Monthly Archives: April 2017

The Cheviot and Hedgehope Pendulum Fell Race 2017, Langleeford, Northumberland, Sunday, April 30, 2017

11 miles

Elaine Bisson

A toss up between a long road run round durham on my tod or a race on the fells…well I think you know what wins. Slightly spur of the moment, we were visiting John’s family on Monday so my brownie points were in the bag! I bought a map of the area and tried my best to get my head round what this race was…from Langleeford, straight up a huge hill (Cheviot), straight back down, then straight back up another slightly less huge hill (Hedgehope) and straight back down. The map contours looked grim, hey ho nothing to lose.
I spent the evening faffing with my bag, big bag, little bag, how many layers, water, emergency food, minimum or maximum fell kit? My favourite leggings were stuck in our broken washing machine, I hand washed them and spent a good while hair drying them dry. Oh Lordy, I was a bit nervous.
I arrived at Geoff and Susan’s house bright and early ready for a lovely drive. It was a beautiful spring morning, the sky was blue, the gorse was in full bloom. Chatting along the way took my mind off the task ahead until we turned a bend in the road and there it was, the Cheviot, head slightly covered by cloud. This was a whole different race.
Registration was on the day for the bargain price of £5. As the wind picked up, numbers were scattered in the grass and I started to wonder what on earth I was doing here. The fellow competitors were nothing like I’d seen before. All ages, all extremely lean and fit. I felt out of my depth.
After the weirdest race briefing held along to very loud music (Geoff assured me this was not commonplace) we were off. A tiny stretch of flat Tarmac until the path bends off to the right then up, up, up, up, up, up, up to the very top of the Cheviot. I felt pretty sluggish, my calves and shins were screaming, I now realised the need for a proper warm up. I ran bits, walked (fast) most. A lady came along side me and “complimented”me on my amazing walk…as I laughed she replied “no you’re amazing at walking”, then that was her gone tootling off up the hill. Not for long though, as actually, I am pretty good at walking up hills and by the top I was first lady. We did a funny run round the cairn then it was a downhill dash. As I climbed over the stile I was glad to be holding on tightly as I was at risk of being blown right off the top, I was also pleased to see Susan (at least they’d know where I might have been blown to!)
I tried to convince myself the wind was blowing me in the right direction and tried my best to get down. Not long after the stile two women sped past me, I worked hard to keep them within 100metres. As I hit the bottom bridge before the second of the climbs up Hedgehope, I realised my shoe lace was undone, by then I’d half given up. I wasn’t good at descending and whatever effort I put in to getting up would be inconsequential when these two overtook me on the down. Anyway shoelace triple knotted, I got up and got on. However, over the first stile, there they were, 40m ahead, a quick run past them and they were gone. By then my legs felt like my own good running legs again and I thought if I keep this up, I could just about break enough distance so there’s no chance they can catch me.
Geoff had long since disappeared off Cheviot but If I squinted hard, I could just about spot a tiny purple and green NFR vest with his recognisable effortless skip. I fixed on that minuscule dot and tried my best to make it as big as I could get before the descent…Geoff leaves me for dust on descents. This hill was a lot steeper than the first. After not too long that tiny purple and green dot became a very large Geoff. I passed him and laughed, “there’s no way I can run down this”.
I reached the top, touched the wooden post (which seemed to be the thing to do) then put all my effort into running downhill…not as easy as it sounds. My brain hasn’t hurt so much in a race, always thinking where to place your next foot, how far to reach out or not, is that going to sink if I step on it, how do I miss that rock… I did expect Geoff to whizz past and was over the moon when I looked and saw that he hadn’t gained that much and that the two women were now tiny dots. My watch kept flashing brief paces reaching 5.30 min/mile, it was so much fun I can’t tell you.  Finally I reached that  little stile then back over the wooden bridge and the tiny finish with the organiser shouting, “well done first lady, amazing time.” I was giddy with excitement.
Geoff arrived soon afterwards, effortlessly gliding into the finish, he’d knocked 40minutes off last year’s time (very grim conditions) and I believe it was a personal best by 5 minutes. Not long and  Susan came in too looking very strong and winning her age group and a spot prize.
We picked up our complimentary chocolate bars/jelly beans and water, then it was time for the presentations.
It was cheap.  Everyone was incredibly encouraging as we passed each other on the ups and downs. It was the toughest 11miles I’ve ever tried to race. It had beautiful views and I will have to return so I can appreciate them. I loved every minute.
I do recommend this with caution.  They are two bloody big hills to climb (3550ft)  Apart from the wind, conditions today were perfect, not too cold, lovely bouncy, springy, dry peat. If wet underfoot this could be my idea of bog hell and I can appreciate how the weather could be horrendous.
Credit for photos to Vicki Deritis of Northumberland Fell Runners.
Full results are available here

Trail Outlaws – Washington Trail 10k, Washington, Tyne & Wear, Sunday, April 23, 2017

10k

Jonathan Hamill

Trail Outlaws – Washington Trail 10k

Photo courtesy of Hippie Nixon Photography, and others courtesy of LK Photography.

Billed as a challenging trail race, which shows off some of Washington’s hidden trails, it is part of a series of races organised by Trail Outlaws. I had some unfinished business from my first attempt in 2016.  What struck me then, and is still true today is the friendly, and efficient organisation – from marshalled car parking at Biddick Academy, efficient registration, to a superbly marked and marshalled course, with refreshments both en route, and post-race, it certainly ticks the boxes.

 

At registration, runners were issued with buffs – and I picked up the t-shirt which I’d pre-ordered.  I decided not to don the buff on account that the weather was rather pleasant.

 

Starting in the James Steel Park, the route follows a trail along the River Wear before looping back to Cox Green.  What follows are some other ‘lesser known secret trails’ and then eventually back over the bridge to the final delight – the last hill to the finish.

 

I set off at a decent pace, secure in the knowledge that the hills would calibrate my enthusiasm – they did!  Undeterred, I decided my strategy was simply to run as hard as I could, keeping back something mentally, if not physically for the dreaded last hill.  There were a few bottlenecks, and I decided to vault (ok, well half vault) a fence beside a style which I think gained me a whole 4 seconds.  I was really pleased to see Kerry at her marshalling point as I emerged across a field, uphill, and incapable of discussion.

 

Galvanised from the sight of a fellow purple warrior, I pressed on along the flat, and it was all going well, until Dead Dog Woods (around 7km in), when I landed awkwardly on my right foot (ice treatment to follow!).  As I ran along the River to the footbridge at Cox Green, all I could think about was the dreaded last hill.  Finally, it had its chance, and it well and truly knocked the wind out of my sails – fortunately, the worst bit is at the bottom, and it flattens out towards the finish, which allowed me to look more as if I was running at that point.

 

I set out thinking that an improvement on my time in 2016 was on the cards, and I was delighted to secure a ~8 plus minute course PB.

 

Taking place on St George’s Day, we were briefed by Sir Tim Bateson, who later handed out prizes in his fitting attire for the day.  I’m not sure if the green dragon won a prize but our Louise Warner placed 2nd lady!

 

Through the finish, I collected my medal (dog tag), and some goodies, including wrist bands, and a sticker before having some water with a dash of cordial!

 

A fantastic local race, which I’d recommend to anyone but be quick – it was a sell out!  We had a good contingent of Striders present, and some fantastic achievements, including Katharine Goda – her first race, not an easy one but a stonking time!

 

Bib Runners Club Race Time Category Position Gender Pos Age Cat Pos
14 Michael Barker Sunderland
Harriers & AC
00:39:14 M 1 1 M 1 M
393 Mark Warner Elvet Striders 00:43:24 M 6 6 M 6 M
45 David Brown Elvet Striders 00:46:51 M 16 16 M 13 M
392 Louise Warner Elvet Striders 00:49:54 F 29 2 F 2 F
155 Katharine Goda Elvet Striders 00:52:59 F 67 10 F 6 F
169 Jonathan Hamill Elvet Striders 00:55:04 MV40 81 68 M 21 MV40
145 Sue Gardham Elvet Striders 01:00:08 FV40 124 22 F 4 FV40
19 Louise Barrow Elvet Striders 01:01:36 F 148 30 F 21 F
120 Jane Dowsett Elvet Striders 01:14:34 FV40 297 132 F 48 FV40
69 Carla Clarke Elvet Striders 01:14:54 F 302 136 F 67 F
360 Diane Soulsby Elvet Striders 01:16:12 FV50 315 148 F 21 FV50
376 Carole Thompson-Young Elvet Striders 01:27:55 FV50 363 184 F 30 FV50
25 Kathleen Bellamy Elvet Striders 01:32:15 FV40 364 185 F 70 FV40
87 Samantha Crampton Elvet Striders 01:39:01 F 366 187 F 83 F

Calderdale Hike, Sowerby Bridge, Saturday, April 1, 2017

37 Miles (approx 30 completed) (26 mile option available)

Dougie Nisbet

To say I was unprepared for this race would be an understatement.

Lately I’ve been rolling up for races, such as the CTS Northumberland Ultra, with a pretty good idea in my head of the route, maps and GPS ready, only to discover the entire race liberally sprinkled with bright yellow arrows. The Wooler Trail Marathon wasn’t much better. Despite its remoteness there was usually a bold arrow stapled to a fencepost pointing you on your way.

Trawling back through the race reports I was surprised to see that no one was owning up to having done the Calderdale Hike before, not even Dave Robson. Still, how hard could it be? The organisers had uploaded a ‘suggested’ GPX trail and I dutifully transferred it to my Garmin. This gave me a belt and braces Breadcrumb Trail. Just to be on the safe side, I uploaded it to my iPhone, overlayed it onto some proper OS maps (I like maps), and had a pixel perfect plan of the journey ahead. I also had a battery pack so the phone would easily last me all day. I also had a map and compass, because that was in the kit list, and you
had to carry that. Yawn.

For the last 5 years I’ve been the IT technician at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. I finished there on Friday the 31st of March. Some people mark these things with a night in the pub, or a big party. I decided to do an Ultra. So I asked if it was OK to leave early on my last day as I was off to do an Ultra (my Manager is also a runner, he understood), and so Friday evening found Roberta and me sitting in the New Hobbit Inn in Sowerby Bridge. We could’ve have chosen the Premier Inn, but, like wines, this place had a more interesting label. I was still a little preoccupied by leaving my job so I wasn’t giving this race the attention it deserved. I thought I was prepared though.

The next morning I was at the Start with bags of time to spare, but, sadly, not sufficient bags to go back to the hotel and collect my water bottles that were sitting next to the telly. Luckily Roberta found a bottle of 500ml bottle of water next to the spare wheel in the car, and, deciding not to think about it too much, I shoved it in my bum bag. Mildly unnerved, I wondered what else I might have forgotten or taken for granted.

The Calderdale HikIt was probably around here I lost my battery packe is a 37 mile trail ultra that covers a gorgeous variety of town, village and fell. I had very little idea of where I was going but had the trail programmed into my Garmin, my phone, and if the worst came to the worse, I even had a map and a list of the checkpoint grid references. I planned to follow the gadgies in front for a while and then just follow the pixels.

Away we went and then a mere 100 yards from the start something quite unexpected happened, the bunch of runners split into two. This, I had not expected, and, thinking quickly, tagged onto the the slightly bigger of the two bunches. Sticking with the slightly bigger herd I tootled along, getting dropped a bit earlier than I expected but no worries. I fished out my phone and followed myself on the map. This was fine. I’m not fast, but fast enough to be ahead of the cut-offs, so for the next couple of miles I took a few photos and admired the view. I wasn’t in a rush. 37 miles is a long way. I was feeling mellow.

The route was fascinating. Following the waterways and reservoirs with meanderings along roads and paths. It’s not a part of the country I’m familiar with and I was enjoying the scenery a lot. I noticed that with all the photos I was taking the charge on my phone was dropping rapidly, so I decided to fish out my battery pack to give it a boost. The battery pack, sadly, had fished itself out of its own accord at some place unknown when I’d left my bumbag unzipped, and with a pang of anxiety I realised that I would have to re-evaluate the reliance on the phone for the maps.

I switched it off to conserve power and gave my attention to the breadcrumb trail on my Garmin. It’s not perfect but at least you know if you’re going wildly of course. This served me fine for a good few miles and the only times I knew there was a checkpoint was when a tent appeared ahead. Checkpoint 5 was just south of the M62 and I followed a few intrepid runners who had decided to forego the fells in favour of the (still legal) jog up a major ‘A’ road as the weather had got a bit manky at this point. Back north over the motorway, and up over the moors, where things were beginning to feel a bit more grown up. Checkpoint 6 was about 13 miles at which point a divine cup of tea was available. It was like being at Swaledale.

Checkpoint 7 was at Sladen Fold, after which there was some great canal-side running before my breadcrumb trail brought me onto the moors. I was keeping a trio of runners in my sights but it was clear that we were all doing a bit of dead-reckoning to get across the soft tussocky moorland and it was tough going. After a while I found myself on a firm trod, and it teased me away to the left. I was fine with that. I can go left, or straight on. But I decided to ease left for a bit to enjoy the better surface, with a view to bearing right again when things firmed up.

The weather was undecided between, mist, sleet or sun, and I kept my eyes on the trod, and jogged steadily on a pleasantly downward slope. It didn’t feel right. I was veering too far to the left surely, but my Garmin breadcrumb trail was rock steady, and I decided to keep the faith.

But something wasn’t right. I was on my own. The runners ahead had disappeared. I looked again at my Garmin. It hadn’t changed. At all. Some Striders might remember the famous scene in the China Syndrome, where Jack Lemmon taps the dodgy gauge and it silently glides down the scale. This wasn’t a nuclear meltdown, although it felt like it. I realised my Garmin had frozen. It hadn’t moved for the last hour. I’d been following an illusion. In Orienteering terms, it was a classic ‘180 degree’ error. I was running in exactly the opposite direction to what I should have been.

Total distance: 29.1 mi
Max elevation: 1693 ft
Min elevation: 509 ft
Total climbing: 4806 ft
Total descent: -4678 ft
Total time: 10:25:12
Download

I found myself at the bottom of a valley on a track with no idea where I was. The last clear waypoint where I’d been paying any real attention was when I crossed the M62. And that was well over an hour ago. I’d been following my Garmin in SatNav mentality with no real overall idea of where I was. Visibility was poor and the wind was getting up again. Shit, as they say, had just got real. Anxiety was bubbling up inside me. I got my map and compass out of my rucksack and started talking to myself. Ok, I said, which way is North …

It took me a good 15 minutes to work out where I was and then there was the small matter of locating the next checkpoint. I examined a rapidly  disintegrating piece of paper and identified the general direction that I needed to go. Unfortunately I’d bled off a lot of height in my careless following of the nice trod, and that height had to be regained. I stood up and headed North West. Up.

Some time later, slightly calmer aOne more rain shower and this is historynd a lot humbler, I got to Checkpoint 8 at Coolam. I was still disoriented and paranoid, even more so when the way out from CP8 was the same as the way in. Another long, long look at the map, something that I should’ve done at home days before the race, another examination of what was left of the  checkpoints sheet, and onwards and upwards to Checkpoint 9.

Gradually I regained confidence. My Garmin was working after I’d switched if off and on again (I did say I was an IT tech), the weather had improved, and, despite being slow, I was comfortable and content. I plodded on through checkpoint 10 and turned east on the home run to Sowerby Bridge. By the time I got to Checkppoint 11 at Cross Stones I was quite perky again. The sun was out, I was  feeling fine, and I was settling down for the last 10 miles or whatever (I had no idea) to the finish.

They were very kind at checkpoint 11, when they told me I was being timed out. I was feeling fine, so asked if it was ok to continue unassisted, in the full knowledge that I was no longer part of the race. I could tell the marshall wasn’t wild about the idea (“there’s a nice bus”), but he could also see I wasn’t at the end of my tether. I asked him how far it was to go, what the paths were like, if there were many hills, and, even as I heard myself asking these questions, I thought, I don’t deserve to finish this race. This was all avoidable. I lost well over 30 minutes by going wrong on the tops. Not a huge amount perhaps, but I’m not a fast runner. I have the stamina, but I don’t have the speed. I can’t afford to make mistakes like that. If I hadn’t gone wrong, I would’ve have been timed out.

So I settled down to sit on a Somewhere nice to sit and admire the view while waiting for the BoSvery nice bench and admired the view while waiting for the Bus of Shame. It was a jolly journey back to base and when I later looked at the finish times of the last walkers I realised I would’ve actually caught them up if I had kept going. Provided, of course, I knew where I was going.

 

Next year is the 40th anniversary of the Calderdale Hike. It’s on Sat 14th of April 2018. It’s a fantastic race. I’ll be there. And I’ll be ready this time.

 

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Gisborough Moors, Monday, April 17, 2017

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. King/Queen of the Mountain Race - click flag for more information. BL / 20km / 850m

Results

Pos.No.NameClubtimecat/pos/pts/total
1558John ButtersNFR87.08M40/1/50/50
45209Sally HoughtonRipon Runners113.00F50/1/50/50
81100Jason HardingElvet Striders97.02M45/2/48/89
31425Philip RayElvet Striders106.35MO/8/41/41
321034Jack LeeElvet Striders107.25MO/9/40/59
108126Nina MasonElvet Striders135.40F40/2/48/48
1131039Emil MäättäElvet Striders139.09MO/26/23/24
121276Jan YoungElvet Striders143.59F60/2/48/144
135212Camilla Lauren-MäättäElvet Striders158.54F50/4/45/45

Hardmoors White Horse marathon, North York Moors, Sunday, April 9, 2017

Dave Robson

Twelve years ago I never thought I would run a marathon, I thought at 53 I would be too old to start running one. However, I soon realised there were members of Elvet Striders who were older than me who were running them successfully. So I entered my first one and ran it just before my 56th birthday in 2007.

By December 2015 I had completed 126 marathons/ultras and I decided I needed a target. I am not one who sets myself many targets (and I don’t like anybody else setting me targets, but maybe I shouldn’t get started on that issue here ….).

After a bit if thought I came up with trying to get to 150 marathons/ultras within ten years of my first marathon, Windermere, in May 2007. So I was aiming to get the next twenty four marathons/ultras in eighteen months. That should be achievable provided I didn’t get injured. I have been lucky, I have had no injuries, so today was the day of my 150th marathon/ultra with a month to spare on my target.

I was very happy that I had managed to arrange my 150th to be the Hardmoors White Horse marathon as it is a fantastic route and I love Hardmoors events. It is a tough route with lots of climbs, but the scenery is beautiful. I had completed my 100th marathon at the Hardmoors Wainstones, so I may have started a pattern here.

I wan’t expecting a good time for this event, my previous times has been 6hr 55min (2015) and 6hr 43min (2016). Also the week before the event we had been on holiday and we had clocked up 53 miles (which is about half my usual monthly miles) in one week. Not much of a taper.

The start was at the Sutton Bank Visitor Centre (the nearest we would get to the White Horse).

and I chatted with a few friends before the start at 9.00. The start is not far away
and I was ready to go
The route starts along the Cleveland Way heading north but before long we turn off and plunge down the escarpment to Gormire Lake which is usually pretty muddy. However, this last week has been very dry and today was also dry and very warm, so it was very easy to avoid the muddy sections.
The climb out of Gormire was a bit muddy in places, but nothing like it has been in the previous two years. Once back on the Cleveland Way, the views started to appear, although it was a bit hazy.

Then after about 4m we reached Sneck Yate Bank and one of Jon’s motivational signs
Then on past High Paradise Farm and onto the moors. I had started at the back and I was gradually overtaking people and this went on until the end, it is funny how some races go well and others like Kielder Dark Skies two weeks ago which I didn’t feel went well (although I did a faster time there).
Then soon we were turning east and down into North Moor Wood and past the lovely Arden Hall
and a climb in road to the lovely village of Hawnby and the steep climb up to Hawnby Hill. Recently, at some Hardmoors events there has been a party checkpoint and at the top of Hawnby Hill. I should have take a photo of the bunting and the many inflatables, but I just one halfway up the climb which was telling us what was to come…
The views from Hawnby Hill are amazing.
If you have never been to Hawnby and climbed the hill, I would highly recommend it !
Down Hawnby Hill to the next checkpoint where they had honeydew melon slices, heaven !
Another climb and a run alongside Easterside Hill, which is a section I love and then another climb up Bilsdale West Moor before decsending to the checkpoint where Gillian and Eric were volunteering. Then its back to the southern Hornby, before the horrible road climb out on Murton Bank. I really don’t enjoy this climb, it seem to go on and on.

Finally I reached the checkpoint at the top and it was lovely to see Sara volunteering there ! Jon had mentioned that there was to be diversion as he hadn’t got permission for us to run through Deep Gill Wood so we had a smoother run and avoided this from previous years
which was a bit of relief. Generally the route was much more runnable this year being so dry. Via some lovely woods
and on to Rievalux Abbey
If there had been an ice cream van in the car park we passed with no queue, I would have stopped, but there wasn’t.
On past this lovely garden
and plodding now to the final checkpoint, where Lorna and Adrian welcomed me. I managed to run a bit more after this then I normally do, but I stopped at these stepping stones
to soak my buff and squeeze the water down my neck and rinse my face.
Before we climbed out of this section, we came across this lovely building
I can’t remember whether it was there last year. We climbed out of the valley and wind has developed into more than a light breeze and it was kicking up lots of dust and I had to put my sunglasses back on – I have never had a problem with dust before at a Hardmoors event !
I didn’t stop at an extra checkpoint at Cold Kirby as there was less than 2 miles to go and I could see I was going to get a course pb. And I did  I came in with something around 6hrs 16min, a 27min course pb.
So overall, it was a lovely event and I will be back next year. There are to be no targets for a while, just carrying on doing events that I enjoy 😃

The Monsal Trail Half Marathon, Peak District, Saturday, March 25, 2017

Tamsin Imber

What if you were in a dark tunnel?

A third of a mile long.

I was running straight into the mouth of a giant beast! Wow that was one big, eerie tunnel entrance! Aghh! Running head first into it was like plunging into the sea! Freezing cold! Aghh! With a freezing cold ‘tunnel wind’ complete with big blobs of icy water splashing down on my head from above! It was bendy. Dark. No light at the end of the tunnel to be seen. And there were mysterious echoes ..somewhere.. ahead?..behind?! …I was deep in the tunnel. The sound of my breathing in, out, in out. Rapid echoey footsteps, go faster, keep on!

The Monsal Trail is a disused railway line in the Peak District, now used as a cycleway and footpath. Starting near Bakewell, it doesn’t go round the ‘Peaks’ of the Peak district..it goes through them, meaning seven long tunnels! The Monsal trail half marathon takes a ‘there and back’ route from the Bakewell end, taking in three of the tunnels, several viaducts…and back again!

This half marathon was part of my London marathon training plan, and fell within weeks of training, so there was no tapering before and it was done on tired legs! But, no way can I race and not race. I wanted this. I wanted a podium finish. I wanted a PB. And, I wanted to beat all females younger than me!

I arrived early, so chatted to other runners for a while, but inside I was itching to start. With half an hour to go I escaped for a short warm-up, and to get away from the crowd. As I set off, I spotted my husband and two kids! I thought they had gone to the cycle hire? My daughter skipped towards me, her hair flying about getting in her face, waving her Care-Bear in the air. My son remained by husband’s side, looking serious. As I reached them he looked up at me earnestly, his big green eyes open wide and said “Mum, if you want to run faster, just imagine you robbed a bank and the police are chasing you!” I thanked him. It was original advice. Maybe it would work!

Five minutes to go. The runners just behind the start-line looked in scarily good condition. Tall skinny guys. ..and a large contingent of young twenty something looking girls. Hummm. Was I deluded? I climbed over the rope and squeezed my forty year old self in beside them. Tension and nervous anticipation filled the air. It was also absolutely freezing cold but I was fussing that the two layer option I’d gone for would be too warm. Make a decision, make up your mind. I stuck with two layers.

Last minute loudspeaker instructions over, the gun fired and we all charged forwards like sheep escaping from a pen. My legs protested immediately! I ignored it and forced myself to get into a steady rhythm, building up to a pace that was hard and painful, but that I hoped I could keep up. It was gravelly underfoot. As I got into my stride, so did runners around me and I found myself running in a group of four guys. Concentrate. Keep pushing that steady pace. You can. We reached Hassop station. A small crowd outside the cafe cheered us on! Pounding on I became warmer and warmer as the first sun of the year got properly up and I was soon totally baking! And looking forward to the first water station! I managed somehow to rip off my long-sleeved top from under my Striders vest top whilst running and threw it to the side. Then I saw the grand, eerie looking entrance of the first tunnel was looming closer and closer! Wow that was a big entrance! Aghh! Running head first into it was like plunging into the sea! Freezing cold! Aghh! With a freezing cold ‘tunnel wind’ complete with big blobs of icy water splashing down on my head from above! It was bendy and I could hear mysterious echoes ..somewhere.. ahead?..behind?! I was deep in the tunnel. The sound of my breathing in, out, in out. Rapid echoey footsteps, go faster, keep on! Suddenly out of the tunnel and back into the bright light made me feel a bit spaced out for a few moments. Focus! I concentrated on keeping on it. I was running on my own now, having dropped two of the guys and two had gone ahead. Focus. Keep the pace up. My lungs were OK but my legs were tight. Oooooo! Two more tunnels, viaducts, valley views, cycle path…and then, the first male, having reached the turnaround point, came speeding towards me. Then more guys. Then the first lady…and the second. And the third..Noooo! The fourth..Nooo! The fifth ..Noooo! ….Then…me. I quickly reached the half way point and threw myself round the tight bend round a disused platform. Speed up, get on it! The girls ahead all looked a lot younger than me…but even more reason to try and catch them! My legs hurt more now, but they can speak to the hand, cos the brain ain’t listening. Back through the third tunnel, then the viaducts. More runners were coming towards me now. I heard one say “oooo she looks in pain!” I tried to smile at her but grimaced. Back through the second tunnel, more cycle path, I kept pushing on. And on.

I reached mile 9. Never been best buddies with mile 9. I really needed that next water station too. Swinging my arms more strongly to battle with my legs I ran on. I tried and failed to relate to a police chase. Instead I chanted ‘Mo Farah, Mo Farah’ in my head over and over in time to my feet. Mile 10! Phew! One final ice tunnel and there was the water station! Thank God! Literally! I stuck my hand out in advance, grabbed the cup, threw as much as I could in the direction of my mouth, got most of it over my face, threw the cup to one side and carried on.

Only 3 miles to go! I can do this! Yes! I found I could run a bit harder. A runner then caught me up (male so that’s OK). I kept up with him and we pushed each other on. Yes! I can do this! Lets go catch em! I increased the pace, and so did he. Back past Hassop station, just cycle path all the way now. The sun was really burning down, why was he putting his woolly bobble hat on? Ignore it, focus! Where are those girls? Catch them! I held on. The faster I run, the sooner I can stop. I ran harder and left the guy behind. 12 mile marker, only a mile! Yes! I will catch them. Aghh, the pain! Go, go go! I tried to run harder. Where are those girls? At last the finish in sight! Then suddenly he was right on me, running flat out! No way! I stopped him passing me and raced him to the finish. Aggghhh!! and then we were both over the line, stopped, bent over, gasping for air…!

I didn’t catch those girls. I came 6th lady. But not catching them makes me more determined for next time! I got the FV40 trophy. I didn’t get a PB. I tried my best and and ran as well as I could have done on the day. You win some, you lose some, especially in running! My watch showed even-pacing, which boosted my confidence as I didn’t look at it. And I love my medal with its Bakewell pudding on!

Extract from the book Running My Way by Tamsin Imber with permission from Pitch Publishing.

DT20, Reeth, Saturday, April 1, 2017

20km

Elaine Bisson

I hugged Sarah last year’s rival (this year on timing duty) she looked me straight in the eyes and said “Go on, you’re going to win this.” I wasn’t so sure, I think I could match last year’s time…

It was a beautiful spring morning, I’d kept myself to myself, calmed down, enjoyed a good 2 mile warm up along the river. I was ready as I’d ever be. I’d started to train differently. My miles had risen dramatically but most of those were fun off road long distances. I’d actually recced this a fair few times, it was pretty and challenging. I’d been to the track to monitor progress and my speed was back but who knows. My husband had told me to enjoy it, that there was always someone who would turn up and be faster than me…that had irked me no end. How bloody rude and what if today was the day I turned up??

I’d been reading lots too, inspirational books for the love of running…seriously just loving running (but usually the author was extremely talented!) I’d filled my head with mantras and quotes to use when it started to hurt. I determined to push hard all the way, no let up, to run like I’d never run before, as if it were my last.

I looked around, lots of eager runners, I marked out two women, standing alone in their own thoughts, like me, sh** I thought, and there they are, They’ve turned up.

 

After a short race briefing we were counted down and off. Straight across a field, through a rather deep muddy and stinky puddle then up the other side. I pushed hard until my legs started to burn, a bit further and then I could walk hooray! There is a long first climb up to Fremington Edge. I kept my head down and worked hard, whenever feeling came back in my legs I’d run a bit until they started to burn, then walk, then run. Eventually we reached the top gate, runners from previous years were marshalling, I knew them, they gave me (and everyone else) a huge cheer and shake of bells “well done first lady, looking strong”, wow, I wonder how long that will last.

I knew it had taken me a while to break into a good pace last year but I determined to reach that pace faster, whether my legs liked it or not. I started to overtake quite a lot of men. I felt strong. Then I heard the welcome friendly Yorkshire voice “hey up, I’m back!” My running buddy who is well known to be an extremely good pacer and motivator, Jon Ayres, was back.

Through lots of practise I’d got far better at descending, switching off my brain, as soon as we hit grass I was gone and Jon was trailing behind. A few sub 6s thrown in, it was exhilarating, this was fun. Then we hit the bridge and everything started to sway, a few seconds of panic that I was going to collapse then I realised the bridge was actually swaying not my head, phew…time to push on.

Jon looked around, “are you ok, you’re running like you’re possessed” Thats  the point I thought, run like it’s your last! And so we kept pushing on and on, if my legs were screaming I’d walk, have a sip, a gel, as soon as they weren’t I’d run again. The welcome checking of Jon ‘are you alright’ every now and again and confirmation, yes actually I am, let’s move this up a gear.

Up to Calver, it’s a cheeky one with a false summit, even when I told myself it’s not the top, I still was tricked. Then Jon started looking anxious, kept checking over his shoulder, kept saying come on let’s go for this. Only coming off Calver did I realise why, a girl was coming and her friends were timing me to tell her the distance between us. The clap of thunder overhead marked the start of the storm, 1.5miles to go, a good downhill…no f***ing way is this going to happen. We flew off Calver, one of the marshals shouted “f***ing brilliant, you’ve got this”, 1.5miles left and the adrenaline had kicked in, flight or fight? I was going to do both. We caught quite a few on the descent then I knew there was a short reprieve when we could walk, then it was sprinting ALL the way. As we cornered a bend a flash came…I thought a camera lens, nope lightning then immediately afterwards thunder…best run faster then! It was awesome. Never have I run like fury, I looked at the last few fields, about half mile now, we picked up our pace more to storm through the last field, they’re not allowed to catch me now!

I saw the clock and was shocked at the time, I saw Sarah’s face beaming, I’d bloody well done it, First lady from the start, first lady at the end, 5minutes quicker than last year and I still had an itching for more. One massive hug from Jon who had sneakily got me by a second. I’m not sure either of us has ever raced like that. I raced like it was my last and it was amazing! If only I could bottle up that feeling…I’ll just have to do it again!

We cheered in a few friends, picked up our Tshirts, complimentary tea and cake then I had to head home before presentations to pick up my boy. Jon, who had joked ALL the way round that he was First Lady kindly picked up my prize.

Not much I can say about these. I’ve made some amazing friends from previous years, the same smiling faces turn up time and again. It’s brilliantly organised. They’re in Yorkshire, but somehow found a way into my heart, I absolutely love them. Tough but well worth it.

Elvet Striders Down Hill Dash Club Run 2017, Wednesday, April 5, 2017

1 mile

The inaugural Striders Downhill 1 mile run looked a great success with some fierce finishes.

For more photos (all downloadable full size) visit the gallery …

 

Here’s the details of the run for the next time!

Gareth writes …

The Wednesday (5th April) the club run will be a one mile downhill dash from old Durham Gardens. The Start at the top of old Durham Gardens and finish at the wobbly Bridge at MC.

The idea is to set each pace group off under the run leaders and meet just about 7:30ish at the start area. We will then set each race/wave off in their chosen Mile group.

I just want this to be fun, but people can definitely target a Mile PB if they desire on the day as it’s very fast Down Hill.

Here’s a map of the route:

Total distance: 1636 m
Max elevation: 86 m
Min elevation: 34 m
Total climbing: 14 m
Total descent: -56 m
Total time: 00:05:19
Download

 

And now a pictorial guide (Gareth’s photos):

The Start

Down the hill then turn right towards the Cathedral

A long flatish slightly downhill stretch with the Cathedral in the distance

Down towards Old Durham Gardens then bear left at gate (marshalled)

Looking back at the gate that you’ve just gone through

Down the hill then bear left up the muddy path

A few metres up the path then bear right, towards the river

Just before old bridge, bear right then left

Left Left Left under the old bridge

Straight run to the finish

If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare, here’s how it looks. You can see that it’s going to be very sunny. It’s not quite GoPro quality but you get the idea. Be ready for the Susan Davis photobomb.

Link to full size (1.3GB) file: Downhill Dash 1 mile