A round up from Captain Fiona

Fiona Brannan

Hello all,

It’s been a while, and it may be a while more… You will all have heard to death by now, there’s a bit going on at the moment. As has been communicated already, we will not be organising club activities for the foreseeable future. As a country we have not yet been prevented leaving our houses, but all non-essential travel has been advised against and the situation is serious. Get your fresh air and exercise while we still can, but please remember that we have been sent home for a reason.I’m not sure many, if any of us know where the coming weeks will take us or when normality will resume, but for now it is head down, do what we are told and stay safe. We do have a wonderful connection in the way of technology that can help hugely in times such as this so if you haven’t already, and wish to stay connected with club members please utilise the Facebook page and Strava group. Anybody with an internet connection and a device on which to use it can do this. Virtual connections may become the new normal so please make full use of them, and stay positive while you do so. Team app and the emails associated with it will remain the means of official club correspondence.

In terms of outdoor activities, why not try something new and away from the city streets? Many people run the railway paths but they do extend past Lanchester and Crook! If anyone has any extra time for a drive, head into Weardale and try the Waskerley Way stretch. There are plenty of flat sections (and some good hills too if you look for them). I’ve never encountered people out that way, only pheasants! A fell race recce is often a good few hours spent, there are many in the surrounding area and a tentative question will have any fell runner in the vicinity springing up in seconds (then you have to get rid of them again…). The Weardale way that we know so well in Durham is actually 78 miles long, why not try another stretch of it?

But to further the serious note, that we may be forced into our houses as they have experienced in Italy, Spain and parts of France – consider how we may train in our houses and gardens. It isn’t what we might like, but it may be necessary – and it’s likely that 97% (references not available) of us would benefit from some extra stretching, strength & conditioning or yoga. Get inventive! No weights? No problem! Enlist your children/ pets/ partners/ canned food that everyone seems to be hoarding… And keep us updated! Those with instagram – have a look for ‘#sportividacasa‘ to see how the Italians have been coping!

As always, the one thing that can ALWAYS be done… WRITE YOUR RACE REPORTS! We will all be needing things to read in the coming weeks! Perfect means of ‘social distancing’ – something that we all need to be doing to keep each other safe.

In the final Harrier League of the season runners were treated to a course inside the private Lambton Estate and from all accounts, it was a good one (although there did appear a lengthy thread about horsefly bites soon after. Must be a sign it’s warming up). In the ladies race, it was a sprint finish for Emma Thompson from the fast pack and Nina Mason running from the medium, coming home first and second counters, shortly followed by Susan Davis (also first V60 home) and Wendy Littlewood, having only just decided to run and in her trainers no less! Though this completed the team, Jan Young was also first V65, proving that cross country is not something you grow out of!

In the mens race, Alex Mirley ran strongly from the medium pack to finish 3rd overall and 6th fastest of the day, closely followed by Stephen Jackson in 8th place from the fast pack, posting the 5th fastest of time the day. They were joined by Georgie Hebdon, Stuart Scott, who gained promotion to the medium pack, Michael Littlewood (escaping the fast pack once again!) and Chris Callan to finish an overall 2nd place on the day, and 2nd place in the league, a personal best for the Strider men. Taking home the trophy next year?

As this was the end of the season, one of unprecedented cancellations and postponements, the individual standings are also known and we have some podium finishes; congratulations to Stephen Jackson and Graeme Watt on 3rd place finishes in the senior and veteran male categories respectively. Here’s hoping for a full set of fixtures next year!

On the roads, Corrine Whaling and Anna Basu further showed the value of great training partners to finish 16th and 17th overall, and 3rd and 4th females, Anna taking the 1st V40 prize also. London (October) 2020, watch out!

At the Run Northumberland Big 20 Miler, Stephen clearly wasn’t too tired after the cross country, as he retained his title from the previous year to once again come home in first place.

Now, for the best words (I’m not biased) – to the fells!

Six Striders plus Jan went down for the Bilsdale fell race, a GP fixture and the only ‘AL’(reasonably long and equally hilly) in the North York Moors. Somewhat out of the comfort zone of many in attendance (and on cross country legs from Saturday), to their credit, everybody made it round, and nobody missed any checkpoints! Not to be said for all attendees of the race… Special mention to Nina, for taking a full 17 minutes off her time of last year, despite the mud this time round being 6 inches deeper – how’s that for a PB. Overall we had a 1st, a 4th (and category win), I think the men might have been third team as well, and we all met Nicky Spinks. My claim to fame; she watched me fall waist deep, face first into a bog, I’m sure it was elegantly done though. Thank you also to Jan for marshalling, and I believe the Parson family were out shouting encouragement from somewhere beneath the Wainstones, though it might have been lost in the wind!

Not sure who Nicky Spinks is?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ABR30IHlq4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJAW8STfiko

Stay safe, keep running (away from populated areas) while we still can, and most importantly… write your race reports!

Happy…

‘working from home’
‘hills reps up the stairs’
‘sit ups in the living room’
‘squats with the dog’

(insert as appropriate!)

Fiona and Michael 


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