Yearbook 2017

Looking back but always moving forward 

Jonathan Hamill CHAIRMAN

The Strider yearbook is a tradition which provides us with a timeless record of our achievements over the previous year. On a daily basis we have the immediacy and gratification provided by social media, which can be forgotten as quickly as it is seen. This yearbook then allows us to preserve our collective efforts in a rich picture, and I commend it to you. Then, in contemplation of what has passed, we prime ourselves for our next chapter and move forward together  as a great running club.

[Entries listed alphabetically by last name]

Stephanie Barlow

It’s been a good year for me to finally come back to the Club and starting to run better again after a four-year hiatus with slow runs, not many races and back problems. It turned around when my husband Mike joined the club in April and we took part in the NEEMA’s which I absolutely loved, it took me back to my school days. What makes me so happy is  I have found my love of running again and have really enjoyed coming to back on Wednesday night, seeing old faces and meeting newer runners. I  have made some progression taking 2 minutes off my parkrun time since the Summer and generally feeling stronger which is down to Katy Walton who has inspired me to follow her training programme.  My proudest moments have been watching Mikes achievements from being a non-runner a year ago to running faster and faster every month and climbing the ranks in x country and all the races he has taken part in. I can’t wait to continue racing throughout 2018 and getting more on the fells.

Kerry Barnett

My personal ‘proud moments’ of 2017 are quite diverse!
First of all is my completion of 13 marathons and ultras, ranging from city road marathons to the challenge of the Lakeland 50
This brings my total to 25 since October 2014 which is keeping me on track for my long-term goal of completing 50 marathons/ultras by my 50th birthday (in 2021)
This year I have also achieved:
– 1250 running miles,
– distance PB of 55 miles,
– time on feet PB of 21 hours 57 minutes
lives saved with CPR at events 2
I am also very proud of my involvement in providing basic life support sessions for our Club members.
I feel privileged that I can carry out the role of Ladies Vice-Captain at the Club, I love encouraging and leading others to achieve the things they think they can’t achieve.
It’s strange to look back at the year and try to pick out the best moments as there are so many of them.
Cross country, NEMAAs, marathons, parkrun setups…. all amazing experiences.
What does 2018 hold? well…
– more marathons and ultras, probably no time PB’s but running isn’t all about times.
– Successful set up of Horden parkrun
– Complete my LiRF qualification
My motto is ‘get out there and do it, you never know who you might be inspiring!

Anna Basu

2017 KM IN 2017, just as promised! Though actually slightly more, as otherwise I would have had to stay in a field in rural Durham for the entire last week of the year….
Lots of highlights: my favourite was developing a sudden competitive streak induced by my Wonder Woman outfit during the December Fancy Dress Run and coming home First Lady (First and Last time for that, most likely!).
I absolutely loved Kielder HM and Durham Coastal Run, and quite enjoyed my first XC at Aykley Heads, though found it hard and slippy work and have since had to invest in fell running shoes. Proud also to be ending the year with a Parkrun PB on the New (Old?) Durham course.
Most of all I have loved getting to know some new people through running and especially through this amazing club. Thank you !!
Main Ambition for next year: Fall More Gracefully: Here’s to a Black-Eye-Free 2018!

Natalie Bell

I began 2017 lost, with no goals to work towards, no idea where my life was going, a single mother to triplets; I felt I had lost myself.
Dedicating my life to my 3 little miracles, I had neglected my own needs and required an outlet. I wanted to give back to the charity that assisted with my triplets’ premature birth at 32 weeks gestation so, in a moment of madness, I signed up for the Great North Run!
I hadn’t run competitively in 9 years and I was holding a bit (ok a lot) of baby weight but I started training… I got the bug!
Initially, my goal was to raise money and just complete the run but as I realised I was enjoying the training I decided under 2hrs was my goal.
I smashed it with a time of 1hr 50 minutes and 26 seconds and raised over £500.
I haven’t stopped running since. 2 stone lighter and 3 minutes per mile faster, I found I competed in 10 races in 7 months.
In September I joined Elvet Striders who I believe are the reason for my speed increase and drive to improve in 2018.
I have signed up for 1-2 races a month starting April 2018.
Physically I am fitter than I have ever been and only plan on getting fitter! Within 2017 my half marathon PB has gone from 1hr 50mins to 1hr 45mins.
Running has given me the mental release I needed, not to mention the drive to achieve the goals I set myself. I also developed a love for cross-country running, which I never thought possible!
2018 brings a lot more races so I can achieve a half marathon time of sub 1 hr 40 mins and speed training ready for my first full marathon in 2019. And I just purchased my first pair of Brooks woo-hoo!!

Kathleen Bellamy

Although 2017 has been plagued by illness & injury (both related, Meniere’s disease makes me have vertigo attacks, the attacks make me fall over & do myself to damage), I still managed to squeeze in a few races which I enjoyed despite being nowhere near my best & dragging my sorry self around most of them.
I started my year off with Gibside night run which had a lovely atmosphere & was only around 4 miles. I have also completed the Muddy Roads Pie & Pea Trail Run, very muddy, which was fun & the pie is delightful at the finish. I have completed some beautiful 10k’s including Cragside, Kirkbymoorside, Trail Outlaws Washington & Pieces of Eight & Hamsterley Forest 5 miler.
My major low of 2017 was going to try my first XC at Aykley heads & having to pull off the course after one lap due to injuries. The shame was immense, especially when some ‘spectator’ was making a huge deal of it shouting at the top of his enormous lungs, ‘she’s pulled out, she’s pulled out’. Yes, pal, I have indeed now tootled off & enjoy Ur bacon butty & nice warm cuppa Ur holding. But I will try again once my niggles have been sorted.
So although 2017 was a poor year for me I still had a blast, 2018 has some exciting things in store already.

Elaine Bisson

2017, my Run Britain ranking has sunk into oblivion but it’s been my favourite and most rewarding year of running. A year of maps, hills, mud and stinky trainers; I’ve loved every minute…so much so it’s hard to condense it down.
I’ve placed first lady in fell and trail races and have had quite a few podium finishes, however, not much beats winning the Dales Trails Series Grand Slam.
After missing the majority of XC races last year because of injury it’s been so rewarding racing again. I am proud to have gained fast pack promotion and then to finish in the top 20 at the North East XC Championships (a 30 place improvement from my last attempt).
I’ve supported some great friends on Lakeland challenges, Scott’s BGR and Geoff s JNC; days on the fells I will never forget. Realising that I can train really well in a place I love while exploring lots of miles has been another highlight of the year. It’s opened up a vast amount of possibilities. In fact, planning and doing my weekly long runs has never been so much fun and I’m quite sure they’ve not been as hard.
I placed 3rd lady and 13th overall in my first ultra, 55km at the Ultra Tour of Edinburgh.
My biggest challenge of the year was The Tour de Helvellyn, 38miles, in December. I’ve never felt so emotional after any race. My absolute highlight of 2017. A racing experience so far unparalleled. After this, I struggled to walk, let alone run and in my limping state was told I’d been voted female runner of the year; it’s been a good one!
2018, oh lord it’ll be my 40th year. I have a few running goals to ‘celebrate’ this awful milestone. One is huge and the others surprisingly will have me temporarily hitting the tarmac. Suffice to say, I’m already getting stuck into training.
I would also love to achieve Coach in Fell Running; this now seems the logical next step, perhaps after the HUGE one is ticked off!

Stacey Brannan

Achievements 2017:
I started the year without any goals but it has been wonderful to see so many running friends achieve so much!  I finally completed 100 ParkRuns and 25 Volunteer Roles (thank you for my balloon Team Hamill).
Goals 2018:
Thanks to Striders I have a place on the London Marathon! I am going to follow my plan (I promise Anna) and enjoy this once in lifetime experience.  Happy Running!

David Browbank

I joined the club in August 2015 after completing a couch to 5k then going on to doing a 10 k. Joining the club has helped me to continue running with a supportive and friendly group otherwise I may not have progressed as I have.
After training for and completing the GNR in 2016 I decided that 2017 was going to be the year I tried new and varied running so, as well as competing in the cross country harrier league I entered the following races achieving distance and race PB’s as follows:
Dentdale 14.3 miles (distance PB including an HM PB 1:57:00. time overall 2:07:29)
North Tyneside 10k (10K PB 49.39)
Sunderland Half (him PB 1:54:34)
Pier to Pier (7 mins faster than 2016)
Durham coastal half & Northumberland coastal half. both races were a challenge for me due to the terrain, conditions and elevation
South shield 10mile (2 mins faster than 2016)
Tees Pride 10k (10k PB 49:16)
GNR (again however 4 mins faster than 2016 1:59:53)
I continue to run parkrun and have recently achieved a PB of 22:54 having started parkrun in 2015, running times of 34mins+.
My goal for 2018 is to run a Marathon as I have not completed that distance before. I have entered the Manchester marathon and I am currently in training with the date for the marathon being 08th April

Karen Byng

2017 was my first full year as a Strider though I’d been running for a number of years, but this was the first year I’d been encouraged to set some goals for myself and here’s how it went …
The year started well with my first goal achieved at Brass Monkey.
I’d wanted a sub 2 hour time for a half marathon so Lesley Hamill and I endured months of rigorous training (thanks to Kate Macpherson) and smashed the 2 hours with 1:55 times .. yay! Then I had a lie down to recover for a bit.
Next was my 50th parkrun which I managed to squeeze in at the end of January after doubling up at parkruns over Christmas and New Year. My first parkrun was the original Durham course in 2011 and due to babies and back injuries it’d taken me 7 years to get this far again I was very pleased to finally make it.
I’d had to postpone Berlin Marathon a few years back so I had that in my mind as a goal to finally tick off too .. I entered, was surprised/slightly horrified to actually get a place. Then felt a bit fidgety and ended up entering Liverpool Marathon in the spring with Lesley and Faye. Training went well until it went disastrously ending up with the low point of the year, and it wasn’t even my wrist that was broken! I was very happy to finish Liverpool but it had been a bit miserable!
Berlin helped with that. Some nice long runs over the summer, a few days holiday in an amazing city, lots of cheerful crowd support and a chance to practise my German! I loved it. Bis nächstes Jahr!
But my high point of the year, the bit I enjoyed most was probably Kielder Half in October… two weeks after Berlin and still limping but I’d won a free place and it was Lesley’s birthday so no choice… amazing scenery, a tough run but a fantastic atmosphere. I’d made a cake which the lovely baggage bus people brought carefully to the finish for us to celebrate with cake and fizz and our moment on stage to blow out the candles! Fab.
I don’t think I’d have attempted all this without the encouragement and support of our fab club and friends I’ve made there. So I’m very grateful ..and looking forward to 2018.

Chris Callan

I started running in Jan-16 and quite enjoyed the spoils of doing my own thing but found myself drawn to the prospect of sharing this newfound passion within a running club.
The push eventually came in the form of two established Striders, David Hinton and Phil Ray. With their encouragement I applied to join in Jan-17; three months on that waiting list took an age but could only fuel my appetite to join.
30 Apr 2017 was to be my first race as a Strider, taking part in the Reeth 20k Trail. I remember a sense of proudness wearing the vest for the first time, which was odd having only just joined the Club. It was a race I was to finish 4th and should have been rightly happy, however, the misdirection at the hands of a marshal robbed me of a place.
I won’t repeat the barrage of expletives that accompanied me to the finish line! Several races followed in quick succession including the Locke Park 5 mile Pie and Peas, Pier to Pier, Steelworks relays and the 10k Pit-stop.
I’ll dwell briefly on the next challenge, which was to be the second and third race of a three-race series known as the Dales Trail Series.
I’d performed well in the DT20 earlier in the year so my target was to maintain or better my leaderboard position.
46 miles and 6,000ft of elevation gain later I’d completed both the DT30 and DT40! I was delighted to receive, and still, covet, my Grand Slam medal which is made all the sweeter by my final finishing position of 7th.
Thanks to Dave for introducing me to the beautiful world of fell running.
The latter part of 2017 had me compete in multiple XC events, several 10ks and the Vale of York Half Marathon. Signing off 2017 with 1,481 miles in my legs and PB’s in every distance, I’d had a good year. I look back most fondly though at the miles I’ve run with friends including Dave Hinton, Michael Anderson, Phil Ray and Gareth Pritchard as well as multiple Striders on club nights. I’ve loved the road trips, the coffee, the craic and the banter, here’s to 2017, what a belta of a year!

Andrew Davies

Andrew Davies – The diary of an average runner aged 41 and a half….
For writing inspiration I re-read last year’s yearbook entry. I’ve had a surprisingly similar year. Sunderland Half was a highlight again. Got my PB down to 1:42 and it destroyed my marathon preparation again. This time it was Edinburgh that suffered. I hadn’t trained properly, didn’t give it the respect a marathon deserves. Expected my general fitness to get me through. It wasn’t enough for the sub 4 hours that’s eluded me three times now. This year I plan to train for a marathon but not necessarily run one until next year. I want to push my long runs beyond 30k regularly. Just need to find the time.
I’ve tried to do as much XC as possible and strongly advise everyone else to. Mud, hills and teamwork provide the variety you need after all those long, solo miles on flat tarmac.
I missed all the NEMAA track sessions last year. But 2018 I plan to be at as many as possible. 2017 was low on Wednesday track sessions too. I’m going to remedy that in 2018, now we have the track back.
Durham City junior parkrun has gone from strength to strength. I’m so proud of the team and everyone who’s ever volunteered and sacrificed a Sunday morning lie-in. Being part of it is my biggest achievement in running.
Grown up parkrunning was full of tourism in 2017. Not counting Northallerton, Catterick and Druridge Bay, I’ve run all the North East ones; 23 I think. I’ll tick those three off this year. We’ve got some great parkruns around here. Everyone should try Flatts Lane’s Heartbreak Hill. I want to get my 250 shirt in 2018 and, somehow, get my PB sub 21:00 (~21:10 at the mo). Durham’s great bandstand finish might help.
I’ve enjoyed all the races and club runs I’ve been in, Bridges, Brass Monkey, Dentdale, P2P, GNR, Club handicaps, Monthly Miles, Willow Man, the list is long and I’ve entered a greater variety this year.
I didn’t achieve many targets last year but I will in 2018. Sub 4min Km – yep, Sub 6min mile – nope 6:03 (5:46 downhill), sub 8min junior parkrun – nope, sub 13min TT – nope, sub 21min 5k – nope, sub 22min Durham parkrun – yep, sub 36min 5 mile – dunno, sub 45min 10k – nope I think, sub 1:45 Half – yep, sub 4 Hour Mara – one day.

Geoff Davis

This year I reached the age of 60 and, as in many previous years, I competed in over twenty x/c and fell races.
Highlights included my 27th running of the Carnethy 5 Hill Race, my 13th running of the 26 mile Allendale Challenge Fell Race, where I finished 15th overall in 4 hrs 34 mins, and my 7th running of the 38 mile Tour de Helvellyn in December where I ran a PB. I also finished first or second in my age group in seven fell races including the Saltwell Harriers Fell Race, The Cheviot Pendulum Race and the Gisborough Moors Fell Race.
I was privileged to, once again, Captain the Club’s x/c team, not only in the 1st Division of the HL, but also at the NE, Northern, NE Vets & National Championships. I also acted as Striders’ main representative in the organisation of the 2016 NE x/c Champs at Aykley Heads. Striders’ x/c running continues to thrive.
I also qualified as a Fell & Mountain Running Coach & have helped a number of Striders to improve their off-road running skills by providing specific fell & x/c training sessions.
I have led Strider members on numerous training trips to the Lake District to prepare them for their own fell challenges or to inspire them to greater feats on the fells. I have acted as navigator on over 30 Bob Graham Round attempts over the years & was privileged to assist Scott Watson in completing his round this year.
My greatest individual achievement was the completion of the Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge in Sept. This is a self-organised 48 mile fell challenge, for over 50s, involving 17,000ft of ascent over 30 fell summits. I was honoured to be assisted by a dozen fellow Striders on the day.

Steve Ellis

Starting 2017 meant tackling the Brass Monkey for the first time. A half marathon so early in the year set the tone for the rest of the year. I went on to tackle four more before the year ended. It included the now infamous Reeth 20 where I ran into a direction post after 100 meters but finished it despite a gash to my head. All was confessed as I submitted a detailed report with photos of the offending post!
As usual, I look forward to the start of the Harrier league season and this year is no exception but I have also discovered the wonderful NEMMA nights at Monkton sports ground. I will, without doubt, be there this year too having already signed up and I would unreservedly recommend it to ANYONE in the club. Yes.. ANYONE! See you all there and of course at Cross Country events and the many other races we all love to do. Cheers Friends.
P.S… A special well done to Richard Hocking for his award of the cross-country quaiche this year.

Rebecca Embleton

Loved 2017!
Strider support IS ALWAYS the best. Love it. Beat my GNR demons and took 25 minutes off my half marathon PB. Ran Liverpool half too but my greatest achievement of the year was completing Keilder half. I didn’t think I’d manage the hills but it turns out that if you put your mind to it, you can do anything…
Bring on 2018!

Paul Evans

It is fair to say that 2016 and 2017 have been pretty dreadful with regard to running, personally. Indeed, for a large part of this period, I did not enjoy running in any meaningful way at all and experimented with complete cessation for a time, in addition to a couple of stints off due to injury.
The greatest challenge on a personal level has been returning to running after a long period off and attempting to regain fitness whilst juggling the demands of work, children and the demon that sits on one shoulder, reminding you that you used to be quite good, so it shouldn’t be feeling this difficult.
Returning to competitive running, even if at a relatively low standard, has, I suppose, been an achievement of sorts. In terms of racing, simply getting around an ultra again in August was a milestone, as was competing in both the Tour of Pendle and the North-Eastern XC championships, though unfortunately, injury has subsequently interfered with training and racing, with the first DNS of 2018 already being recorded.
Goals for this year? None set in stone. If I can be running more and enjoying doing so, by the end of 2018, then that will suffice.

Mark Foster

I was hit with an inspirational moment whilst following the running progress of my neighbours and fellow Striders, the Hamills and Chris Edwards.
In September 2016, they completed the Great North Run in glorious fashion. I was thrilled and proud of them, but at the same time quite jealous. I said to myself, “I’m going to do that next year and hopefully in less than 2hrs20mins”; quite a tall order given my running ability at the time, but I had to set myself a target.
From that moment on I knew I had to get ‘real’ with my running, so I was encouraged to join Striders for help and support.
I set myself some realistic targets and signed up for ‘real’ races:
– Sunderland 10k
– Bridges of the Tyne
– Great North 10k
– Durham 10k  Gateshead Harriers 5k  Tess Pride 10
– Great North Run 13.1 miles
– Brampton to Carlisle 10 milesThanks to Fiona for her brilliant 10k improvers plan which I followed quite rigorously and realised a significant improvement in 5k and 10k times. On completion of this, I adjusted my GNR target to <2hrs and enrolled on Anna’s Half Marathon plan. I would definitely recommend both these courses.
Come the GNR day, I was very excited. I felt in peak condition. I felt confident. I felt I could hit my target and I bloody did, turning out a 1:56:36. I also managed to collect £1192 in sponsorship for Prostate Cancer.
Another highlight for me was Brampton to Carlisle race. I was really pleased with my time of 1:21:40, given I had set a pre-race target of <1:25:00.
In summary for 2017, it couldn’t have gone any better with every single one of my targets nailed.
2018 will be much of the same but with a marathon thrown into the mix, having signed up for Liverpool Marathon. Unfortunately, it happens to be on the same day as Pier to Pier which I fancied doing, but that one will have to wait until 2019. I would also like to do Blaydon Race and one of the Coastal half marathons this year.
To conclude, it’s been a fantastic year. It’s been hard work at times and I know I can do it. What I have learned this year is that I love this Club!!! I love the support, the community, the banter. I just love being a part of this amazing Club and admiring everyone’s achievements. It really is a special club, so thank you to all who have welcomed me and allowed me to be a part of it.
All the best for 2018 everyone.

Aaron Gourley

Proudest moments:
My proudest moment was collecting my very first West Highland Way goblet after successfully completing the race in June.
Races I’ve enjoyed:
I didn’t run many races in 2017 but the race I enjoyed the most was the West Highland Way – well parts of it I did.
Challenges I’ve overcome:
I set my goal for that year to run at least one ultra of 100 miles. WHW fell just short at 96 miles but just being fit and ready to be on the start line for the race was the main challenge to overcome.
Significant running achievements & Proudest moments:
My personal running achievement in 2017 was completing the West Highland Way race, but throughout the year I was lucky enough to help other runners achieve their goals and through this, I have a few very proud moments. These are – running through the night over the North Yorkshire Moors to help a good friend achieve his first Hardmoors 110 completion. Crewing the first leg of Scott Watson’s Bob Graham Round (even though I couldn’t keep up with his pace!) and crewing Geoff Davis on the first leg of his Joss Naylor Challenge – probably one of the finest few hours of running in the Lake District I’ve ever experience.
Goals for 2018:
2017 was a hit and miss year running wise. I had lots of really good moments but didn’t feel I’d progressed much, I sometimes felt I was going backwards, especially in shorter distance races.
My goal for this year is to finally break the 100-mile barrier but also to progress my running in a more competitive environment (mainly cross country). I know what I have to do, it’s just doing it.

Jonathan Hamill

2016 was a good year but 2017 was even better, due in part to me relinquishing the trappings of the British Airways Gold club and adopting a more sensible work/life balance.
My ambition was to run my first marathon, and ultra-marathon, secure pace improvements over shorter distances, oh and do my first XC!  I ran just over 2700km (2016 total was 1763km).
I’ve really enjoyed encouraging others to push themselves during my Monday and Wednesday night runs and I’m delighted to see their progression and PB outcomes, as a consequence of their hard work.
I completed the Paris Marathon in April, with a time under target of 4:14:12.   I also completed George Nicholson’s parkrunathon, which was an amazing experience!
I completed my first ultra-marathon (Princess Challenge – 50k) in early September and then went on to complete the longer, more gruelling Causeway Coast Ultra marathon (64k) later that month.  I ran both of these with my wingman Andy Greener, with a division of responsibilities – me for navigation, and Andy for keeping pacing under control.
I performed well over shorter distances, with the example of the Blaydon Race which I finished in 42:44 (46:02 in 2016), and Gateshead Trail 10k in 48:07. I also came 7th in the Georgengarten parkrun in Hannover in 23:28.  To celebrate this, during the afternoon, I ran up the highest peak in the Hils region of Lower Saxony (Bloße Zelle) which was also an amazing experience.
I’ve enjoyed every race, although you’d be forgiven for thinking this in considering my many race grimaces.  A particularly special race was the Brampton to Carlisle 10m road race, where I achieved a ~5 minute PB in a time of 1:15:37.  Approaching the finish and seeing my Son Patrick cheer me on was amazing.  Hearing how proud he was of me nearly reduced me to tears.
I was humbled to be voted as Most Improved Runner, and thank all who were able to support me in this, and also in my re-election as Chair.  I have said it before, and repeat; we have a great club and I want us to continue to focus on this and be proud to be purple.Here’s my 2017 Strava summary:

Lesley Hamill

2017 got off to an excellent start with a sub 2-hour half at Brass Monkey. Karen Byng and I had trained really hard for this one, so I was delighted to come in at 1.55, knocking 8 minutes off my previous PB.
At the beginning of May, I was pleased with a 10K PB at Sunderland, annoyingly it was 50.01, so a new target for this year is to go sub 50. A parkrun PB soon after this was also something to celebrate before it all went horribly wrong…
During a Wednesday night Striders run I fell and broke my wrist, needing an operation as it was such a bad break. I had trained for my second marathon (Liverpool) and this was a matter of weeks away. I held out some hope that I would still be able to do it, but sadly the Consultant disagreed. After a few tears, I picked myself up and focussed on walking and cross-training, as I had been advised not to run for at least 6 weeks. I enjoyed going to Liverpool to support Karen and other friends doing the marathon and half marathon. Obviously, I would rather have been running it, but the risk of falling and doing more damage was too high.
When the Consultant gave me the green light to run again it was the best news ever! The first few weeks were really hard as I had lost a lot of running fitness, but it gradually came back, and I really enjoyed the Durham City 10k, knocking a few minutes off my time from 2016.
I think my favourite run of 2017 was the Kielder half marathon, as it fell on my actual birthday! It was a beautiful day for a run in the most beautiful surroundings, and I was really pleased with another sub 2-hour time (1.58), the same as my Great North Run time a few weeks earlier. Karen had very kindly made me a cake, and I got to blow the candles out on the stage which was lovely.
2018 is the year of 2 marathons (making up for the one I missed last year!).
Firstly, the Northumberland coastal marathon in February, then a return to Paris in April, where I did my first marathon. Hopefully, it will all go to plan this year!

Peter Hart

When thinking of my running highlights from the last year I thought that this would not take long, however looking back through Strava and my races, this is easily the best running year that I have ever had and I have probably peaked!
I had two running targets when joining Striders:
1), A sub-50 minute 10k. – I beat this at the Tyneside 10k, but then went on to beat it a couple of more times with a PB of 47.24!
2), A sub-1 hour 50 minute half marathon – I beat this at Brass Monkey with a 7 min 40 sec PB of 1 hour 47 min 9 sec!
These were the only targets that I had ever set and I have achieved them both and am somewhat at a loss as to what I should do now?
Stay injury free and fit I suppose.
Also in 2017:
– a Blaydon race PB;
– 40 seconds off my parkrun PB;
– a (never to be beaten) 10 mile PB at Brampton to Carlisle, in which I actually set 4 new PB’s at varying distances!
… and I didn’t even mention my unbelievable, super fast, PB trainers!
There are more PB’s to come from those bad boys in 2018…

Richard Hockin

The highlight of my running year was to be presented with the Alan Purvis Cross Country Quaich at Aykley Heads in November, for my performances in the Harrier League in the 2016-17 season. It was an honour to be selected from amongst the many fine athletes who represent our club in the Harrier League.
I’ve enjoyed other competitive events in the past year and was pleased to finish first in my age category in a number of races, for example, the 10Ks at Blyth, North Tyneside, Allendale and Saltwell Park.
My main goal for 2018 is to train as consistently as I did in 2017. Earlier in my sporting career, I played league hockey for more years than I care to remember, and one of my fitness coaches was fond of pronouncing that “if you’re tired of training you’re tired of life”. A light-hearted comment but one which I’ve never forgotten, containing more than a grain of truth in it….

Tamsin Imber

There is a young Strider called Tamsin
Who love, love, love, loves runnin
Trails, road and bog
Mountains and fog
If it’s an adventure, you’ll see her coming!

Stephen Jackson

2017 was a really good year for running which included PB’s at all events from 5k up to the Marathon. I’ve continued to enjoy my time at Elvet Striders and have forged some of my very best friendships, in or out of running.
Ever ambitious, I always set myself targets, some of which I hadn’t expected to tick off so soon; including going under 16 minutes for 5k. Ok, it’s an arbitrary time but seeing the numbers 1 and 5 next to my name was something I’d been working towards for a long time.
Arguably my best performance came in the famous Great North Run. Taking over a minute off my previous best I worked in a group of runners from across the North East from start to finish – passing a handful of elites along the way.
However, undoubtedly the highlight was winning the Durham City 10k on Palace Green in front of Durham Cathedral. I have cherished that moment as I may never have another like it in running; a photo to show the grandchildren one day perhaps.

Fiona Kinghorn Jones

I have probably had the best year of running I’ve ever had in 2017. I decided I would challenge myself to “be fit at forty!”
My first goal was to get a PB in every distance I ran, which I managed to do from 800m to Marathon.
I ran all the NEMAA track races I could, coming 2nd in my new age category in 800m to 3000m and plan to better these times this year. I ran in the BMAF 10km track race, an experience I won’t be repeating but did manage a British silver medal, which is hanging proudly in my collection. I also conquered an ultra and ran 69 long miles along the beautiful Hadrian’s Wall in, what turned out to be, the hottest day of the year in June. Something I’d never dreamed of doing.
This year my aim is to get my Marathon time down to sub 3:30 as I like round numbers so have 3-mins to shave off. My first attempt will be in Edinburgh in May.

Nick Latham

I had a great year in 2017, the crowning glory being joining Striders just before Christmas. I’ve been running for 5 years and finally made the leap from doing most of it on my own. Even though I’ve only been a member for a few weeks, it’s struck me how welcoming and friendly everyone is that I’ve met so far.
I set out in 2017 with the aim of collecting some decent finishers’ medals to add to my collection; some of the highlights were:
• Gibside Night Run (February) – placed 20th and prompted me (like others) to get a much better head torch!
• Sunderland Half Marathon (May) – achieved a 5 minute PB; I didn’t get to run with Paula & Aly, though ☹
• Penshaw Trail Outlaws 10k (June) – met Mark Kearney for the first time, placed 34th
• York parkrun (June) – ran my current 5k PB of 22:23 on a bit of parkrun tourism with my sister & niece
• Durham City 5k, July – glad to be able to support a high profile event in our city, placed 71st
• York 10 miles (October) – my first event at the distance and hit my goal time of 78 minutes
Medals duly collected, October saw the start of a particularly heavy spell at work. My form dropped off as a result and I’ve been battling to recover over the last couple of months.
2018 is a blank page. I’ve got no races booked and I’m still considering what I want to achieve. In the meantime, I’m working on building some consistent mileage and adding a sprinkling of cross-country.
When it warms up a bit I might work on my 5k pace and claw back some of the pace I lost at the end of last year.

Jack Lee

I will always remember 2017 as the year I gave up the road races to focus exclusively on fell, trail and cross country running.
My highlights for 2017 include:
• Leg 5 of the Calderdale Way Relays where Mark Warner and I unofficially broke the hour cut off time for the leg although the official time disagrees.
• The Swaledale Marathon where I finished 14th in 3 hours and 36 minutes as part of a strong Strider team.
• Supporting on Scott Watson’s Bob Graham Round.
• Running up Ben Nevis as my first Monroe.
• Druridge Bay as I got promoted back into the Medium pack in the Harrier League.

Danny Lim

I first turned up to Striders one chilly evening in 2010 with trepidation that I wouldn’t quite “fit in”. I couldn’t have received a warmer response.
It has been quite a journey with the Club, starting off as a somewhat plump-ish, beginner.
Amongst my best moments with the club were:
– representing it in Harrier League;
– completing my first marathon;
– falling in love with the fells;
– tackling some of the best Lakeland classics and supporting fellow striders in their Bob Graham attempts.
I’ve made many lifelong friends in Durham.
As the Club grows in size, I hope it can retain that warm, friendly feel. Remember, we have far more in common than what divides us.
Though I no longer live in Strider-land, the Strider will always live within. Adios and Stride on!

Helen Linton

Proudest Moment:
Becoming a Strider after my son, Robin Linton’s insistence and begging.
Races I’ve Enjoyed:
Pier to Pier for the 2nd year as a Strider – this was my first ever run in 2016
Challenges I’ve Overcome:
ANY RACE, but recently getting through Sunderland 10k and Durham 10k with ENORMOUS help and support ‘all the way’ from Bev Walker and Sheelagh Barton. These were also significant running achievement’s for me
Best Strider Moment:
The relief and gratitude felt at the end of Durham 10k, my penultimate run before surgery and would NEVER have survived it without Sheelagh Barton (see photo)
Goal for 2018:
To get back running after my Mortons Neuroma surgery, having done no running for nearly 4 months now.

Michael Littlewood

It’s been good to look back and remind myself of a good year of PB’s and a little taste of prize-winning!
The year started with the familiar Brass Monkey, perfect weather conditions, the Purple army in attendance, wife running her first half and I ran a decent PB of 1:18.
Then into Allan’s marathon plan which included enjoyable and age-category placing runs at Flamingoland and Coniston.
London Marathon has to be the main highlight of the year – I really put my all in to achieve the aim of a Championship place.
Thanks Allan for all the support and your tough training regime.
My next key achievement was first placing at my first proper trail race – the extremely tough Penshaw Half.
To win this on Father’s Day with my boys acting as marshals was really special.
GNR PB, first runner in the beer tent, standard….
Kielder – the home of my first marathon. Delighted to achieve a sub 3-hour time. Amazing for my boys to present my medal and find out for the second year running that Lewis was first finisher in his junior race.
Key aims for 2018??
Train hard and always race better than the last time.

Wendy Littlewood

2017- definitely a year of firsts!
My first year of racing.
First half-marathon.
First Strider Relay event.
First cross-country.
First wonderful summer of running; loved Pier to Pier and Bridges of the Tyne. Branches and Bays, the toughest 10k I’ve ever done but equally the most beautiful.
First Bushy parkrun – oh, I loved this!! Excellent to see fellow Striders Catherine, Gareth and Chris there!
First race in my birthplace, Jersey. Tough 10k in wet and windy conditions on our first full day of holiday. Who wouldn’t want to do this??
First 5k starting with a 26. First 10k under an hour leading to a time starting with 55 at the end of the year.
First time leading a c25k group.
Lewis first place at Kielder in the Junior run.
Michael first place at Penshaw half.
Oscar’s first year of running and membership of a running club.
2017, the year that the conversion of the Littlewood family to runners can be viewed as complete.
Goals for 2018?
Sub 2 half-marathon – already achieved with Brass Monkey time at the time of writing.
Survive (and hopefully enjoy) London Marathon.
Run 40 races over the year and achieve my fundraising challenge for the Teenage Cancer Trust and Neuroblastoma UK.

Rachelle Mason

This year I ran in some new races to me. I loved the Pier-to-Pier race in May and then took myself out of my distance comfort zone by running the Northumberland coastal run in July. I really loved the longer distance race and varying terrain.
My love for trail runs was highlighted by the Gibside run in November, a favourite of mine.
Running in the XC (and doing Masters Athletics) highlights the team camaraderie that I love about Elvet Striders. I think I’m pleased that I’ve been promoted to the medium pack in XC!
Roll on 2018!

Dougie Nisbet

Seconds after crossing the finish line at ComradesStanding on the start line for Comrades in June 2017 I experienced an interesting emotion. Self-doubt. Although I’d seriously trained for this race it was still 20 miles longer than anything I’d ever done before, had strict cut-offs, and part of me wondered whether I could actually do it. It wasn’t an altogether bad emotion. It provided a tingle and a rush that comes with the fear of a leap into the unknown, and it is what keeps me running.

In 2018 I intend to keep on playing. I’m running Comrades again in June and this year it’s a Down Run and I’m aiming for the back-to-back medal. It’s the 40th anniversary of the much underrated Calderdale Hike and I shall be back to do that one properly, and I shall continue dabbling with longish trail ultras as I absolutely loved the Dark Skies run. In a nutshell, keep on experimenting, keep on trying new races, keep on running.

Joanne Patterson

2017 was my first full year of running and it’s really nice to be able to look back to my times from last year and see improvement.
My aims at the end of 2016 were to actually finished a cross-country course and obtain a PB at Durham parkrun. I am happy to say that I have achieved both of these. I faced my Thornley demons in February 2016 and completed the course that had defeated me in November. I also completed Alnwick and have run at almost all fixtures in the current league. It is still very much a love\hate relationship but it is definitely much more fun with mud! I also managed a Durham Parkrun PB in April – I honestly thought it was never going to happen. I got to run the Blaydon Race in June which was always the race I wanted to do – managed a not too shabby 48m 14s.
After swearing never to run another half marathon following GNR 2016, I actually did 2 in 2017. I ran Brass Monkey in January with Teresa Archer who was tackling her first half. I finished in exactly the same time as the GNR, but importantly, I didn’t hate my life this time. I went on to tackle the Northumberland Coastal Run in July but I never had the intention of racing it due to signing up for about 100 races in July – I was done in by then! I’m still not a huge fan of the distance, but everybody is different. I take my hat off to you marathon runners.
A back injury in June also knocked me off track with my training and my progress suffered slightly.
Running has become such a huge part of my life thanks to Striders. I’ve made some amazing friends. It helps me manage my mental health. A huge part of running for me is the amazing parkrun community – whether volunteering or running, my Saturday’s just wouldn’t be the same without it.
Durham City Run also holds a special place in my heart – the atmosphere in 2017 was electric – the roads were filled with purple, whether it was running, marshalling or spectating – it was a very special night!
My 5k PB has gone from 27:21 to 25:11.
My 10k PB has gone from 57:25 to 54:09.
My aims for 2018 are, hopefully, to manage a PB at Brass Monkey and not hate every step. I have trained properly (including doing the Gibside Fruit Bowl – wow. Never again), and I know my body can do it, and am hopeful that my brain won’t get in the way. I am also going to be more selective about the number and type of races that I enter this year. I will carry on listening to advice and putting it into practice and continue to travel far and wide to support my clubmates.

Ashley Price-Sabate

Looking back at my achievements in 2017 is not an exercise in horn blowing, bragging, or comparing myself to anyone else in any way (the exception being myself). I like to think that our Elvet Striders yearbook will be filled with inspirational stories of people who found a passion and joy for running, and that we will celebrate everyone’s efforts and accomplishments, sympathise with the injuries and setbacks and encourage one another to keep challenging ourselves and keep growing (in whatever form that takes). In that spirit, I look back the last year and feel the afterglow of every race again and let myself be proud of how far I have come.
I only started running in September 2014, and that came on the heels of 6 years of quite serious chronic back pain and issues with my knees. I felt like I’d hit midlife as a relatively fit person and promptly started to fall apart. When I finally completed a parkrun without having to walk, I don’t think I would have believed you if you said that in 4 years I’d be completing my first ultra marathon! But the running bug had bitten and I was loving it. 5K led to 10K led to 10 miles led to half marathon led to marathon ……. And yes, there were injuries along the way, but even those were good in a way because they showed me the importance of strength training, which is an integral part of my routine.
So, in 2017 I ran at least one event every month – often two – with the exception of December, which I gave myself as a rest month. I started the year with Run Every Day January, which I found a good way to kick start my training, and am doing again this year. I had a goal to run 1000 miles last year, but due to a couple of injuries, I fell short by about 70 miles. I don’t mind too much because to me it’s more important to listen to my body and be healthy.
A list of 2017 races is as follows: Kielder Winter 10 Mile, Hedgehope Winter Wipeout Half Marathon, Glentress Trail Half Marathon, Lakeland Trails Cartmel 18K, Kielder Dark Skies Half Marathon, Druridge Bay Half Marathon, Lakeland Trails Staveley 17K, Neptune Relays, Vallalta Trail de Sant Iscle 10K (in Catalunya), Trail Outlaws Pieces of 8 10K, Willow Miner Race, Durham City 10K (course PB), Rosedale Marathon (my first ultra distance – 31.4 miles at 50 years old!), Haltwhistle Half Marathon, Wolfgangseelauf 10K (in Austria. Had to drop down from the 27K to the 10K due to suspected stress fracture in my left foot that I’d picked up doing Haltwhistle. That put a wrinkle in training for a while.) Aykley Heads XC, Kirkley Hall Big 10 Miler (in which I ran 1:29:55, smashing my previous year’s time by nearly 15 minutes). I finished out the year by finally beating my overall parkrun PB at Riverside with a time of 25:30.
Stay tuned for the 2018 report! Lots of new goals and glorious runs to come!

Gareth Pritchard

2016 was an amazing year for me both in running and my personal life.
In 2017 I went back to marathon running and managed the whole year without any major injury issues, a first for me.
My biggest achieving was a sub 75 min half marathon for the first time. I have battled this barrier for years and achieved it in Swindon. Great feeling running in my hometown in front of my family and getting the London marathon championship standard at the same time.
My toughest challenge was running the Windermere marathon 4 weeks after achieving a sub 2:50 at the Blackpool marathon. This was a step into the unknown; a big success as I placed 3rd in both events. Windermere marathon has a special place in my heart and I loved every moment of the day.
I have continued to improve my PB list in 2017 and even joined the elites for a race in Brisbane Australia over 15k when on holiday. A fantastic one-off adventure and a small glimpse into the professional world of runners.
Being the men’s club captain has been a pleasure and an honour. It remains both a personal challenge and a joy to help others on their running paths wherever it leads them.
My proudest Strider moment was fielding a complete Striders 6 stage men’s team for the first time in our Club’s history. We not only had a full team but were competitive, placing well on the day. An amazing experience and something I will always treasure.
I set a few challenges for 2017, some I have achieved and others I have come very close to. The sub 2:45 marathon remains a target I’m hoping to achieve; hopefully, London 2018 will be the one.
I have joined the sub 17 parkrun hall of fame in Australia and consistently in our local events, including the home of parkrun, Bushy parkrun. Something that I’m very proud to have achieved.
2018 Goals:- sub 16 at 5k, sub 2:45 marathon, Injury free and having as much fun as possible.
Can I run for 24 hours? 2018 might just answer that question….. bring it on.

Phil Ray

The moment that gave me the most satisfaction in 2017 was the second Thornley Harrier League fixture in February.
In the previous race at Thornley in November 2016, I had run this race after having not run for 6-7 weeks due to sinusitis. I thought I would be fine to run after doing the Sherman cup the previous week. However, I really struggled in the race, so much so that it felt like I was towing a caravan around the course!
I finished in 163rd place and at end of the race, I felt really low. Thanks to Strider Jason Harding for recognising this and giving me a pep-talk on the way back to the Strider tent. He told me to ‘stick at it and train hard’.
I was determined to do better at the next fixture at Thornley in February.
I trained hard for 8-10 weeks for the race and was determined to beat my Thornley demons. I ended up finishing 29th and getting promoted to the medium pack on the day. I was heading to be first Strider home until about 400 metres from the end when Scott Watson overtook me! Thanks Scott! There’s no shame in getting beaten by a very good runner and a top bloke.

Aileen Scott

The best running achievement for me in 2017 is not really my achievement.. it’s my husbands. Alan has become slightly more addicted to running and is now joining me running. I hate to say it, but he now leaves me standing … especially at parkrun!!
He has been in Striders for over a year, but as he was really getting the buzz, we decided to enter Kielder Dark Skies half and both managed to finish it!
The support and encouragement we received was fantastic from Anna S and Catherine S; don’t think I could have done it without this support!! Thanks to Stan for making us do the Sunday long runs.
As preparation we entered the Lambton Headtorch Run, just to make sure we could run with head torches. Thanks kids, great Christmas present!!
Kielder was amazing. We started together, but that didn’t last long I was ahead of Alan, then he was ahead. We seemed to be swapping positions along the way, both of us making new running friends during the race.
Not one to keep reminding him, but I finished before him. No one needs to know he was slightly injured! I’ll take the win, as I’ve not finished ahead of him since!
I achieved a half PB at Sunderland this year..2.14.35! Not sure I could do that time at the moment!! As a family, we have completed some parkruns which have been amazing considering my kids are not keen on running.
We have managed to all run to celebrate my 100th at Durham, Cape Town and Hermanus, while on holiday, proudly wearing our Striders vest!
Another family achievement was Alan doing one cross-country run and I managed to knock a few minutes off my Ackley Heads XC time; not sure how that happened!
The support and encouragement Striders constantly give is fantastic. What did we do before joining? Thank you to everyone involved in running the Club and all the members. We have both made some amazing friends since joining the Club.x

Stuart Scott

My running came on a long way during 2017 It all really kicked off after watching a mate complete a winter Bob Graham round then agreeing to run 5 miles a day throughout January. I started getting a little obsessed with how many miles I could run a week and it only came to an end when I caused myself a stress fracture at the end of March, due to overtraining. After 3 months of being unable to run, I decided to try and be a little smarter about how I trained and this really paid off.
After briefly assisting Scott Watson on his Bob Graham I decided I really wanted to do it myself and as my training improved. I achieved a half marathon PB of 1h25m27, a marathon PB of 3h12m58, I PB’d in Durham Park run about 7 times in a row to finally achieve 18m50, I won my first prize coming 3rd Male in the Ennerdale 50k Ultra in 4h42m07 then completed my hardest race yet in The Cheviot Goat 55 mile Winter Ultra in 14h57m06.
My main goal for 2018 is to complete The Bob Graham Round, however, I also aim to run at least 70 miles in The GB24 ultra, complete The Wall 69mile Ultra in less than 11h45min, knock at least 15 mins off my time in the Ennerdale 5Ok and complete The Cheviot Goat in less than 14 hours.
It’s definitely going to be a challenging year but can’t wait to give them all my best shot!

Anna Seeley

2017 was a real mix of a year. The main highlight being a distance PB at Endure 24 but also plenty more highs being part of some fab relay teams, having a great run at Dent which I’d wanted to do for years and running a sub 4 at Blackpool marathon.
There were also the lows of missing out on winter XCs due to injury, attempting to smash myself up in the Red Kite trail race and Dark Skies Galloway and missing out on my key autumn marathon due to illness, but all in all, it wasn’t a bad year in Purple.
2018 will be the year when I hopefully complete the Canalathon 100K putting demons to rest, nail my first 100-mile run at Leeds Endure, try and PB at a “normal” distance as all my PBs are far too old and stay upright in all my races, no more bruised elbows.

Allan Seheult

I’m very pleased that the individual athletes I help with their training have all made substantial performance improvements this year, which I hope will continue in 2018.

Tim Skelton

So my 2017….how did I feel it went? Well this year, after a busy (and expensive 2016 race calendar), I decided to concentrate on 1 race and 1 race alone….1-2 years of nagging from a grumpy Yorkshire man had ground me down and I decided to enter the much fabled Swaledale Marathon. This race falls a couple of miles short of actually being a true marathon (as 1 or 2 marathon junkies have often pointed out several times) but I think it more than makes up for it with hills, deviations, the chance of getting lost (can you get lost on GNR????) and mud. So that was my plan! Attack that race and forgo all the other shorter (and more expensive races) that I did the year before such as Blaydon (££££ for a v busy 5 miles?) and Pier-to-pier (great route but silly money for something I can run any Sunday? – and admin fees???).
This wouldn’t be enough though so I promised myself that I would enter all the team events offered. This turned out to be a great plan. I found I absolutely loved XC and the relays. My life (rightfully IMO) revolves around my kids. They come first. So often I make plans for races but don’t end up doing them as something better comes along with them…..there will always be races but I won’t always have young children.
The Hetton lakes relay was my first furore into the team event. I knew the area well as it was a strange date location when I first met my wife….it’s a lovely little route and a lung buster. Flat out for 2 laps and try to make up as much time for your fell Elvet Strider teammates (teams of 3). This was so much fun. Working together and cheering each other on! I loved it…..The DCH relays were great too but a bit more dull as I hate the Maiden castle rugby pitches to run around. I really enjoy anywhere where there are the club tents, flags and colours on show.
Alnwick was my first XC in early 2017. Wow! How much mud? What a location though! I cannot recommend this one enough. Think Herrington (2018) and double the amount of water/mud/sludge. So much fun! The bus journey up was fab too as it gave us all a chance to have a natter too and have none of the pre-race “where shall I park” nerves. I had had a great Xmas of training and felt fit. I also got some new Mudclaws for Xmas (name me a better Xmas present?) It was also a case of Luke beating Yoda too as I beat aforementioned grumpy Yorkshire man by a minute.
Jump a few months and it was Swaledale…..The weather was shocking (but fab IMO)! Proper Yorkshire rain. Just as I wanted it! The Mudclaws were ready… we went along the DT20 route I had done a few times before (my top trail/fell race ever!). The rain didn’t stop for 4h:31mins. I was so happy and proud when I finished. I know I can beat that time. I only trained by running 14miles a few times…nothing near 20 (or 23.1miles which was the final distance I think). I ran with Phil R as he is a far more experienced (and better) runner than I so hoped he would help drag my butt around if I lost focus or simply got lost…..this worked very well actually. Phil was much stronger on the flats etc but I love mud, rocks and hills. He could have finished ahead of me no doubt but at times it was a case of safety in numbers as much of the course was not marked. We only got lost once. I did injure myself quite badly in mile 4 which meant absolute agony every time I stopped and tried to start again…this basically meant I could not run in July-Sept. This was undoubtedly my proudest running achievement. I am on the waiting list to do it again with the aim to get 4hrs.
Outside of running, I was then voted as social secretary which was great. I sorted the Xmas bash at DARC which was v well attended and hope to replicate this with Mike H for the awards night in 2018.
Oh…and I help sell a total of 146 bobble hats in 2017!
My goals this year are to get back to my best weight and fitness again. Attack every XC and relay and encourage as many people as possible to do the same. The team events are brilliant and a great way to meet fellow Club members. I want to use track sessions more to help get my speed up. I have joined the Fell Runners Association and have a plan to do quite a few hilly races this year. My Mudclaws talk to me and this is what they demand.
See you in the mud everyone!!

Catherine Smith

Last year I set myself the goal of continuing personal improvements, on-going running enjoyment and hopefully doing a good job as ladies captain.
I have definitely achieved ‘A’ despite some on-going injury niggles and I would like to think (hope) that I am achieving ‘B’ – I’m giving it my best shot anyway!
With the on-going support of the Strider family, I have seen my marathon total increase while my times decrease. I have also ticked off a 30-miler, in the dark, in hideous conditions as you do!
I’ve run 8 parkruns in a day (twice now), ran in circles ticking off miles, thrown javelins, discus and shot-put, along with a huge range of running adventures, some I’ve loved some not so much!
I’ve also seen & supported many folks as they achieve their running goals, which is as exciting for me as achieving my own PB’s.

Lee Stephenson

I joined Elvet Striders in July 2017 and I’ve made huge strides (excuse the pun) from the days when I used to say to everyone “I can’t run”.
Up until I was 37 I hadn’t run before. I was always in bad health through school and through my adult life until this point.
After many surgical procedures, I finally felt that maybe I could try a challenge and I signed up for the GNR 2010. I had done four GNRs before I joined the Striders. Never very successfully but I’d done them. But for my fifth in 2017 I wanted to make a real go of it. My fellow Striders made me feel welcome from day one. It was a hot evening and we did a recce of the Willow Miner route. I walked a lot of it but the constant encouragement kept me going even though I felt I was slowing everyone down.
From then on I have tried to attend regularly and have now been bitten by the running bug. I have spent loads of money on running gear and most conversations now include the words ‘run’ or ‘running’. I completed my fifth GNR with a PB and have amazed myself that I can now do a parkrun in under 25 minutes. Yes, it can be hard to be motivated to get out through the darker nights but knowing you’re going to run with a group of friends is the best motivation.
I have signed up for the Manchester Marathon this year. Who knew? Friends and family think I’m mad, and maybe I am but it’s worth a shot. So thanks to the commitment and encouragement of the run leaders and the camaraderie of the club, I have achieved more than I ever dreamed.

Celeste Veitch

I began 2017 with a few 5 and 10Ks, most notable was Edinburgh, the scenery and support was brilliant.
The highlight has to be completing my first half marathon. I ran Bournemouth bathed in glorious sunshine and beautiful views.
It has to be said that without the guidance, training and encouragement from Elvet Striders I would never have attempted a HM. Thank you purplies!
My goal for 2018 is to continue with 10Ks – love them and maybe another half.

Sue Walker

In January 2017 I decided I needed a new ‘hobby’. Running! Yeah, I can do that I thought! Its just fast walking and cheap! Ha, how wrong I was!
First the running shoes. I got myself some very bright and colourful and spent more on them than I spent on any pair of shoes – ever.
The chap in the shop told me about a local running group, the Elvet Striders. I sent an email and got a very quick and friendly reply. There was a waiting list but that was okay, who wants to run in Winter anyway!!
In April 2017 I got a place. Nervously I went along to Maiden Castle, just for a look I thought.
An hour or so later I found myself running down a hill with loads of folk in purple. I was last but everyone cheered. That was it, I was hooked!
In June 2017 I ran in my first race. It was the Bridges of the Tyne 5 mile race. It was brilliant. I GOT A MEDAL. ME!? A MEDAL.
Despite a set ‘back’ mid Summer with help from physios I’m back on my feet – pun intended!
I completed in 9 races, got several t-shirts and 7 medals. I’m very proud of that. It might be a drop in the ocean for some but for an old bird and a first timer it’s not bad.
In January 2018 I ran in my first XC, a muddy, nah, very muddy race. Once again the support and encouragement from fellow Striders was amazing.
My proudest moments? Too many to mention. But the one that makes me burst with pride is when I was nominated for the most improved runner. Crikey!
I’m also proud of all the fantastic people I’ve met and run with and look forward to more of the same in 2018.My goal for 2018 is simple – to keep running.

Faye Ward

My 2017 biggest achievement was, without a doubt, training for and running my first marathon in May, the Liverpool Rock n Roll. Running a marathon is something I had always wanted to do but thought would be crazy to even admit, that was until I joined a running club! With the encouragement and advice of so many friendly Striders, I soon found myself running crazy distances in training, understanding my body’s nutrition and hydration requirements and realising that I am a pretty focused and determined individual when it comes to sticking to a training plan. I was over the moon with my 4hrs 32min finish and can honestly say I loved it and can’t wait to do another one.
I also ran in Sunderland 10k, Blaydon, Durham city and Gateshead trail races, out of all of those I enjoyed the Gateshead Trail 10k race the most, beautiful route and hassle-free pre/post race arrangements.
2018 I am Paris bound to run in the marathon in April and who knows on running goals after that, Paris is enough of a commitment for me at the moment!

Conrad White

If you wait long enough something will happen…
A significant birthday happened at the end of 2016 on the day of Blyth Sands which meant a bigger handicap start. There are still some really fast ones about, so no age prize, but a very pleasing birthday bottle of wine – the year had started well!
2017 however started with a bit of a downer – a pulled hamstring on the Riverside New Year park run!! What was that about?
That put paid to some early year training – undaunted or some may say pig-headedly I strived to get back to fitness and trained and entered some races in the summer when things were starting to improve. As I said wait long enough and things come along. As you get older there are numerically less to compete against (although some are really good). As it turned out it was the best prize-winning year I have ever had with age prizes at Raby 10k, Durham 10k, Coxhoe trail race and Sedgefield Trail race – and I was only just behind my son!
Aims for 2018 : –
To try and remain free of injury and to get the mileage up to do something a bit longer (not silly ultra long just longer than 10k).
To try and get the age-graded up to where I was in 2015.
To beat a son???

Stan White

2017 was a year where I was pleased to just keep going… I maintained my apparent “obsession” with parkrun and completed my 250th on May 27th… Disappointment struck a few weeks later when I woke on the morning of the Durham Coastal Half Marathon…..with decidedly sore foot … Decided to give it a go but the problem just got worse and worse as the race miles passed… Made it to the end but slower than the year before… Which means of course that I have to have another go.
The subsequent foot pain plagued me for over 3 months but I was able to get a few reasonable 10 k trail runs in towards the end of the year… The Auckland Castle Trail was a nice return to racing and a run I’d recommend.
In 2018 I’m hoping to continue my parkrun exploits and enjoy more off-road running … So far so good and fingers crossed for more and a better time at that damn Durham Coastal …

Karen Wilson

2017 saw me finally get around to joining the Purple Army and sign up for my first marathon (Bacchus) it’s amazing what the lure of wine every 3 miles can do.
My training was going well until 3 days before Northumberland Coastal Run when my Achilles started to play up, but I managed to hobble round thanks to the amazing support from Joanne and Vicky. I’ve also done a couple of relays and thanks to Anna even found the Willow Miner, his Wife & the chickens! and of course, had a sneak preview of the Luminaire. I may not get often, but I love it when I do.
Part of my training was to do the Paras10 again and my mum joined me this year. If you’ve never done it you should, it’s amazing, although it helps if you like hills.
Marathon day we turned up to a great atmosphere, the marathon was 2 laps and boy it was brutal at times. The worst part was knowing you had to do it again, but as expected the wine ‘tasting’ made it bearable. We were officially the last finishers but we also found out that a lot dropped out at the halfway stage (this meant we were left with a half bottle of prosecco to finish at the last tasting station!!)
I must have got the bug as I have signed up for 2 further marathons in 2018, Kielder Dark Skies and Loch Ness. My focus this year is to put in some specific training (so you may even see me at a track session, eek) and hopefully to fit in a XC as well as to have lots more fun with the Striders!

Kimberley Wilson

Not really a huge fan of running, I joined Striders in April/May 2017. I’d already had a few parkruns under my belt and had even done my first 10k at Kielder at the end of 2016.
Encouraged by the Linton members, I decided to join and give it a bit of a go.
At first being part of a running group, where I knew very few people, was scary but I tagged along to Rachel’s Wednesday night run almost every week and it was a right laugh. I actually started to enjoy this running malarkey.
Now I was all official in a running group it meant I had to get amongst some proper races especially when I had my Strider vest – I was definitely proud to be purple.
I think my best achievement of last year was doing Durham 10k and getting a time of 58:50, as it’s just full of hills.
My challenging race was probably the Great North 10k; I just really struggled with this race from the get-go and almost every mile felt like there was a 100 more. The slog on the Tyne almost broke me but I soldiered on and managed to get a sub one-hour.
After a busy end to 2017 running has fallen by the wayside a little but my mission is to get back into it. This year I’m celebrating a special milestone so I have decided to enter myself into the Great North Run ballot. I’ve only ever run a long ‘training’ run once and that was a slow and steady 11 miles. I’m not sure if I’m excited or terrified if I make it through the ballot.

Fiona Wood

My 2017 started strongly with training for the Marathon de Paris in April. It was great to have this goal to aim for and it certainly got me out there on the cold dark nights when previously I’d have probably stayed on the sofa! Highlight events that I included in my training were the Snake Lane 10 in February and the Dentdale Run in March.
Unfortunately the 26 degree heat in Paris on the day of the marathon meant that it was a slower affair for me than I had anticipated (I really don’t cope well running in heat!) but it was a fantastic experience nonetheless, the highlight of my running year, and one I would recommend to anyone looking for a city marathon.
Following the marathon I lost my ‘mojo’ a bit, so ran less and as a consequence, every event I did was hard work, notably Chase The Train when the temperature was the same as it had been in Paris – but with more hills! The Blaydon Race was also much harder work than the previous year. I was also rather on the warm side at the Pier To Pier. The final straw was taking a tumble at mile 10 in the Princess Challenge One In The Middle, shredding my knees in the process, and having to limp/walk/attempt to run the last 7 miles dented my confidence and my enthusiasm somewhat and to be honest the rest of the year was a bit of a write-off.
However I may have been down but am not yet out and so I have recommenced regular running this January, with the goal of this year’s Dentdale Run in mind, followed by the Manchester Frontrunners’ Piece of Cake 10k in early May. Work allowing I hope to make it to at least one HL fixture before the season ends and maybe I will even have a go at the NEMAA athletic events in the summer!?
Goal for 2018: just keep running!

Last but not least…

Anita Wright

This has been the happiest of all my 30 years of running. I’ve loved every minute of being a Strider, every Club night and every race I’ve done in green and purple. I’ve made some great friends and been supported and encouraged every step of the way. Whilst I’m sad to have had to give up running at the end of 2017, owing to a serious back injury, I go out having had a wonderful and very happy year.
My high points of this year include:
– Joining the Committee
– Running the Hampton Court Half Marathon with my daughter Lucy.
– Running the Simonside Fell race with Catherine Smith after a 20-year absence
– Winning my category at the Quayside 5K this year (the one and only time I’ve ever won anything in running)
– The parkrun-athon for Acorns charity; 8 different parkruns (and a bit of track) all on one very sunny Saturday
– Doing cross-country racing, for the first time since school.
– My last ever race at Gibside Fruitbowl – just because it’s challenging and beautiful.
– Favourite race of this year: Pier-to-Pier. A fabulous Strider day out by the sea-side. Sun, sea, sand, fish and chips, wine, ice-cream and great friends.
Plans for this year:
– Continue to support the Club and Dougie as Deputy Website Officer.
– Stay engaged with the Club and find a non-running role for myself.