The GP results have now been updated with the results from Thornley XC5. The next GP event is the final Harrier League event of the year at Alnwick on Sat 2nd March.
- What happens when Tamsin, a busy working mum of two, immerses herself in the joy of running and discovers running ‘her way’. From the curiously meditative experience of running hard on a track, to the adventures of running 30 miles across the North York Moors sustained by frozen Jaffa Cakes.
- The passion and friendliness of the running community, united by the simple act and immense liberation of putting one foot in front of the other (lots of times).
- The joy of running with wild abandon through the bogs, moors and woods of the countryside.
- Why the challenge of competitive running is truly addictive. And why you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you don’t get a Personal Best.
- Why CFS/ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) is a serious and life restricting illness.
As follows is an extract from this book by kind permission from Pitch Publishing.
The ‘Hardmoors ‘White Horse Marathon’ North Yorkshire Moors. (28miles, hilly), May 2015.
Driving down the A19 was like driving through the sea! The heavy rain beat down hard and bounced straight back up off the road. The wind came in gusts and repeatedly slammed rain into the side of the car. The car air conditioning roared loudly at full blast as GH (gorgeous husband) battled to demist the windows. Through all this noise the words of James Bay were occasionally caught as the song ‘Cry me a River’ played on the radio! No need to cry, we already had a river! I half wondered if it would be cancelled. Had I met the organiser of the Hardmoors series, I would have known how unlikely this was! For now, I really hoped it was on. I was buzzing with excitement!
After our little white Fiat Panda had struggled up the steep angles of Sutton Bank, GH and the kids dropped me off and made haste to warm indoor places in York. The warm inviting car drove away and I was abandoned in the heavy rain in a deserted Sutton Bank visitor centre early on a dim morning in May. In a moment of inspiration I had grabbed my ancient, ‘car-to- work- entrance’ umbrella from the car just before it drove off, and I now tried to shelter underneath it. This umbrella was useless as the spokes on one side had been bent a long time ago and the thing turned inside out whenever it knew a big blast of wet wind was coming my way. I skidadeled to the visitor centre, hoping to find some shelter. As I got closer I noticed a small group of runners sheltering beneath the roof between the two visitor centre buildings. They were all smiling! Had they not noticed there was a gale outside? One guy was even stripping off in an act of defiant optimism! I was slightly cold! One lady had come all the way from Norway to experience the North York Moors. I think she was going to get a true experience!
I realised I needed to collect my race number so asked for directions. They pointed me towards the front of the visitor centre. There in small field was a small white tent flapping about for dear life in the breeze! Umbrella up, I braced myself to the elements and made a run for the tent, slip sliding on the mud. My umbrella laughed at me mockingly and used it as another great opportunity to turn inside out.
In the tent I found another group of sheltering runners and marshals giving out numbers. I collected my number and cowered in the tent for a bit. It got closer to the start time, so I joined everyone now congregating behind the start and I shivered beneath my merciless umbrella as the heavens delivered further onslaughts of sheets of water. In a sudden big gust my umbrella then whacked me in the face. I tried to show it who was boss by throwing it into a nearby bin. Soon a big, strong and tough looking man appeared. He looked like he had come from the army! This turned out to be the Hardmoors organiser. He gave a strict briefing in true style, one that I would come to know and love over the next year, rounding off with a “ OK you ‘orrible lot. Five, four, three, two one, go suffer!”
There was nothing left to do but to embrace the heavens! First along the top of a wood along the top of the escarpment. It was slightly more sheltered with this tree barrier. I didn’t have a hood as I hadn’t been able to find a cheap water proof jacket with hood in my copious spare time, just a thin wooley hat on my head. My hat soon became soaked through, but it was a warm, heavy wet thing on my head which was better than nothing on my head. We ran along a rutted, rocky footpath, which necessitated sighting ahead to find the best foot landings without falling over. This was difficult through my rain streaming glasses. Then it was down a steep mud bank and around Goremire lake, which is a very nice hidden gem. There were marshals around the lake which helped as there were a myriad of little muddy paths here and there. Once round the lake it was a steep mud bank, back up on to the moor. The mud back was churned up by all the runners ahead and I was on my knees at times!
Then we ran away from the edge, and higher up on to the open wild exposed Moors! It really could not have got any wetter! I cannot report on the views. I just saw a watery scene with some heather in it. Due to my impaired vision it was hard to navigate. After five or so miles, there was a path off to the right. Was this our path? Luckily my map was accessible and cling-filmed, stowed in my new, still cheap, but larger, running rucksack. I could not see the map, but others could, and this confirmed we did indeed need to take this path.
Brilliant! We were now running south west, the rain behind us with a downhill trend. Lovely! On a steep muddy descent my road shoes were a bit like ice skates and I had to gingerly slow down to a tip toe. There were six guys just behind me at this point. They waited patiently, offering encouragement! I felt very bad holding them up though so let them past as soon as I could find a vaguely firm surface to stand on. Then it was to a forest. I put on a surge and managed to catch the guys up. I was surprised to find I wasn’t so keen on people passing me! I kept up with them along the wider track through the edge of the forest. They put on a good pace! Hooray, it had stopped raining now! Eventually the guys out-paced me and disappeared into the distance.
I was now running alone through private land. (The organiser had negotiated with the land owner to enable us to run through this area, due to a problem with the original route). This felt nicely well off the beaten track! It was a wooded area of recent tree felling and machines and vehicles had churned up the land. Spindly tree branches lay across the path spiking me through my leggings. Underfoot was soft rutted mud. At one point I had to haul myself up a bank of tree branches! I hadn’t had so much fun for ages! Eventually I came to the other side of the dendrous*obstacle course, to meet a smart little road. Tarmac felt like a luxury product! At a junction I was unsure of which way to go. I admit to being very lazy and instead of wrestling my numb fingers with wet zips to get the map out I just waited until the runner behind caught me up. He seemed surprised to see me standing there. He was very polite and also confident about the route. We ran on together and enjoyed some conversation. The bit on the road was not for long and we soon found ourselves running across a flat valley bottom through grassy and boggy fields. We talked about the possibility of trench foot. The valley was steep sided and wooded. Then ahead I saw the most beautiful sight! It was Riveaux Abbey, shrouded in the low mist which blended into a white sky. The Abbey looked eerie and majestic. Given the weather, the Abbey grounds were deserted and we had this peaceful sight to ourselves. A lone marshal directed us over a stone hump back bridge and we headed back West, admittedly still a fair few miles to go, but West nevertheless which uplifted my spirits and gave the legs a new boost of energy from places unknown.
It was round further woods and grassy fields we went, more ups and downs, to reach a final checkpoint. The Hardmoors series is entirely run by these amazing volunteers who stand in bad weather at wild outposts for hours, who are always smiling and encouraging and some even bring home baking! Some are runners, others are friends. I thank them, and did no more so than at this point when I was feeling the distance. I was offered a cup of delicious cool water and home made shortbread! It was nice to chat and stay a while! Then back to the task at hand, to get to Sutton Bank Visitor centre. After more knee wrenchingly muddy paths, came a rather less attractive track, with less attractive views. I guess we were right off to the south of the Moors now. It was past featureless ploughed fields. It was very long. I was felt really hungry and had a craving for meat. As I passed a lone grass pasture I eyed up the sheep.
I caught up some others and we walked up a hill, discussing the gravity of the situation to justify walking! Groups of walkers with dogs appeared in the wooded area a mile from the Visitor Centre. Then at long last the Visitor Centre was ahead! Just a case of getting round to the tent! The sun shone down warmly and the car park was now full and a buzzing scene of happy picnickers and families! I stumbled along the side of the car park to be cheered on by a few runners, (some of whom I recognised from earlier) who had already finished. Finally I was back in the tent and a marshal took my number down. I was a bit stunned at how much of the North York Moors you can see in a morning if you want to! My family returned from a good morning seeing the museums of York and we went to the Visitor Centre café to exchange experiences. I also got a sausage sandwich!
The next day was a Monday and I turned up at the women’s running group! I had heard the word ‘recovery run’ bandied about, but wasn’t sure really what it meant. A slow run to ease the legs maybe? I’m not sure I could do that! My legs were so stiff I had to kind of walk down the stairs like a robot without bending my legs. Sitting down was painful, and at home the repeated sweeping of the floor necessitated by children meant flipping myself from standing to press up position without bending the legs, sweeping up lying down, then snaking to the bin! At the track I decided to cheer people on, then enjoyed the café! I told the woman’s running group leader about my post race mobility. She looked at me wryly and said well done. She asked me how the route had been. I’ve no idea, I replied I hadn’t seen 95 per cent of it what with the rain on my glasses!
If you wish to read more, Tamsin’s book is available to pre-order from Waterstones and Amazon websites. It is available from these websites and in bookshops from 17thDecember 2018.
The Boundary 500 ‘Classic’, Thursday, October 4, 2018
Bonjour from the other side of the pond …
Saturday 18th August (THIS SATURDAY) is this summer’s Elvet Striders night out at 7pm onwards.
I have booked a VIP area to start with in the Library, (formerly Varsity) (photos below).
This is a social event. New and old members are openly invited. We don’t expect everyone to know everyone. The point is to turn up to a safe place and chat and get to know like minded people…..but also get to know the person behind the name/vest.
Dress code is whatever you want. Casual most likely. Students are away so it will be nice and quiet I think.
As you enter the pub, we have a VIP area straight away on the right up 2 steps. I’ve booked this for the purple army.
See below for photos of the pub front and our VIP area highlighted in yellow.
I hope to see you there from 7pm. They do food there if needed I think.
If we decide to move on en masse we can. But the point is to natter.
I will have Facebook and messenger. Get in touch via that if you are not sure or have any questions.
In mud, track and tarmac,
The Elvet Striders Track and Field athletes continue to make and break club records. Keep an eye on the club-records page to see who has been breaking what. And if you can beat it, correct it, or comment on it, let us know via the form at the bottom of the records page, or e-mail the website officers.
Thanks to Geoff Watson and the people he pestered for digging out the historic results for the Durham Three Peaks. Where the checkpoint times have been available I’ve published that too and it can be quite addictive sorting the table by the various checkpoints to see individual tactics. It’s the sort of race where anyone can go for that stage win.
If I’m right, the results and flyer from the July 1996 event is now our oldest website report. Although despite constant nagging, Barrie Evans has still not sent in his race report for the Two Oceans from 1990. It’s never too late to send in a race report.
Clear skies and fine weather made for a great weekend of running round Aykley Heads. Unsung heroes saw the sun set and sun rise over Durham as they saw the event through from set up to strike down. 24 hours, and then some.
Shaun and Ros were there to open and close the event. I missed the start (I’d forgotten how steep that hill is up from Durham on a bike) so don’t have any photos of the beginning of the event. If you have any photos you’d like to add to the gallery below please get in touch.
“We had everything in place and were primed for the start. I was going to lead the first lap in my DKMS shirt and we realised we needed a baton. Thanks to the quick thinking of our President, David Shipman, a frog (fly-swatter) was produced from his camper van which we kept going every minute of the 24-hour period. We tweeted updates every 250km run and we hoped to exceed 1500km and were delighted to hit 1725km but more importantly, to finish with Shaun leading the charge on the final lap – with an impressive sprint finish. We often say we are proud to be purple (our club colours) and this weekend was no exception.
We took a total of £1110 in cash donations. In addition Abbey’s Angels have paid £95 direct to DKMS. Jan and Tony Young who provided endless cups of tea and coffee (and cake!) over the 24-hour period also raised £86 in sponsorship (plus Gift Aid). The Just Giving campaign page is heading nicely towards £500 plus Gift Aid, so we should raise at least £1 for every km run! “
Some statistics (H/T Angela):
112 people ran
Total of 345 laps run (1,725 km)
Teams with most laps
1) Waldridge Warriers completed 67 laps
2) Long Slow Run Sunday completed 36 laps
3) Sisters with Blisters completed 31 laps
4) Abbey Angels completed 15 laps
5) Durham City Harriers completed 9 laps
6) Farmer Maggot and his/her Turnip completed 2 laps.
Parkrun Strider takeover & DKMS Blood Cancer registration event is a resounding success, Durham, Saturday, March 24, 2018
When the shout went out from the Club Chairman, Jonathan Hamill, for volunteers to turn the Durham parkrun purple, in support of DKMS, it was with all the customary enthusiasm Elvet Striders are known for, that folk stepped-forward to give up their Saturday morning to take over all the scanning, marshalling and run-directing.
Shaun Roberts, a popular, respected and long-standing member of Elvet Striders running club, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia earlier this year after a routine blood test and was placed on the register for a stem cell donation.
Within one year of the founding, DKMS (Deutsche Knochenmarkspenderdatei -German Marrow Donor Program), had increased it volunteer donors 23 times, to 68,000 people. This gave even more inspiration to Peter and reinforced his motivation to expand internationally.
Since launching in the UK, in 2013, DKMS have been receiving great support, registering more than 300,000 people as potential blood stem cell donors. Some of these amazing people have gone on to donate blood stem cells, giving more than 330 second chances of life to blood cancer patients in the UK alone.
Fast forward to 24 March 2018, a lovely Spring morning at Maiden Castle.
An enthusiastic cheer went up when Shaun arrived and was warmly welcomed by all his friends.
Shaun joined the merry band of volunteer Strider marshals, time-keepers, starters, photographers and supporters as they headed off to their various check-points.
The runners started to arrive.
It was impressive to see such a big splash of Strider purple on the starting line for the pre-race briefing.
During Jonathan Hamill’s briefing, he paid tribute to Shaun (a huge parkrun cheer) and the selfless generosity of a young person in the South of England who is helping Shaun by donating his stem cells.
Dogs’ leads were then checked, children under 11 were gathered up to ‘arms-length’, timers were readied… then they were all off!
321 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 18 were first timers and 51 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 23 different clubs took part.
The words of David Shipman, Club President, perhaps sum up the day best of all:
‘I have been involved with the Striders for over 30 years and today was one of the most uplifting and reassuring about the positive aspects of the club and the overall running community.
At the finish around a hundred folk streamed into the Rowing Club to swab and apply to go onto the stem cell register. Of those 80 were successful, which is brilliant. A significant number of runners also said that they had already registered. Many others took leaflets to consider registration or to pass onto friends and family.
So a massive thanks is due to all,Rowers, Striders,Parkrunners, Waldridge Warriors, Neville’s Cross Battlers,Shadforth Shufflers,Couch to 5 Kers and a few passing strangers. I hope that we will see many of you again when we do a fundraising 24 hour relay in June. Keep an eye out for details from Chairman Jonathan soon.’
80 parkrun finishers registered with DKMS and provided samples in just over an hour, at Durham Amateur Rowing Club. The parkrun takeover has inspired 80 people to sign up as stem cell donors and potentially save lives.
An incredible success for all involved. We certainly did wear Purple with Pride on Saturday!
|Position||Gender Position||parkrunner||Run Time|
Durham City Harriers
|142||113||Paul Andrew BEAL||00.26.29|
|218||150||Malcolm Robert SYGROVE||00.30.04|
|230||77||Karen Anne CHALKLEY||00.31.09|
|239||81||Victoria Esther DOWNES||00.32.11|
This Saturday is a major fixture in the Harrier League. The third fixture of the season will be held at Aykley Heads. The weather is forecast to be cold, bright and dry. It promises to be a good day.
Whether you’re racing, marshalling, watching or supporting, the following information should be useful.
Course map (thanks to Jules Percival)
OpenStreetMap view (from marshalls walkthrough on 11th Nov)
Max elevation: 95 m
Min elevation: 64 m
Total climbing: 70 m
Total descent: -68 m
Total Time: 01:09:57
Note:The section between marshall points 4 and 5 is part of the race route only, and is not normally open to the public.
Race Parking is at Durham County Hall car park only. It’s free and only 400m from the start – please do not park anywhere else, please do not try to park closer to the course as you will be charged, or worse, and we could lose this venue! There will be plenty of parking for everybody at County Hall but please car share.
THERE IS RESTRICTED USE OF ONE SECTION OF THE CAR PARK THIS YEAR – ONLY THOSE INTENDING TO LEAVE BY 2.30PM MAY USE THIS SECTION SO PLEASE OBEY THE CAR PARK MARSHALS!
There is no parking in the DLI car park this year.
Officials Parking: This will be on the tennis courts adjacent to the new Police HQ. Go north from the County Hall roundabout on the B.6532, turn right at the next roundabout, straight over at the next roundabout & then follow the signs.
Tent drop off We have a tent drop off point adjacent to the course. Go north from the County Hall roundabout on the B.6532, turn right at the next roundabout, straight over at the next roundabout & then follow the signs. Only use this if your tent is very heavy! There is absolutely no parking for competitors here and it is not a drop off point for latecomers. Tents must be left with the tent drop off marshals and competitors return to County Hall to park.
Registration is adjacent to the course in the tented area (look out for Vicki’s big blue tent) – unless the weather is very bad and then it will be in County Hall reception area (Micky Baker to confirm).
Toilets are located in County Hall foyer and there will be portable toilets close to the race start area.
Do not enter County Hall in muddy shoes – they won’t let us come back next year if you do!
The course is walking distance from County Hall car park (follow the signs) & is on the former Durham Constabulary playing fields.
Directions to County Hall (postcode: DH1 5TP)
County Hall is a major landmark in Durham and many of you will already know where it is and how to get there. There are frequent trains to Durham from Newcastle and Darlington. The station is around half a mile from the venue. Please use public transport where possible!
If you must come by car then directions are as follows (please note that due to the Lumiere festival of light taking place in the city there may be traffic restrictions in place including eastbound lane closures on Millburngate Bridge.
Travelling south (e.g. from Newcastle):
Use the A.1m and turn off at Junction 62 (signposted for Durham & Sunderland). At the top of the slip road turn right at the roundabout joining the A.690 into Durham. At the next roundabout (where the dual carriageway ends) stay on the A.690 & follow signs to City Centre & Consett (straight over). At the next roundabout stay on the A.690 & follow signs for Crook, Consett & County Hall (straight over – but get in the outside lane). At the next traffic lights turn right signposted for Consett, Chester-Le- St & County Hall. Turn right at the next roundabout into County Hall – you’ve arrived!
Travelling north (e.g. from Darlington):
Use the A.1m and turn off at Junction 62 (signposted for Durham & Sunderland). At the top of the slip road turn left at the roundabout joining the A.690 into Durham. At the next roundabout (where the dual carriageway ends) stay on the A.690 & follow signs to City Centre & Consett (straight over). At the next roundabout stay on the A.690 & follow signs for Crook, Consett & County Hall (straight over – but get in the outside lane). At the next traffic lights turn right signposted for Consett, Chester-Le- St & County Hall. Turn right at the next roundabout into County Hall – you’ve arrived!
Travelling west (e.g. from Sunderland):
Use the A.690 from Sunderland or from the A.19 for Durham. At the junction of the A.690 and A.1m go straight over staying on the A.690 into Durham. At the next roundabout (where the dual carriageway ends) stay on the A.690 & follow signs to City Centre & Consett (straight over). At the next roundabout stay on the A.690 & follow signs for Crook, Consett & County Hall (straight over – but get in the outside lane). At the next traffic lights turn right signposted for Consett, Chester-Le- St & County Hall. Turn right at the next roundabout into County Hall – you’ve arrived!
Travelling East (e.g. from Crook):
Use the A.690 from Crook to Durham. At the Neville’s Cross traffic lights turn left onto the A.167. At the first roundabout turn right (4th exit) following signs for City Centre. At the next roundabout go straight over. At the next roundabout go straight over into County Hall – you’ve arrived!
Managing mental health – Endurance running is my salvation and why my workplace prospers from it, Friday, May 26, 2017
Jason Trimmer – Chiltern Harriers
Quite a long title I know, so bear with me whilst I explain. Those of you who know me personally, understand that I don’t mind self-serving some physical and mental hardship occasionally. I’m a veteran, I took the Queens shilling and served with the British Army for 14 years, it made me who I am today and the physical lifestyle has stayed with me, ingrained, even when I transitioned into civilian life.
They say that ‘middle age’, whatever decade that is now, is one of the most difficult periods of your life, raising children, managing a career and caring for ailing parents. Pressures from all angles, that if not managed, can cause mental health issues. I arrived back in the UK from Australia, 2.5 years ago, with my family and 5 suitcases, nowhere to live and no credit history. I returned to support my Dad who was just about to start his first round of treatment for prostate cancer. Giving up my career in Sydney, pulling my 3 boys out of school and asking my wife Carolynn to leave her family behind was a big ask and has tested us all.
I hear daily about mental health, it’s profile has been elevated and deservedly so, however this is a consequence of just how many suffer from it. The workplace is a massive breeding ground for anxiety and stress, time pressures abound, high expectations given the digital tech we surround ourselves with, constantly bombarded with multiple streams of information that need to be digested. It seems to me that society is ever increasing the demands and demonising by some is common place in our 24/7 lives. And this is just the workplace!
My salvation is endurance running through remote and difficult trails, preferably in mountainous areas, 100 miles is not uncommon with big elevating climbs that can take days to complete. These types of events take meticulous planning and training just to get to the start line. My last ‘big event’ in the summer of 2016, took me around the Mont Blanc ‘massif’, through 3 countries, 103 miles with 10,000 metres of climbing over 36 hours non-stop. It took everything from me, physically, emotionally and towards the end I began to hallucinate. I suffered 30+ degree heat during the day, ran across snowfields during the night at altitudes of 2,500 metres and endured a thunder and electrical storm atop one of the last peaks. This event stripped me to my core and perversely I would do it again, even though ‘everything hurt’ and I mean everything.
For me it’s about feeling ‘raw’, getting back to basics and getting back in tune with who we once were as humans, we chased our meals, we ran away from danger, humans are built to run and we’re dam good at it, humans need to keep moving. You don’t need to replicate what I do to achieve the benefits; the biggest step is putting your shoes on and getting out the door.
So why does my workplace prosper? I’m more alert during the day as I sleep better, if I’m sleeping well then my overall mood is boosted. I’m a positive person who always looks optimistically on the world, probably due to the endorphins that are released through my system. I would like to think that my memory is improved (I have no way of measuring this as I’m not prepared to stop running for an experiment). And because I feel ‘happy’ my social behaviour is positive, not to mention the motivation, goal setting, having a purpose and critical thinking that happens, a direct correlation to running and my behaviours in the workplace. I’m less prone to sickness which means more days in the office, a tangible benefit to the business. Confidence is reinforced meaning that any work goal is achievable, we may fall occasionally during a project for example and some would see that as failure, failure is only realised when you refuse to get back up, re-evaluate and crack on. This is what runners do, sheer will and determination is sometimes required in the workplace not just outside on the trails. I could go on and on.
My typical response to any of my colleagues asking me in the morning, ‘How are you Jase’, is ‘Bloody great’ and that is the truth, because I am a runner.
Soon I’ll be enjoying my 50th year and I’m looking for my next ‘stretch’, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m also pleased to say that my Dad is doing well and in remission.
If anyone would like to talk to me about Mental Health and how I manage it through running, then please shout out, we could chat whilst we run.
When I read Jason’s article, which he originally published on LinkedIn, I thought it would benefit other runners, who may not use LinkedIn. I therefore asked Jason for his permission to share it, and do so gratefully. Jason told me that ..”reaching out to as many people as possible about mental health and how we can manage it is SO important”.