Category Archives: GP

The GP is made up of 24 races in four general categories: Cross-country, Fell and Trail, Short Road or mixed-terrain, and, Long Road or mixed-terrain.

Each category comprises six races, and there are separate women’s and men’s competitions.

In each race the first Strider home gets 15 points, the second 14 points and so on. All Striders 15th and below get 1 point.

In the overall Grand Prix all 24 races count. In each category a runner’s best four from six count.

Race Key
See the fixtures page for details of individual events.

Harrier League, Alnwick, Saturday, March 17, 2018

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


posbibnamecatpackrace timeactual time
119Dan Leng (Alnwick Harriers)MsenS38:4238:42
51893Mark KearneyMV35S41:0841:08
14543Stephen JacksonMsenF42:5237:52
26508James LeeMV40S43:4043:40
47545Stuart OrdMsenS44:2844:28
53523Michael LittlewoodMV40M44:4042:10
64532Phil RayMV35M45:0142:31
76546Stuart ScottMV35M45:1942:49
87519Matt ClaydonMV40S45:3545:35
104529Paul EvansMV35S45:5845:58
106520Matthew ArcherMV35M46:0043:30
1591912Mike BarlowMV40S47:3547:35
174503Geoff DavisMV60S47:5447:54
184506Jack LeeMsenM48:1345:43
1861890David OxladeMsenS48:1948:19
196517Mark PayneMV35S48:4948:49
2001889Barrie KirtleyMsenS48:5548:55
205507James GarlandMV40M49:1146:41
221487Conrad WhiteMV60S49:5249:52
237498David LumsdonMV50S51:0251:02
242481Andrew DaviesMV40S51:2251:22
249534Richard HockinMV65S52:1252:12
2601892Marc JonesMsenS53:1253:12
2661917Mike BennettMV60S53:2853:28
2761891Jordi Sabate VillaretMV50S54:1654:16
279522Michael HughesMV50S54:3454:34
2961846Nick LathamMV40S55:2555:25
310550Trevor ChaytorMV50S57:3357:33
321547Tim MatthewsMV50S59:4059:40
334544Stephen LumsdenMV45S61:2661:26
339542Stephen EllisMV60S64:1264:12
342479Alan SmithMV70S67:3367:33
posbibnamecatpackrace timeactual time
1653Jane Hodgson (Morpeth Harriers & AC)FV35F30:1127:01
51317Fiona BrannanFsenM32:3630:56
36410Elaine BissonFV35F34:4331:33
39436Katy WaltonFV35S34:5134:51
48429Juliet PercivalFV45M35:1933:39
57395Anna BasuFV40M35:3133:51
661352Stef BarlowFV40S35:5935:59
79449Nina MasonFV40S36:3336:33
981336Steph PiperFsenS37:0537:05
104451Rachael BullockFsenM37:1835:38
1051168Natalie BellFsenS37:2337:23
108440Laura JenningsFsenS37:3337:33
114414Fiona ShentonFV55S37:5237:52
118459Sarah FawcettFV55S38:0938:09
1221299Jean BradleyFV60S38:2738:27
137420Jan YoungFV65S39:2739:27
143397Ashley Price-SabateFV50S40:2040:20
181398Barbara DickFV45S44:0044:00
187454Rebecca TalbotFV40S46:0646:06
1901247Alison SmithFV40S47:0947:09

Dentdale Run, Saturday, March 10, 2018

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. Endurance Champion Race - click flag for more information. 14.1 miles


PosbibNameCatcat poschip timegun time
1702Steve LittlerM401/321:22:281:22:28
5389Gareth PritchardMSEN3/781:25:571:25:58
16301Michael LittlewoodM403/321:31:271:31:31
2212Matthew ArcherMSEN13/781:33:031:33:09
26417Stuart ScottMSEN16/781:33:271:33:35
9630Michael BarlowM4518/431:47:031:47:08
9746Elaine BissonF402/341:47:161:47:23
128370Mark PayneMSEN43/781:53:361:54:01
129231Peter HartM4015/321:54:061:54:18
131274Fiona JonesF404/341:54:181:54:28
186228Jonathan HamillM4018/321:59:572:00:08
187191Mark FosterMSEN57/781:59:592:00:13
205141Andrew DaviesM4023/322:02:362:02:48
20942Natalie BellFSEN11/212:03:522:04:01
23061David BrowbankMSEN62/782:06:492:07:02
233316Nina MasonF4014/342:07:032:07:20
27931Stephanie BarlowF4516/312:15:052:15:14
290419Anna SeeleyF3513/232:17:052:17:14
29162Alex BrownM4536/432:16:592:17:15
298293Camilla Lauren-MaattaF509/222:17:402:17:49
301182Sarah FawcettF556/162:18:002:18:18
315432Catherine SmithF4023/342:20:052:20:14
321174Stephen EllisM655/72:20:592:21:12
353522Jan YoungF652/32:26:492:27:24
40833Kerry BarnettF4530/312:52:092:52:41

Harrier League, Thornley Hall Farm, Saturday, February 10, 2018

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

Nick Latham

Courtesy of Joanne PattersonBrutal and brilliant – two adjectives for the North East Harrier League cross-country race at Thornley Hall Farm. All right, brutal may be overstating it a bit, but “quite hard” doesn’t alliterate and isn’t as catchy.
This race was a first for me in many ways. Having joined Striders a couple of months ago, it was my first race as a Strider, my first outing in a Club vest and my first cross-country race. I’ve done plenty of road and trail races before but this was new territory. Cross country was always the punishment, sorry, PE lesson that many of us dreaded at school. Now I’m much older and a little wiser, I reckon that if it’s good enough for current and past pros (Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe, Charlie Spedding, Julian Goater etc. etc.), it’s got to be good for all of us.
I’d arranged to travel with Anna Basu and Roz Layton and was grateful to share the short journey from Durham with them. Parking wasn’t the trauma I’d feared and we arrived with plenty of time to amble along to the top of the race field and find the tent.
I was realistic about my expectations going into this race. I looked at the results from the previous year and had a good idea of where I would likely come out even if it was a road event and it was unlikely I’d be contributing to the scoring. Regardless, I went out determined to race as hard as I could regardless of the (lack of) impact I might have on the results.
We had a good turnout for both teams, with more men arriving as race time approached. The weather was cold but with no rain; there was a chill in the wind, but that seemed to die off while we were waiting to get going; a big blessing. With a fair amount of rain, sleet and snow over the previous weeks and several hundred pairs of feet covering the course before us, it was distinctly “soft & sticky” underfoot. Or a bogfest as our Chairman so elegantly put it on Strava.
The course was also being run in the reverse direction to 2017. One of the marshals thought this would make it easier. I still don’t believe him. The reversed course put a short, sharp grassy uphill after the first couple of hundred metres. Don’t they always look worse from the bottom than the top? The route was both a blessing and a curse – it was great to have the Club tents right at the top of this climb, with loads of encouragement, but that meant I ended up pushing into the red for each of the three laps.
I promised myself I wasn’t going to do it, I wasn’t going to fall into that newbie trap that Mike Barlow and I were talking about beforehand…but I still set off too fast. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who did, but by about half a mile into the first lap I was feeling dreadful – my legs were like lead and I didn’t feel like I could push on at all on the flats and downhills like I’d intended. Sweeping down to the southern part of the course we hit the first of the real mud and I’ve never run through anything like it before. It sucked all the power out of my legs and this proved harder to me than any of the hills. I realised then that I was going to have to adapt my tactics if I was going to avoid a DNF.
I decided that I would do something I hate doing on any run and that’s walk. I allowed myself, provided I contained it to the worst sections and still kept moving as fast as I could. I quickly noticed that anyone who was passing me (other than the fast pack) wasn’t really going much quicker anyway and by keeping my heart-rate in check I could pick the pace back up again when the gradient eased and I would pull away from them again.
The first lap (is that only the first one?) felt like purgatory. Somewhere around the middle of the second lap, either my changed tactics started to pay off or the endorphins finally kicked in; I started to feel better and could push-on harder outside of the uphills. I settled into the ebb and flow, frequently swapping places with a couple of runners from Blackhill and Blyth plus our own Philip Connor. As we headed into the last half mile, I could see Andrew Davies about 12 places ahead of me across the field – too far to make up by that point – but was second in our cluster of four behind the Blyth runner.
I’d sussed on the previous laps that the mud on the final descent was sticky enough to hold my feet so I could pick up speed down into the finish funnel and this allowed me to get away from the other three. I dug into the last of my reserves and made sure I wasn’t going to be caught on the run-in. From the noise, there was a great crowd of purple & green support at the finish and that gave me the boost I needed to wring out the final effort. I don’t remember seeing anyone, I was so focused on reaching the line. I also didn’t see what happened to Philip but he broke clear of the other two to come in a few seconds behind me.
Anna and Roz were waiting when I came through the tapes. It was brilliant to see friendly faces to welcome me back. When I felt up to it we strolled back to the tent to find some very welcome goodies (thank you to those who brought, I’ll know for next time).
In the end, we had 22 men running and I led in the (incomplete) D team as “first” counter, placing 336 out of 414 overall and bang in line with where I expected to be.
The women’s team had a fantastic day. Fiona Brannan was 3rd and the team placed first – brilliant results all round.
It was great to be part of the team and be really made to feel welcome. I just hope that one day I can repay the Club with a result which contributes to our placing in some way!
Will I do it again? Absolutely. Why? Because no matter where you finish, you’re supporting and representing your Club. Even if you don’t count towards the placed team, you can displace runners from other clubs and increase their score; by my reckoning, that’s what 5 of our women’s B &C team and 3 of our men’s B team finishers did. It’s also great for developing your running strength, both physical and psychological. It’s a fair trade for the mud!


posbibnamecatpackrace timeactual time
11864Karl Taylor (Morpeth Harriers & AC)MV35S37:1337:13
69545Stuart OrdMsenS44:2144:21
109523Michael LittlewoodMV40M45:1642:46
110485Chris CallanMV35F45:2340:23
138524Michael MasonMV40F46:0841:08
141519Matt ClaydonMV40S46:1146:11
154520Matthew ArcherMV35M46:3244:02
157546Stuart ScottMV35M46:4244:12
162516Mark GriffithsMV40M46:5044:20
215538Scott WatsonMV55M48:2445:54
228496David GibsonMV50S48:4948:49
231525Mike BarlowMV40S48:5448:54
248548Timothy SkeltonMV35S49:4049:40
252507James GarlandMV40M50:0947:39
271534Richard HockinMV65S51:0451:04
286487Conrad WhiteMV60S51:4451:44
305526Mike BennettMV60S52:3652:36
3211826Aaron GourleyMV35S54:1154:11
325481Andrew DaviesMV40S54:2854:28
3381846Nick LathamMV40S55:2155:21
339533Philip ConnorMsenS55:2455:24
354511Jonathan HamillMV40S56:4456:44
375547Tim MatthewsMV50S59:2059:20
posbibnamecatpackrace timeactual time
1644Emma Holt (Morpeth Harriers & AC)FF29:2626:06
31317Fiona BrannanFsenS31:1131:11
23412Emma ThompsonFV35F34:2131:01
26451Rachael BullockFsenS34:2734:27
30410Elaine BissonFV35F34:3731:17
86395Anna BasuFV40M36:5535:15
104452Rachelle MasonFV35M37:3535:55
109449Nina MasonFV40S37:5237:52
145461Stef BarlowFV40S39:2439:24
164455Roz LaytonFV65S40:2340:23
169459Sarah FawcettFV55S40:4440:44
173420Jan YoungFV65S41:0241:02
246437Kerry BarnettFV45S51:1751:17

Harrier League, Herrington Park, Saturday, January 6, 2018

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

posbibnamerace timepackcatactual time
11806Oliver James
(Sunderland Harriers)
35485Chris Callan42:58MMV3540:18
37516Mark Griffiths43:04SMV4043:04
40543Stephen Jackson43:10FMsen37:50
53523Michael Littlewood43:39MMV4040:59
54502Gareth Pritchard43:44MMV3541:04
71508James Lee44:13SMV4044:13
89518Mark Warner44:34MMV3541:54
118519Matt Claydon45:00SMV4045:00
147529Paul Evans45:40SMV3545:40
151532Phil Ray45:44MMV3543:04
162520Matthew Archer46:00MMV3543:20
163503Geoff Davis46:02SMV6046:02
176496David Gibson46:24SMV5046:24
178530Paul Swinburne46:25SMV4046:25
221521Michael Anderson47:20SMsen47:20
230546Stuart Scott47:33MMV3544:53
267548Timothy Skelton48:32SMV3548:32
319517Mark Payne50:36SMV3550:36
3251826Aaron Gourley51:03SMV3551:03
327487Conrad White51:10SMV6051:10
332490Daniel Mitchel51:18SMV4051:18
333534Richard Hockin51:20SMV6551:20
338522Michael Hughes51:32SMV5051:32
347526Mike Bennett51:41SMV6051:41
351533Philip Connor52:04SMsen52:04
402514Malcolm Sygrove54:51SMV5054:51
469542Stephen Ellis64:01SMV6064:01
posbibnamerace timepackcatactual time
11291Anna Martin
Saltwell Harriers
16395Anna Basu34:24SFV4034:24
25450Penny Browell34:45FFV4531:05
30452Rachelle Mason34:57SFV3534:57
42412Emma Thompson35:10FFV3531:30
92429Juliet Percival36:38MFV4534:48
109449Nina Mason37:01SFV4037:01
127462Susan Davis37:45MFV5535:55
133414Fiona Shenton38:03SFV5538:03
161459Sarah Fawcett38:50SFV5538:50
1691299Jean Bradley39:01SFV6039:01
188461Stef Barlow39:38SFV4039:38
197416Helen Thomas39:59SFV4039:59
213427Joanne Porter41:15SFV4541:15
221426Joanne Patterson41:32SFV3541:32
224421Jane Ranns41:42SFV3541:42
227404Chloe Black41:46SFV4041:46
232467Wendy Littlewood42:17SFV3542:17
2501169Rachel Durrand43:21SFsen43:21
261431Karen Metters43:58SFV4043:58
273393Anita Clementson44:36SFV4544:36
2841278Debra Thompson46:06SFV5046:06
296453Rebecca Dodd47:59SFsen47:59
3001247Alison Smith48:28SFV4048:28
321437Kerry Barnett52:06SFV4552:06
3231279Sue Walker52:31SFV5552:31
324401Carol Holgate54:44SFV4554:44

Captain Cook’s Fell Race, Great Ayton, Monday, January 1, 2018

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. King/Queen of the Mountain Race - click flag for more information. BS / 8km / 318m

11013Lloyd Biddell
(Mercia Fell Runners)
161130Mark Kearney35.51MO/10/39/39
281058Mark Warner37.16MO/16/33/33
371048Michael Littlewood38.00M40/6/43/43
441015Jack Lee38.36MO/21/28/28
1211082David Gibson43.42M50/11/38/38
1491027Mike Bennett45.32M60/4/45/45
1561279Louise Warner45.50FO/3/46/46
1621075Michael Barlow46.53M40/22/27/27
1711262Rachael Bullock47.43FO/5/44/44
1831088Nigel Heppell48.51M60/10/39/39
1941295Nina Mason49.33F40/3/46/46
2191266Stephanie Barlow51.23F40/4/45/45
2361018Tim Matthews52.43M50/21/28/28
2781028David Shipman56.59M60/20/29/29
3011252Anita Clementson62.09F45/9/40/40

Border Harriers 66th Brampton to Carlisle 10 mile Road Race, Sunday, November 19, 2017

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

Jonathan Hamill

Running the Strider funnelAlthough some may not see the appeal of a wintry run along main and minor roads which are not closed, I relish the prospect of this, the oldest 10-mile road race in Britain. Slick organisation, a net downhill course (albeit with a few negative decline challenges!), friendly atmosphere and the lure of a carvery afterwards – what’s not to like? As B2C is a firm favourite on the club GP calendar, this also ensures a good purple contingent.

Last year I had a good run, which left a time of 1:20:33 to beat. My plan this time was to nudge just under 5 min/km pace, which would break 80 minutes. Above all, I told myself to avoid the error of my ways last year – setting off like a scalded cat, which caught up with me later in the race.

There had been some planning ahead of this day in the spectator department too – my Son Patrick was really looking forward to spending the day with Lewis, and watching the racing. The Strider bus weaved along the countryside to reach Brampton and upon arrival at the William Howard School, there were earnest discussions about the prevailing conditions, and whether long or short sleeves were the order of the day. I settled for my club vest but with the comfort of my gloves, beanie and as I’d had a niggle in my left calf, my fetching compression socks.

Compulsory posing (Mr Hart)After the team photo, we moved towards the start on Longtown Road. Having been before, I knew to expect a ‘surprise start’ – the road closed at the last minute, and a starting pistol fired rapidly to despatch some 500 runners on their way.

The first stretch downhill with a sharp right turn to join the Carlisle road has a habit of encouraging a bit of an overly keen pace. This year was no different, and as I ran along for the first 4 km or so at ~4:30 min/km with Graeme Walton, we remarked on how we had diverted a little from the plan. I knew the climb up to the Newby back road would settle me down, and it did.

As I ran along these minor roads, thanking the volunteers on my way, I reflected on the remarkably dry conditions compared to the wading experience of the 2015 race. Natalie was in front of me and provided me with a purple vest to keep within my sights – try as I might, however, I could not catch her.

Through Low Crosby, we re-joined the A689 towards Carlisle. I knew there were a couple of undulations to come, and I told myself to keep calm – last year I’d developed a horrendous stitch in the last 2 miles which had been hard to recover from.

Bobble hat brigadeI could see the houses on the outskirts of the City, and pressed on. To my left and ahead, I started to see the River Eden, and finally the Eden Bridge. I passed Andy and Mike who spurred me on, just before the final descent to the Bridge. On the Bridge, I was determined not to let the chap in front beat me, and to my left, I saw a welcome sight of two bobble hats – Patrick, and Lewis. As I got closer I realised this was a Strider funnel, and I gave it everything I had left to get ahead of the white shirt in front. I rounded into the finish funnel and smiled from ear to ear – job done! A hugely enjoyable race, with a PB of 1:15:37 and well done to all Striders who ran!

Probably the best post-race carvery in the worldNo medals for this race – I think I got a pair of socks in 2015, a lovely coaster last year which is on my desk, and this year’s prize was a race mug. Thanks to the organisers who also let Patrick and Lewis have a mug each for their cheering efforts.

Position NumberNameCategory Position Time
1527Robert Danson
(Wesham Road Runners & Ac)
28344Sophie Cowper
(Rotherham Harriers And AC)
22406Stephen Jackson54:45
64420Michael LittlewoodV4091:00:27
73301Matthew Archer1:01:11
103459Phil Ray1:03:50
21223Michael BarlowV40341:11:44
230507Graeme WaltonV45281:13:09
253309Natalie BellL371:14:54
267382Jonathan HamillV40361:15:37
300386Peter HartV40401:17:44
312315Jean BradleyL6011:18:58
364366Mark Foster1:21:40
366480Chris ShearsmithV40441:22:02
427318Alex BrownV45491:25:39
432475Lisa SampleL35241:26:20
506492Debra ThompsonL50161:33:01
558512Karen WilsonL45331:46:16
562353Sophie DennisL1931:47:25
573494Margaret ThompsonL6551:59:45

Harrier League, Sunday, October 8, 2017

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



posbibnamecatpackrace timeactual time
1644Emma HoltFsenF27:5524:35
50462Susan DavisFV55S31:2631:26
63452Rachelle MasonFV35S31:5131:51
85458Sarah DaviesFV50S32:1932:19
94451Rachael BullockFsenS32:4032:40
119436Katy WaltonFV35S33:3433:34
142422Jean BradleyFV60S34:0434:04
150461Stef BarlowFV40S34:2634:26
151449Nina MasonFV40S34:2834:28
178459Sarah FawcettFV55S35:2235:22
184396Anna SeeleyFV35S35:3635:36
209394Anita WrightFV55S36:3136:31
214402Catherine SmithFV40S36:4336:43
226466Victoria JacksonFV35S37:2037:20
234427Joanne PorterFV45S37:3537:35
253420Jan YoungFV65S38:0738:07
288393Anita ClementsonFV45S40:1340:13
3271192George Nicholsonn/cS43:1643:16

posbibnamecatpackrace timeactual time
11200Luke Adams (South Shields Harriers)MsenS34:3034:30
23543Stephen JacksonMsenF39:0534:05
41506Jack LeeMsenS40:0040:00
62509Jason Hardingn/cM40:3837:38
82519Matt ClaydonMV40S41:0141:01
114529Paul EvansMV35S41:3441:34
132521Michael AndersonMsenS41:5141:51
144524Michael MasonMV40F42:0337:03
226503Geoff DavisMV60S43:3343:33
229532Phil RayMV35M43:3540:35
230538Scott WatsonMV55M43:3640:36
270496David GibsonMV50S44:3344:33
330548Timothy SkeltonMV35S45:5745:57
368525Mike BarlowMV40S46:5346:53
369534Richard HockinMV65S46:5446:54
379536Robert AllfreeMV40S47:1247:12
404514Malcolm SygroveMV50S48:1048:10
4241621John MetsonMV60S48:5148:51
427547Tim MatthewsMV50S48:5748:57
428481Andrew DaviesMV40S48:5948:59
451513Lindsay RodgersMV45S49:5449:54
481526Mike BennettMV60S51:4151:41
489501Emil MaataMsenS52:0252:02
5211620David TothMV45S55:2555:25

Harrier League, Wrekenton, Saturday, September 30, 2017

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


posbibnamecatpackrace timeactual time
1644Emma Holt (Morpeth Harriers & AC)FsenF26:0823:08
5412Emma ThompsonFV35S26:2926:29
39413Fiona JonesFV40S28:4428:44
42410Elaine BissonFV35M28:4827:18
50417Helen TonesFV40S29:0629:06
61450Penny BrowellFV45F29:2626:26
80462Susan DavisFV55S29:5129:51
137436Katy WaltonFV35S31:2031:20
164464Tasmin ImberFV40F32:0529:05
179442Lesley HamillFV40S32:2932:29
199434Kathryn RogersFsenS32:5032:50
206422Jean BradleyFV60S33:0033:00
210461Stef BarlowFV40S33:0933:09
232459Sarah FawcettFV55S33:4133:41
272420Jan YoungFV65S34:4034:40
297426Joanne PattersonFV35S35:2635:26
302457Sam AskeyFV40S35:3735:37
303402Catherine SmithFV40S35:3835:38
319427Joanne PorterFV45S36:0936:09
331467Wendy LittlewoodFV35S36:3636:36
363453Rebecca DoddFsenS38:1638:16
387400Carla ClarkeFV40S39:1539:15
423418Helen WilkesFV35S41:4241:42
433437Kerry BarnettFV45S42:4842:48
455428Joanne RichardsonFV40S48:4848:48
posbibnamecatpackrace timeactual time
171Kurt Heron (Ashington Hirst)MsenS31:4831:48
15485Chris CallanMV35S34:5834:58
27523Michael LittlewoodMV40S35:3535:35
46543Stephen JacksonMsenF36:3931:59
90506Jack LeeMsenS37:5737:57
112519Matt ClaydonMV40S38:2038:20
125521Michael AndersonMsenS38:4038:40
127508James LeeMV40S38:4138:41
158529Paul EvansMV35S39:1339:13
169524Michael MasonMV40F39:2434:44
236496David GibsonMV50S40:3640:36
238503Geoff DavisMV60S40:3740:37
243545Stuart OrdMsenS40:4240:42
246538Scott WatsonMV55M40:4638:26
258507James GarlandMV40M40:5838:38
267532Phil RayMV35M41:0738:47
339490Daniel MitchelMV40S43:0843:08
351492Dave HalliganMV55S43:2743:27
357477Aaron GourleyMV35S43:3743:37
366536Robert AllfreeMV40S44:0044:00
369535Richard PodmoreMV35S44:0544:05
389525Mike BarlowMV40S44:3744:37
420534Richard HockinMV65S45:2745:27
423514Malcolm SygroveMV50S45:3145:31
442526Mike BennettMV60S46:0046:00
445547Tim MatthewsMV50S46:0546:05
469501Emil MaataMsenS46:5346:53
492513Lindsay RodgersMV45S48:1248:12
558542Stephen EllisMV60S54:1454:14

Northumberland Coastal Run, Beadnell to Alnmouth, Sunday, July 23, 2017

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. Endurance Champion Race - click flag for more information. about 14 miles

Jonathan Hamill and Tamsin Imber

Jonathan …

2nd time lucky?  Last year, I settled for a rather splendid long sleeved top in lieu of my entry, and heard the tales of a splendid and scenic coastal run in the sun.  This year, the race sold out in a matter of six hours but fortunately I secured an entry again, and had my sun tan lotion at the ready.

Saturday evening saw me consider various weather forecasts, and contemplate my shoe and clothing choice.  Having packed my hydration vest, at the eleventh hour, I abandoned it and decided for the minimalistic approach of club vest (fear not, I had shorts too) and trail shoes given the inclement weather anticipated.

A Sunday morning reveille at 0600hrs (what else would any sane person do on their wedding anniversary?) saw me tiptoe around the house, and jog up to meet the Strider bus.  As I had stayed up quite late, reading old race reports of the Coastal Run and contemplating what lay ahead, I quite fancied a snooze on the bus but this notion rapidly faded, as the bus filled full of other chatty but half asleep Striders.

Team Purple
Photo courtesy of Catherine Smith

We made good progress, and parked up in Beadnell, donning waterproofs to saunter down the road to the Boat House for registration.  I always find it a challenge with my OCD to attach a bib number perfectly straight – to do this in the rain, with a fresh breeze on the upturned hull of a small boat compounded the challenge.  Event clips and bib attached, I processed along the beach toward the start area at Beadnell Bay.  There were portaloos portable toilets aplenty, and a fairly short queue leaving time to join fellow Striders to shelter and stay warm(ish), stowing bags on the baggage bus at the last moment, for the obligatory team photo on the beach.

Lined up on the start, and raring to go, I listened intently to the official at the front – I relayed his information to other runners because I thought it was wise to heed the advice, which I summarised that runners should stay between the first set of marshalls to avoid perishing on the slippy rocks.  Then we were off, across golden sands, the warmth of the sun on our backs, the breeze in our hair, amidst children building sandcastles, and enjoying ice-cream [error, that was a figment of my imagination]. Then we were off, across a sandy base of rivulets fed by the Long Nanny River, which set the scene of what would be a challenging race.  I had struck out at a pace just sub 5 min/km, which softened as I met the first constriction point of soft sand and rocks up to High Newton by the Sea.  I was amazed at this point to see a runner relieve himself against the dunes in full view of other competitors – how could he have missed the vast provision of portaloos portable toilets, and council facilities adjacent to the start?

‘Enjoying the downhill’ Photo courtesy of Camilla Lauren-Maatta

Having climbed this initial hill, I enjoyed the short fast downhill section to Low Newton and the sands at Embleton Bay.  We then negotiated the inland side of Dunstanburgh Castle, on mud, grass and rock paths, with a few slips and falls.  I halted to check one poor soul who had taken an impressive tumble, landing hard but he was fine to continue.  I passed a few runners, at this point lamenting their choice of road shoes, and wondered if Matt Archer had his racing flats on.

Next up was Craster Village, at which point we were looking a little more bedraggled, our muddy battle paint splattered up our legs, and higher!  Support was evident here, and water was provided.  The encouraging sight and sound of Michael Mason galvanised my resolve as I climbed up past the harbour past The Heughs, where there was a cheeky kink taking us along the headland to Cullernose Point.

Then a treat of a section of road past Howick, and on to Sugar Sands where the majority of runners took the bridge across Howick Burn but some hardier souls opted for the water crossing.  A short but punishing climb ensued, up a rocky path, which I decided to run passing a couple who were walking, clearly conserving their energy to pass me on the flat on the top!

Into Boulmer for the final water stop, which I needed, where supporters braved the conditions to cheer us on.  Leaving Boulmer, just prior to dropping down to Foxton Beach, a cheery chap stood beside a sign which advised ‘about 2 miles to go’.  He shouted encouragingly, that it we were nearly upon the beach and only 10 minutes to go.  I looked at my watch briefly, trying to calculate what this meant but gave up as ‘nearly 2 miles’ was too imprecise a measure for me, a detailed metric man.

Photo courtesy of Phil Owen

This beach seemed never-ending, and I remember thinking about the meaning of this approximate 2-mile sign.  I tried in places to pick up my pace, mainly because I thought if I did the race would be over quicker but there were slippy rocks, and dilapidated fences (really!) to cross.  On one particular fence, my ability to hurdle non-existent, my right hamstring cramped as I ungraciously ‘hopped’ over it.  I recovered to catch the magnificent sight of a blue inflatable finish arch.

The arch got closer, and I tried to pick up pace, hastened by Jon Ayres who was doing a sterling job as a bare-chested Mr Motivator having already finished.  Attempting to follow Jon’s advice of lengthening my stride, I managed to briefly return to that sub 5 min/km pace again, prior to what felt like sinking to my knees in the softer sand near the finishing arch.  Through the finish, I immediately felt that sense of accomplishment which makes it all seem worthwhile; and a quick check of my watch confirmed a pleasing sub 2-hour time (subsequently 1:55:31 chip time).

I grabbed some water, and headed over to provide some encouragement to my fellow Striders.  Jon congratulated me, and I quipped that that last beach was like a club committee meeting in length!  Then via the baggage bus, to the Strider bus, which now resembled something of an impromptu changing room.  I was grateful at this point for Lesley’s advice to take a change of footwear, and in equal measure for her encouragement to attend this race.  Prize giving was in the nearby Alnmouth Links Golf Club, which provided an opportunity to dry out, and celebrate the team achievement.  It was great to see Stephen Jackson pick up a prize for 5th place, a valiant effort indeed after his Durham City Run win of only a few night’s previous, and to see other age category winners; Tamsin Imber for 1st FVET40, Christine Farnsworth for 2nd FVET65 and Margaret Thompson for 3rd FVET65.

The organisation of this race by Alnwick Harriers is first rate.  Marshals and locals alike are friendly, and supportive.  The coastline and scenic aspect is fantastic, and where else can you run ~14 miles through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on a mixture of sand, road and trail?  In summary, I’d encourage anyone to have a go at this race – I’d certainly like to do it again, but hopefully next time on a drier, more summery day!

You can relive the Northumberland Coastal Run here

Full results available here

… Tamsin

This HAS to be one of the best races in the north-east! The fact that it sells out in a few hours supports this.

Beautiful rock-pooled, sandy beaches , Dunstanburgh castle, the pretty village of Craster and convivial cliff top coastal footpath make this one magnificent run! And when raining and grey this coast looks beautiful in a wild, wind-bashed way. I make no apologies for the amount of gush in this report!

Today, early morning in Beadnell, the sky was thick with cloud and it was raining. I was cowering in the warm baggage bus along with others, discussing if a rain coat would be a good idea. One lady posed the question, had you ever needed a raincoat during a race in the summer? The problem was that my answer to this question was yes. However, today the temperature was 19 degrees. Also I am usually freezing cold before all races whatever the time of day or year, and it seems to bare no relation at all to my temperature when running. That the hidey holes of trees in my local nature reserve are often housing old jumpers of mine to collect after a run is attest to this. So, I decided to wear, a swimming costume, my Striders vest top and a thick cove of factor 50+. (The latter to protect me from any direct sunlight that in a freak event may appear. I was on antibiotics following tick bite in Dalby forest, the type of which the nurse stressed to me makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight so I must stay in the shade she said with emphasis).

Detaching myself from the bus, and shivering in the cold wind which greeted me I jogged up over the small dunes green with thick tussocky maram grass and down onto the beach. At the top of the beach were little fishing boats pulled up high above the tide line resting on their sides on the sand. The sea looked grey and ominous, reflecting the sky.
A large crowd of runners was rapidly gathering at the Beadnell end of the beach in the distance. With still twenty minutes to go I decided to get the legs moving and jogged in the opposite direction for a bit. Matt Archer and two others ran towards me doing the same. Then it was time to go to the start. I met Rachelle in the crowd. I felt anxious though as I did not know which way we were heading, there was just a sea of heads around me. So I whizzed out of the crowd and approached it head-on. The crowd was fronted by a line of elites! Like, no joke, they totally looked like them Ha ha! Thin, muscley men, shoulder to shoulder, silent and focused looking….and Gareth was one of them…phew! He looked a bit surprised to see me, perhaps as I was about to get run over in two minutes? He helpfully advised me we were all headed between the two bright orange marshals half way down the beach. I quickly made my way past the elites for about 3 metres deep into the crowd until I got to some ladies and stood with them.

One minute later with a loud parrrrrrp on the horn, we were off! Careering across Beadnell Bay! People were running all round me. There were large pools of water, where the sand was hard but rippled and uneven underfoot. Big splash as your foot suddenly went down into a pool, and up the other side. I kept getting side splash from other runners, and it started to rain again now, so also getting wet from above. More splash from below as a river crossed the sand. Despite this I was now totally baking hot! My swimming costume seemed really heat insulating. It was annoying, so I took my striders vest off and wrapped it round my arm, Ah, that. Running in a swimming costume! Well, we were on a beach.
After a short cliff top stretch we onto Newton Haven beach, and then the grand beach of Embleton Bay. The mystical stone ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle rose out of the misty haze on the distant headland that cups the bay. I headed towards the sea, to run on the wet firmer sand. Half way across I could see there was a choice of path, either stick to the coastal path or clamber over rocks up to the path. I opted for the latter. It would not save me much distance but it would avoid the runner congestion on the coastal path. I changed my track to head straight for the rocks. As I did so, who should speed past me but Jon Ayres! Lovely to see him! He asked me when my next triathlon was (a reference to the swimming costume?). I said it was today if I got tired of running.. We kept pace together and reached the rocks which were very slippery and seaweed covered. We bounded up as fast as we could, and met the path, which was unexpectedly muddy and slippery. This continued on the narrow path round the castle, slip-slide running. Trying not to elbow other runners. Once past this bit, the path widened and was back on low cliff tops. One of the Kenyans I’d seen at the start was sat on the side as he had injured his foot and was clearly in pain. There were two marshals helping him so I carried on. Jon had gone on ahead at this point.

We were fast approaching Craster. I was well surprised! Half way already? This half seemed so much easier than Dalby Forest half, but then this one is flat and easier underfoot, and there is no flat in Dalby. Craster is a pretty little village and running through it I could smell the smoke of the Craster fish smokery. A small crowd of local residents cheered us on.
After Craster there was a long stretch of muddy slippery coastal foot top. I kept my pace, comfortable but a bit hard. I was enjoying this! We ran down onto the next beach to be immediately greeted by a bridge over a stream. A girl overtook me at this point but I was determined to follow her as there probably was only 4 miles left now I estimated, from my study of the OS map beforehand. Also, at this point I sensed an up-shift in vibe in the runners around me from ‘maintaining pace’ to ‘getting serious’. I upped my pace to match hers and kept a secret 10 metres behind her. I followed her steadily along the path.
Off Boulmer beach, onto another hedge-lined minor road parallel with the sea. This one was looong, but I knew it lead to the final headland then onto the final beach. It was not far now, the guys around me were now more upping it, as was the girl I was following. At the headland, marshals cheered us on and said 2 miles to go! Yes! Down a flight of steep steps and we were onto the last beach! Great! Nice to be back on sand, another beautiful bay, this beach had a few areas of slippery grey rocks and rock pools of uneven depth to negotiate! Rounding the corner and there were the groynes to hurdle over ha ha! Made difficult by the fact we were all trying to go hard now, and that the level of the beach on one side of the groyne was different from the level on the other side! ..and once round the corner the blue inflatable finish arch could be near… but ….so ….far! A teasing sight! On and on and on….and it did not get an nearer! This was really hard now! I gritted my teeth and ran past the girl I had been keeping up with, but could not stop another girl flying past me! The arch was still far away! Finally, we were up with the first supporters! Katy and Graeme with their new baby were there and Lesley cheering us on! A few more yards and booff!, deep deep deep soft sand! Not the greatest when trying to vaguely approximate a sprint! I think swimming through it may have been faster. The deceptive blue arch was proving to be a battle to reach! A staggering inelegant plod and at last, I was under the arch!

Bring it on next year!

Bibno.Participant Finish time CategorySpeedPace
630Stephen Jackson01:17:41MSEN10.81 mph5:32 min/mile
936Gareth Pritchard01:20:19MSEN10.46 mph5:44 min/mile
121Matthew Archer01:31:36MSEN9.17 mph6:32 min/mile
949Phil Ray01:31:54MSEN9.14 mph6:33 min/mile
595Andrew Hopkins01:33:33MV408.98 mph6:40 min/mile
618Tamsin Imber01:42:29FV408.20 mph7:19 min/mile
185Elaine Bisson01:45:23FV357.97 mph7:31 min/mile
1110Malcolm Sygrove01:51:57MV507.50 mph7:59 min/mile
526Jonathan Hamill01:55:31MV407.27 mph8:15 min/mile
872Dougie Nisbet02:03:08MV506.82 mph8:47 min/mile
661Fiona Jones02:03:21FV406.81 mph8:48 min/mile
898Helen Parker02:03:55FV406.78 mph8:51 min/mile
204Jean Bradley02:04:00FV606.77 mph8:51 min/mile
777Rachelle Mason02:04:55FV356.72 mph8:55 min/mile
462Sue Gardham02:05:35FV406.69 mph8:58 min/mile
1024Chris Shearsmith02:06:35MV406.64 mph9:02 min/mile
1109Kathryn Sygrove02:06:47FV506.63 mph9:03 min/mile
605Melanie Hudson02:07:18FV356.60 mph9:05 min/mile
984Dave Robson02:07:19MV656.60 mph9:05 min/mile
744Emil Maatta02:07:32MSEN6.59 mph9:06 min/mile
247Karen Byng02:07:54FV456.57 mph9:08 min/mile
1016Anna Seeley02:08:14FSEN6.55 mph9:09 min/mile
223David Browbank02:08:39MSEN6.53 mph9:11 min/mile
1047Catherine Smith02:12:17FV406.35 mph9:26 min/mile
429Sarah Fawcett02:14:00FV556.27 mph9:34 min/mile
283Jonathan Clark02:18:44MV406.05 mph9:54 min/mile
576Alison Heslop02:21:36FV455.93 mph10:06 min/mile
394Katherine Dodd02:24:12FV455.83 mph10:18 min/mile
1127Helen Thomas02:24:32FV405.81 mph10:19 min/mile
825Karen Metters02:24:32FV405.81 mph10:19 min/mile
1255Jill Young02:25:59FSEN5.75 mph10:25 min/mile
407Jane Dowsett02:26:00FV455.75 mph10:25 min/mile
933Katherine Preston02:26:00FV455.75 mph10:25 min/mile
929Alison Pragnell02:26:11FV355.75 mph10:26 min/mile
1044Alan Smith02:26:14MV705.74 mph10:26 min/mile
341Beth Cullen02:26:24FV355.74 mph10:27 min/mile
902Joanne Patterson02:34:07FSEN5.45 mph11:00 min/mile
1011Aileen Campbell Scott02:34:12FV455.45 mph11:00 min/mile
1232Karen Wilson02:37:11FV455.34 mph11:13 min/mile
427Christine Farnsworth02:40:12FV655.24 mph11:26 min/mile
144Kerry Barnett02:43:07FV455.15 mph11:39 min/mile
434Kirsten Fenwick02:46:43FSEN5.04 mph11:54 min/mile
1067Diane Soulsby02:46:45FV505.04 mph11:54 min/mile
473Rebecca Gilmore02:47:47FSEN5.01 mph11:59 min/mile
1136Margaret Thompson02:59:17FV654.69 mph12:48 min/mile
468Laura Gibson03:11:14FV404.39 mph13:39 min/mile

Swaledale Marathon – Jack’s story, Swaledale, North Yorkshire, Saturday, June 10, 2017

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. King/Queen of the Mountain Race - click flag for more information. 23 miles

Jack Lee

The Swaledale Marathon like any decent run ends up as a story. This will be the story of how I started full of energy, in a rain jacket with a pack full of gels and water and ended up exhausted, sprinting through Reeth and soaked to the skin in just a Striders vest. However, if you ask any who ran or spectated that day they will give you their stories; most of those are shared with friends such as Camilla and Kathryn, Tim and Phil or Gareth and Stephen and many others. While I rarely ran with other Striders I made many friends who shared my struggle and who while I might never know their names I shall never forget.

Swaledale might not be on the FRA calendar but it has one thing in common with the fell races I have ran…it started with a long, steep and painful ascent. This was towards Fremington Edge and while I had told myself and others before I would stay with friends (Jon and Elaine were the ones I was thinking of) I found that my regimen of strength and core training meant I floated up the hill. I looked into Jon’s eyes on the way up and knew that I was too strong to hold myself back. What had felt like a tough start the year before seemed like a jog down to the shops for milk and so I struck off on my own ahead into a windy and rainy new adventure.

Stephen, Michael and Gareth had gone off in their triumvirate but I became the fourth strider running with a group across the top of Fremington and down into the next valley towards Whaw. An increasingly terrifying gap behind meant that the little group I was in became my new comrades and I had to keep the legs turning over to keep up. It wasn’t difficult but I always feared for later as I had barely held onto consciousness last year in the final mile and didn’t fancy going through that again. I kept up through the valley and up towards Great Punchard Head where we lost a few on the climb, at this point I was with a few other men and the first lady (checking the results her name was Amy and she ran for Rugby and Northallerton). She floated up Punchard…I don’t think I ever saw her walk and we were together for 12 or so miles including all the hard work up Great Punchard Head. I ran almost all that uphill as well with only short stops to walk and make sure I didn’t get ahead as I hadn’t recce’d Punchard as thoroughly as possible.


After a while we made it to the bog and I am not sure how any of us made it through that mass of muddy holes and collapsing paths. It had been raining pretty consistently since the start of the race and by now we were all sodden and the coarse was soaked through from current rain and that in the week before; wet bog is a beast of its own but we fought through mile after mile of tough track and a few self-clip points later and one manned clip point we came to the last self-clip on Punchard. My group had whittled down to myself, another guy who seemed nice and Amy (who glided as if on road). She later told me at one point it was her second time doing Swaledale and that she was a road runner by trade. Considering her nav (thumbing the map as she went) and her strength I would recommend a change of focus. Anyway we reached the final self-clip on Punchard to find a very wet looking group of three clipping at which point Michael turned around and greeted me. We had run the fell so well that we had caught up to Michael, Stephen and Gareth apparently.


This was the start of the downhill towards Gunnerside and when I said to my new friend that these three were some of the fastest in my club she turned to me and said only “you have them”. Encouraged by this I quickly over took Gareth who was busy writing a determined story of his own (albeit maybe not the happiest of tales). When the navigation went a bit awry I took the rest of them and went down towards Gunnerside. While there I did the manned clip and started tactically stripping…I was too hot in the rain jacket and the rain was down to a mere drizzle for the first time since the start of the race. My new friends left ahead and I was left with Michael, with Stephen and Gareth behind. Michael and I started the uphill out of Gunnerside and he stayed with me for a bit until I said something like “Michael, I have run the race of my life but there is not much left and I know the rest of the route…leave me, I will be fine”. So hesitantly he did.


I don’t know how I got through the rest of the miles but I did. I thought I could see Michael’s luminous jacket ahead although it turned out it was someone else and he was actually well ahead overtaking everyone and their mothers. I ran as the rain and wind came back to lash at my Strider’s vest. I fell after surrender bridge while in a small gulley and just remember getting up and thinking that I couldn’t stop. My leg had cramped but I though hiking out of the gulley would stretch it out. I was in a bad way at this point with no strength left although I was fairly conscious at least.


I kept going and after seeing Jan’s husband I made my way down the lane of loose rocks with the last self-clip and came out into Reeth where a small crowd with a few cheering Striders (Joanne and Lesley come to mind) coaxed a pseudo-sprint out of me. It felt like a sprint to me but for all I know it could have looked more like a waddle. Everyone else turned up in layers at the least and mostly in rain jackets but I must have looked a sight in only shorts and a soaked vest. I got to the finish line, gave in my card and went for food. I had finished 14th in 3 hours and 36 minutes. 7 minutes quicker than last year in much worse conditions and 37 places higher. With food I sat down and made merry…job done.


Well done to everyone who ran a tough and wet Swaledale this year with a special mention to Michael Mason (6th), Elaine Bisson (3rd Female) and the Men’s Team (2nd). An honourable mention to everyone who spectated as well who waited in the rain while we had all the “fun”.

Results available here