Yearbook 2016

Aaron Gourley

Aaron Gourley2016 was an up and down year. I had highs followed by lows but on the whole I was pretty pleased with how it went. I didn’t get to run all the fell races I’d have liked to but I achieved a big PB at the Great North Run (1hr36mins –
6min PB) then finished the Hardmoors 60 a week later in not such good shape and slower than previous attempts. I had a fantastic run at Wooler Trail Marathon finishing in 32nd place then, having finally built up the courage to enter the Tour de Helvellyn which was fantastic, I found it very tough for the last part of the race and again finished in not such good shape.
So my goal for 2017 is to improve my speed and endurance and to make an effort to do better in cross-country. But my main target for 2017 is to complete, and more importantly, enjoy the West Highland Way race in June.

Alex Collins

Achievements 2016: A lot of highlights in 2016 but my main one was running my first ever Ultra Marathon, in particular the 69 miles from Carlisle to Newcastle. I loved every minute of it despite never wanting to run ever again after I finished… but the memories of the pain have faded and I’m now looking for the next challenge.

Goals 2017: After a year of running long distances, my goal was to stick to short 5k and 10k distances. Just two months into 2017 and I have already entered 2 Half Marathons, 3 Full Marathons, and 1 Ultra Marathon. So that goal is already out the window.

Andrew Davies

I guess my running highlight of 2016 was Sunderland Half. I whizzed around and felt great all the way. However London Marathon is going to take a lot of beating simply because of lessons learned (I didn’t sleep a wink the night before), organization and atmosphere. The year was full of ‘little’ achievements such as fast time trails (thanks Allan and Ian), enjoyable handicaps, parkrun PBs and having my eyes opened by cross country.
I had a very busy year of work but the attraction of training and racing with Striders always ensured I made time to run.I don’t really have any targets for 2017 except a proper sub 4 minute kilometer (unofficial PB is 3.59 according to Strava), a sub 6 minute mile (6:20 PB), a sub 8 minute Durham City juniors parkrun (8:28 PB), a sub 13 minute TT (13:02 PB), a sub 21 minute 5k (21:30 PB), a sub 22 minute Durham parkrun (22:02 PB), a sub 36 minute 5 mile (36:30 PB), a sub 45 minute 10k (45:42 PB), a sub 1:45 Half (1:46 PB) and, the big one, a sub 4 Hour Marathon (4:30 PB).My biggest running highlight of 2016 – being part of the great team that setup Durham City juniors parkrun.Okay, maybe I have one or two targets. Bring it on.

Anna Basu

Definitely a better year!! Great North Run achieved with hubby in quite respectable time with no first aiders required(!);  Great North 10k, probably won’t beat that time ever now but who knows? Childrens Cancer Run with the whole family; kids did the GN Childrens Run too. Others: Sunderland HM, a little dabble of the toes into barefoot running, a stretch along the beaches of Santa Monica and 1000 miles under our belts this year to boot. So – 2017k in 2017??

Catherine Smith

Last year I set myself challenges of PBS in all distances and my first marathon – I’m thrilled to say I achieved all of my goals and more. I definitely believe that’s to do with the input of the Strider posse who have helped me improve and diversify.

This year I’d like to continue on the path of personal improvement and enjoyment of running and hopefully do a good job as ladies captain, helping others to do the same.

Chris Shearsmith

2016 was a good running year for me. It was my first year as a Strider, I completed my first marathon at London and recorded new PBs at parkrun, 10k and half marathon.

I was particularly chuffed to get my elusive first sub 50 10k at Darlington in August. I also ran some great races for the first time like Blaydon, Bridges of the Tyne and Pier to Pier. I also had my first muddy experience at the XC!

In 2017, I hope the PBs keep falling and I’ve got a few more races I’d like to give a try for the first time, Northumberland Coastal, Kielder and Brampton to Carlisle are all on my list.

Conrad White

After 2015 which had a couple of highlights – 2016 has been a lower light year.  A minor surgical procedure to keep the insides inside meant loss of fitness and time out.  A probably too keen return meant the achilles that has been on and off for years was more on than off.  However things seemed to be looking up year end and I had one of my better placings in the Blyth Sands 5 mile (handicapped by age) on my 60th birthday  – just missed out on the age prize but was given a bottle of wine instead – how kind was that!

Done a bit more shouting from the sidelines than I would have liked but still running and hoping 2017 will be better. Still love the camaraderie of the sea of purple.  What is there not to like ?

Dave Robson

Dave RobsonI enjoy running marathons and ultramarathons in the countryside and I have had a good injury free year where I have completed a number of those kinds of events. My running goals for 2017 are just to continue to run those sorts of events and be out there in the countryside and hills.

David Brown

Stand-alone highlight for me was training for, and completing the Jedburgh 3 Peaks Ultra Marathon in near perfect Autumn conditions.
I have three target races for 2017 which I’d like to see improvements in my times; the first is to return to Jedburgh with lessons learned and finish the course in sub 7 hours. I aim to go under 4 hours at Swaledale. And to finish the Northumberland Coastal Run in a sub 1:40.

I’m under no illusion these goals will come easy, and I’m prepared to put in the graft; as such I hope to actually show face at the club and to make use of the valued and varied sessions.

Dougie Nisbet

Racing should never be dull, safe or predictable. I’m not very good at running in hot weather and I’d never raced abroad. I’ve always wanted to. So this year I thought I’d try running marathons in hot countries. Lanzarote (with a mini-tri for variety) and Palma were great fun, even if I did keep bumping into George Routledge. Tough though. I’m still not very good at running in the sun. Just need lots of practice.

I’m also leaning towards long-and-slow, since I’m not very good at short-and-fast. I’m going to give Ultras a try. They sound fun. How hard can they be?

Elaine Bisson

2016, my best and worst year for running…On the roads: March I achieved my dream of a sub 90 minute half marathon time in Liverpool,  April took me to the noisiest marathon I could have ever dreamed of running…VMLM, a new PB of 3:17 (I know I can do better!)

The rest of the year was packed with trips to Yorkshire, whether for memorable recces (in deep snow, with wind that actually blew me up Calver hill, blistering sunshine) and for races.

I achieved 3:43, 3rd lady and was part of the ladies winning team at Swaledale Marathon.

Then on to build an amazing running friendship/rivalry battling it out over 90km and 2550metres of ascent against Sarah, to come 2nd lady in the DalesTrails Grand Slam.

August I tore my hamstring in a bog which meant no proper training/running until December….not a good thing for an obsessive runner like myself!

So, 2017 goals…

  • Regain my fitness,
  • Oh go on, I’ll have some PBs,
  • Definitely more races against my Yorkshire rival,
  • Training for a very different challenge,
  • Above all, to continue to run with some of the most amazing friends I have been lucky enough to make!

Fiona Kinghorn Jones

My highlight of the year was running the London Marathon, I gained my good for age 2 years earlier at the town moor. The crowd support was immense all the way round although the end of the race didn’t go to plan I still managed a PB.

Fiona Wood

Fiona WoodLooking back it seems I achieved all of the targets I set myself in last year’s Yearbook, along with a distance PB at the Coniston 14 and a new half-marathon PB at Haltwhistle by 18 minutes. This year my focus is on my first marathon, Paris, on April 9th. I will have to see how I feel after that in order to set goals for the remaining 8 months!

Gareth Pritchard

I started the year battling back from injury and watching my fellow striders achieve amazing things cheering from the sidelines. Having been broken again by marathon running I decided to focus on the shorter stuff in 2016 and running adventures with Catherine.

My refocused training and mindset saw the first racing success at brass monkey with a surprise PB and 2nd strider home on the day. This would be my story for most of the year, chasing a  certain club member and keeping the fast lad honest.

Dentdale was my first sniff of potential silverware as I came in a close 4th place, something I mean to improve on this year.

Blackpool half marathon was a massive highlight, I trained hard and achieved a big PB and placed 2nd for the very first time in a major road race. Something I will never forget as I danced like a mad man to the finish line as reality sunk in.

Kirkley 10k saw my very first major road race victory, incredible feeling running behind the lead car and another PB and silverware. Blaydon is another high point as I finally got my first victory of the year over my speedy strider team mate and my training really came together.

This all culminated in the big race, Sunderland 5k. A perfect day and a perfect run, something I may never achieve ever again. Everything went right in the buildup and I smashed my PB with a time of 16:14 and another first strider home placing. I was in shock but on cloud 9, a very special moment in my running story.

In steps a massive spanner to my non marathon 2016 plan, New York City Marathon entry accepted. What an amazing adventure, I got engaged, ran sub 3 hours while being tracked by half our club, and learned countless lessons on what I can achieve. Now as men’s captain and injury free at last, 2016 has been amazing.

If 2017 is half as successful as last year then I will be a very happy lad.

My goals for 2017?

  1. Continue running consistently sub 17 mins for 5k and maybe dream of a sub 16.
  2. Finally nail a sub 75 half marathon.
  3. Improve all my PBs and nail a sub 2:45 marathon.
  4. Run as much as possible with my amazing fiancée.
  5. Continue to keep the fast strider lads looking over their shoulder

Jane Dowsett

I joined Striders in October 2015 after starting to do parkrun a few months earlier.  In January I started working on building from 5-10K and in May ran the Sunderland 10K and caught the bug for entering I did Pier to Pier, Blaydon, Lambton 10K, Bridges of the Tyne, Durham 10K, Clamber, GNR, Kielder 10K, Muddy Mayhem, Gibside Fruit Bowl, Morpeth to Newcastle Half, Cragside Christmas Cracker, and Brampton to Carlisle.  Then I finished up the year with a parkrun in New Zealand in December.

If anyone had told me at the beginning of the year that I would run 2 half marathons by the end of the year I would never have believed them!  I’ve had a great time and enjoyed it so much(at least at the end of each race!).  It has also been v beneficial to my health – both physical and mental.  I was totally rubbish at PE at school, especially running, so get a massive kick out of the fact that I can actually run!

Goal for 2017: to get rid of a recurrent knee problem and to keep on running…

Jenny Search

Joanne Patterson

Joanne PattersonIn March 2016 I went out of my front door for a run.  I only went 1.8 miles and had to stop a number of times.  I persevered, started going to Durham parkrun with a friend, and after a few attempts, managed a 27.22 5k time – this made me think maybe I was ok at this after all?
I hated running alone, and wanted to join a running club that didn’t make me feel intimidated.  My lovely friend Steph Piper encouraged me to put my name on the reserve list to join Striders. Then one day in May 2016, she sneakily signed me up to run in the mile race one club night and didn’t tell me until about 20 minutes before!  I’ve never looked back.  I have ran quite a few 5 and 10k races since, managing to knock 4 minutes off my 10k time (57:25) at Middlesbrough Tees Pride in September.  I obtained a charity place for the Great North Run (in hindsight, possibly a bit too soon?!) and ran my first half marathon in 2:23, just 6 months after that first step out of my house.  I won’t lie, it wasn’t the most enjoyable experience of my life, but I hope to put those demons to bed in January 2017 when I run Brass Monkey.  I completed Brampton to Carlisle 10 miler in November (1:34) and this was by far my most enjoyable “race” so far. My hopes for 2017 are just to enjoy running with the amazing people I have met through this club.  I could very easily have given up after the GNR, but the Striders support network are just amazing.  The ever elusive Durham parkrun PB would also be very lovely.  Oh, and to actually finish a XC course…..

Jonathan Hamill

2016 was a successful running year for me.  Motivated by personal challenge, I set a number of targets to provide focus.  I was delighted to achieve them all, and dropped a dress size along the way:

2016 Target 2016 Result 2015 PBs
Distance 1500km 1763km  1010km
5k/parkrun <25 mins 23:48  26:34
10k <50 mins 48:37  58:52
HM <1:55 1:53:15  –

I did races aplenty but running highlights for me included Paris Breakfast Run (whilst supporting Lesley conquer her first marathon), Pier to Pier, Lisburn Half Marathon, Portrush parkrun, Durham City 10k, GNR for the first time, then the Amsterdam Half Marathon when I secured my HM PB.  I also joined the parkrun 50 club.

My toughest battle, yet most rewarding was the Brampton to Carlisle 10 mile race, when I secured a PB of nearly 20 minutes over the previous year, to finish in 1:20:33.

I’m grateful to folk who provided support and encouragement along the way, in particular Jon Ayres.  I also enjoyed encouraging others, volunteering, and leading runs (establishing Hamill’s mystery tours)!

2017 sees me tackle the Marathon distance for the first time in Paris – at the moment, that’s my priority!  Vous êtes votre seule limite!

Karen Byng

I joined Striders in May this year and since then have enjoyed running with really friendly people , being challenged to train and try new challenges , great coaching and I think I’ve got new pb’s in all distances , having fun at the same time ! For 2017 I’d like a sub2 hour half ,finally!! Also the Berlin Marathon in September and just to keep enjoying it all ..

Kath Dodd

2016 has been a year of running highs and lows. Have absolutely loved every day of training , being one of those (lucky) people who don’t need races for motivation. I’m even getting used to the British weather after 4 years here!

My races for the year started with the Hardmoors 30 on New Years Day and ended with the Wooler Trail Half with my training buddies Kate McPherson and Katherine Preston (3 K’s! ) In between there were many highlights, my favourite has to be a distance pb and ‘local record’ for 24 hours and 121.5 miles nonstop on Maiden Castle track for a local mental health charity RT projects. This was followed very closely by the Strider’s charity relays and the Lake Wake Challenge with my very patient Ultra hero (and navigator) Dave Robson, without him I’d still be lost out on the moors somewhere 😉 The lowest point was an acute cartilage tear requiring knee surgery in August but thanks to physio Neil and a surgeon who runs I was back out there pretty quickly.

Aim for 2017…stay healthy, complete 3 marathons in 3 days on the Jurassic Coast Challenge and do at least one more 24 hour race (not on a track!) Whilst continuing to bring people into running through C25k groups and inspiring others to push their boundaries. Love it.

Kathleen Bellamy

Kathleen_BellamyMy highlights of my running year is my first marathon at Kielder Dark Skies & also my first ultra marathon Hardmoors Princess Challenge 31 miler. Both things I never thought I would or could do.

Katy Walton

Katy WaltonMy statement this year was if you can’t run coach, so I did. It was so enjoyable watching Striders have a go at track and field and to be there to support and advise. The team spirit of everyone helped me through what could have been a lonely and tough period.

Mike Hughes

Had a great time in early 2016 having a good excuse to escape to the lakes to train. Completing my Bob Graham has still not sunk in I don’t think. Looking forward to more trips this year and supporting others in their attempts. Our Sally finally “got me” at park run.2017: keep injury free, enjoy running, do my best as mens VC, get some pb’s and a generous dollop of X/C mud. !

Penny Browell

On paper my best achievement of 2016 was my half marathon PB of 1.27 way back in January. However for me, highlights I’m most proud of are competing in two AL races (Helvellyn and the Dodds and Sedbergh) both of which I absolutely loved and was chuffed to bits to walk away with third prize at Sedbergh. I also felt honoured and humbled to be part of Mike’s amazing Bob Graham adventure.
Goals for this year – no road races, lots of hills and less stressing about how fast I’m going!

Rachelle Mason

I have loved doing the cross country races and also the team events such as the Neptune relays & Cathedral relays. I also had great fun doing the athletics competitions. This year I would like to run faster and race further!

Steve Ellis

SMASHED IT!!!! Not hyperbole at all, as on a personal level it has been a great year on the roads…every personal best beaten …Mile..Time trial..5k.. Park run..10k (sub 50min) 10 mile..half- marathon ( sub 2hr).

Also I completed every park run in the “challenge” in under 25mins.

My left arm has not been so tired as I have been running against the clock so much! Its been a hard year but ultimately a great one and thankfully injury free. I can only hope to get somewhere close next year….

My hopes though rest elsewhere. I would love to see Jan back to full fitness so we can get out onto the hills and fells, as we hoped for this year but her injuries have put the mokkers on that! Also any other striders whose presence we are greatly missing at present because of injuries…(Dave Spence..Adam name but two.)

With mutual support and encouragement to be a little adventurous occasionally and even pushed out of our comfort zones we develop as runners and people. Our club gives this in spade loads and I for one applaud it loudly.

Sue Gardham

After a holiday. I came home refreshed and ready to set some new running goals. A marathon it would be. I didn’t really fancy a road one, so Kielder seemed like a good if not challenging choice. I obtained a place and training commenced. Training went pretty much to plan until the week before when I came down with a cold. I overdosed on cold medication, determined to go ahead and then the day before my daughter passed on her stomach bug and I spent the day in bed. I knew I couldn’t run a marathon that weekend. Gutted. I looked at other marathons I might do in the next few weeks. I fancied vegas, but had to be realistic and settled for castles marathon in bamburgh. Kate McPherson was fabulous, encouraging and helping me reshape my training for the last couple of weeks. On the day it was cold and drizzly. There was a huge field of 48 runners! There was a half on at the same time so the first half felt a lot busier although I hardly saw anyone for the second half and I think it was just my own personal cheering squad of hubby and my children that kept me going, popping up at different points. I finished in 4.19. A bit disappointed with the time but pleased to have finished and had the bonus of having an age category winner prize drop through my letter box a few weeks later! I guess you have to be in it to win it!

Sue Jennings

My greatest achievement ever must be the Hardmoors Grand Slam:  Hardmoors 30, Hardmoors 55, Hardmoors 110 and Hardmoors 60.  Here’s my favourite pic x

Tamsin Imber

I started running in January 2014 to escape from the kids! Running from the front door I found I could run as far as the co-op, so next time I ran a bit further..and so on. Inspired by the freedom I got from running, I bought a book called ‘How to run a marathon’ and followed the beginners  plan.. roughly.. this was the plan minus anything with jargon, which basically meant 3 easy runs and a longer easy run each week. I ran the Leicester marathon in October 2014 in
4.15. At the end of 2014 Laura Gibson, whom I knew from a toddler group, said that a friend of hers (Kate Mac) was setting up a running group just for mums, and looking for a social aspect I joined ‘Durham Mums on the Run’ (Dmotr) and then Striders in Spring 2015. I began 2015 with the Northumberland marathon in February (an Endurancelife event) which went along the coast from Bamburgh Castle to Alnwick. It was stunningly beautiful! Following this, Kate Macphearson mentioned the Hardmoors races to me. At about this time I was also sitting in a cafe with a friend who asked me about my running. I said I was hoping to do a Hardmoors race, and he asked me about them. I said there were 7 trail marathons in the series, and he replied, ‘Well, obviously you won’t be able to do all 7.” Therefore, I indulged myself in 10 (mostly trail) marathons that year. I should thank him as it was a fantastic experience! In 2016 I decided to try races of different distances. I am so pleased I joined both Dmotr and Striders! Both the social and running aspects are great! They have introduced me to track-sessions, speed-work and the fantastic NE Cross country harrier league which I love for the team aspect ! I find I enjoy both road and off-road running and hope to improve as much as I can. Thanks for being such a brilliant running club! Its been great to meet so many inspiring and supportive people!
Goals for 2017:
  1. To get a PB at the London Marathon
  2. To do a fell race in the summer that involves going up and down a BIG hill.

Timothy Skelton

Timothy Skelton2016 was my first full year of running and as a strider. I’ve made some great friends and some cracking friendemies to try beat in races. Great advice and coaching from club captains, bossy friends (you know who you are) and parkrun
pros has seen my times improve so overall I’m pleased. I hit my targets for last year but know apathy at times got the better of me.

This coming year I plan to run more trail races and try do more half marathons than 10kms. I also want to try double my 401 miles this year which will be a tough challenge whilst juggling a young family (and wife). I also need to run
off this Xmas chunk as soon a possible.

Lesley Hamill

My biggest achievement of 2016 was completing my first Marathon in Paris.  This year I have chosen to stay closer to home, and run the Liverpool Marathon with two of my Strider buddies.

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