Newsletter – January 1996

Jan Young kindly provided the original printed copy of this newsletter, from the days before club websites and social media.

You can see the scan of the original here.

Early Days

Elvet Striders is now in its eleventh year. It was born in October 1985, at a meeting in the same seedy classroom that we’ve often used for the AGM.

About a dozen people were there, most were University runners, already calling themselves “Durham Striders” and I think only Bill Appleby and I are still around. Mick Page (then Secretary of Houghton Harriers), Dave Jenkin and Charlie and Chris Shaw were certainly present; Paul Loftus may have been, or he joined quite soon.

I was made Secretary of the new club and Dave became Treasurer. I can’t remember the Chairman’s name, only that he was bald. (Nobody was young – or at that stage even Young).

First and foremost we wanted to affiliate to the AAA. The Northern Counties Secretary told us to write a Constitution, and so we adapted one from Houghton Harriers. That piece of paper must still be around somewhere … I wonder what it actually says?

He also advised us to pick distinctive club colours (he must have told Heaton the same?) and choose a name clearly different form Durham City Harriers. We already had “Striders”, of course, and he suggested “Elvet”. And that was how we got the name, now mis-spelt on results sheets everywhere.

Club colours were voted on – someone wanted blue to match their varicose veins, someone else red to match their nose -but, in the end, green simply offended fewest. Wednesday was fixed for club night to avoid Durham City’s Monday and Thursday, and my Tuesday squash games.

In the first months every Wednesday the whole group ran four miles in what is now “club-run” style, with the leader stopping and turning back at intervals. This came straight from the handy hints section of “Running” magazine.

The circuit was nearly always the same one round the City via Whinney Hill. Bede College, Claypath, Milburngate, the viaduct and home past Durham School. When Barrie Evans joined us, he sometimes did (shock, horror!) a second lap.

For the rest of us, a bit extra round Shincliffe village was optional – Bill Appleby had not yet got the appetite for more miles, nor the map-measuring wheel to get them just right.
The rule about going to the Rose Tree on Wednesdays was observed from the outset – it may even be in the club constitution (if only we could find it).

In those distant early days some people used to drink milk – but all that fat and cholesterol is now known to be very bad for you and fortunately you rarely see such silly behaviour nowadays.

The noticeboard folder started immediately. At first it was single and slim (unlike most of the membership). The Newsletter began soon after, as an occasional handout to keep irregulars in touch. Delivering it was an excuse for training runs round housing estates, kicking dogs.

The Handicap has been with us all along too. At first we used the Harrier League scheme of slow, medium and fast packs. And the route was one lap, involving Baths Bridge, Old Durham, up the hill and down via the Hartlepool road. This was obviously unacceptable – besides being too hilly and without spectator support, once I actually won it – so we had to switch to the familiar two laps of the woods.

At first, athletics magazines were strangely silent about Elvet Striders and our fame spread only by word of mouth. People like Allan and Carole Seheult, Euan Squires and Pete and Liz Green were early members, as were Alan Purvis and Mike and Kim Hall. And everyone in Langley Park who owned plimsolls (Mick Seed, John Rowniree, Dave Shipman, Tina Cook) came along.

At the Seheult’s New Year party I met an athletic Young couple and somehow misheard “Jan & Tony” as “Gin and Tonic”, although they were still in the Harriers, they sounded like promising recruits too.

Andy Scaife and Nick Young came along together following unsuccessful visits to Darlington Harriers. On their first Wednesday, Nick was too shy to join all the other super-athletes and struck out alone in the darkness. As a stranger to Durham he was soon lost. However, acutely aware of licensing hours, instinct prevailed and he eventually joined us in the Rose Tree just before last orders – we’ve never looked back since.

Add to all this the start of the Rose Tree 5, and of the Grand Prix, the reign of Maurice Smith and his hash runs, the advent of the extra fix on Mondays as well as Bill’s Sunday mornings; the rise of the social scene (and all the new relationships … ); the weekend trips to races and ,the memorable bus rides – to Brampton, and to France – and we’ve covered a lot of ground together.

Bob Johnson

The ultimate guide to running with the Striders

The Good Clothes Show

After the huge success of the first article on “Running with the Striders” – “Knowing your long shorts from your short longs” and the overwhelming response from the readers, the editor (what a lovely man), suggested that looked elsewhere to place my work. So I did; the changing room. Actually I only received one letter – and yes Mum, I have remembered my brother’s birthday and I am eating pleny of fibre – and four verbal comments, three of which had been simply translated into sign language.

What you wear tells fellow runners much about yourself and it can be a guide as to whether you would like to be seen strolling the streets of Durham with them. To maximize your running (ES Max2) it is important to read and act upon the following information.

The Bob (of the Orient) J. Gear

This bright collection is best worn by those of you who prefer to run alone and suffer from cataract problems. What most people do not realise is that these purple Picasso pants are actually made by the Magic Eye Company and if you blur your vision and stare at this back-side long enough you will see the perfect 3D image of an athlete running along a crowded Claypath. The B.J. Gear has yet to make the cat walk, the nearest it has been is the cat basket.

The Barrie Evans Multi-National Kit

The Evans’ wardrobe contains a collection of shirts gathered from the four corners of the world. Blaydon to Bangkok, Blyth to Bahrain. The BEMNK should only be worn by the “social runner”; you’ll always have something to talk about. It may be helpful if you wear the shirts in alphabetical order for any of your companions who like to keep notes and it will also help the politically correct runners who will be able to organise their boycotts in advance. (All BEMNK is endorsed by Charles Atlas). Please note that the white dicky-bow tie Barrie usually carries with him for his after dinner speeches he makes before each club run is not part of the standard kit.

The Pam Coiffure Touch-up Set

As you are dashing through the finishing tape there is nothing worse than being caught by the Kodak looking your worst. The Pam Coiffure Touch-up Set is a handy bum-bag size set of hair accessories especially designed for the runners with hair. Say goodbye to your Rain Mates and yellow bobble hats and grab the bag that allows you to groom while you move. This equipment has only recently returned to the market after a twelve year absence caused by lame production belts.

The Sir Gary Nissan (Runner of the Year 1995)

Their slogan “You can do it in a Gary Nissan” sums up this range of clothing.
Japanese technology has allowed materials to be created that defy all weather conditions. You can wear their micro rising sun shorts and mini vest in the middle of winter and their bloodstained rugby shirts keep you cool in summer. Runners seem to do well in the Gary Nissan gear as other runners can only stop, stare and wonder “What will the lad wear next?”

It would be unfair not to mention in such a highbrow article the Mear-Man Jeans entry into the running market. These unusual running leggings come in only one colour (which seems to be a combination of all other colours known to mankind) yet have the claim to fame of being the only piece of clothing ever to be banned by the British Athletic Federation. The Mear-Man Jeans leggings failed a colour test at the end of the Great North Run. Officials claimed that the leggins enhanced the capabilities of the wearer by causing illusionary side effects that make you feel that you are part of the pantomime cast at the Sunderland Empire. The company have appealed against the decision.

you are not what you were;
you are what you wear.

More Guides to look forward to in future issues:-

  • How to gain extra Grand Prix points
  • How to guarantee space in the changing room
  • How to keep up with Striders’ gossip
  • How to lose all your friends at the club

John Holmes


Smokers don’t
leave bottles on the road

Runners don’t
run for
time is faster

Time is a
rubber shark


The advice below was culled from the Internet and is offered without editing – and without guarantee

Bob Johnson

From: edu
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 95 09:45:16 -0500
Subject: Stinky Shoes/Shirt?

Just thought I’d pass along a useful tip from REC. RUNNING for those out there whose running attire doesn’t smell like roses anymore. It sounds strange but it really works.

I had some shoes and T-shirts that I couldn’t get the smell out of, no matter how much I washed them. I put them in the freezer overnight and the smell was gone. Apparently the smell was from some fungus that can survive being washed and dried but not frozen. Give it a try. It’s probably a good idea to do this discreetly so as not to offend your spouse or anyone else who uses the freezer. Or maybe, just put them outside on some sub zero (< 0F, I guess, that’s about -20C) night.

Robert Galejs

Christmas Handicap

Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Honor Blackman might not havebeen among the entries to the Striders’ Christmas Handicap on Saturday 16th December but Oddjob, OctoPussy and Mrs. Moneypenny certainly were. Motorists passing the gates of Maiden Castle observed a bizarre group of people including an afro-haired Father Christmas, several men in wet suits, one in pyjamas, and a small balding gentleman in a rather fetching skirt!

This was the new-style handicap – no entry fees but “bring a present” instead. New style perhaps, but following in the tradition of everyone going home with a prize, if not two or three.

Thirty one runners completed the usual two-lap course around Houghall Woods. Young Joseph Loftus made an impressive debut over one-lap and worried one or two more experienced runners.

Competitors were kept on course by probably the best dressed marshall seen on such duties resplendent in bowler hat and bow tie.

First over the line was Rebecca Adams – again in typical Striders fashion a first-time contestant whose true running ability had somehow not made itself apparent to the handicapper! Thanks, incidentally go to her and husband Andy who supplied cans of Vaux’s finest to all participants. She was followed by Colin Davies who received an early going-away present from the Handicapper prior to his impending move to the Lakes. Third was Pam Hatton another newcomer to this event.

At the post-event presentation prizes were handed out and the winners of the Grand Prix series were given commemorative shields.

An innovation this year was the institution of an award – in the form of a golden turkey – to be presented annually by the previous holder to whoever is thought to deserve such recognition.

This year it was awarded to Dave Shipman (to go with his Golden Gun) for his single-minded dedication towards securing the Grand Prix. But don’t mention words such as “paranoia” or “obsession”, in Dave’s hearing as he will be keeping notes to help him choose next year’s recipient.

Thanks were expressed to Barry Bird for organising the event, Barrie Evans for timekeeping, Nick and Janice for playing Santa and decorating the tent, and to the Rose Tree for providing food.

Results in order of finishing with actual times as follows.

1Rebecca Adams47:4336:43
2Colin Davies49:4234:42
3Pam Hatton51:1839:18
4Kay Wilson51:2239:22
5John Holmes51:5528:55
6Jan Young52:1136:41
7Yvonne Jones52:2239:52
8Chris Farnsworth52:2439:24
9Vicky Kerr52:3043:00
10Jess Ross52:3432:34
11Alan Purvis52:4434:14
12Ian Donachie52:5229:52
13Conrad White52:5430:54
14Andy Adams53:0130:01
15Dave Shipman53:0530:05
16Nigel Starling53:1131:41
17Keith Greenwell53:1828:18
18Bob Johnson53:2838:28
19Linda Barrett53:3440:34
20Paul Loftus53:4929:19
21Christine Veide53:5541:55
22Mary Chambers53:5638:56
23John Bolton54:4537:45
24Peter MdDermott55:2937:30
25Greg Mearman55:3037:30
26Alan Seheult55:3337:30
27John Redfearn55:43
28Helen Mills55:4843:18
29Jonty Rougier57:4032:40
30Kim Hall59:2959:29
31Jackie Smith59:2959:29


Senior MenVet Men
Dave Shipman117Colin Davies138
Barry Bird88Barrie Evans116
John Holmes88Tony Young99
Conrad White86Trevor Kemp87
Jonty Rougier86Andy James73
Nigel Starling53Ian Donnachie60
Vet WomenSenior Women
Chris Farnsworth155Judith Battersby110
Roz Layton130Kay Wilson67
Jan Young85Donna James39
Mary Chambers41Helen Mills38
Anne Robinson41Pam Hatton39
Jackie Smith26Blandine Owens22

The full final table is in the usual folder.

Congratulations to the prizewinners – leader plus runner-up in each competition. Thanks to all those who brought back results from races. Keep it up, please!

Bob Johnson, November 1995

Striders Sunday Run & Walk

January 14th 1996 Start 11 am

Meet at Fox & Hounds, Cotherstone

Run 7 miles (10 km)

Walk 3 miles (5 km)

Lunch afterwards at The Fox & Hounds

Please give name to Linda Barrett for lunch bookings

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