Category Archives: Officers’ Reports

Captain’s Roundup, Monday, March 11, 2019

Fiona Brannan

Striders on tour this weekend with success across the country!

At the ever popular Dentdale runs, 28 Striders turned out in force to represent the club with some fantastic performances through the field. The men’s team of Michael Littlewood, Matt Archer and Allan Renwick retained the Striders first place title for another year, while Katy Walton won her age category in the 14 mile race. In the 7 mile race, success in the form of one Mark Kearney (sounds familiar, has he won something before…?), storming home to win two minutes ahead of second place. Another win for Jan Young in her age category as well!

Further down south, Stephen Jackson continues his running success with another personal best at the London half marathon; coming home in 71 minutes and 60th overall, despite the high winds! Well done to Striders Karen, Lesley and Rachel who also travelled down; conditions could have been more pleasant but top running all round.

Tonight at 7, as many of you will know – entries for the Blaydon race open, therefore we are postponing the meeting time until 7:30

So, at 7:30 from the Houghall bus stop we have:

Alison will take the 11 min mile group, about 4 miles

Michael will lead a Jon Ayres special, suitable for those who run at 8-10 min miles but nobody left behind. Will include ‘hills, speed and fun’ I am told! Turn up to find out more…


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Captain’s Roundup, Monday, March 4, 2019

Fiona Brannan

Morning all,

photo credit: Phil Ray

If you missed it, the final cross country fixture of the season was at Alnwick Castle on Saturday, with a strong end to the season for all involved.  Stephen Jackson weaved his way through the 550 strong field from the fast pack to finish a cracking 11th overall. Stuart Ord finished strongly to gain promotion to the fast pack for next season, closely followed by Rory, Michael L, Allan Renwick and Georgie making up the men’s team.  In the ladies race, the counters were myself, Susan Leight (continuing her strong start to cross country and gaining promotion to the medium pack), Zanna Clay and Laura Jennings.  Special mentions to Alison Smith, who took nearly 3 minutes off her time for Alnwick last year and to Susan Davis, who it was lovely to see back on the start line at the Harrier League!

Down at Dalton Park on Sunday, Chris Callan also had a flying return from injury to finish an impressive 2nd place at the Dalton Park 5K, good work! 

(Details of tonight’s runs have been circulated by e-mail and are on the Striders Facebook group.)

The light nights are almost upon us, only a few more weeks of dark running!

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Captain’s Roundup, Monday, February 25, 2019

Fiona Brannan

This weekend gone was the big one! For many people – 17 of us travelled to Harewood House for the National Cross Country Championships, competing amongst the Nations best on what felt like a summer day – no mud was to be found anywhere! A great day against a stunning backdrop, with performances to match!

Congratulations to all who ran the various distances of the Endurancelife Northumberland Coastal Runs, challenging courses but it looked beautiful!

Lastly (though I’m sure there will be more I’ve missed, sorry!) a mention for Sam Renwick, who completed the Transgrancanaria ultramarathon – 128 km long with 7,500 m of ascent – phenomenal achievement after just over a year of running, well done!

Coming up next – the final Harrier League fixture! The ladies and men’s teams are both safely in division 1, but Alnwick is one of the best venues, and we usually finish well here. Anyone who hasn’t collected their number, or who would like one for this weekend please contact Elaine or Geoff, and come and have a go!

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Captain’s roundup, Monday, February 18, 2019

Fiona Brannan

Morning everyone, 

I hear there has been some running this weekend!  After the success in speedwork at the cross country last weekend, this week has been all about enjdurance!  There are too many success stories to mention every individual, but a few highlights to note – 
In Durham, at the Runners of the Lost Ark event, there was a large Strider contingent, with many significant distance PBs achieved.  In particular I would like to mention Natalie Bell, as for those who aren’t on Facebook may not know, was running the event for charity and her sister, and completed an incredible 37.2 miles and raised over £1000 – all your training and hard work has certainly paid off!  If you would like to read Natalie’s story, have a look at her just giving page.
Over in Ireland, The Scott family were also running laps for many hours! Whilst keeping Stuart company at the Atlas Running Last One Standing event, Susan covered 50 miles, and Stuart kept going just a little longer and achieved a top ten finish, completing 120 miles in 28 hours! That’s 4 miles, every hour, on the hour…
In Seville, Dougie and Stephen were enjoying the sun – or not, while they completed the Seville Marathon. Some holiday!
Following the green “marathon line” didn’t help much
One last note – if you want to celebrate these achievements and more, buy your ticket for the Awards Night on 30th March! Tickets are available on TeamApp, either through the app on a smartphone or via the website –
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Captains Roundup, Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Fiona Brannan

Morning everyone, 

For those who missed it (where have you been?!) we had a cracking weekend at the Thornley Cross Country fixture – first timer Susan Scott followed me into the funnel, soon joined by Corrine and Emma leading the ladies to first place and promotion to the medium pack for Susan and Corrine. 

In the men’s race, Stuart Ord was first home in 10th place, followed by Sam Renwick in his inaugural cross country appearance in 20th, both gaining promotion to the medium pack. Graeme Watt was next home in 27th from the medium pack, gaining promotion to the fast pack – well done Graeme! Completing the men’s team were James Garland (who was promoted to the medium pack), Paul Evans and Matt Archer, leading the men to a strong finish in 2nd place. 

We also had a great turnout of 17 women and 27 men! Everybody put out a great performance, Thornley has a reputation for being the toughest course so this just shows that we have some equally hardy runners! 

Alnwick is less than 3 weeks away – it is a bit less hilly and a bit more scenic than Thornley, lets get the same turnout and do our best to repeat the performance of the weekend! 

Not content with a hilly 6 miles, I would also like to mention for those not on Facebook that Mark Kearney won the Saltburn Hardmoors (bit-more-than-a) marathon! 

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Weekly Roundup, Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Team Smitchard

Hi all, welcome to your festive weekly roundup.

Things kicked off with an exceptional performance by Scott Watson on Saturday at the 38 mile trail / fell race ‘The Tour de Helvellyn’.

Scott finished in 12th place in a field of 200+ and was first V50 male. Scott’s time for the event of 6 hours 41 minutes. To put it into some perspective his nearest Strider rivals (Gibbo, Mike Hughes and mud man) were 2 hours behind. Fantastic performance Scott, hard training definitely paying off. Well done to Scott and all the Striders who finished this immense challenge. 

A few flew the purple flag at the Saltwell 10K road race. Richard Hockin, Andrew Davies, Diane Harold, Katie Davison, Robin Linton and Claire Galloway, all of whom had good runs. Well done gang!

George Nicholson completed his 250th parkrun at Gibside in a low key event. Impressive milestone in anyone’s running, well done George for this and your fundraising achievements! 

Carole Seheult achieved a 5K PB in her second Durham parkrun, whilst Gareth Pritchard and Stephen Jackson were first home at Durham and Sunderland respectively. 

Stan White achieved his highest age graded score with his 200th parkrun in the bag! Great stuff! 

Tamsin Imber nailed another impressive PB in the Spijkenisse marathon (Rotterdam) with a time of 3:31! Great Running Tamsin! 

The Strider festive handicap ran on Sunday in good conditions. Well done and thanks to everyone who took part – those who organised it and set up the course, those who ran, dressed up in amazing costumes, marshalled, played Santa and the like all helped to make it another huge success! It was great to see a mix of old and newer faces in a race which encourages friendly competition & the opportunity to run and socialise with a diverse range of folks from the club.

There were 20 prizes – 4 main ones went to: the race winner Mike Bennett (1st time winner in 29 handicaps!) fastest male Mike Mason, fastest female Louise McCLoy and fastest junior Erin Keeler-Clarke. All the other prizes were for fancy dress chosen by Santa’s elves.

This week Wednesday options

– 5K suitable for all, Sue Jennings and Jan Ellis

– 9-9.30 MM round town with Jonathan Hamill- approx 10K
– 9-9.30 MM headtorch signal box run approx 6 miles with the Sygroves  (please bring headtorches) 
– Track session with Allan (see previous post – time trial this week)
– Paul – TBC
– Anna – TBC  
Anything / anyone else let us know! 

This is the last evening we have MC until 4th Jan but there are plenty options to keep us running through the festive period as per Paul’s and Nigel’s previous emails. 

We will remind you what’s on when!


Catherine and Gareth

Team Smitchard 

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Weekly Roundup, Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Team Smitchard

Greetings from poolside,

Been another good week for striders with a variety of winter challenges taken on.

Thank you to all who contributed to the overwhelming success of Saturday’s NE X/C Champs at Aykley Heads. You did us proud! 

Quiet on the parkrun front due to XC, but keep those age grade results coming in please.

David Case, Tim Skelton plus a number of other purplies ran the Rosebery Topping HM which was a distance PB for Tim of 15.1miles in 3:02hrs. Well done everyone who ran any of the distances, looked like a standard Hardmoors day, bonus miles, very muddy in parts with amazing views all the way. 

Wednesday night run options are:-

•8 min mile pace: Paul Evans

•9 min mile pace: Elaine Bisson

•10 min mile pace: Jonathan Hamill

•11 min mile pace: Laura Gibson 

•Hill session: Fiona Kinghorn Jones

•Headtorch run over to wicker man approx 10 min mile pace: Anita Clementson

•suitable for all – 30 easy out 28 back’ Tim Matthews

•Track: see Allan’s email

•5K group (no one left behind, suitable for all): Sue Jennings

Strider Christmas handicap to look forward to on Sunday as the festive season begins. 

Catherine and Gareth 

(Team Smitchard)

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Weekly Roundup, Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Team Smitchard

Hello and welcome to your club weekly roundup.

The 2016/17 GP season continued on Sunday with the Hexhamshire Hobble held in perfect conditions for December.  Jason Harding running well in a tough race placing 26th, all the more impressive after a sub 18 min parkrun the day before. Consider the GP gauntlet thrown down striders! Diane Harold, Melanie Hudson and Jo Porter also did the club proud attacking this challenging fell race, a first and not the last for Di, well done gang!

Congratulations Carol Seheult on her first Durham parkrun and to Roz Layton launching her assault on the new format club Age grade parkrun challenge with a cracking 81.67% and Jason Harding leading the men’s race with 81.51%.

For his 60th Birthday celebration (we like your style) Conrad White ran the Blyth Sands race. An age handicapped race, he placed top 20 on the results. An inspiration to us all. Richard Hocking also ran well on the day, congratulations both! Unfortunately no official prizes but Blyth Running club kindly gave a bottle of wine as a birthday gift – a great race and a really friendly club.

Saturday will see the North East Counties Athletics Association (NECAA) X/C Championships at Aykley Heads. Please see MM & MW emails for details, let see and hear purple tide of folks marshalling, supporting and running on the day – showcasing what a great club we belong to.

Wednesday we have our festive Club run, so please be Christmassy and shine bright like diamonds in an attempt to be safe and be seen (our very own mini Durham Lumiere festival) – prizes will be awarded for the brightest / most festive as well as others linked to the run itself. Organised by Jon Ayres and his glamorous assistants it will involve a run around our lovely city hunting for Durham based quiz answers.

Groups of 5 will head out with everyone meeting back at MC for scoring and prizes. Watch out for our club Elvet elves during the run -you need to decide if they are naughty or nice! 

Track will be on as normal but you can still get festive and shine bright to take part in that side of the evening. 

Warm up will be taking place on the track which should be lit from 6.45 – we encourage you all to take part if you can. 

Announcements will now be held trackside after warm up and before the main runs / track session commence.

Look forward to seeing you there

Gareth and Catherine 

Team Smitchard

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Weekly Roundup, Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Team Smitchard

Hello Striders,

Welcome to the weekly roundup…

The New XC Harrier league fixture at Thornley proved a challenging, glorious mud fest for those on 2 feet and in four wheels. Tamsin Imber gaining promotion to the fast pack and Stephen Jackson placed 24th and first counter starting from the fast pack along with other stirling performances throughout the men’s and ladies teams. 

Lesley Hamill and Joanne Patterson tackled this course as their first XC (hardcore!) Joanne is recovering well after taking a tumble…. in her own words ”So yesterday might not have gone the way I had hoped, but it reaffirmed what I already knew – I am part of an amazing team who only think good of me for stepping out of my comfort zone and trying my best. One little mistake 200m (if that) from the finish line, dented pride and some whiplash but more kind and encouraging words than I can count. Thank you (you know who you are)” Great stuff Joanne, fantastic effort and support all round, this is what being a Strider is all about. Well done to all who raced! Hopefully we will see a lot more of the purple army taking on the mud as it’s going to be a tight second half to the season and we want to avoid relegation for either team. 

A number of Striders completed the ‘Northumberland Big 10 Miler’ on Sunday, including Trevor Chaytor (first Strider to finish – 1:24:22) Kathryn Sygrove, First Lady Strider home with big PBs for Jordi Sabate-Villaret, Ashley Price-Sabate and Karen Hooper. Also running were Lucy Herkes, Melanie Hudson and 
new Strider, Karen Crampton – welcome to the purple posse Karen! 

Run options this Wednesday are:-

– 8 min mile group – Paul Evans (poss Redhill hill reps)

– 9 min mile group, Elaine Bisson

– 10 min mile group, hour round town with Steve Ellis

– 12 min mile group, 30 min out 28 min back towards Bowburn with Kay Cairns. If you have a headtorch or small torch please bring it as there is a short unlit section at the top of Shincliffe Bank where street lights are currently out

– Track session, please see Allan’s email/post

– 5K group Elaine Jennings 

– Multi ability session around the park and ride with Jon Ayres

Thanks all for now folks

Catherine and Gareth 

Team Smitchard 

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Weekly Roundup, Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Team Smitchard

Hello striders,

The racing week kicked off with Michael Higgins who was the first Strider home when he completed the “Run In The Dark – Manchester 5k” on Wednesday evening.  A run around Salford Quays, which he finished in 27:40. Well done Michael! 

Jack Lee ran in the Kendal Mountain Festival 10k placing 34th on the day. Lone strider with another strong run

Saturday saw striders running well at the South Shields, Sherman Cup HL X/C fixture. Thank you mud people and co for flying the flag. We look forward to seeing lots of the purple posse racing round Thornley (very local, new course) this weekend. Please see Mudman’s email / Facebook post for more details.

Another big race this weekend was the strider favourite Brampton to Carlisle. 10 miles of ‘beautiful road’ fast, net down hill and packed full of excited PB hunters. Some great write ups are already online. Stand out performance coming from super speedster Stephen Jackson, leading the way home. Graeme Walton proved what a gent he is by helping Tamsin ‘pocket rocket’ Imber smash the 70 min mark and Jean Bradley bagged herself another age related podium place – this time securing a prize as well (rightly so!) Well done everyone who put themselves through the mental & physical battle of 10 miles and came out the other side with a time to be proud of.  Some great pacing demonstrated, loads of PBS, plenty of team work & healthy competition. Strong team performances from the men and women saw us placing well and proving the purple army mean business. 

Wooler hosted the trail outlaws latest event which saw striders tackle the half and full marathon under extreme winter weather conditions to say the least, making the whole experience an even bigger challenge. Read Aaron’s race report for a personal insight to the race, he finished 32nd which is fabulous, well done to all who took part, top prize goes to Kathleen Bellamy who bagged herself a marriage proposal as part of the wooler trail weekend. Congrats to you both!

Run options this Wednesday are:- 

  • 8 min mile group Geoff Davis
  • 9 min mile group Michael Ross
  • 10 min mile group Jon Ayres, possibly Tesco trot route
  • 12 min mile group run with Tim Matthews
  • Intervals on A167 totalling 6-7 miles for 9-10 min mile group with Fiona Kinghorn Jones
  • Hill reps on Baths Bridge hill for all abilities with Anna Seeley
  • 5K with Elaine Jennings suitable for all 
  • Brisk walk for 1 hour with Sue Jennings
  • Track with Allan Seheult, see email / post for details

Thanks to all run leaders – Please remember to shine bright at night! Be seen be safe!!

That’s all for now folks!
Catherine and Gareth
Team Smitchard
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