Category Archives: Trail

Willow Miner Trail Race, Houghall Woods and Low Burnhall, Wednesday, July 11, 2018

5.6 miles

Sowerby Bridge Snails Running Club

Results
BibFirst NameLast NameCatClubTimePos Cat PosCat Winners
140StephenJacksonMSENElvet Striders32.1111MSEN + race winner
98RoryWoodsMSENDurham City Harriers & AC32.44222MSEN
54MichaelMasonMVET40Elvet Striders34.11311MV40
122MarkWarnerMSENElvet Striders35.02433MSEN
109IanPickettMVET40Tyne Bridge Harriers35.23522MV40
27MichaelLittlewoodMVET40Elvet Striders35.41633MV40
156ChrisDwyerMSENSunderland Strollers36.0174
82GaryThwaitesMVET40Sedgefield Harriers36.3384
90GraemeWattMVET4036.5595
42Stuart Scott MSENElvet Striders37.11051st strider not in cat
178David.WalkerWalkerMVET50Sedgefield Harriers38.021111MV50
40NickNewbyMVET40Birtley AC38.16126
13Jack LeeMSENElvet Striders39.03136
97LisaShortFVET40Birtley AC39.181411FV40 + first female
71AllanRenwickMVET40Elvet Striders39.46157
136GeoffHewitsonMVET60Crook & District AC40.151611MV60
30RuthDadswellFVET40Birtley AC40.241722FV40
85James ConwayMSEN40.28187
49AndrewSugdenMVET40New Marske Harriers AC40.54198
29BrianBailesMVET50Birtley AC41.142022MV50
105GaryHargraveMVET50Sunderland Strollers41.152133MV50
138Simon Dobson MVET40Elvet Striders41.39229
120JuanCorbacho AntonMSENElvet Striders42.09238
17SophieMcPhillipsFSEN42.162411FSEN
57DaleWilkinsonMVET50Sunderland Strollers42.25254
99MeghanMcCarthyFSENDurham Fell Runners43.212622FSEN
1AnnaBasuFVET40Elvet Striders43.282733FV40 + 1st female strider
102Kevin Doherty MVET40Sunderland Strollers43.412810
83IanButlerMVET50Elvet Striders44.22295
174PriyanMistryMSEN44.383010
176JilliannClappFSEN45.253133FSEN
93RachaelPerowneFVET40Tyne Bridge Harriers45.36324
73PavlosFarangitakisMSENElvet Striders45.443311
69Paul Agnew MVET40Birtley AC45.453411
7NatalieBellFSENElvet Striders45.533541st elvet female not in cat
94SarahDaviesFVET50Elvet Striders45.593611FV50
87GillianWallaceFVET40South Shields Harriers & AC46.1375
84Katherine ConwayFSENWashington Running Club46.3385
50JordiSabate VillaretMVET50Elvet Striders46.42396
172TomDavisonMSEN47.18409
55Trevor Chaytor MVET50Elvet Striders47.19417
16NelliBalaFSENElvet Striders47.26426
12BobGrattonMVET50Elvet Striders47.29438
63JackieMckennaFVET5047.334422FV50
15Janice Kelly FVET4048.09456
41StephanieYoungFVET50Birtley AC48.144633FV50
117Judith Shotton FVET50Sunderland Harriers & AC48.25474
91MichelleO_ÑéNeillFVET50Sunderland Strollers48.29485
79CherylStanleyFSENLow Fell Running Club48.34497
67AlexBrownMVET40Elvet Striders48.355012
143MaritaGrimwoodFVET40Elvet Striders48.38517
179MarieWalkerFVET50Sedgefield Harriers48.38526
43SallyRidingFVET50Birtley AC49.01537
21CraigFeltonMSEN49.025412
46Michael RossMVET4049.055513
112JaneHughesFSEN49.06568
125Felicity Conlon FVET40Washington Running Club49.35578
129MchelleBaysFVET50South Shields Harriers & AC50588
159David White MVET70Durham City Harriers & AC50.025911MV70
100ChristineWoodsFVET60Durham City Harriers & AC50.036011FV60
39JohnCorcoranMVET50Sunderland Strollers50.06619
34KayDrummondFVET40Birtley AC50.07629
153KeithPenmanMVET50Washington Running Club50.176310
147ChrisClarkMVET40Washington Running Club50.386414
56NinaJensenFVET40Claremont Road Runners50.476510
118KateBirkenheadFVET5051.03669
35SarahFawcettFVET50Elvet Striders51.296710
18CarolynGalulaFVET40Elvet Striders51.376811
137KarenDaglish FVET40Saltwell Harriers51.426912
133LynneCarruthersFVET50Durham City Harriers & AC52.037011
154ElizabethLambFVET60Durham City Harriers & AC52.157122FV60
145AnthonyForsterMVET50Washington Running Club52.317211
168DebbieNOBLEFVET50Run Peterlee52.337312
68ClaireMumfordFVET40Birtley AC52.487413
161TriciaClarkFVET5052.537513
116LisaIrvingFSEN53.13769
104MaddyMcCarthyFSEN53.237710
115LynBrownFVET60Stocksfield Striders53.337833FV60
114IanBrownMVET60Tynedale Harriers & AC53.347922MV60
108AllisonBirdFVET50Sunderland Strollers53.358014
28JocelynWilkinsonFSENRun Peterlee54.018111
127TimMatthewsMVET50Elvet Striders54.098212
146BeverleyForsterFVET5054.268315
101Nicola CarrFVET40Sunderland Strollers54.368414
51StuartHENDERSON MVET50Run Peterlee54.578513
167ClaireClaire Woodroffe-SmithFVET40Sunderland Strollers558615
177ChristineHearmonFVET50Sedgefield Harriers55.068716
44AndrewMunro MVET40Elvet Striders56.18815
32AlanSmithMVET70Elvet Striders56.178922MV70
128AngiEffardFVET50South Shields Harriers & AC56.399017
135JeanetteHewitsonFVET50South Shields Harriers & AC56.399118
62RebeccaTalbotFVET40Elvet Striders57.359216
175ChrisLoweMSEN589313
134CatherinePolleyFVET40Sunderland Strollers58.479417
113AnneHughesFVET5058.579519
96JillConnollyFVET50Sunderland Strollers59.179620
106DenisHargraveMVET70Sunderland Strollers59.399733MV70
111AndrewSwanstonMVET50Saltwell Harriers59.449814
119JoanneWollastonFVET40Saltwell Harriers59.449918
150CarolGreenFVET40Washington Running Club60.0610019
149LauraKennedyFVET50Washington Running Club60.1410121
141LouiseArmstrong FSEN60.2810212
152GeorgeCawkwellMVET70Crook & District AC60.451034
72JudithPorterFVET60Aycliffe Running Club61.091044
107KirstyWiltonFVET40Sunderland Strollers62.1110520
166ZoÕ‰JamesonFVET40Sunderland Strollers64.4610621
89SueCuthbertsonFVET50Sunderland Strollers64.5210722
74BrianJohnstonMVET60Sunderland Strollers65.1710833MV60
47Anne-MarieFisherFSENElvet Striders65.2110913
61DanielleWhitworthFSENSowerby Bridge Snails RC65.511014
70AnneMolloyFVET60Sowerby Bridge Snails RC65.51115
75Sandra PinderFVET50Sowerby Bridge Snails RC65.511223
162EllenPinderFSENSowerby Bridge Snails RC65.511315
80KathleenBellamyFVET40Elvet Striders68.311422
65CarolWhitworthFVET50Sowerby Bridge Snails RC85.4611524
121PamMcGheeFVET60Sowerby Bridge Snails RC85.461166
Photos

Grizedale Trail 26, Sunday, February 4, 2018

26.8 miles

Dougie Nisbet

So impressed the official photographer still waiting for all us stragglers!Whenever I see a Facebook post from someone asking for advice about a race I usually nudge them in the direction of the website. A quick search often reveals there are few races where no Striders have gone before. So I remembered to take my own advice and had a quick look to see if there were any stories to read about the Grizedale Trail 26. Sure enough, Dave Robson, Tamsin, and David Brown have all written about their experiences, which I read the night before over a Bluebird Bitter or two.

We’d decided to stay at the Wilson’s Arms in Torver, a handy base we’ve used for a few Lake District events. I was up too early for breakfast but they’d left out cereal and orange juice for me so I was happy enough. The drive to Grizedale Forest visitor centre was a bit further than we expected but we arrived with plenty of time to spare and I was registered in no time. Even though it was early everything was open. Warm toilets, warm cafe. Which was all very pleasant as it was a cold winter’s day.

We had a bit of a wait before the 26 started but it wasn’t really a problem. I sat in the car and sipped coffee and looked out at the cold sunny morning thankful that it was not wet. The weather was much better than I expected and it was promising to be a nice day for a run.

The race briefing was over with a minute or two to spare, but they didn’t start early, in case ‘someone was just parking their car’. This sorta happened to me in the 2010 Derwent Water trail race so I approved of the adherence to protocol. I settled in at the back from the
beginning and did not expect to have a really hard race. Long and slow seems to suit me more than I expected and I, along with many others, were walking the hills from the beginning in anticipation of being grateful for the energy reserves later. What I hadn’t considered is how much I’d still be feeling the Grand Canaria marathon in my legs. It confirms my theory that, if you’re not race-ready or race-fit, simply slowing down doesn’t always help things. Tired legs are tired legs and they’ll want to stop running no matter how slow they’re moving.

On to the second lap. photo by Roberta MarshallThe weather was wonderful and I had a pretty enjoyable, steady first lap. The first bit of the figure of eight. Through the half-way-more-or-less point and across the road towards Windermere where we had a  long steady climb. Although I was taking things gently I could feel the tiredness in my legs and I knew it was going to be a tough day. But the views, the weather and the route all made up for it.

The race support was friendly and faultless. At the third and final feed stop next to Lake Windermere some ridiculously cheerful marshalls cheered and shouted me in and we were having such a good chat I was sorry to push on for the final 10km.

great views of snowy peaks

It was a hard slow slog home but the welcome at the finish was still great for all us stragglers. I don’t know how the organisers manage to stay so cheerful as they wait for every single runner to come back. The marshalls that I’d talked to 10km earlier were now magically transported to the finish, and I got the same rapturous welcome that I had before.

This was a very slick event. The organisation and support was excellent. Race HQ was in the forestry commission visitor centre with hot food and drink. Food stations were simply but amply stocked. There was clear route marking all the way round (with mile markers bizarrely from 13 to 23!) and marshalling at all the key road junctions. The route was never dull. There was always a ‘next corner’ coming up to wonder what was round. The final run in crossed the road and there were no fewer than 5 enthusiastic marshalls managing the crossing and shouting encouragement as the runners belted down towards the finish. I can’t think of anything to fault about the event.

Support comes in all forms. Photo by Roberta Marshall.

Gibside Fruit Bowl, Sunday, November 5, 2017

7 miles


Pos.Bibno.Finish time Chip time Participant Category
161346.442.58Kurt Heron
(Ashington Hurst)
MS
3360850.5350.49Gemma Floyd
(Unattached)
FV35
1032746.446.39Michael MasonMV40
2055348.5948.57Mark WarnerMS
321750.4550.43Matthew ArcherMS
963157.4757.36Michael BarlowMV40
10447358.558.41Tim SkeltonMS
11055259.0859Louise WarnerFV35
11756259.3759.32Conrad WhiteMV60
126860.0459.53Robert AllfreeMV40
14214861.1461.08Sarah DaviesFV50
1494661.3161.02Natalie BellFS
18732864.0663.57Rachelle MasonFV35
18914764.163.54Andrew DaviesMV40
20650364.5964.43Malcolm SygroveMV50
21033065.2865.15Tim MatthewsMV50
2323266.4566.33Stephanie BarlowFV40
2476567.467.31Jean BradleyFV60
26545968.4368.06Jenny SearchFV40
26623368.4768.15Lesley HamillFV45
2702686968.43Jane IvesFV45
29358270.5970.49Anita WrightFV55
32544372.1771.43Jill RudkinFV40
34447574.1174.02Alan SmithMV70
35515974.4174.27Jayne DickensFV45
of 527

Dales Trail Series – DT40, Semer Water, last of Dales Trails races, Wednesday, September 27, 2017

26.2miles, 3333ft gain

Elaine Bisson

The DT30 was my first trail race in 2015. I’d entered thinking I’d run round with Jon…a back injury prevented him running on the day. To say I was apprehensive would have been an understatement. I’d only ever run on roads and had never needed a map.

I’d loved it so much I entered the grand slam in 2016 never even imagining I’d come anywhere near the podium finish. I’d had a good battle and was surprisingly close to the winner of the grand slam until an unfortunate incident in a Lakeland bog…not toilet but muddy bog gave me a second degree hamstring tear which I tried my best to ignore and ended up limping and crying and hating every step of the DT40…I’d finished second and so I decided to try my luck again…

So the pressure was on since April 1st 2017 when I actually won the first race of the series the DT20.

To dare to dream…could I really win the series??

Then an ankle injury, tendonitis, niggles on and on so the DT30 was an incredible disappointment. August running was at an all time low with kids off school and an attempt to rest to sort my ankle.. 100 miles I logged, which for anyone who doesn’t know me is quite pitiful. You can imagine my frustration at the lack of running and lack of preparation for this race.

September came, my ankle was again its normal size and no longer painful. My first focus was supporting Geoff on his JNC, then it was upping my miles. So I log my runs, I try to repeat what I’ve done before a good race. My target was to log a 60m week, a fortnight before the DT40. For some reason this has time and again produced good race results. By hook or by crook it was done. My longest run in time was 5 hours in the lakes (12miles but very hilly!), in Durham it was 17m split into a double run day as I just couldn’t face the boredom of running round Durham. Certainly not my ideal long run distance.

And so I find myself yet again on the start line of the DT40 another year older, another year wiser and another year more eager.

The sun appeared and warmed my skin. I’d taken myself off to calm my nerves and run along the river. I’d had a sneaky wee behind a bush and somehow got grass stuck in my knickers. I was injury free, I’d stocked up on 2 months worth of iron…I was pink!! And I was ready. I was going to be sensible. As my husband said, it was mine to lose….not to win. Strong and steady all the way…

The race starts on the shores of Semer water and climbs for a good…well on my watch 40mins until there is a lovely descent until it climbs again for another 6miles. Having run alongside people at Swaledale marathon who had run steadily up Fremington and all other hills….and gone on to beat me by 10 or so minutes while I ran until my legs burned then walked….then ran, I’d decided to try this instead…would it be efficient and less tiring. I took the climbs steadily, calmed my breathing and slowed every time my breathing seemed too heavy. This year I didn’t walk! I kept going, my miles were faster than last years and I felt good. Then the weather turned to my favourite fine drizzle, oh heaven!.

I’m not sure if I mentioned how I hated last year’s race; the disappointment of not even being able to put up a bit of fight for the trophy. I had lost before I’d even started. I’d remembered tarmac…because that’s what hurt most, miles upon miles of the stuff. This race was entirely different. Miles upon miles upon miles of muddy stuff. Beautiful muddy stiff, gorgeous views, clean air and peace and quiet.

When I could, I raised my head and looked at the views. The fields, the lovely river paths, the hills, splashing across streams, through puddles, navigating boggy paths, tiny forests, my favourite tiny trails that roll through the fields, I enjoyed every step. I remembered at mile 11 last year when I’d looked at Jon broken, every step hurt and I was close to tears…this year I could run, well and comfortably. It was a true joy. Marshalls knew me from previous races and spurred me on, “you have to smash it this year!”, fellow runners encouraged and laughed at slips and slides.

I was scared I’d hit the wall, my miles had been meagre. There was no wall. With 5 miles to go, Robbie, who had navigated me through Punchard on my first Swaledale marathon was marshalling, he told me how well I was running, top 15 Elaine, very well done. That meant the second placed lady would have to get minus 10 to beat me…that trophy was coming home with me. The absolute glee I can’t tell you, the puddles I sought to splash in…the mud that caked my legs, childish glee! Even the ginormous bull who glared at me whilst I pranced through his field couldn’t frighten me. And when I hit the final 250m of road, I was grinning from ear to ear and close to tears, then I saw the finish and Sarah (previous winner, major rival but above all fab friend) raised her hands and cheered and started to cry…and then her husband too ( race organiser) and of course me. Well , I said after the DT20 I wanted to bottle up the feeling and do it again. .. and that’s what I did, running my heart out to bring that trophy home…my most hard earned and prized of all.

Afterwards I dunk in Semer water, clean off my legs, change and settle down with fellow runners while we tuck into soup, tea and cakes. We swop stories, giggle and cheer home the other runners.

This series is what first took me onto trails, to realise how much I love off road running and hills. I’ve made friends and memories that I will never forget.

 

Sedgefield Serpentine, Sunday, September 17, 2017

Conrad White

I have been aware of this local trail race for a few years but not previously been able to run. My son was up visiting, had just finished some significant exams that meant he had not trained over the last month but was up for the race. We had both done the Sedgefield parkrun the day before and as should be – he beat me. I was hoping I could be closer in this one with his lack of training.

There had been rain, so trail shoes were the order of the day. Previous years I think had been dry and road shoes have sufficed. The morning was bright and sunny and registration easy and friendly. There were a number of striders, so we were well represented. I had decided that it was likely to be slippery and to not go off too fast – which I managed to do. A nice gentle downhill on grass and into Hardwick park on good paths. It was then around and between the edges of fields with thin slippery mud. I had done Geoff’s XC training at the Woodland trust a few days before and remembered the instruction “just to run straight through” – shoes will get muddy anyway so might as well plunge in from the start. After about 3 miles of undulations I could see my son ahead and getting closer – that spurred me on. The return 3 miles were tending to be less muddy and more through trees and in general more downhill. With less than a mile to go, and we were in Hardwick park again, I caught him up. He was not, however, going to let me past and with more youthful legs was able to keep ahead and outpace me for the finish. I suspect this is as close as I will ever get to beating him now.

There was a welcome cake stall (the bbq from previous years did not occur) and prize presentation (bottles of wine – one of which I was able to claim, as did Jan as age group winners).

A lovely local well organised friendly multi terrain run. I think due to conditions underfoot, times were slightly slower this year – so maybe next year I could aim for a PB?

[There are loads of quality photos for this event from several photographers. Visit Sedgefield Harriers website for links. ^DN]

Results
timeposbibnamecatclub 
36.481180Heron Kurt-Ashington Hirst 1st Male
43.3417190Pettitt Amelia-Vale Royal1st Female
44.072151Garland JamesM40Elvet Striders
48.3848201White ConradM60Elvet Striders1st V60 Male
49.475622connor philip-Elvet Striders
50.246273Hockin RichardM60Elvet Striders
50.576516Bridge Elizabeth-Elvet Striders
59.1511283Ives JaneF45Elvet Striders
61.18127193Young JanF65Elvet Striders1st V65 Female
61.281288Askey SamanthaF35Elvet Striders
64.36144142Thompson-Young CaroleF55Elvet Striders
dns19985Jardine DougM40Elvet Striders
dns207136Sygrove KathrynF45Elvet Striders

Coxhoe Trail Run, Sunday, September 3, 2017

Conrad White

There was a mass of striders out for the Coxhoe multi terrain trail race – approximately 20% of the field. A local friendly run around the trails of Coxhoe. The course starts downhill (and if you plan on doing this race in the future – remember you will be doing this in reverse on the way back – and some more) then up to a good trail on the disused railway path and into and around the quarry on good firm stony tracks. There are a couple of well marshalled road crossings. The quarry section has a brief downhill, then a sharp (quite unfriendly for my un hill trained legs) ascent and then a bit of an uphill drag – at the top of which is the “half way” marker. (much relief).

I had strider (Dan) in my sights for most of the first half and briefly overtook him on the downhill section of the quarry, only to be passed on the return on the railway path – he was well ahead at the end. Thanks for spurring me on Dan! The last kilometre includes the uphill we came down on the way out, and a bit more, with a sharp turn and into a clearing and the finish which is just above where you start so, if you want and are able, you can cheer on incoming runners.

Striders were again represented in the prizes with Fiona first lady and Sarah and myself getting age category prizes (varying sizes of trophy). There is a chocolate bar and water at the end and a T shirt at registration. What is there not to like?

Results
posNamebibTimeCatClub
1Robert Everson14036:13Mens OverallDurham City Harriers
28Fiona Jones2546:09Womens 35+Elvet Striders
6Chris Callan10238:07Mens OverallElvet Striders
10Michael Anderson10340:19Mens OverallElvet Striders
22Daniel Mitchell5245:03Mens 40+Elvet Striders
23Conrad White15245:26Mens 60+Elvet Striders
30Richard Hockin3546:58Mens 60+Elvet Striders
34Phillip Connor9747:29Mens OverallElvet Striders
39Sarah Davies15448:59Womens 50+Elvet Striders
52Jean Bradley5652:10Womens 60+Elvet Striders
60Helen Parker5953:52Womens 35+Elvet Striders
66Lyne Stobart7454:29Womens 35+Elvet Striders
69Jan Young5455:15Womens 50+Elvet Striders
76Stephen Ellis2856:05Mens 60+Elvet Striders
77Jane Ives8956:08Womens 35+Elvet Striders
81Lesley Hamill14156:32Womens 35+Elvet Striders
86Alison Heslop4557:17Womens 35+Elvet Striders
89Tina Taylor11157:49Womens 35+Elvet Striders
91Anna Mason2057:54Womens 35+Elvet Striders
96Kimberley Wilson8558:50Womens OverallElvet Striders
97Nicola Dorricott14759:01Womens 50+Elvet Striders
101Jenny Search14259:33Womens 35+Elvet Striders
108Jane Dowsett5560:14Womens 35+Elvet Striders
109Carole Thompson-Young8060:14Womens 50+Elvet Striders
110Becks Lippe960:14Womens 35+Elvet Striders
111Alan Scott1860:47Mens 50+Elvet Striders
127Aileen Scott1763:46Womens 35+Elvet Striders
134Helen James3066:03Womens OverallElvet Striders
136Stan White1966:44Mens 50+Elvet Striders
141Helen Wilkes12669:30Womens 35+Elvet Striders
147Sophie Dennis9873:48Womens OverallElvet Striders

Lakeland 50, Saturday, July 29, 2017

Kerry Barnett

So I’m not sure how I got roped into it, what I do know is the entry to Lakeland 50 was a birthday present from a former boyfriend…… thanks for that!

So the Lakeland 50 is dubbed as one of the toughest ultras in the Uk, self navigated, unsupported over some of the most beautiful scenery ….. sounds good so far doesn’t it? Bearing in mind 30 miles was the farthest I’d gone (managed to squeeze in a 55 miler as a 24 hour event 3 weeks before the big one) I can’t navigate to save my life and I’m terrible at following training plans I guess to no wonder I was a bit nervous about this one.

The 29th July loomed large and I made my final preparations, making sure I had my essential kit neatly in a box ready for kit check, road books for Kathryn Sygrove and me printed and laminated (the provided one isn’t waterproof), food organised (being vegan I wasn’t sure if there would be adequate food I could eat at the checkpoints), tent packed and off we went down to Coniston.

Arriving around 7pm Rob put our tent up while I went to register and get my kit checked, it had been raining already…. a sign of things to come it seemed. Kit check went well was even complemented on how neatly my stuff was presented, picked up my ‘dibber’, got weighed (apparently if you look unwell at the end they’ll weigh you again as an indicator of kidney failure or dehydration). Then we bumped into Kathryn, waited for her to be registered and kit checked then headed off to the pub for more pre race prep ….. food and drink.

The night passed with a fitful sleep with the obligatory pre ultramaranoia nightmare, landings of rain through the night, the baaaa of sheep ALL NIGHT, but knowing that all my prep was done and all that was to be done now was to toe the start line with 700 ish other runners was some consolation.

7 o’clock alarm, coffee, instant porridge, ablutions as best you can in a tent, use of the chemical toilets (nice!) and it was all of a sudden 830am and time for the entertaining race brief by Uncle Terry and ‘the other one’ (you had to be there). Now after another toilet stop, it was onto the buses for the tedious journey to Dalemain, the starting point. More snacking on the bus, banana, peanut butter and jam sandwich for me, cheese sandwich for Kathryn.

Of course, it started to rain as soon as we got to Dalemain, waterproofs on while we waited for the loo again. Couple of pics/selfies, ‘fibbed’ onto the course and a Facebook live video as we crossed the start line We were off!

The first 4 miles were through the Dalemain estate, nothing special but not flat, some little undulations made it a bit interesting. The rain stopped after around 2 miles so waterproof off. At this stage you kind of thin into the groups of people you’ll see time and again. Pooley Bridge next, a nice run through a pretty town… lots of cheers and claps from passers by the the first real uphill, think it was about a mile long with a photographer saying ‘no running no photo’ so of course I had to have a little run, but just for the photo.

Managed to catch up with Joanne Abbott, a runner I was familiar with from the Hardmoors races and held onto her and her hubby through the checkpoint at Howtown, renamed Howdy Town with a western theme, quick cup of tea and some flapjack and we were off again.

Here was the toughest part of the whole route for me, and only 12 miles in….. The monstrous Fusedale climb, it went on for at least a mile and a half with over 1200 ft of climb. I was down to counting steps to push myself on, sometimes 50 steps, sometimes 100 occasionally 30, I must have used a whole packet of shotbloks and a few glucose tablets to get me up there but my strategy worked and I eventually made it to the top. It was here I met Cathy, she was rewarding herself with a kit Kat, which had melted. Cathy and I stuck together for the remainder of the race, she was a godsend and made the rest of the race a less horrific experience.

From the top of Fusedale it was a bog hoppers dream, we had been reminded to stay high to get from High Kop (highest point of the course at around 2200 feet) and to look for the wooden stake to start down to Low Kop and run around Haweswater until we reached the next checkpoint at Mardake Head. Time for more refuelling, soup, sandwiches, coke, tea all served by lovely marshals who couldn’t do enough for us, filling our water bottles for us etc. There were a couple of 100ers sitting wrapped up, waiting to be taken back to Coniston. I can’t even imagine doing the 100 so fair play to them for getting this far. Soon we were off, with a packet of crisps tucked away for later.

It was round about here we picked up our 3rd musketeer Donna, who had done the route last year and was glad of some company. The next bit from Mardale to Kentmere was quite enjoyable, still in daylight, the company was good, we were well fed, and the terrain wasn’t horrible, still some elevation though but after Fusedale anything was preferable. By now we had renamed it ‘F^*#%$ Fusedale’ which amused us for the rest of the race.

3 Harry Potter/Stardust esque slate styles later we arrived at my favourite checkpoint so far Kentmere. It was inside, there was suitable for vegan pasta, hot tea, coke, hobnobs. And Jen Scotney was there (wife of world class ultramarathoner Marcus Scotney, and I later found out she gad SFV cake which I missed out on). Starting to get dark now, so long sleeve top on, head torch on, second watch on (I knewmy Tomtom wouldn’t last the whole time). Cathy changed her socks and blister plasters. I made the decision not to take my shoes off until the end. Once again, ushered out of the hall, we were off.

Ambleside next stop, the weather was still holding off, temperature just right no rain. We kept on keeping on, over Garburn Pass, very rocky and technical underfoot but my Altra Superiors were performing well and there was little slippage. I was starting to feel a bit nauseous and couldn’t eat anything, taking sips of tailwind every now and again. I was so looking forward to Ambleside as it was another a checkpoint crossed off.

Eventually we approached the checkpoint and had a lovely surprise that Angela and John Greathead had stayed up to support me (it was around 130am by now), the Vegan Runners had put together a box of vegan goodies and with my queasy tummy I was overjoyed to see Ginger Snaps, just what i needed something ginger to settle my nausea, worked a treat in combination with Kendal mint cake.

Cathy had been having trouble with her shoes slipping of her heels so I bent down to replace her shoes in the ‘heel locking’ style which really improved her comfort. And with a big hug from Angela and John we were off again.

And now the heavens opened. Back on with the waterproof jacket and keep on going. This was again quite a pleasant part of the course, only 5.6 miles to the next checkpoint and mainly on paths, jog a bit walk a bit jog a bit walk a bit. Past Skelwith, Elterwater, the campsite (sshhh quiet!) not much to see in the pitch dark and lashing rain. But then the bright glow of the checkpoint tent at Chapel Stile beckoned in the near distance. Now hot food, veg stew, coffee, water bottles topped up again. Donna sat down. I did not. Beware the chair! Hustling the girls, I just wanted to keep going and get it over with now, it was around 330am now, pitch dark and still raining.

Now the boggiest, wettest, difficult to navigate in the dark terrain. There were loads of sheep, well at first glance they were just reflective eyes in the darkness, I wonder what they were thinking! As we came out of the fields, into the bracken across Bleamoss it started to get light and the rain stopped. There was no actual sunrise to be seen but it must have happened as it was suddenly full daylight and even the sun started to come out. One 100 lady runner went past us a bit like the white rabbit in Alice in a Wonderland, she thought it was much later than it was and she thought she was going to miss her cut off. Reassuring her it was only 530 ish not 830 ish she breathed a sigh of relief but still pushed on. On reaching the self dib at Wrynose there was an old fella with his 2 dogs, I later found out he is there from the beginning to the end providing moral support (the only acceptable support on the Lakeland 50/100). Only an hour to Tilberthwaite he told us, so off we went again. Jog walk jog walk jog walk down the hill, through Fell Foot Farm and onto Tilberthwaite checkpoint.

I was greeted into Tilberthwaite by Kat who I ran at Windermere marathon with, more tears and hugs, more coffee, couple more ginger snaps. ‘Do you want a seat?’ (beware the chair) ‘no thanks’ ‘only 3.5 miles to go, just over a parkrun’ . Let’s get going!

First up out of the checkpoint. Big old stone stairs hurrah! Then a bit more of an incline (still nothing like F#^*^#} Fusedale though. Even the short scramble up the rocks was a welcome distraction, I’d recce’d this part and knew it wasn’t far to go. Just over the top and then ‘we are starting our final descent into Coniston, please fasten your seatbelt, doors to manual and cross check’ Cathy, Donna and I started laughing now, after a grim miserable few hours, this felt good. My knees were hurting from all the downs, my ankles we complaining from the tricky techinical rockiness. But we were nearly done.

Cathy’s running club mates (around 10 of them) had turned out to see her finish, so proud of her, as was I. Cathy had only started running 8 months ago specifically to complete this in memory of her brother who had died after a short illness. She had done it! I had done it! Rob appeared to cheer me in, giving me a big hug.

When we hit the tarmac in Coniston we all started running, I don’t know how we did, but we did. We handed our poles to passers by and held each other’s hands as we ran and turned the corner and through the Finish line, we did our final dib together so we all finished at exactly the same time. 20 hours 57 minutes.

At the time, I said I’d never even consider doing the Lakeland 50 again, I said I’d hated every step, every moment, but do you know what? I didn’t hate it, it was tough, very tough and F%*^# Fusedale nearly did for me but it was an amazing experience, I am so proud of what I have achieved and what my body and mind are capable of.

 

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

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

 

Results
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

30km

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!

Red Kite Trail Race, Dipton, Stanley, Sunday, July 9, 2017

8 miles

Joanne Patterson

July would be the month I would take part in 5 races – clearly I was very keen at the start of the year, and signed up for most things that I missed last year due to getting into running just that bit too late forthe popular races.

4th of July saw me take part in my first Bridges of the Tyne – I was really looking forward to this race – it was only 5 miles, mostly flat, I had been running quite well I thought – this could be my race. But apparently, attempting to race on a school dinner and a packet of hula hoops isn’t advisable. I struggled from the first mile, both physically and mentally. I finished the race feeling disappointed in myself and completely disillusioned with running.

This is when being part of a close-knit club comes in very useful. I had some great advice and caring words from my fellow clubmates (namely, Mark, Vics, Matt , Tim & Catherine).

  • You put too much pressure on yourself
  • Pick one of your races that you want to do well in, and focus on that. Use other races as training runs
  • You need to make running fun again, and not about PBs and beating yourself
  • Mix it up – try not to focus on times for a bit

I took this all on board when I decided I would still take part in the Red Kite Trail run on 9th July. This was 8 miles of trail – basically four miles downhill and then four back up. I was never going to be very good at this race, but before Tuesday, a silly part of me would beat myself up massively, regardless of the result. Taking all this advice on board, I decided I would run my own race – not worry about competing with anybody, not caring if I was last Strider home. Taking it back to how it used to be, and trying to enjoy running instead of turning it into something negative.

I arrived at the Community Centre in Dipton (practically next door to my daughter’s nursery school) and immediately found some Strider friends, who all seemed to be in the same frame of mind. We had the usual photo opportunities, then out to the front for the start.

Running on Tarmac in Trail shoes is a bizarre feeling on your feet, but before I knew it we were off road. Down some glorious grassy hills into the middle of the countryside. The sun was shining, I had a pretty awesome playlist on my phone and things felt good. Up until mile 3, I had to stop like a million times to climb over stiles (possibly exaggerated), this would normally have frustrated me as it would ruin my splits – but today, i was thankful for the stop, trying to take it all in. Chatting with fellow runners and thanking marshalls. There were a few ropey ankle situations, which reminded me of cross country, and I saw an injured Mr Bisson hobbling back to the start (it doesn’t matter how many times he reminds me of his name, I always want to call him Mr Bisson – i guess that’s what happens when you are married to a club celeb like First Lady Bisson). Throw in a refreshing stream crossing (i can confirm going straight through is more advisable than trying to cross the rocks – is that right Anna??) and before I knew it, I was at the halfway point.

I had seen the elevation profile prior to the race, so I knew what I had ahead of me. I stopped at the water station (something I would never normally do), drank some water and inspected the massive blister forming on my big toe. This running thing is so glam. Off i went again, expecting the next 4 miles to literally be a sheer vertical climb. Happily it wasn’t quite as bad as that – some running through fields, into the woods and straight into a massive muddy bog. At some points in this run, there was nobody behind me, and nobody in front of me – it was almost like somebody had just marked out a nice Sunday route for me. I tried to catch up with a runner in front, as I felt more comfortable with somebody in front, so that I could follow them and not end up lost!

So the elevation profile was true to its word – the hills made cross country hills seem like nothing. I was comforted to see everyone walking the hills – this had been my plan. I got talking to some lovely ladies from Morpeth Harriers, and we encouraged each other to run the flats and downhills, then catch each other on the next uphill. Up to the top of the last hill, and i saw the place i get my nails done, so i knew where i was. I blasted the last little bit to the finish line, mouthing “Jesus Christ” to Catherine and Anna who were waiting at the finish line for me. Hugs from the Morpeth ladies reminded me what a great sporting community I am part of.

Considering I am from the area, these were trails I never knew existed. The sights and smells and a renewed view of what running means to me made this a great run. Thank you so much to my ever suffering team mates for helping to get me here. I’m not saying that I can treat every race like this, but, for now you have helped me more than you realise.