RUNdown April 2023


It is said that a strong tree grows in the wind. This may also be true for runners. The weather hasn’t always been optimal for running and racing this month, but hopefully this should increase physical endurance. I would like to begin by thanking our men’s and women’s captains for all their time and work in organising teams for the Northern Road Relays, the National Road Relays and the Neptune Relays. Thanks so much Wendy and Michael it is really appreciated by all. Thanks for all you do.

There has been an increase in racing this month, so well done to all of you. Also thoughts to those with running injuries or who are unable to run for other reasons at the moment, it can be a frustrating time and we hope you get back soon.

Your running achievements are summarised in the Shout-Out as follows. As ever, apologies if I have missed anything, please get in touch to ensure inclusion next month. This month I spoke to regular club member David Browbank. Thanks so much David, it was lovely to hear about your running journey.

That’s all for this month. Enjoy!


Strider Shout-Out

Northern Athletics 6 and 12 Stage Road Relay Championships, Redcar

It was a cold, grey and windy day. This didn’t deter Striders’ attendance or performance at this road relay championships. The women’s teams came 21st (Emma Thompson, Ellen Powell, Anna Ting, Anna Basu, Oei-chi Basden and Penny Browell) and 33rd (Nina Mason, Rachelle Mason, Emma McCabe, Susan Davis, Anna Mason and Kathleen Bellamy). The male team came 23rd (Michael Mason, Michael Littlewood, Sam Jackson, Graeme Watt, David Milligan, Phil Ray, Iain Gibson, Bryan Potts, Georgie Hebdon, Liam Huntington, Mark Warner and Lindsay McEwan). A huge thank you to club captains Michael and Wendy for all their hard work and time allowing this to happen.

ERRA National Road Relay Championships, Sutton Park, Birmingham

Huge congratulations to the strong men’s team that raced at the National Road Relay Championships. This is the first time our club has run in this event. You all ran strong, as is testified by the result of 44th team out of 57 teams from around the country. The team were Liam Huntington, Michael Littlewood, Mark Warner, Sam Jackson, Geoff Davis, Lindsay McEwan, Iain Gibson, Kallum Moses, Byran Potts, Georgie Hebdon, Phil Ray and David Milligan.


Jan Ellis ran her 200th parkrun at Durham this month. Nick Latham reached the 100 parkrun volunteer milestone. It’s a heartfelt thank you to Nick from all of us Striders, as of course without volunteers it could not go ahead.

Esk Valley Fell Club Dave Parry Winter Race Series

This is a series of fell races in the North York Moors. Nina Mason has won the FV45 category in this race series. Jan Young won the V70 category in this race series. Congratulations to both! The Blakey Blitz Fell Race, part of this series, took place at the start of April. Graeme Watt came 3rd MV40. Nick Latham had a strong run. Thanks to Nina Mason and Jan Young for volunteering. The Heartbeat Hobble was next in this series. Nina Mason took part and again won another bottle of wine coming first FV45. The final race in this series was the Guisborough Moors race at the end of the month. Congratulations to Susan and Geoff Davis for winning their age categories. Well done to Jack Lee on his run and thanks to Nina Mason and Jan Young for volunteering.

South Park 20

This is a lapped course race within Darlington South Park. It is a flat and fast course of 20 miles, organised by Darlington Harriers and Athletics Club. Mark Kearney (1:56:13) and Jo Robertson (2:54:08) took part and had amazing runs. Mark Kearney defended his title and won it again after winning it in 2022! Awesome.

Berlin Half Marathon

Aileen and Alan Scott took part in the Berlin Half Marathon. It is a flat route around the city centre. Alan ran it in 2:00:53 and Aileen in 2:26:41. Well done guys, fantastic times.

Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris

Claire Austin ran this beautiful city marathon in 4:49:48. Well done Claire!

London Landmarks Half Marathon

Ian Butler (1:43:19), Heather Raistrick (1:52:17) and Theresa Rugman-Jones (1:56:09) enjoyed this sightseeing half marathon.

Port of Blyth 10k

Andrew Race flew along this out and back course from Blyth Quayside to Seaton Sluice, in 34:38, finishing in 9th place.

The North Tyneside 10k Road Race

This is a pretty 10k route in North Shields that winds along the seafront passing Tynemouth Priory and Castle and St Mary’s Lighthouse. Simon Wakely and Emma Cumpson took part, and whizzed round in 0:52:00 and 1:06:13 respectively.

Easter Coast Road 5 Mile Race

Organised by New Maske Harriers this race is an out and back with a view of the sea. Bryan Potts ran and came 4th in a time of 27:35. Congratulations Bryan.

Run Durham Dalton Park Easter 10k

Anna Basu zoomed around this 10k road race in Murton coming 2nd lady in a time of 44:39! Andrew Davies and Chris Hassell also did brilliantly in times of 48:17 and 51:04.

Vale of York 10 Mile Race

David Cowell and Stephen Soulsby competed in this flat road race on minor closed roads through the villages west of York. Stephen came 2nd in his age category in 1:03:17 and David came 4th in his age category in 1:01:12.

NAV4 Lakes Mountain 40

Tricia Everett took on this fell ultra race of 42 miles and about 10,000ft total ascent in the Eastern Fells of the Lake District. She did amazingly, coming 2nd lady, only just behind the first lady and miles ahead of the third lady. Well done! I couldn’t find any photos from this race but here is a photo of Tricia in the fells.

Manchester Marathon

There were some awesome results from Elvet Striders in this fast city marathon, not least Fatima Raja-Sewart running it in a time of 3:22:26! Also fabulous times from Oei-Chi Basden (3:44:28), Graeme Watt (2:44:05), Kim Bennett (4:04:30) and Sarah Fawcett (4.53:16). Well done all!

London Marathon

Biggest congratulations to Peter Hart, finally getting his chance to run this iconic event! From the photos it looks like you really relished the race, and also ran a swift time of 4:15:16. Really great runs also from Mark Kearney (2:33:39) like…how fast? Karen Byng on our front cover ran her fastest time yet in 3:44:09! James McNaney also flew round in 2:41:25, Alex Collier in 3:22:14, Lindsay McEwan in 2:52:02, Allan Renwick in 2:59:57 (great pacing), Michael Littlewood in 2:46:47, Tracey Scott in 4:18:56, Mark Foster in 4:17:06, Louise Collins in 3:41:22 and Jo Robertson in 3:42:13 (well done guys!), Paul Foster in 4:22:10, Jonathan Hamill in 5:51, Anthony Paul in 3:57:52. You are a talented bunch indeed.

Teenager with Altitude

A fell race organised by Cumberland Fell Runners in the Coledale and Derwent Fells of the Lake District, with altitude. Nina Mason and Aaron Gourley enjoyed it. It is 15.3 miles and 7,546ft elevation. They both did great, Nina coming 12th F40 and Aaron coming 19th M40 out of 285 runners.

Terry O’Gara Memorial 5k

This was a brisk race organised by Wallsend Harriers around Cobalt Business Park. Iain Gibson absolutely stormed it in 17:38, Bryan Potts in 16:29 and Liam Huntington in 15:34 coming 7th place!

Neptune Relays

Twelve Strider teams took part, this is a vast turnout! I hear it was a fun and social night. One of the men’s teams won gold (Bryan Potts, Sam Jackson, Grame Watt and Andrew Race) and the women’s vet team won silver (Kim Bennett, Penny Browell, Jean Bradley and Fiona Kinghorn Jones). Fantastic! I hope those apples tasted good.

West Highland Way Ultra

Stephanie and Mike Barlow took part in a very long distance challenge across 96 miles of the West Scottish Highlands. Their determination saw it completed in just 4 days. Well done guys!

Run Balmoral Stena Drilling 10k

Heather Raistrick celebrated her birthday with Ian and this charming trail 10k race from Balmoral Castle and around the Balmoral Castle estate. Heather flew round coming 3rd in her age category.

Cow Shed Backyard Ultra

This was organised by Greener Running Miles. The race instructions say “Competitors must complete the 4.1-mile loop on the hour every hour until only 1 runner remains. The bell will be sounded exactly on the hour and if you have failed to make the starting area before the bell rings, then you will be disqualified from the event and will become one of the many DNFs! There will be only 1 athlete who does not receive a DNF and they will be crowned the champ!”
The course was an undulating loop of footpaths and tracks at Stocksfield. Alex Brown took part. He completed 9 laps and 38 miles!

The 68th Annual Three Peaks Race Supported by INOV-8

This is a very popular annual fell race in Yorkshire with strict entry criteria. The route is 23.3 miles with 5,279ft ascent taking in the fells Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. Penny Browell, Nina Mason and Graeme Watt ran. They all did amazingly given the strong field. Penny came 5th in her age category, Nina came 34th in her age category and Graeme came 29th in his age category.

Cockfield Fell Race

A small group of Striders took part in this introduction to fell running race. This is organised by Durham Fell Runners and is a 7km route around the hills of Cockfield. It begins with a one lap group recce of the course, followed by the race. Congratulations to Heather Raistrick for coming first F60, and to Fiona Harrington-Hughes and Louise Collins.

Gateshead Half Marathon and 10k

Brilliant fast running by all in the 10k including Bryan Potts (34:38, 3rd), Sam Jackson (35:09, 5th), Phil Ray (35:42, 7th) and Anna Basu (42:14, 10th lady). Also great running from Sue Walker (1:09:50, 2nd in her age category) and Carol Davison (1:24:02) who had a strong run.

Equally fabulous running in the half by Fiona Shenton (1:53:11, 1st in age category), Sophie Dennis (2:21:14), Dan Mitchell (2:03:48), Paul Wilkinson (2:00:37), David Milligan (1:21:41, 22nd and 3rd in age category), Kallum Moses (1:28:21, PB) and Andrew Race (1:16:27, 8th place).

Washington Trail 10k

This is a fun trail race organised by Trail Outlaws. A bit muddy this year by all accounts. Well done Joanne Richardson and Sarah Fawcett who came 3rd F60. Well done also to Phil Swinburn, Heather Raistrick (2nd in age category), Theresa Rugman-Jones (3rd in age category) and Ian Butler (4th in age category).

Sprint Distance Duathlon World Championships

Liam Huntington competed in the second fixture of this competition. It took place in Ibiza! He said he gave everything he had. Congratulations Liam for coming 15th, 7th in your age group and 3rd British participant.

Hartlepool Marina 5 Mile Road Race

This is organised by Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers and Athletics Club. Stephen Soulsby (29:58) did very well in this fast race coming 16th and first V60. Mark Griffiths (30:17) also did really well coming 17th and 4th V45. Well done both!

Great North Road Audax 400k

Anita Clementson took part in a long cycling race from Darlington to the Humber Bridge and back. It was 400km. That’s a long way! She completed the ride, a distance PB for her

Strider Chat: Interview with David Browbank

When did you start running and why?

So, in January 2015 I joined my first running group, a local c25k, at the age of 35. Zachary was only one year old, and you have all that sort of baby stresses so Leanne, my partner, convinced me to participate in the c25k as she knew the group leader, Laura, from one of the various baby groups she had joined. Why not, I thought I’ll give it a go. A small group met weekly and we gradually increase the time that we run. A hill reps session is also part of the course in week 8. I was helped along the way by a work colleague, Mike Green (who was a member of Striders later for a short while, work commitments meant he had to give it up). We completed the 12-week course with incremental run/walk sessions and ended with the full 5k run on week 12. Our group had a final presentation day at Durham parkrun where we were presented with our vouchers for completing the course. I did my first ever parkrun in just over 34 mins and absolutely loved it.

After the course I then thought, well that’s an awful lot of effort over 12 weeks to then just stop, so I thought I am going to keep going. I did quite enjoy it. I started going to the parkrun on a Saturday morning and gradually my times started to improve. Once that couch to 5k group disbanded a few of us decided to keep running together. I decided to join Mike to do the York 10k. The York 10k was good as it’s one of the flattest 10ks around, and we had a weekend away which was great. I finished it in 61 minutes for my first ever 10k and when I look back at it I think I did okay there. I beat the guy in the rhino suit!

Joining the Elvet Striders was the next obvious thing, having heard about it from the C25K group lead, Laura and Vics Jackson (who was also part of the C25K group). I joined in August 2015. It was great as it kept me motivated to go out and continue to enjoy running on a social level. My first run was Paul Evan’s navigation run around the Woodland Trust in preparation for the club’s Willow Miner Trail Race. It was quite an opener, being a club run there was a large number of people there. I only knew one person there, which was weird as it was Vicky Brown who was one of Leanne’s long-time friends. After that I kept turning up and joining the slow groups. I was very slow at the time. Running groups had at that time, in my mind, that elitism. But Elvet Striders just accepted me as an 11 min miles slogger going round. So I absolutely loved it.

In 2016 I entered every race in the World! I must have run a race a month. It was quite silly but it kept me going. I did the North Tyneside 10k, the Sunderland 10k, The Durham 10k, The South Shields Run, Eat, Sleep 10 mile race, the Coxhoe Trail Race, the Great North Run and Brampton to Carlisle. I did this because I enjoyed it and to get motivation to run throughout the week when it was cold, dark and rainy and when I didn’t quite feel like it. Having a race gave me a goal and a reason to run.

Also, in 2016 if you remember Tom Reeves and Innes (Pav Nurmi) Hodgson did Monday evening grass sessions. That was very, very good to get involved with because there was a small group of Striders and Innes and Tom arranged some tough sessions but which turned out to be quite positive. Some of the advice I got off Innes I still use now. One piece of advice was ‘find your static point and then get to it’. It could be a lamppost, a tree, a car you know, just run and get to it, and you do.

I did try cross country as well. I had quite a debut! It was at Aykley heads in 2016, the year it was really muddy. I lost my shoes in the mud, so ran a whole lap without them. I collected them on the third lap but couldn’t get them on so ended up carrying them! That was interesting. The mud was ankle deep that year, so it was a bit like running through cold soft sand. I didn’t run any more cross country that year but the next year I ran Aykley Heads again, Wrekenton and Herrington Country Park, Thornley Farm and Alnwick. I did like cross country but I think it’s one of them where you have to really want it, and I wanted to concentrate on longer things such as half marathons and marathons.

From Dec 2017 onwards I focused on marathon training. I set up a Sunday long run marathon training group from Broompark picnic area, and we would run along the lines. This had a good turnout. It was really good having that social group together to help you get through the long runs. Some people would occasionally turn up. I set up a messenger group to help me organise it, which ended up having 53 members and it became really popular. When training for my second Manchester Marathon in 2019, Anna Basu and Jan Panke regularly joined the group. It was quite strange because there’s a lot of people who go to a city marathon, and I didn’t arrange to meet anyone there, I just went to the start line. At the start line I looked to my side and Jan, whose 6 ft odd was right next to me! So we basically ran together for the first 35km. At 35km Jan said for me to go ahead, and I couldn’t stop because if I stopped I knew I would not get going again.

Tell me about your running and fund raising.

One of the things that I did do for the York 10k and for the Great North Runs I did in 2016 and 2017, was to raise money for the Children’s Heart Unit Foundation at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. That was because my sister had a daughter who died at 7 weeks old with a chronic heart condition. When my sister became pregnant again, they tested and found that her son also had that condition. But what they could do was, when she was carrying Isaac, the NHS Children’s Heart Unit Foundation and another charity paid for her to go to Austria to an advanced clinic where they did heart surgery on Isaac when she was carrying him when she was 8 months pregnant. They went in through the tummy and put a stent in his heart before he was born which was incredible. There were only two heart surgeons in the world who could do this. One was based in Austria and the other in Brazil. Following this I wanted to fundraise for the Children’s Heart Unit Foundation. With these three runs I raised approx. £1,500. Isaac is now fine, the Children’s Heart Unit Foundation continues to care for him. In his first year of life he had 4 or 5 further procedures. He should be okay for a while now as the stent has grown with him. He will eventually need another stent but not for a while.

What are your proudest running achievements?

Fundraising really motivated me to run as well as I could in the Great North Runs I did in 2016 and 2017. In 2016 I ran it in 2:06. I was keen to break two hours and in 2017 I ran it in 1:59:59!
Last year finishing the Edinburgh marathon in under 4 hours was my biggest achievement. Although if you speak to others they will say well you always talk about the Tyneside 10k, and I do like that one. I like the course and I got my 10k PB in that one. But I feel, yes Edinburgh is a big achievement, going from in 2015 not being able to run to reaching that time in 2022.
Being in a running club has been supportive to my running, and I don’t realise I am getting faster until I do a race and compare my results from a previous time. When I joined Elvet Striders I was back of the pack. Over time I went from back of the pack to middle of the pack. I find I have a good balance between training and enjoying it. I find the club are really supportive at all events like a cross country even though it is torture, and you get cold and wet, you do feel like you have achieved something afterwards.

What is your worst race experience?

Thornley Farm cross country in 2017 was really tough. It was minus 2 degrees before the start, and it just rained and rained. It was very muddy, and the kids go first, then the ladies, then us last so it makes it even harder as it is all churned up. There was sideways rain. I think I was second last on that one, but 45 people dropped out, and I didn’t.

However, that was not my worst race experience. The Northumberland Coastal run, even though it’s a beautiful course, the two years I happen to have run them 2017 and 2018, the weather and everything around it made it two nightmare races for me. In 2018 there was a weather warning of a heatwave and the race director alerted people advising them to bring extra suntan lotion and water. But on the day a storm came in and it was 10 degrees colder than it had been the day before, with sideways rain and quite miserable. I really struggled. It has put me off that race.

Where is your favourite place to run?

I live in New Brancepeth, which is not far from the railway lines. So I run from home along the lines up to Esh Winning and Waterhouses and that’s my favourite place to run. People say why do you run there all the time, you must get bored of it, but it changes all the time, different weathers, different seasons. It is pretty and it’s on my doorstep. Sometimes I dart off onto the little paths that go off the lines, especially I did this in lockdown like up to Ragpath Wood and around Ushaw Vollege. I live uphill from the railway lines so sometimes the hill is a bit of a challenge on the way back, and sometimes I have even parked in the carpark to avoid it! I think we are really blessed where we live as there are lots of good places to run around Durham. If I hadn’t been in the Elvet Striders there are places around Durham I would never have seen.

How is your running going this year?

I have been training for the Edinburgh marathon this year. I have been organising the Sunday long run group to help me and others with marathon training. It was all going well until I got injured a few weeks ago. I have never been injured before so I am being really careful. I have been doing lots of physio exercises. I am still thinking that I might make the marathon. It’s on 27th May so still 5 weeks to go which still gives us time, but you know, when you have never had an injury before it’s nagging in my mind, will it come back halfway round the race? But I have everything booked, got my train tickets and my B&B and Zachary’s going to do the 2 km race on the Saturday so we will go up anyway. I think the journey to the marathon is almost as important as doing the race itself. We have had lots of pockets of Striders coming along on the Sunday long runs from Broompark. It’s been great.

What are your future running goals?

I have really started to enjoy the longer runs. I would eventually like to get into longer distances. There is only so fast you can go, but when you get out for 3 or 4 hours you can enjoy what is around you. I wouldn’t rule out an ultra marathon but I’m not quite there yet. I have a little bit of runners’ envy when I see the ultra runners going to some spectacular places. Alex Brown has been doing lots of ultras and says he has found training for them less stressful than marathon training. I am inspired by this.

What pieces of advice would you have for other runners?

The advice that I got from Innes for people coming into running, which is find your stationary object, and you will get to it.

Don’t overtrain. I think people do get really involved and do loads of mileage and strength work then break down with an injury and I can’t really say anything as I’ve got an injury now, but then they come back and train really hard again. I think you have to have that balance between training and social running.

If you wanted to get yourself motivated in the early stages of running, what I did was a kind of expensive way, but entering races did motivate me. After doing the couch to 5k I found having something to aim for really helped me keep running. It’s advice I was given from someone else which has worked for me.

Join a running club! It’s great.

Tamsin’s Energy Scones

These scones are full of carbohydrates, energy and taste! They are quick and easy to make. I have some in the oven right now and they smell wonderful.


  • 8oz Spelt wholemeal flour (available in all supermarkets)
  • 2oz Butter
  • 2 handfuls of sultanas
  • Some milk
  1. Pre-heat oven to 140 degrees.
  2. Measure out the flour and butter and put into a bowl.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour until breadcrumb texture.
  4. Add the sultanas.
  5. Add enough milk to allow mixing and combining of ingredients into a dough.
  6. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a thick layer.
  7. Cut out circular shapes with upturned glass or jam jar or pastry shape cutter.
  8. Place onto a greased baking tray and put in the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes.
  9. Eat!

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