After taking a bit of a step back from “racing” following some disappointing (to me!) times, I have been choosing my events very carefully – shunning the majority of popular races. I took part in the Clive Cookson 10k in 2017, gaining a PB over the distance of 56:04. I felt it was time to give this another try, having not completely hated it the first time. I love this race. It is so underrated. A two 5k lap course with the first 2km on a very gradual (but noticeable, particularly on the second lap) climb, rewarded with some lovely gradual down, through country lanes and then housing estates… The support is fantastic for such a small event – very few places on the course where there is nobody cheering you on. I think there were maybe 10 striders in attendance, not that I saw many of them because they were all the speedy ones who would have already left the carpark by the time I had done the first lap. It always amazes me that more Striders don’t attend this race – this year it was even a GP fixture!! My aim for this race was a PB, which I guess is usually your aim if you are entering a race. My 10k time stood at 54:09 from Tees Pride in 2017. Lots of calculations and looking at the last time I ran it to try and establish what pace I should be attempting to run at to get in under 54 minutes. It seemed crazy that I would need to run 5:22km average pace for 10kms – training runs have been much much slower over shorter distance and I had always convinced myself that couldn’t be good. Nevertheless, I turned up, managed to pin my number on in the most crooked fashion yet, then got to the start. I started quite near the back, as I knew we would start the climb straight away and “don’t go off to fast” rings in my ears. On a chipped course, I like to start quite far back, as the ability to pass people works wonders for my confidence. I soon realised that I was passing people (even uphill) but nobody was passing me – this instantly gave me my focus – don’t let anyone pass you. I kept this up for most of the race, losing only 2 places around the 7k mark (both to men, so I wasn’t too bothered), but it wasn’t made easy for me! A Derwentside AC runner was on my shoulder, pushing hard to pass me around 6k, but I kept my focus and she dropped back – more confidence!! My km times were good – except for the 2kms uphill, they had all been well under target. The confidence felt amazing – I felt strong, my legs were fine and at no point did I feel I wanted to stop. My brain was kind to me, and never once uttered “you need to stop Jo, you’re tired and rubbish” which is normally loves to do! I was even high-fiving kids and there are pictures of me smiling. Maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough…
Around 9k, I was catching a lady in front of me – she was running well but I knew I only had a km to go so I pushed on and passed her. Clearly more familiar with the course, she zoomed past me with about 600m to go – this was so frustrating after my “don’t let anyone pass you” mantra. Luckily the absence of our beloved track sessions hadn’t removed my ability to kick and with shouts of encouragement from Matt, I made up the gap and finished 12s in front of her! With a new PB of 53:16. If you’ve never tried this race – put it in your diary for next year.
Back in 2009, with a few Great North Runs under by belt, I thought I might fancy London one day. I think it was still 5 refusals, then you get a place back then, so I threw my name in the ballot with a long-term plan. Surprisingly I got a place first time! But it wasn’t to be, and I had to defer a year. By April 2011 I had a 2-month-old baby, so marathon plans were shelved for a long time…
The GP results have now been updated with the results from Dentdale (L3) and Guisborough Moors (M3). The next GP event is the Pier to Pier on May 19th. An explanation of the Elvet Striders GP can be found on the GP page.
Formally known as the Anniversary Waltz, this race is now hosted by Cumberland Fell Runners following the sad passing of former organiser, Steve Cliff in 2018 who set up the race to commemorate his wedding to wife Wynn at Newlands Church in 1996.
This race, along with its angry sibling, Teenager With Altitude (TWA) is firmly established in the Lake District’s fell racing calendar so it would have been a great shame for them both to disappear following Wynn’s decision not to host them anymore.
I suppose it’s about time I wrote a race report, I’ve been a member now for 2yrs and so far, managed to dodge that obligation, well I can dodge no more…
In my mind the Marathon is the pinnacle of running achievement, it is what I have aspired to since being a child and witnessing my Grandad knock out several as an Elswick Harrier. But as life unfolded, and my only running achievement since school was a 2:01 GNR in 2004, it appeared that particular ‘dream’ would elude me.
A traditional Lakeland ‘horseshoe’ round Coledale from Braithwaite Lodge, taking in Grisedale Pike, Crag Hill, and Barrow. As the race map describes it: ‘a superb race with a monster climb at the start, a bit of scrambling in the middle, and a lovely grassy descent to finish’.
This was my first race in the Lakes. Despite other fell races I’ve done, I was very nervous. Mum and I had recce’d the route in fairly wintry conditions a couple of months ago, so I knew what to expect in terms of terrain.
Saturday’s forecast looked good, and when I arrived at Braithwaite (early, to see Mum and Tony at the campsite where they were staying) the day promised to be glorious – sun, clear blue skies, no wind.
Having given this a great deal of thought in recent weeks, I’ve now decided that the time has come for me to resign my position as Website Officer.
As many of you know, at the end of 2017 I was forced to give up running, on the instructions of my spine consultant. This was an incredibly hard decision to take. I’d been a runner for 35 years, but having done some serious damage over that time, I knew that if I was to continue to do more of the ‘big-ticket’ items on my bucket list, preservation was critical.
I’ve found that decision both physically and mentally challenging. I’ve sought out new things to do, but nothing comes close to the enjoyment I got from running. I have found it very hard to come down to MC. I’ve also found it difficult to sustain friendships when I can’t participate or talk about in the activity that brought me together with the people at the Club.
I’ve tried to stay engaged with the Club and have enjoyed doing the Website Officer role and supporting track, but it’s now time for me to move on.
I’ll keep things ticking over until the end of April, or earlier if there is someone who is interested in taking over this brilliant role (and plan to renew my membership for the next year), but I will no longer be part of the Committee.
I’m happy to provide a handover and support to my successor at any time and hope that one of you will be interested in the role. It’s a wonderful way to meet people, learn about their challenges and achievements and engage with other clubs.
This is not a ‘political’ decision nor I am trying to make a point or be difficult in any way. Jonathan and the Committee have always had, and will continue to have my full support.
Wishing you all the best and lots of success.
A special thanks to all the Committee, Officers and coaches for all the incredibly hard work they do, and for the time and enthusiasm they voluntarily put in to making this such a wonderful Club.