All posts by Dougie Nisbet

Tweed Valley Tunnel Trail Run, Peebles, Saturday, October 5, 2019

20km

Dougie Nisbet

OK, strap yourself in. I’m turning the Nostalgia dial up to 11.

Back in the day, when I was a lad, we’d often go to visit my grandparents in Peebles. My brother and I would spend weekends playing in Hay Lodge Park, jumpers for goalposts, and exploring the woods along the River Tweed. My grandparents lived in Hay Lodge Cottage, opposite the park gates, where my aunt still lives. As I grew up in Edinburgh I’d still visit Hay Lodge Park, with my student chums, and late at night, we’d sometimes manage to get into Neidpath Tunnel and walk through casting our torches ahead like something out of Scooby Doo. The real challenge was to walk through, alone, without a torch. Larks.

The whole stretch of line here is an engineering marvel, from the tunnel to the viaduct with its amazing skew-arch construction, which was necessary as the bridge crosses the Tweed at an angle. There are stories that suggest that the Royal Train hid in the 600 yard tunnel during WW2 as the Kind and Queen visited war damage in Clydeside. Great story. Not even sure if I’m bothered about whether it’s true.

photo: Roberta Marshall

Fast forward 40 years and things have changed a little. Hay Lodge Park now has
a parkrun, and the tunnel is open to the public. It’s normally unlit, but for one day, the tunnel is lit for the Tweed Tunnel Run.

I first heard about the run when I saw that Colin Blackburn had ran it previously. It looked a hoot. Three courses to choose from; 20km, 10km, and 4km. I signed up and put it in the diary.

The weather wasn’t looking great for the run, which was a bit of a shame. There’s a lot of autumn colour and contrasts and a ray or two of sunshine would’ve made for stunning conditions with the Tweed running high after all the rain. The Start was an intriguing affair. Like many races there was the problem of bottlenecks early on, especially with narrow wet rocky rough paths within the first kilometre. The organisers tackled this in an interesting way; every runner was set off individually, with the fast guys off first. It reminded me of these scenes you see of people taking a parachute jump; the starter would tap a competitor, say GO, then the next one would move forward, and a few seconds later (4 I think), the process was repeated. They allow half an hour to get all the 20km runners away, then it’s time for the 10km runners.

photo credit: Roberta Marshall

I’d seeded myself near the back of the pack and it was about 10 minutes before I finally got going. Even so, it became apparent to me pretty quickly that this was not going to be a quick race. I was full of a big tea from the previous evening, and I was beginning to suspect my field research into the relative merits of Clipper IPA vs Broughton Pale Ale had perhaps, on the whole, been a little too extensive. I settled down into a comfortable pace that seemed to be slightly slower than everyone else’s, meaning that I was steadily overtaken on the narrow paths.

On my feet I was wearing a pair of reliable and comfortable but worn Saucony Nomad trail shoes that had served me well. But the recent rain meant the paths were muddy and slippy. The route is mostly trail with occasional track and short sections of road, but even so, if it’s as wet as this next year I’ll wear a shoe with a more aggressive sole.

The route itself was wonderful. I thought I knew the area pretty well but the race took us upriver and across bridges and along paths I never knew existed. I loved the contrasts. I love woodland paths but this was all mixed in with tracks and riverside and open hillside, with twists and turns so you were never quite sure what was coming next.

The Skew Arches of Neidpath Viaduct

Having done a few ultras I thought a 20km trail run would be pretty easy and I
was surprised when we got to the 10km marker and got that ‘only half-way’
feeling. But I wasn’t pushing hard and I was happy to run easy and enjoy the
views. One advantage of non-standard distance races on mixed terrain is there’s
no benchmark. So I felt no pressure to go faster, as frankly, what was the
point?

We were led onto open hillside and an exposed climb round Cademuir to the highest point of the course where the views of Peebles and the valleys made me stop and stare for a bit. Then there was some fun descending down slippy paths where again I felt the lack of traction in my shoes. It wasn’t downhill all the way though with a few kick-ups here and there, before the feed point and the turn into South Park Wood and the approach to the tunnel.

This bit of the race was a series of flashbacks, probably mostly imagined, as the last time I’d played in these woods was a long time ago, usually involving convoluted plot adaptations of Swiss Family Robinson. Still, every now and then I’d see a familiar path or feature and it was curious to see how much had changed, and how much hadn’t.

The routes converged and split a few times, and on the final descent to the tunnel there was a bit of congestion. There were no obvious problems as far as I could see though, and I guess if I was a bit faster, I’d be in front of the pinch points. I quite like these mixed-pace runs that you often see with LDWA events where the runners catch the walkers and there’s a lovely big melting pot of runners and walkers all out doing their own thing on their own terms.

The approach to the tunnel was quite a thing. Quite theatrical as it got closer, and then 674 yards until daylight again. I liked it. I wasn’t sure I would as I thought it might be a bit cheesy, but I think they got it just right. There were walkers and runners in the tunnel but I jogged through and enjoyed the surrealism, knowing that I’d be back for seconds later.

One of the great things about this event is that after the races are over there’s a 3.5km walk that you can sign up for that takes in a loop over the viaduct then back through the tunnel. This means the day can be a family affair as the runner has time to get back, finish, then go out on the walk again.

approaching the finish – photo credit: Roberta Marshall

I set out with Roberta on the walk, retracing bits of the run route, and this time with plenty of time to enjoy the tunnel again.

On the 3.5km walk

Postscript

I’ve already signed up for 2020. If you fancy a taster of what to expect, and to see some more, ahem, professional quality video of 2019, have a look at the Tweedlove video below. And I’m not just saying that because I make a brief appearance (1:34 since you ask).

Loch Ness Marathon, Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sarah Fawcett

(No monsters were harmed in this race report)

All I can say is “ I was conned”. I can’t remember who said it is all downhill or flat , but someone did. I entered this one only about 2 months ago, on a whim, and to have an excuse for a short Scottish holiday with my husband to incorporate him cycling and us walking in the Cairngorms.

So having driven all the bloomin way up to Inverness, with a stopover in Perth, it was fairly rude of the weather to be so lousy. The Event Village was already cold and muddy on the Saturday at registration but by the time we got back to the finish line Sunday afternoon , it was a quagmire. Before that though we had to get to the start by transport buses in the dark and rain , an hour’s drive to a howling moor at the top of a hill above Loch Ness in the middle of nowhere.

I’ve never stood in a toilet queue for 50 mins in a bin bag before, but the young Swiss chaps in front of me ( in kilts) gave me a nip of their herbal hooch to warm me up. I couldn’t find my fellow Striders, other than a quick wave to Sophie and Debra from the queue. So no group photo unfortunately.

500 26.2 miles to go.

Then a miracle happened: the start line assembly involved repeated plays of The Proclaimers 500 miles and the rain stopped and as we trotted over the start to the accompaniment of a piped band, we were off, downhill ( as promised).

Now I knew that the people weaving past me at speed would probably regret it later, so I kept a happy steady pace and tried to enjoy the moors, trees, greyness etc. Then we saw the Loch and the route runs beside it for several miles and this is where I was conned because it keeps undulating up and down. Nothing severe but my legs could feel it. I ran with a lovely young Scot called Iain for a while and we talked about his caber tossing and bagpipe playing amongst other things. Mile 17.5-18.5 is a hill that I knew I would run : walk so I sent my husband a text to say I was probably going to take 5 hrs and he could judge when to stand in the cold at Inverness. I had seen Karen for a cheery smile and Aileen and I had passed each other 3 times. She was looking strong and happy in her first marathon.

I was getting tired and properly disappointed when I saw the finish line over the river and knew the bridge was near BUT they only bloomin make you run on to the next bridge don’t they? I managed a hug with my husband at mile 25.5 then walked a minute when I was out of his view before a slow sprint for the line. Thanks Alan for the shout. We were incredibly lucky for a dry few hours in the middle of 2 weeks of rain. The event was very well organised and super friendly. The Baxter’s soup at the end was just what I needed. Aileen and Alan did brilliant first marathons.

Sitting in a lovely restaurant later full of marathoners in their medals with Aileen, Alan, Sophie and Debra who all got the memo about dress code but didn’t tell me(!) we celebrated the other Strider finishers, Peter, Karen and Craig as well as Carolyn Wendy and Mike’s marathons elsewhere. A good weekend.

Dress Code is orange – didn’t you get the memo?

results

PosRace NoFirst NameLast NameHalf TimeGun TimeChip TimeCategory
11IsaiahKOSGEI
(Metro Aberdeen Running Club)
01:11:1502:29:3102:29:31Mara-M40
66KatieWHITE
(Garscube Harriers)
01:19:0802:42:0402:42:03Mara-FS
4352283PeterHART01:43:0303:40:2403:39:15Mara-M40
1696955AlanSCOTT02:07:3004:29:1704:25:55Mara-M50
1911649CraigWALKER02:06:4604:36:5504:34:09Mara-M60
21181263DebraTHOMPSON02:15:4204:45:1804:41:56Mara-F50
22584009SarahFAWCETT02:17:1004:54:1804:47:02Mara-F50
2394956AileenSCOTT02:16:5904:56:3204:51:52Mara-F40
3033503SophieDENNIS02:25:2705:32:0405:28:48Mara-FS
32713771KarenWILSON02:37:4605:56:1305:51:08Mara-F40

Harrier League, Wrekenton, Saturday, September 28, 2019

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. Mud King/Mud Queen Race - click flag for more information.

Fionna Brannan

The first fixture of the 19/20 Harrier League season saw an impressive 68 Striders, old and new turn out for a sunny fixture at Wrekenton. Rain in the week meant that there were a few puddles around, but the weather on the day was kind – there were even complaints of it being too hot!

In the mens race, Captain Michael lead home with an excellent time, resulting in a promotion to the medium pack. Michael will be joined by Tom Hamilton, who ran a fantastic first fixture, also leading to a promotion. As usual, XC Captain Stephen ran a blinder, and is currently sitting in 4th position in the overall standings.

In the ladies race, Emma Thompson had a brilliant run, coming through from the fast pack and overtaking nearly 500 runners to finish first Strider home, followed shortly by XC Captain and coach Elaine, who was promoted into the fast pack.

On the day, the men finished in 5th place overall and the ladies 7th in what looks to be a very competitive season. The new tent performed admirably, and everyone put on their best singing voices to with Susan a Happy Birthday – well what else would Mudwoman do on her birthday?!

Photo Credit: Heather Raistrick

Results

men
PosNumNameRace TimePackCatActual Time
11504Samuel Charlton (Wallsend Harriers)30:57SMU2030:57
23530Michael Littlewood36:29SMV4036:29
36569Tom Hamilton37:00SMsen37:00
41560Stephen Jackson37:15FMV3532:15
68481Bryan Potts38:04SMV3538:04
80507James Lee38:23SMV4038:23
126499Georgie Hebdon39:18FMsen34:18
135477Allan Renwick39:30SMV5039:30
163531Michael Mason39:56FMV4034:56
185526Matthew Archer40:25SMV3540:25
208508Joe Finn40:42SMsen40:42
212501Graeme Watt40:45FMV4035:45
234506James Garland41:03MMV4038:33
251513Juan Corbacho41:25SMV3541:25
278516Lindsay Mcewan41:55SMV4541:55
291538Nik Corton42:08SMV5542:08
295563Stuart Ord42:13FMsen37:13
310498Geoff Davis42:28SMV6042:28
324561Stephen Soulsby42:45SMV5542:45
333485Conrad White43:03SMV6043:03
345500Graeme Walton43:12SMV4543:12
361553Robin Parsons43:35SMV4043:35
365509John Bisson43:41SMV4043:41
399473Aaron Gourley44:38SMV4044:38
437549Robert Allfree45:36SMV4545:36
447489Dave Halligan45:53SMV5545:53
466548Richard Hockin46:24SMV6546:24
467533Mike Bennett46:25SMV6546:25
488478Andrew Davies46:52SMV4046:52
489570Trevor Chaytor46:59SMV5546:59
501487Daniel Mitchel47:15SMV4047:15
532544Peter Hart48:18SMV4048:18
541503Ian Butler48:36SMV5548:36
559528Michael Dale49:13SMV4049:13
569556Shaun Roberts49:38SMV6049:38
585518Malcolm Sygrove50:24SMV5050:24
588520Marc Watson50:40SMV4050:40
611535Neil Garthwaite52:16SMV5052:16
641504Ian Jobling54:56SMV5054:56
647559Stephen Ellis55:46SMV6555:46
649474Adam Bent55:50SMV6555:50
women
PosNumNameRace TimePackCatActual Time
1671Katherine Davis (North Shields Poly)25:02SFV5025:02
25340Emma Thompson28:26FFV4025:26
38339Elaine Bisson28:57MFV4027:42
93376Rachael Bullock30:21SFsen30:21
99378Rachelle Mason30:34SFV4030:34
102374Nina Mason30:38MFV4529:23
104336Corrine Whaling30:41MFV3529:26
116363Katy Walton30:51MFV3529:36
129389Susan Davis31:00SFV5531:00
194350Jean Bradley32:17SFV6032:17
219365Laura Jennings32:48SFsen32:48
221366Lesley Charman32:49SFV4532:49
260386Stef Barlow33:33SFV4533:33
267373Natalie Bell33:39MFsen32:24
269332Camilla Lauren-Maatta33:41SFV5033:41
273351Jenny Search33:48SFV4033:48
286371Lucy Whelan33:56SFsen33:56
290388Sue Gardham33:58SFV4033:58
292345Heather Raistrick33:59SFV5533:59
297328Anna Mason34:04SFV4534:04
333398Zoe Dewdney-Parsons35:01SFV4035:01
363393Theresa Rugman Jones35:48SFV5035:48
378349Jan Young36:13SFV6536:13
385379Rebecca Blackwood36:24SFV3536:24
399380Rebecca Talbot37:16SFV4037:16
408355Joanne Patterson37:54SFV3537:54
422348Jan Ellis38:21SFV5538:21
424335Catherine Smith38:22SFV4038:22
460325Alison Smith43:09SFV4043:09
Under 17 girls and U20 women
PosNumNameRace TimePackCatActual Time
160Ines Curran (Gateshead Harriers)19:32SFU1719:32
4355Anna Jobling29:33SFU1729:33

On this day (25 Sep 1990), Thursday, September 26, 2019

POSNAMERACEACTUAL TIMEPREDICTED TIMEAGE GROUP
1Shane SmithA4.34.5SM
2David ShipmanA4.48.14.55SM
3Keith GreenwellA4.59.4
4Brian McKayA5.00.25.05M45
5Paul ChadwickA5.06.44.4SM
6Charles PattersonA5.12.95SM
7Keith HayesA5.22.75.45SM
8Chris HedleyA5.29.65.15
9John BoltonA5.30.15.4M40
10Bill OxburyA5.35.75.38SM
11Geoff AlredB5.40.16M40
12Peter McDermottA5.40.35.3M45
13Richard WardA5.40.95.45SM
14Greg MearmanB5.41.6
15George GlendinningA5.43.8
16Mike HallA5.43.95.5M60
17John McAdamA5.47.9
18Bill GibbonB5.48.56M45
19Alan PurvisB5.48.96.3M45
20Ewan SquireA5.51.65.5M55
21Bill ApplebyA5.52.55.45M45
22Eric ShortB5.53.96.1
23Nick YoungB5.55.96.3SM
24Maurice PashleyB5.56.96.3
25Richard HepworthB5.57.86.45SM
26Mary ChambersB5.58.66W40
27Stephen RowntreeB6.04.76.3SM
28Jan YoungB6.05.26.5W35
29Jan HallB6.07.4
30Carol HallB6.13.06.15SW
31Lyn DixonC6.40.87SW
32Roz LaytonC6.41.47W35
33Richard BevanC6.45.27SM
34Christine FarnsworthC6.48.67W35
35Jan SpencerC6.53.6
36Ann CurruthersC6.58.5
37Dorothy WaggottC7.00.87SW
38June WelshC7.20.37W35
39Carole SeheultC7.22.98W45
40Mary CoffieldC7.23.68.45W35
41Pam KirkupC7.34.87.3W35
42Jackie SmithC7.56.1
43Linda ShortC7.57.39
44Janet WymanC8.02.79
45Jean GibbonC8.54.210W40
46Tina CookC8.55.08SW
47Kim HallC9.13.610

The original printed results

26 Sep 1990

The story so far

Striderfastest25-Sep-1912-Sep-1814-Mar-1826-Sep-90
Shane Smith04:34.504:34.5
David Shipman04:48.104:48.1
Keith Greenwell04:59.404:59.4
Brian McKay05:00.205:00.2
Paul Chadwick05:06.405:06.4
Charles Patterson05:12.905:12.9
Keith Hayes05:22.705:22.7
Chris Hedley05:29.605:29.6
John Bolton05:30.105:30.1
Bill Oxbury05:35.705:35.7
Geoff Alred05:40.105:40.1
Peter McDermott05:40.305:40.3
Richard Ward05:40.905:40.9
Greg Mearman05:41.605:41.6
George Glendinning05:43.805:43.8
Mike Hall05:43.905:43.9
John McAdam05:47.905:47.9
Bill Gibbon05:48.505:48.5
Alan Purvis05:48.905:48.9
Ewan Squire05:51.605:51.6
Bill Appleby05:52.505:52.5
Eric Short05:53.905:53.9
Nick Young05:55.905:55.9
Maurice Pashley05:56.905:56.9
Richard Hepworth05:57.805:57.8
Mary Chambers05:58.605:58.6
Stephen Rowntree06:04.706:04.7
Jan Young06:05.208:00.007:44.006:05.2
Jan Hall06:07.406:07.4
Carol Hall06:13.006:13.0
Lyn Dixon06:40.806:40.8
Roz Layton06:41.407:18.007:34.306:41.4
Richard Bevan06:45.206:45.2
Christine Farnsworth06:48.606:48.6
Jan Spencer06:53.606:53.6
Ann Curruthers06:58.506:58.5
Dorothy Waggott07:00.807:00.8
June Welsh07:20.307:20.3
Carole Seheult07:22.907:22.9
Mary Coffield07:23.607:23.6
Pam Kirkup07:34.807:34.8
Jackie Smith07:56.107:56.1
Linda Short07:57.307:57.3
Janet Wyman08:02.708:02.7
Jean Gibbon08:54.208:54.2
Tina Cook08:55.008:55.0
Kim Hall09:13.609:13.6
Stephen Jackson04:50.004:50.004:55.8
Mark Warner05:13.905:13.9
Michael Littlewood05:06.005:06.005:08.005:19.9
Mike Mason05:22.705:22.7
Matthew Archer05:23.205:23.2
Michael Anderson05:25.605:25.6
Barrie Kirtley05:35.505:35.5
Rory Whaling05:36.405:37.005:36.4
James Lee05:44.105:44.1
Doug Jardine05:46.705:46.7
Mike Barlow05:48.305:48.3
Alex Witty05:49.905:49.9
James Garland05:29.005:29.005:53.7
Emma Thompson05:37.005:37.005:58.1
Aaron Gourley06:06.706:06.7
Andrew Davies06:02.006:02.006:04.006:07.3
Mark Payne06:01.006:01.006:10.2
Adrian Jenkins06:11.006:11.0
Malcolm Sygrove06:18.106:18.1
Peter Hart06:18.406:28.006:26.006:18.4
Mark Foster06:04.006:04.006:27.006:19.0
Conrad White06:10.006:11.006:10.006:21.3
David Browbank06:15.006:15.006:22.7
Daniel Mitchel06:31.506:31.5
Rachelle Mason06:36.406:36.4
Nick Latham06:27.006:27.006:46.5
Jordi Sabate06:39.006:39.006:46.9
Chris Shearsmith06:47.706:47.7
Peter Matthews06:48.106:48.1
Jonathan Hamill06:53.707:08.006:53.7
Alex Brown06:46.006:49.006:46.006:55.0
Neil Garthwaite06:59.306:59.3
Dougie Nisbet07:03.707:03.7
Natalie Bell07:04.407:04.4
Lizzie Wallace07:10.007:10.0
Jean Bradley07:11.307:11.3
Toni Malkin07:14.007:14.0
Stephanie Barlow07:16.007:27.007:16.0
Peter Bell06:55.006:55.007:16.4
Steve Ellis07:19.007:25.007:25.007:19.0
Camilla Maatta07:22.007:22.0
Joanne Patterson07:24.007:24.0
Mathew Carr07:32.007:32.0
Mike Parker07:41.007:41.0
James Potter07:59.007:59.0
Andrew Thurston07:35.007:35.008:01.0
Andrew Dunlop08:03.008:03.0
Andrew Munro06:54.006:54.008:08.0
Stan White08:10.008:22.008:10.008:24.0
Alan Smith08:26.009:04.008:26.0
Jan Ellis08:43.108:43.1
Alison Smith08:18.009:03.008:18.008:43.9
Paul OHara08:44.008:44.0
Louise Hughes08:46.008:46.0
Sophie Dennis08:29.008:29.008:49.0
Sharon Patterson09:11.009:11.0
Sue Walker08:23.008:23.009:13.0
Carol Holgate09:39.009:39.0
Peter Dawson08:10.008:10.009:54.0
Angela Cowell09:57.009:57.0
Mike Elliott10:03.010:48.010:03.0
Georgie Hebdon04:48.004:48.005:01.0
Gareth Pritchard05:07.005:07.0
Terry Robertson05:45.005:45.0
David Holcroft05:53.005:53.0
Juan-Corbacho Anton05:00.005:00.0
Steve Winship05:55.005:55.0
Paul Foster05:56.005:56.0
Robin Parsons06:07.006:07.0
Chris Hassell05:55.005:55.006:11.0
Matthew Carr06:31.006:31.0
Jordi Villaret06:35.006:35.0
Corrine Whaling06:01.006:01.006:36.0
Ross Parker06:39.006:39.0
Joe Dean06:43.006:43.0
Pete Matthews06:44.006:44.0
Colin Dean06:47.006:47.0
John Turner06:50.006:50.0
John Greathead06:57.006:57.0
Kathryn Sygrove07:06.007:06.0
Carolyn Galula07:30.007:30.0
Kelly Hetherington07:35.007:35.0
Debra Thompson08:07.008:07.0
Lynne Waugh08:27.008:27.0
Emma Cumpson08:43.008:43.0
Kerry Barnett09:13.009:13.0
Alex Mirley04:50.004:50.0
Graeme Watt05:05.005:05.0
Riad Ketani05:24.005:24.0
Lindsay McEwan05:30.005:30.0
Mark Griffiths05:32.005:32.0
Allan Renwick05:33.005:33.0
Kyle Sunley05:36.005:36.0
Alex Collier05:40.005:40.0
Craig Thornton05:43.005:43.0
Juan Ant05:50.005:50.0
Dave Nicholson05:54.005:54.0
Paul West05:55.005:55.0
Stephen Soulsby05:58.005:58.0
Graeme Walton06:00.006:00.0
Tim Butler06:01.006:01.0
Katy Walton06:04.006:04.0
Ian Butler06:17.006:17.0
Anna Basu06:18.006:18.0
Dan Mitchell06:20.006:20.0
Steven Lonsdale06:24.006:24.0
Michael Dale06:31.006:31.0
Paul Chute06:34.006:34.0
SarahDavies06:36.006:36.0
Trevor Chaytor06:37.006:37.0
Lesley Charman06:46.006:46.0
Cal Ibbitson06:50.006:50.0
David James07:00.007:00.0
Marc Watson07:04.007:04.0
Lindsay Rogers07:05.007:05.0
Anna Mason07:08.007:08.0
Karen Partington07:13.007:13.0
Anna Jobling07:15.007:15.0
Sarah Fawcett07:17.007:17.0
Mike Wade07:22.007:22.0
Martia Lotkowska07:27.007:27.0
Heather Raistrick07:35.007:35.0
Ian Jobling07:36.007:36.0
Theresa Rugman-Jones07:38.007:38.0
Laura Campbell07:41.007:41.0
Sylvia Poddebniak07:41.007:41.0
Kersty Nelson07:46.007:46.0
Steph Greenwell07:46.007:46.0
Lisa Lumsdon08:55.008:55.0

Track Mile Race, Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. Sprint Champion Race - click flag for more information.

Name5KBIBRACEActual TimePos in GroupPos Overall
Georgie Hebdon00:16:5115E44811
Alex Mirley00:17:1313E45022
Graeme Watt00:17:2711E50533
Michael Littlewood00:17:1812E50644
Riad Ketani00:20:054E52455
James Garland00:19:259E52966
Lindsay McEwan00:19:485E53077
Mark Griffiths00:18:3010E53288
Allan Renwick00:19:308E53399
Kyle Sunley00:20:273E5361010
Emma Thompson00:19:406E5371111
Alex Collier16E5401212
Craig Thornton00:20:502E5431313
Juan Ant00:21:0010D550114
Dave Nicholson14D554215
Paul West17C555116
Chris Hassell00:21:286D555317
Stephen Soulsby00:21:0012D558418
Graeme Walton00:21:087D600519
Corrine Whaling00:21:522D601620
Tim Butler00:21:0013D601721
Mark Payne15D601822
Andrew Davies00:21:305D602923
Mark Foster00:22:0014C604224
Katy Walton00:21:058D6041025
Conrad White00:21:009D6111126
Ian Butler00:21:591D6171227
Anna Basu00:20:501E6181428
Dan Mitchell00:21:493D6201329
Steven Lonsdale00:22:0015C624330
Nick Latham00:22:0713C627431
Peter Hart00:22:2811C628532
Michael Dale00:25:0015B631133
Paul Chute00:26:004B634234
SarahDavies00:22:3010C636635
Trevor Chaytor00:23:009C637736
Jordi Sabate00:24:004C639837
Lesley Charman16C646938
Alex Brown00:23:037C6491039
Cal Ibbitson00:25:309B650340
Andrew Munro00:25:2211B654441
David James00:25:0013B700542
Marc Watson00:24:262C7041143
Lindsay Rogers00:25:0014B705644
Anna Mason00:23:396C7081245
Karen Partington17B713746
Anna Jobling00:25:368B715847
Sarah Fawcett00:25:3010B717948
Roz Layton00:25:0016B7181049
Mike Wade00:26:163B7221150
Steve Ellis00:26:006B7251251
Martia Lotkowska14A727152
Stephanie Barlow00:26:005B7271353
Heather Raistrick00:31:004A735254
Ian Jobling00:25:0712B7361455
Theresa Rugman-Jones00:26:401B7381556
Laura Campbell00:30:006A741357
Sylvia Poddebniak13A741458
Steph Greenwell00:27:0712A746559
Jan Young00:29:477A746660
Kirsty Nelson00:29:008A800761
Fiona Wood5A805862
Stan White00:27:4510A810963
Peter Dawson00:27:3011A8221064
Lisa Lumsdon00:28:579A8551165
Alison Smith00:32:002A9031266
Mike Elliott00:40:001A10481367

A one-way ticket, Newcastle to Durham, Tuesday, September 17, 2019

James Lee

James Lee has left the building and is about to head south from Freeman to Durham

I am lucky. The chemo I am on is purely oral. I go to the Freeman, get weighed, answer some questions, collect the pills and come home. Then I take the pills the following five nights. Simples.

Last year I found that the buses were better than the train. Recently I started wondering if I could run home. I printed out a map – 16.2 miles on road. Yesterday I left the house in my running gear.

At the Freeman my resting heart beat set off the alarms again. I was thankful, yet again, that I’m not sitting there for hours on intravenous (yet). I stowed the pills in my back pack and went down to the back door. Set my Garmin, my laces, my music. Go.

The first two miles disappeared reading the map (is that how fell runners ignore the pain?). There was the Ouse Burn to follow, a bit of park, then busy roads down to Quayside. Too many streets to cross but I was keeping good time. Under the Tyne Bridge and over the Swing Bridge, enjoying the view, then up. Two pages of A4 to get to Gateshead, one page for all those miles home.

The World outside your Window. The Angel from the bus.

The up wasn’t steep enough to require running right (see link) but there were some long gradual climbs with the occasional view down in to the valley. I passed the Angel again, ran through Birtley and Chester-le-Street.

I kept the pace up because I knew I was pushing my half-marathon PB. I knocked minutes off what I ran earlier this year – and what I ran in my 20s. Then my calves seized up. I slowed down – the next record was the distance on my Garmin so time didn’t matter. I made it home. I was glad I had stuck to off-road this year.

Lessons learned:

  • The A167 is good for speed but very boring for distance. I won’t run back from Newcastle again.
  • Don’t think that, because you’ve done 16 miles off-road, 16.2 miles on road will be OK. My theory is that, because of the better grip, I was pushing more with my feet – hence the calves problem. Whether that’s right or not, the difference hurts. It requires more cushioned trainers, too.
  • Taking the bus out is a good way to get a distance target – it’s hard to stop. I think it could be great to run all those miles without turning around. I just need to find the right route.

For those of you wondering how I’m still running:

Last summer the odds on the chemo working were 40%. It hasn’t just worked, it blew the grade III bit apart. My consultant has seen that 3-4 times in her career. The grade II bit has stopped growing but the chemo is still just buying me time. I passed the short life expectancy back in January.

Most people last about 9 rounds of chemo before the side effects get too much. I feel rough for a few days but can now do the club runs on the Wednesday after pills. This will be round 16 for me. My consultant has seen someone last 24, not that that’s a challenge… The average life expectancy ends next month and I’m not dead yet.

I’m beyond the statistics but the estimate is now some time next year. I’ve been warned that the end of chemo can be quite sudden. I’d love to finish this cross-country season. I wasn’t kidding with the “I am lucky”.

Sometimes I wonder what’s killing me. Is it the brain tumour, the chemo, or the reminder every 28 days? But it’s the living that matters. Thanks to all for keeping me running.

Running right, Out West, Friday, September 13, 2019

James Lee

I thought I’d run hills today, so headed out West. I felt pretty good and the sun was shining. Somehow it became the run I got right.

Crossing town is pretty flat tarmac and grass, so roughly 7 minute miles. After half a mile I stopped to sort my socks out and tighten my laces. Then I just went for it, even though I wanted to run 10 miles or so. Some time ago Lisa Evette’s post showed a heart rate average well above anything I ever get – was I pushing it hard enough? Then there was a side effect of the Pilates – suddenly I could breathe faster than every two steps without getting a stitch. The core of my body really does connect to everything, it seems. It just took a few decades to find out.

Ring road and out to Bearpark Hall Farm. Crops harvested, gate open and what looks like a Grand Designs project all going well. Down to the River Browney then up – and up – to the top of Bearpark. Climbing has always been my weak point. Mile 12 of the Skipton trail half marathon proved that for 16 minutes. That was so wrong I finally asked Elaine about the steep climbs. She suggested I should try shortening my stride with a higher frequency. I tried that on her killing field session on Wednesday but I was still slower than some. At the end I thought I had too much left – and the average heart rate agreed. So this time I went for a frequency that felt bonkers – and kept the mile below 8 minutes.

Back down the same path to the Browney. Descent is not a rest – I think I read that somewhere – so when it wasn’t crazy steep I pushed it. Off-road, everything but the ground disappeared – those next few steps were all that could be processed. Avoiding branches relied on instinct. Speed was what mattered, not my quads.

Along the path by the Browney it was ‘just keep going’. The music helped – my son’s Now That’s What I Call Pop kept the mood right. Then there was the climb to Witton Gilbert and beyond. Keeping the stride when it wasn’t too steep; that frequency again when it was. Pushing it on those brief dips; keeping my feet down on the little steps; enjoying the view as it flattened at the top, looking back over the valley to Bearpark. Round the trig point (can’t turn down before that!) and back to the A691.

Then the footpath back to town. Fields, stiles without a stop, then faster tarmac. Picking up the pace quarter of a mile out; a final sprint across the grass. 10.8 miles, average 7:15 minutes. 3 miles under 7 minutes, only one over 8. Could I do this in a race? Only one way to find out…

Club La Santa Triple, Club La Santa, Lanzarote, Monday, September 9, 2019

Dougie Nisbet

It’s getting hard to be first-timer at any race in Striders nowadays. There are so many far-travelled adventurers competing in so many events that there’s often nothing new under the sun. I’d intended to do the Club La Santa Duathlon/Half-Marathon/Triathlon triple back in 2016 but I’m pretty sure even then that Neil Sleeman had already got the t-shirt.

Mon 9 Sep 2019 – Duathlon

Around the lagoon on the Club La Santa duathlon

The duathlon was first. All these events are done and dusted before breakfast before the weather gets too hot so they’re not massively long, but still long enough to wake you up and give you an appetite. I was looking forward this as my previous attempt in 2016 had given me the dubious honour of DNF’ing after the first monster 2.5 km run stage.

Despite being a remote lump of lava just next door to Africa, Club La Santa events definitely have their regulars. The route isn’t complicated but you have to be paying attention to the briefing otherwise a wrong turn may take you into the supermarket or swimming pool rather than on to the running track. I was disappointed to hear that the bike section no longer took a long climb up to Tinajo to turn there with a gleeful descent back to base, but instead went ‘four times round the lagoon’. Well that sounded fun. It wasn’t surprising though, as the previous route was on busier roads with the potential for a high-speed encounter with a speed-bump and a local out to buy their breakfast in the village of La Santa itself.

It’s a good way to start the day and even though it was a short event I was mindful of going off too fast and too early. I enjoyed the bike section more than I expected and just had to concentrate on counting the laps. It had a couple of bumps and troughs enough that it wasn’t a simple single-gear time-trial. The finish as with all of their events is a lap of the running track to finish under the timing tower.

Finish of the Club La Santa Duathlon

Tue 10 Sep 2019 – Half Marathon

I did this event in Mar 2016, and quite a bit faster too. Perhaps it was cooler then but it was pretty hot today. The route is a simple three lap out-and-back to La Santa, and I was pretty comfortable for the first two. On the third lap the sun was well and truly out of bed and things were hot. I’m not a good hot weather runner but I have a sound strategy for dealing with the heat. I slow down and ease up. It’s the only way. I’ve learned from experience how small my margin of error is when it comes to pushing the envelope in hot weather.

It meant I wasn’t as fast as I would’ve liked, but, on the plus side, it also meant not having surreal conversations with palm trees and unpredictable physiological responses. Half Marathons are an interesting beast; very easy to under-estimate. Another hot weather race, not really in my comfort zone, hard going, but not in trouble either. Still in control of the race.

Wed 11 Sep 2019 – Triathlon

South Pool Club La Santa

And finally, the fun one. I’m continually fascinated by the fact that I can run ultras, and cycle rather a long way. But try and do a length or two of freestyle and I’m gasping at the pool-side in weary bewilderment. A project.

Although my swimming has improved a little it wasn’t enough for me to have the confidence to venture out of the slow lane. And it was busy. Lots of sign-ups for this event and I got chatting at the start to an Ironman vet. I knew this from the tattoo on her leg, and I suspected she might be reassuringly geeky as it was a tattoo of the periodic table entry rather than the more familiar splodge.

She went into one of the faster swim lanes but I bumped into her at transition as she’d had a poor swim. My improvised hybridised breast-stroke-freestyle had worked out quite well and I was feeling fine. I’m also pretty clueless about triathlon dress-code so I just slipped on my shoes and Striders top and off I went, while some people had brought towels and stuff. I’d forgotten a towel so I was relying on the wind-chill drying me off on the bike section. There was no transition policing as such so I just had to imagine Ian Mackenzie shouting about touching the helmet before the bike. My stuff was at the front of the bike (“Everything happens at the front of the bike”) and my practice with the Tri Club Duathlons had helped a lot. There was only one timing mat per transition, but, geek that I am, I was inventing my own. I’d set my Garmin for Triathlon and so I had to be a little creative about where I decided my transitions had begun and ended.

Ironlady caught me after a lap or two, where I sat on her wheel for a bit, which I rationalised was ok because others were sitting on mine. Someone had asked about draughting, and, the response had been that it’s four laps around the lagoon; it’d be impossible to police, so they weren’t going to get excited about it. Which I think meant that it was ok. The bike circuit was windy and in a way that was good as it made it more interesting. There was a modest climb into the wind, then a section back past the centre where it was possible to get some good tempo going.

I’d been carefully counting the laps as ironlady gradually edged away from me. I’m not sure if it was guilt that made me decide to subconsciously drop back, or whether she was just, you know, faster than me. But either way, as I was about to turn into transition, she kept on going for another lap.

I was pretty, pretty sure I was right, and that I’d done four laps, but I wobbled, dangerously close to choosing a line that was neither transition nor another lap. I decided that I was right, and veered away from the line of parked cars that were in the middle position, and headed for transition.

At the finish I was still unsure how many laps I’d done, and she was pretty sure she was right, but, everyone else was pretty sure she wasn’t, and when I checked my garmin later it confirmed  I had been able to count to four. But it just goes to show how easy it is lose count. I mean, four isn’t a very big number.

These events are small but unpredictable. You might be rubbing shoulders with serious athletes who are on some serious training as well as first-timers. A bit like turning up for a fell race and standing on the start line next to a national champion. Great fun, exciting, competitive, and sunny.

Hay Lodge parkrun, Peebles, Saturday, August 31, 2019

Dougie Nisbet

I’m a big fan of parkrun. Not that you’d know it given how infrequently I do them nowadays. Especially in the North East where we’re spoilt for choice. Probably something about Saturday mornings and 9AM, and running something short and fast and early. But whenever I’m away on holiday or for a short break, it’s the first thing I look for. There’s something great about parkrun tourism; turning up in a park, looking for the flags, and having a run with a bunch of others in a new place.

We were up in Peebles for the Tour of the Borders, a nicely sized closed-road sportive with great routes that’s become a favourite of mine. Although I grew up in Edinburgh I was born in Peebles and spent tons of weekends exploring Hay Lodge park as my grandparents lived in the cottage over the road. It’s a great park and it was inevitable that one day it’d have a parkrun. The parkrun wasn’t there in 2018 when I was up for the Tour of the Borders, but when I checked the parkrun website for nearby parkruns this time I was thrilled to see that it was going strong and on its 40th week while we were there.

In Scotland it’s a 0930AM start, and the park was only a short walk from the hotel. It was a misty morning but the rain was holding off and the start area was pleasantly atmospheric. Like many parkruns it suffered from lack of space, so the route had to do 3 laps of the park to get the distance in. It was also a bit hilly, both up and a pleasantly iffy descent on wet, autumnal paths that suited my sense of fun though perhaps not for everyone.

The quirkiness of parkruns always appeals to me. From the 2500 parkrunners in the Durban parkrun, to the 80 we had here today. Different crowds, different weather, different routes. It’s all good. I’ve never met a parkrun I didn’t like.

Despite the small field I was intrigued to see some seeding suggestions at the start. Sub 28 sounded fine with me and I slotted in to the huddle waiting to go. And away we went. The usual unavoidably tortuous route to string people out. Along a bit. Round a bit. Back a bit. Then three laps. Quite interesting ones. I liked especially running alongside the wall at the top of the path, then the fast descent to return close to the river.

My time, as I expected, was continuing its inexorably journey towards the thirties, but I wasn’t worried. I find it very hard to race parkruns, so to enjoy them I need to treat them as a threshold run or a exploratory jog. It shapes the day and the weekend to come.