Category Archives: 10 to 20 miles (16km to 32km)

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

Grand Prix Race.Endurance Champion Race.  ~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

Dales Trail Series DT30km, Muker, Upper Swaledale, Saturday, July 15, 2017


Elaine Bisson

Photo courtesy of Foxglove photography

This is in the series of my A races this year and is my favourite of the three. Just under 20miles following trails, bridleways and bog! It starts in a field next to the River Swale in Muker following the river along past Keld before it really starts to climb through Stonesdale Moor (where the bog really wobbles) up to the Tan Hill. From here it drops back down to Keld along the Pennine way before it climbs again to the second summit just above Swinners Gill (aka Runners Hell). From here there is a fast runnable section down to the hay fields of Muker before you go through the gates of hell (about ten of them) which are absolute torture after the long descent, you only build up enough speed until you have to stop to open another gate and if you’re being chased the bang of the gates sounds like a death knell!

I travelled down with Jon and a car full (no really) a car full of soup…enough to feed the three hundred runners. We were both in poor spirits and it took a while before we started our usual joking. We register in the barn, chat to marshals and runners (many of whom have done previous series.) From here there is about a mile walk to the start. I’ve given up slightly, poor prep…I’d spent the last week recovering from supporting on Scotts BGR and struggling with tiredness. I recognise some speedy ladies and realise I’m well off the prizes today. But then there is always the second lady in Grand Slam who is giving me daggers!
Photo courtesy of Foxglove photography

For the first three miles said 2nd GS lady sits right on my shoulder until I give up and let her past. My heart sinks while I watch her disappear into the distance but it’s not long until I realise I’m gaining ground again and when we hit the climb up to the Tan Hill I pull up and away from her.  By now I’m running again with Jon. Glad of the company and the funny chat. Also glad to have someone to give me a bit of a nudge…which I really needed. When we hit the road (only 400m worth) we can both barely be bothered to run. I remember saying come on its flat, it’s tarmac and we up the pace. I know this should be where we can gain some places on the descent down to Keld but the wind is right against us and visibility is poor and underfoot is splodgy.

Photo courtesy of Foxglove photography

We eventually pick up speed down a lovely sheltered track and hit the turn up to Swinners Gill. I feel a bit queasy by now, it really was a bad race day! Anyway I’m looking forward to Swinners Gill. The climb isn’t too long and it’s a bit technical which I’ve come to like. It’s not long before we reach the last gravel trail and a fastish descent back to the meadows of Muker. I’ve tricked myself to believe there are 12 gates to pass through, so when the countdown is still going and we reach the final little hill before the finish we are both over the moon.

I’m 3 minutes slower than last year and 4th lady but all things considered it wasn’t too bad a run…I do know I’m  capable of much better with better prep so I’ve a feeling I will return to this. We wander back to race HQ to collect our t-shirts and go separate ways. The lovely campsite showers await and I spend a while scrubbing off mud and enjoying the clean warm water. Then it’s back to the barns to enjoy the soup, cakes and tea and welcome in other runners.

I wasn’t sure whether to log a race report, it certainly wasn’t my best race but it remains one of my favourite trail races. I had a great time despite feeling a bit rotten and it goes to show what a difference good company can make…and of course running somewhere you love. I have also retained my number one spot in the Grand Slam and have gained quite a lead on the second lady. I now look forward to the final of the three. There is work to be done and certainly good tapering but I’m determined to do it right!

Dentdale Run, Dent, Cumbria, Saturday, March 11, 2017

14.2 miles

David Browbank

Grand Prix Race. Endurance Champion Race.

Having previously only run one half marathon (the GNR) before this year I had decided that I was going to enter more longer races for 2017and having seen that the Dentdale race was on the GP list and was relatively cheap I entered with the thought of using this as a good training run and to go and just enjoy the scenery. Also the fact that the proceeds of the race went to the local school swayed my decision to enter. Having car shared with fellow striders Vicky Brown and Lesley Charman we arrived in Dent a good hour before the race so decided to have a coffee and a scone in the local visitor’s centre/museum. We sat opposite the rather eerie looking life-size model of a Victorian lady whilst we enjoyed our food and drinks and I must say that I was intrigued by the artefacts in the visitor’s centre which did take my mind off those hills for a time.

We made our way to the start line and a few fellow striders were already there. I had decided that I would try and run with Peter Hart And Fiona wood as they too were going to run this as a training day race however upon the start I lost sight of them both and started the race alongside Vicky. The race started on a gentle down-hill and proceeded to wind out of the village and into the countryside. The weather was pleasant and I started to feel my rhythm so continued to run alongside Vicky. On the 2 mile point we reached a rather sharp hill which tested the legs somewhat. Once up this first hill I still felt good and continued to go at a steady pace, glancing to the side and still seeing that Vicky was still going strong beside me. Between miles 4-5 I got separated from Vicky on a decent and was starting to feel in a good rhythm with various songs popping into my mind as I was plodding along. Jan Young, who was running the shorter race (still 7.9miles), went striding past me on mile 5 giving words of encouragement as she went by. I decided to keep Jan in my sights till the cut- off point for the short race which kept me focused on my now race strategy of 8min/miles downhill and 10min/miles on the uphill sections. I got back to Dent and saw Jan peel off to the right to finish her race whilst the route crept round to the left and started on a gradual uphill section. A lady in a green vest was my next point of focus and I kept my mind on her, gradually closing her down on mile 9 and overtaking. At this point Nina Mason caught up and we exchanged a few pleasantries with me pointing out that the local disco had put up various flyers along the route. This had amused me somewhat, possibly it was the fact I was starting to tire and needed to think of other things rather than the now slog up to the highest part of the course. Having pulled away from Nina just before the turn I decided that my mind was wandering and needed a new focus, the runner in the light purple vest was my next target and I slowly started to reel her in between miles 10-12. At this point I realised that I was on for my HM PB if I kept the pace going. Having never ran a sub 2hr HM before I was determined not to slow down. I passed the lady I the purple vest on mile 13 and was now feeling the pain but continued at my current pace of just below 9min/mile. Just after the HM point I started to relax and saw that Nina had again caught me up. We turned a slight bend and came face to face with a little stinker of a hill which we both decided that we had to walk up. Encouraged further on by Jan, who had now finished her race and was cheering on the striders I got back to my routine pace and headed for the finish only to feel a sharp pain in my left calf literally 100yards from the line. My sprint finish was now out of the question but I still crossed the line in 2hr 7mins 29secs which I was really pleased with. On checking my watch I’d also got my HM PB of 1hr 57mins which I was delighted about. Once changed we all met in the school for sandwiches cake and coffee with was put on by the event organisers.

Overall a thoroughly enjoyable day and one I will definitely be back to.

Position Bib Name Club Time (chip) Time (gun) Category Category position
8 267 Gareth Pritchard Elvet Striders 1:26:59 1:27:00 MSEN 4/57
204 288 Anna Seeley Elvet Striders 2:00:05 2:00:16 FSEN 5/20
238 82 ANDREW DAVIES Elvet Striders 2:03:37 2:04:08 M40 75/98
245 53 Lesley Charman Elvet Striders 2:04:37 2:04:48 M40 77/98
261 223 Nina Mason Elvet Striders 2:06:31 2:07:17 F35 22/46
264 36 David Browbank Elvet Striders 2:07:29 2:07:47 MSEN 52/57
309 42 Vicky Brown Elvet Striders 2:13:55 2:14:12 F35 27/46
315 297 Catherine Smith Elvet Striders 2:14:52 2:15:04 F35 29/46
348 304 Ian Spencer Elvet Striders 2:20:34 2:21:06 M50 73/81
387 360 Fiona Wood Elvet Striders 2:31:39 2:32:24 F35 41/46
388 156 Peter Hart Elvet Striders 2:31:39 2:32:25 M40 96/98
399 106 Christine Farnsworth Elvet Striders 2:37:19 2:37:50 F65+ 2/2
414 19 Kerry Barnett Elvet Striders 2:44:04 2:44:51 F45 60/60

Dentdale Run, Dent, Cumbria, Saturday, March 12, 2016

14 miles 379 yards

Penny Browell

Grand Prix Race. Sprint Champion Race.  A couple of years ago a friend of mine recommended I run the Dentdale race – “just your kind of thing” she said, so it was one that had been on my radar for a while. When I discovered I had a Saturday where I wasn’t needed for ferrying to children’s parties I elected to give it a go. It was a bit of a last minute decision and I had no thoughts on pace or race strategy – I decided I just wanted to enjoy it.

When I got to the pretty village of Dent I was happy to see a good number of Striders, discussing how many layers we needed and warning each other of the hills ahead. The race started at 1pm which caused me all sorts of quandaries with regards to eating. As we lined up to start I realised my stomach was already rumbling and asking for lunch but it was too late to do much about it. Whilst waiting for the gun I spotted a Swaledale runner who I knew was pretty speedy and has beaten me on a number of occasions but I’d just manage to squeeze past her at the Viking Chase last year so knew she was a good target for me. I decided to try and stick with her as far as I could.

Penny and Swaledale friend.
photo courtesy and © Andrew Thrippleton

The race starts with a deceptively speedy descent but before long the first of many climbs kicks in. I managed to tuck in behind my Swaledale friend and began to enjoy making my way through the beautiful countryside. The course is a kind of figure of 8 (without crossing at the centre) so at the half way mark I caught sight of my car in Dent. Much as I was enjoying the race I was beginning to tire and was aware of more hills approaching but I resisted the temptation to just jump in and drive home. Around this point my Swaledale friend slowed down to have a gel. I pulled up next to her and we chatted about other races we’ve done and plans for the future. After a couple of minutes she waved me on, saying she felt she’d started too fast. Not long before, one of the many fabulous local supporters had told us we were second and third ladies and I began to worry I too had gone off too fast.

photo courtesy and © Andrew Thrippleton

The second half includes one very long climb and then you get lulled into a false sense of security as you approach the half marathon point with a nice descent. The 13 mile marker hails a killer little hill and the last mile seemed to go on for ever. Eventually we were back in the village and the crowds were fantastic shouting us in so I managed a bit of a sprint finish (ish). I was delighted to see Gareth and Jack who had both had great runs and after a bit of refreshment we cheered in the other Striders.

All in all an absolutely beautiful, runnable yet challenging race and definitely one I’d recommend. My friend was right it was definitely my sort of thing and I hope to be back

Dentdale Run, Dent, Cumbria, Saturday, March 8, 2014

14M 379Yards

Graeme Walton

Grand Prix Race. Sprint Champion Race.  My second attempt at this one after last years’ effort was hindered by a lack of mileage due to injury in the weeks running up to it. In my car I was joined by Mark D, Kathryn S, Alan S and Fiona KJ and so across we travelled to the picturesque Dent arriving in good time before meeting up with more Striders. A refreshing cuppa together with some of Fiona’s homemade flapjack had me ready for the 14 or so miles ahead.

11 o’clock bang on and we were off, starting off downhill before a beast of a hill arrived after half a mile. This didn’t cause too much trouble however when looking back on my splits you could certainly tell where the uphill sections had been. After the uphill a lovely quick downhill section helped quicken the pace up. Now I could describe the rest of the course in detail but basically it was up, down, a little bit of a flat section, down, up, up, flat, down, etc etc. A longer hill at about 8 miles and some little steep killer hills in the last couple of miles. The views – if you had the energy to lift your head up were absolutely breathtaking.

I came home in an improved time from last year so I was very content. There were some stunning Strider performances – I won’t single anyone out as everyone did fantastically well. Our reward was a cuppa, sandwich, cake and some flapjack. Poor Kathryn was poorly on the way home – more down to the effort she had put into her run rather my driving I hope! A great run, cheap and always well supported by Striders, I’ll be back again next year.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Ian McBride Royton Road Runners M 1 1:18:01
29 Catriona Probert Edinburgh AC F 1 1:31:32
78 Graeme Walton MV40 1:40:23
187 Alister Robson MV40 1:53:38
211 Fiona Jones FV35 1:55:48
236 Mark Dunseith M 1:58:37
306 Kathryn Sygrove FV45 2:06:43
315 Jean Bradley FV55 2:08:15
355 Alan Smith MV60 2:14:23
370 Jan Young FV55 2:16:52
420 Brian Ford MV40 2:30:52
424 Jacquie Robson FV35 2:31:08
426 Jill Ford FV45 2:31:16

438 finishers.

Dentdale Run, Dent, Cumbria, Saturday, March 9, 2013

14M 379 Yards

Jan Young

Grand Prix Race. Sprint Champion Race. Rachel approaches the top of yet another hill ... Having run this 14.5 mile road race sixteen times since 1992, old habits die hard, so I gave it another shot, instead of joining the Bunkbarners on the snowy fells.

Dent weekend was always a Striders weekend away; first accomodation being Margaret’s caravans, until we decided holiday cottages were more comfortable.

Today, Margaret’s caravans are still there; the lady herself was marshalling a car park, but only Aaron and his family ‘cottaged’ it. Hope you followed Striders’ tradition and sampled the Dent beer. New kids on the block now pound the Dentdale lanes-with success- Rachel Terry 1st FV40 and 8th female in this challenging rural run. Katy and Graeme Walton, Linsay T and Aaron G all put in good performances on their debuts, while experienced Dentdalers also clocked GP points.

Villagers help out at the run as timekeepers, marshalls, water station volunteers. Every runner gets tea and buns in the village hall, entry fee at £10/£12 goes to school funds and the event regularly attracts 350 runners. You have an unofficial option to complete only the first half of the route, as did Barrie E and I think Maggie T-as she’s not in results! Striders ladies appear to be first female team, with 84 points, unless I’ve missed something. Rachel may tell her own tale about the puzzling prizegiving; can she keep it, no she can’t?


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Breton Holdsworth Clayton Le Moors Harriers M 1 1:24:42
42 Heather Tuffs York Acorn F 1 1:39:08
96 Rachel Terry F 8 1:48:50
100 Graeme Walton M 1:49:24
113 Aaron Gourley M 1:51:02
189 Katy Walton F 32 2:01:18
218 Stephanie Barlow F 44 2:05:00
257 Jan Young F 59 2:12:04
258 Lindsay Tarn F 60 2:12:09
296 Alan Smith M 2:21:58
326 Christine Farnsworth F 2:32:10

341 finishers.

Dentdale Run, Dent, Cumbria, Saturday, March 10, 2012

14 Miles 379 Yards

Shaun Roberts

Grand Prix Race. Endurance Champion Race.

What are they all looking so happy about ... don't they know what's coming?

Well, a picture tells a thousand words, but to be honest the one below’s a bit surprising. I’d thought some of the biggest hills were towards the end … and although there are a few rises, it’s clear that the worst climbing, by far, is in the eighth mile. Yes, it’s another weekend of staying in a lovely Dentdale cottage (well organised, Jan!), avoiding drinking too much on the Friday night, and then celebrating in a state of mild exhaustion on the Saturday night.

A Tale of Three Bridges.

The start was a bit dramatic. James and I were talking about how fast to go off, adrenaline kicking in, that sort of thing, as you do. Then off we went, but within a couple of seconds, James, a yard or two in front of me, gets a trip and after manfully trying to stay upright – legs and arms flailing everywhere – he has no option but to hit the deck … sensibly aiming for someone’s ‘front-garden gravel’.James, on his way to another ten Grand Prix points ... I carried on, hoping he’d quickly get back on his way, and lo, there he was, legging it past me at full pelt, heading for the sharp end of the field. I, too, was going quite fast … I got through the first five miles in 34′ or so, and 10K in 43′, at which point I’m thinking this may turn out to be too quick. I was right, and slowed more and more as the temperature rose heading towards that big bump shown above. This is not a good part of the race … a long drag, and mentally, you’re thinking,’We’re still heading away from Dent’, which frankly doesn’t help. Anyway, it’s always a relief to get to the bridge at about 10.5 miles, turn round and head for home. Also, although there are a few steep rises, I always like the run-in, and now that profile explains why …

James was first Strider home, with a great time, and not too worse for wear after his encounter with the gravel. I was happy with my run, a bit faster than last year. Nina (or ‘Nina Jane’, as the results have it), also had a good run, also faster than last time and worth a third prize for her age group. Dougie got the right side of the two-hour mark this year, after just missing out last time around, as did Alister, on the first part of an epic weekend’s racing. Phil Owen also had a good run, getting back on the road to recovery, followed by Jan, who got a third in her age group as well. Good runs, too, from Jean, Stef and Margaret, but two more special mentions: Jacquie really wasn’t looking forward to this one … mainly due to us all winding her up about how hard it was going to be … but she had a great run, and got a half-marathon PB on the way round. Finally congratulations to Yusuf, who made good use of George’s number, ran very well, and put over sixty runners behind him – well done mate!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Ian McBride Unattached M 1 1:18:23
36 James Garland M 1:37:49
41 Clare Pearson Skipton AC F 1 1:38:30
69 Shaun Roberts M50 1:43:50
111 Nina Jane Mason F35 1:51:16
178 Dougie Nisbet M40 1:59:21
183 Alister Robson M40 1:59:57
222 Phil Owen M40 2:06:09
238 Jan Young F55 2:08:19
246 Jean Bradley F55 2:09:15
275 Stephanie Barlow F35 2:13:02
281 Yusuf Kuruner M 2:13:57
314 Jacquie Robson F35 2:23:36
341 Margaret Thompson F55 2:39:47

345 finishers.

Coniston 14+, Saturday, April 9, 2011

16.7 miles

Pam Kirkup

“You really know how to make life hard for yourself, don’t you?” These were the words of my friend and colleague Morag McDonnell – elite athlete, an England 5K record holder and cross country champion. She was right of course; running the Coniston 14 (really 16.7 at the moment) was a bit ambitious as a first race after a very long time. But you know, I can’t help myself. I love Coniston. It’s a beautiful course and the scenery takes your mind off the pain … allegedly!

So, a surprisingly small group of Striders set off on what must have been the hottest day of the year so far, by a long way. Paul & I had met up with Jean Bradley on the previous evening in the Black Bull and we saw Alan Smith at the start. At that point we didn’t know of any other Striders running.

The furthest I had run was 12 miles on my once-a-week long run so I was pretty apprehensive to say the least. It was just so hot … and it was getting hotter! A man dressed in a white mouse outfit looked like he’d feel the heat and then there was the man who carried a Unison flag all the way around. And off we went, up the road to Torver. The early hills were tough and I saw Angela Procter pass me at about 2 miles. I was doing ok but the heat was punishing.

Then Dougie appeared. He’s doing London next week; he’d thought twice about racing at Coniston and so had just come for a plod around. And that’s what he did, keeping me amused and motivated. We jogged around, putting the world to rights and walking up the hard hills!! For me, cramp set in at about 13miles so, by the last bit after the head of the lake, I was really suffering and had to walk quite a bit.

However, other Striders fared better. David Carrick was first Strider home in 2hr 31 (chip time), followed by Jean Bradley in 2hr 42. Jean found it much harder than last year, again because of the heat. After Jean came Angela Proctor in 2hr 47. Then there was Alan Smith in 3hr 00 who, like all of us, had felt the heat.

And as for Dougie and me? We wandered in at 3hr 41 (Dougie’s chip time) and 3hr 42 (mine). At the finish I had serious cramp and was in real pain … after a couple of pints of lager I felt much better! I also heard numerous stories from many other runners about cramp and other ill-effects from the heat. Just comparing the times with last year – in 2010 the last runner was around 3hr 58. This year it was 4hr 35 which tells its own story.

They hope to have the normal 13.8 course for next year but, whatever, I’ll be there. And I’d like to thank Dougie for his company and for keeping me motivated, I honestly don’t think I’d have got around without him.

Coniston is a great race. It’s challenging but, with such a beautiful course, it’s worth it.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Steven Cockrell NENE VALLEY HARRIERS M 1 1:39:35
26 Eleanor Greenfield Nuneaton Harriers F 1 1:54:31
462 David Catterick MV45 82 2:31:54
641 Jean Bradley FV55 3 2:42:03
734 Angela Proctor FV35 38 2:47:04
918 Alan Smith MV60 38 3:00:37
1068 Dougie Nisbet MV45 137 3:41:31
1069 Pamela Ann Kirkup FV55 10 3:42:21

1092 finishers.

Dentdale Run, Saturday, March 12, 2011

14M 379Yards

Jan Young

Grand Prix Race. Endurance Champion Race.

Nina soon after the start. Fourteen miles of up and down,
Thats’ the race from Dentdale town.
Along the road, up the hill,
Across the bridge, ten miles still.

The seven mile bridge – a cheer goes up,
Keep on now, we wish you luck!
Along the road, up the hill,
Across the bridge, four miles still.

Dig in deep, Dent is in sight,
We’ve worked hard for beer tonight.
Afterwards, we’re in the hall,
Well done, well done to one and all.

Lots of chat, cakes, tea and tea,
Celebrate friends’ victory.

To Alan R: Roz collects the F55 prize.

“If I’m beaten by Batman
My running’s going down the pan.”

But, head up, you’ve no disgrace,
The speedy dressers won the race.

And as they are younger than you,
You can have your victory too.



Thanks for all the encouraging support along the route, lovely to meet up again.



Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Peter Parker * Altrincham M 1 1:18:23
19 Joasia Zakrzewski Dumfries RC F35 1/32 1:30:19
86 Shaun Roberts M50 17/65 1:44:59
140 Nina Mason F35 7/32 1:53:02
147 Roz Layton F55 1/16 1:54:16
201 Dougie Nisbet M40 69/91 2:00:13
244 Jean Bradley F55 7/16 2:06:38
262 Jan Young F55 9/16 2:09:34
331 Alan Smith M60 25/35 2:20:12
382 Margaret Thompson F55 15/16 2:37:41
384 Christine Farnsworth F55 16/16 2:38:35

392 finishers.

Congratulations to Roz for winning the F55s! Honourable mentions, too, to Alan Rowell (1:40:03, and first M60), and Geoff Watson (2:06:40), both running in orange.

* Quite possibly not the winner’s real name – see ‘superhero’ photos on event website, below. Luckily, ‘Wonder Woman’ doesn’t feature on there – she rather let herself down by not wearing a bra, or indeed any form of upper-chest covering, which was a bit discombobulating during the pre-race warmup. Still, saves on the Vaseline … Ed.

Coniston 14+, Saturday, March 27, 2010


Anna Pethybridge

Coniston 14+
16.7 miles
Breezy but dry with sunny spells
Thoughts running through head during race
  • “are we nearly there yet?”,
  • “ouch! That must have hurt” (as another runner trips and bangs his head),
  • “only 5 miles? But I’m knackered!”,
  • “bloody hell, I can’t bend my legs”,
  • “smile for the camera? Are you having a laugh?”,
  • “are we nearly there yet?”,
  • “15 miles – thank God, I’m nearly there”,
  • “I can’t go on!”,
  • “oh my God – I’ve finished. And I’m still alive”
Recommend for next year?
Oh, go on then. I suppose it wasn’t that bad!
Goody bag
Poor!!!! A nice coaster, I’ll grant them that. But no nibbles, no t-shirt, no medal. Hurrumph!
Final thoughts
I hope they put some bloomin’ photos on the website after all that smiling!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 John Herbert Peterborough M 1 1:33:49
46 Eleanor Greenfield Nuneaton Harriers F 1 1:53:33
208 Mike Bennett M50 25 2:07:25
508 Grahame Arrowsmith M40 181 2:21:53
646 Alan Smith M60 19 2:28:24
670 Dougie Nisbet M40 230 2:28:24
752 Jean Bradley F45 41 2:34:40
874 Anna Pethybridge F 70 2:39:12

1291 finishers.