time plan. A bit of work on the rocky trails and surely I’d get back to where I needed to be.

A small ( though by now it felt enormous) ravine type area, that had to be dropped into and climbed out of was passed and I felt OK and started to think that this year was the year then with about 5k to go I cramped, just one leg this time but all I could do was drop to the floor and howl. I screamed out that it wasn’t fair and punched the ground in frustration, I’m not ashamed to admit I wanted to cry. Six months work wasted and this time I’m not coming back.

A stream of profanities and a couple of futile efforts to get up and then silence and negative thoughts. I lay still hoping that my leg would ease, I grabbed salt drops from my pack and poured them neat onto my tongue and still no relief, then slowly the pain started to rescind and a fellow runner offered a lift up. Remembering how last time my legs had repeatedly froze if I jarred them I took short soft baby steps expecting stabs of pain but nothing my legs were holding out. A gentle increase in pace and still all held well and with two Km to go I’d 18 minutes left of my allotted time, hope rose anew. Then( and I promise this is the truth) as I approached the final self check point, it’s less than half a mile from the end, and reached for the string on which was attached my check card I realised it had fallen off.

A couple of sickening moments of panic took over. I’d last used the card about 3 miles ago would I have to head back and find it? Could I convince the judges that I’d been through all the points after all folk would have seen me on the course and my number had been taken. A deep breath and rational thought led to me checking the pocket where the card should be and a resultant sigh of relief as it nestled snugly underneath my water bottle.

From here I glided home yes the path was awful and hidden jagged stones attempted to turn my ankle but my goal was attainable, a drop onto the road ,a jog to the village hall and that’s it job done home with six minutes to spare a plate of food, lots of orange juice, congratulations to friends and all problems were forgotten.

Penny came home in a very respectable 4.05 despite getting lost and the Elvet ladies recorded a famous victory (aided by Mandy’s protestations and a belief in all that is fair) . So next year? I lost three minutes, at least, pinned down as my leg seized and if I learn how to run downhill there’s time to be found but for now just relief that I’ve not wasted the first half of this year and that the choice of foot attire worked.