Category Archives: Trail

The Duergar Nightcrawler Run, Simonside Hills, Northumberland, Saturday, February 23, 2019

Jonathan Hamill

Intrigued by the picture on the Duergar Run website of a fierce looking character, and the prospect of being chased through the fells by a wild creature or suchlike, I decided to find out more. I discovered that Duergar comes from the old Norse word Dvergar which means Dwarf. There are many old stories which suggest that these Duergars live in the rocks and hills around Simonside, their purpose being to lure unsuspecting hikers or travellers by torchlight over rocky ravines or into deep bogs. I reckoned they would be happy to target unsuspecting runners too.

If you go down to the fells tonight, you may be in for a big surprise …

I downloaded the GPX route and imported it into my OS Maps app – my ‘just in case’ navigation aid, then pondered the relative merits from my shoe arsenal, opting in the end for my newish Hoka Mafate Speed 2’s, which amongst comfort and cushioning promised much for technical trails. I checked that I could comply with the kit list and that my head torch was charged then set off for the 1-hour drive North to Rothbury.

Steep Ascent, Slippery Descent …

I couldn’t make this event last year due to a clash with the Northumberland Coastal Marathon which Lesley had run. Although Lesley had recommended I run the Coastal Marathon this year, our eldest Son’s drum exam meant that the only sensible alternative was to take my chances on the Duergar Run!

When I arrived, I parked near to Tomlinson’s Café and Bunkhouse where registration was taking place. I noted a swathe of competitors engaged in essential carb-loading preparations, the choices on offer making me lament my choice of a triple-chocolate muffin from a global chain of coffee shops en route.

I strolled across the bridge to Haugh Car Park, engaging in discussion with other runners (including fellow Strider Karen Wilson) about the ‘steep climbs for 4 miles’ and ‘treacherous declines’. We listened attentively to the safety briefing, which amongst other things called for dynamic risk assessments by all runners. Then we were off, and up, up, up and up a bit more on Whitton Bank Road and Hillhead Road until we hit a trail which continued to climb. Leaving the normality of farm tracks and paths, and passing the first water station, we encountered the challenging climb past caves and a man in traditional costume fiercely beating a bodhran.

At various points which followed we encountered marshals who encouraged us but we also heard screams and noises which could only be associated with a dreaded Duergar! The climbs were often on stone steps which slowed progress, and on the flats (or sections which were less hilly) we had the challenge of running on stone slabs, which were irregular and with gaps between them sufficient to catch an unsuspecting foot.

After Simonside Crag we had a steep technical descent and then a set of forest trails, which were certainly not tourist paths but on balance less climbing to contend with. We enjoyed a further series of descents on slippery loose rocks before the lights of Rothbury started to appear in the distance. At the final water station, I had three jelly beans which provided me with a welcome sugary boost and then I set to work on the final section which was net downhill.

Pleased at this point as I knew I was within 1km of the end, I let my guard drop and on exiting (falling through) the final gate at the drop down to the bridge in Rothbury, I performed one of my trademark barrel rolls. Having managed to maintain forward momentum I regained sufficient composure to lift my pace over the bridge to the finish. A friendly welcome at Tomlinson’s, a t-shirt and a welcome cup of mulled wine followed.

I’d recommend this event without reservation, if you are content with a challenging trail/fell route and the prospect of being captured by a Duergar! Well done to Cold Brew Events for slick organisation, and to the marshals and those involved in supporting this excellent event!

Total distance: 15812 m
Max elevation: 425 m
Min elevation: 82 m
Total climbing: 522 m
Total descent: -522 m
Total Time: 01:34:31
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(Visited 240 times, 1 visits today)

Hardmoors Saltburn marathon, Saltburn Leisure Centre, Sunday, February 10, 2019

Mark Kearney

Chapter 1; Saltburn Marathon

“Please can we go to Saltburn in February” is a phrase few will say whom are of sound and rational mind and there are many good reasons for that……however as a trail runner and lover of Hardmoors it is a necessity to arrive bright and early on a Sunday morning, at that time of the year and in that very location.

The Half Marathon at Saltburn in 2017 was my first ‘trail’ run and was perhaps the hardest 15 mile I had ever ran.  Yes, I had completed Marathons and events in the past, but nothing compared me for the climbs, mud, sleet, hail, rain, snow, wind with the occasional presence of sunshine over a 2-hour period.

Now we fast forward two years and after the mental and physical torture of 2017 we have added multiple Hardmoors experiences to the locker and now think its big and clever to double the distance and take on the marathon series.

Training had gone well, a good result in the HM30 the month before and I felt confident going into the race with some good miles behind me.  A recce in the snow the week before had given some knowledge of the elevation and terrain of the back half of the route and on checking the weather forecast no more snow was due; only winds provided by some storm called Eric.

The morning of the race was surprisingly calm, the wind had gone, no rain, no snow, no hail…was this Saltburn? The conditions near perfect weather wise as we parked up and registered for the event.  As usual, seamless teamwork from the Hardmoors family as we registered, smiley face for the kit check and we packed our bags in readiness for the race briefing and the call to go outside and toe the line. Walking out we passed Striders Simon Graham and Jill Young, happily saluting us with coffee cups and wishing us good luck…..with the caveat that they are not as crazy as us and are happy to be taking part in the half marathon, due to start at 10am.

We walk outside on mass, traffic stopped, marshalls in place and Jon says we’re off; so we’re off…. down a main road (at least in force so some element of safety) until we hit the track into the dene to drop to the coast. The leader seemingly intent to break away, hitting a fast paced first mile to the coast before the coastal trail path sections and the first flight of steps….slowing us all down as we walk the climb.  The course taking the scenic coastal path route, along the cliff tops into the bay and then back up for the climb to the top of Loftus before a fast paced tarmac section.  A chance to open the legs after a firm but damp section along the trails.  Seeing friends and fellow runners marshalling and exchanging in general banter as we continue on our merry way.

In a true fashion the trails continued to undulate, generally following the bows of yellow tape placed in many part by our very own Dave Toth in the days before.  Climbs followed drop, drops and climbs, stairs, steps and hills with few flat and fast sections in between before we start to reach mile 18-19 and the Tees Link up to High Cliff Nab.  For those not familiar with this section of Guisborough woods I would encourage you all to have a trip out and take in the elevation and views at the summit, the climb can be challenging in the best of conditions and after the recent snow this climb was the hardest I have experienced in running these events.  Unfortunately, the view from the top was one I couldn’t appreciate during the race but looks good on google.

This was the hardest and biggest climb of the race with a long run back through the woods and over to Quakers Causeway before heading down to Boosebeck and climbing to Skelton.  The taping of the route and support of the marshals was impeccable throughout the route with fully stocked refreshment points and supportive encouragement throughout.  The views, freedom and lack of people and animals on the moors is one of peacefulness; no noise, traffic and only the voice in your head to talk to as you cover the boggy moor landscape.  Michelle likes to comment that listening to me have a conversation with myself is her idea of torture; I quite like it as I generally turn out to be right when I’m finished my discussion.

Reaching the other side of Boosebeck enables the Marathon race to join the end of the half marathon route and it was good to see runners again, to be able to say hello and not continually look for yellow tape as I could follow the pack, to target people to try and reach and have a little competition with myself for the final couple of miles.  Dropping down the steps I had expected to see Dave Toth at his marshalling point but apparently, he had popped to the shop for refreshments so we continued on back into the dene and the final climb to the main road where the finish line and the leisure centre awaited. 

Running into the hall, stopping the watch and desperate for a shower I was happy to end in a time of c3:48 minutes and take first place.  Happy the race had gone to plan, pushing on when required and all in better conditions that we could imagined.

I would encourage anyone to take part, try a 10k(ish) if you’re not sure and I would be surprised if even a little bit of you didn’t enjoy the event and people involved.

Round 1 completed, 6 to go……

(Visited 47 times, 1 visits today)

Coxhoe 10k Trail Run, Sunday, September 23, 2018

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. Sprint Champion Race - click flag for more information. 10K

Anne Marie Fisher

It is uphill from here!!

First time 10K

It had finally arrived, somewhat later than expected. You see I had entered my first 10K race back in May, however, due to injury I was forced to defer my place until 2019.

Over the last few months, I had entered various 5K races, which I felt ‘comfortable’ with and was confident I could finish. However, I didn’t feel completely challenged. Then in July after only recently joining Striders, a last minute place became available for the Willow Miner Race (something to do with a football match!!). This was my biggest challenge so far, distance and terrain! I loved it!

So on the morning of the 23rd September, I arrived ready for the Coxhoe 10K Trail race. I was feeling excited and surprisingly confident. I think the confidence was partly due from completing the Willow Miner race and also meeting some fellow runners the previous Wednesday at training. It was the first race I had worn a Striders vest and as people were milling around before the race they would pass with a “hello”, a smile. It was like immediately making lots of new friends.

Registration was shockingly early for a Sunday – 8am-9am, especially as the race didn’t start until 10 am. Yes we were hanging around a while and it was freezing (summer was long gone), however, we bagged parking spaces! My advice would be to get there early, park, register then wait in the warm car with a takeaway coffee till the last possible moment. It’s about a 10 mins walk up to the start from the Active life centre or a nice little jog as I saw several people warming up early.

We arrived at the finish area…so early. It wasn’t even finished! After helping put up the banner ready for a team photo it was time to head to the start, which meant taking off my hoody, wearing a vest with no thermal underneath! How I regretted that at the time. So with extremely cold arms and hands, we trotted off to the start line, raring to go. The buzz was electrifying. 200 other, mainly club runners, all huddling close to keep warm. With no chip timing, I was told to get closer to the front.

And we were off and straight down a stony track. At this point, there were tonnes of runners trying to get ahead. I would say this was the most nerve-wracking part. Trying to watch my footing, keeping up a decent pace and not being knocked over by a sea of runners. I would definitely say it pushed me on to run a bit quicker than I had originally planned to.

The next few km were along old railway lines, softer terrain and flat, however, this is where I struggled to get into a rhythm, partly due to a cold so struggling to breathe and maybe because of the quick start. Before long we were climbing and as I turned a corner there was the water station. I wasn’t particularly thirsty, however, I was worried it would be the only one, so even though it was very early in the race, I thanked the marshal and took several gulps of water before pushing on.

As we approached some downhill, I glanced to my left and could see some runners ahead of me turning up some steep gradients, so I headed down knowing in the back of my mind what was to come! The hills started and they were fairly steep. I power walked most of them but my breathing was heavy. The poor girl I was behind must have been fed up of me heavy breathing down her neck. I remember thinking I’m only at 4km not even halfway, can I keep going for another 6km?! But then as I passed another Strider lady (I would pass her, then she would pass me and vice versa), I saw with relief, a sign for the halfway point. It was at this point that the race changed for me.

We were higher up with lovely views and I remember thinking we must be going downhill soon. It was at that moment that I found a new lease of energy. My pace picked up and I started overtaking the same people that, earlier on, I had struggled to keep up with. I didn’t pay much attention to my Garmin and wasn’t set on achieving any particular time, however, I had approximated before the race that I might finish around the 1hr 15 min mark due to my pace history. But as I glanced at my watch I realised I was running faster and as the km interval beeps appeared on my watch, each km average was quick! Not quick for others but for me it was fast!!

The downhill felt great, through a wooded area and leaping over a stile at the bottom. I felt like I was flying. Then on over a few roads crossing where the marshals were doing a great job at keeping us going. But then I hit the long flat railway line, which seemed to go on forever. It was at this point that I had to really mentally keep going. I was still fairly speedy (for me) but you could see it go on and on in the distance and I had now exceeded the 8km mark so I was in new distance territory.

I started trying to avoid looking ahead and instead kept aiming my sight at some objects in the near distance, using them as targets, all the while remembering about the steep stony track we had come down at the start and thinking, this is going to be the final challenge.

As I approached the last marshal at the end of the railway line I crossed onto the track and hit the stony incline. I pushed on trying to keep at a steady jog pace as well as recalling what the run leaders had said about hills during previous training sessions. And then it turned to a walk, “keep breathing and moving” I kept repeating in my head. I could see several people at the top of the hill, this pushed me to start running again as soon as I reached the summit. In reality, my body wasn’t quite ready for that and I could feel my legs turning to jelly, but I kept moving determined to continue.

As I passed a few runners (they had already finished) along the track towards the woods I could hear shouts of encouragement, in particular from Rebecca Talbot who was stood in a ditch searching for conkers having already finished in a solid time.

As I struggled through the woods I could hear the noise from the finish line in the distance. I started to panic, my breathing hadn’t quite recovered from that final hill. I stood still for the first time in the race took some deep breaths and then pressed on. As I turned the corner I could see the finish, Catherine Smith, Anna Seeley and Kerry Anne Barnett all smiling and shouting encouragement. I turned that final push into a sprint finish, putting my time at a very surprising and pleasing 1hr 7mins, way below what I had expected.

So, looking back it was a lovely first 10K to do, fairly low key, friendly and definitely challenging. It has definitely given me more confidence and as I head into my first Trail Outlaws race this coming Sunday I’m full of excitement and determination but also, I’ve decided not to worry about time as I seem to perform faster when I’m not clock watching. Time will tell. One thing I’m certain of is that I have started a love affair with trail running!

posbibNametimeGender
1207McKenzie James (Heaton Harriers)00:35:04M
342Callan Chris00:35:55M
4181Mason Michael00:36:44M
9122Watt Greame00:39:19M
10110Potts Bryan00:39:51M
1163Scott Stuart00:39:57M
1364Kirtley Barry00:40:22M
1762Anderson Michael00:40:49M
369Holcroft David00:44:38M
37103C. Anton Juan00:44:41M
43164Darby Lisa (Sedgefield Harriers)00:44:55F
46230Ray Phil00:45:23M
4719Barlow Michael00:45:24M
4915Basu Anna00:45:29F
50209Mitchell Dan00:45:34M
5193Jones Fiona00:45:47F
52220White Conrad00:45:59M
614Alfree Robert00:47:06M
62116Lumsdon David00:47:23M
7077Chaytor Trevor00:48:32M
78189Sabate Jordi00:49:59M
8044Carr Matthew00:50:07M
88117Connor Philip00:50:51M
9345Scott Alan00:51:05M
9639Foster Mark00:51:26M
97132Panke Jan00:51:28M
10870Mason Anna00:53:09F
113176Brown Alex00:53:33M
11984Ellis Stephen00:54:54M
12518Barlow Stephanie00:55:50F
131208Talbot Rebecca00:56:36F
13649Dixon Angela00:57:26F
13843Scott Aileen00:57:33F
140168Young Jan00:57:50F
144137Stephenson Lee00:58:06M
152111Glassey Danielle01:00:03F
159136Walker Sue01:01:38F
17047White Staney01:03:16M
175118Waugh Lynne01:03:57F
184195Dennis Sophia01:07:10F
18622Fisher Anne Marie01:07:47F
187105Pattison Sharon01:08:34F
18992Richardson Joanne01:09:28F
196140Lumsdon Lisa01:14:25F

(Visited 79 times, 1 visits today)

Coxhoe 10k Trail Race, Sunday, September 23, 2018

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. Sprint Champion Race - click flag for more information.

Bryan Potts

Signing up for the Coxhoe Trail event a few weeks before the event, meant I had a chance to try a trail run before the day. Preparation went well running a 5-mile trail around Beamish with over 250-metre elevation, which I knew was a lot more than the Coxhoe Trail.

Looking at the forecast, the day before the event, I noticed it had to be a good day and there was no sign of rain. An early morning rise at 5 with my 18-month-old daughter, then a nice 20-minute walk with the dog followed by my running ritual of porridge, put me in good stead ready for the run.
At about 8 am, in Sacriston, the heavens opened and I was hoping it wouldn’t last long.

I arrived at the event at about 830, enough time to sort everything out. Once I collected my shirt and number, it was the waiting game for over an hour and what I hate most is waiting. So I chatted for a good 40 minutes to another runner, an ex Durham County Cricketer Paul Burn. We both headed up to the event in good time, me not realising it took a good 15 minutes to walk.

Once there I jumped in the Elvet Striders team photo and headed back to the start and a chat to a few of the team.

I didn’t realise I made a big mistake until the race set off and I was behind about 50 people and the runner who I was going to stay near, Stuart Scott, was way ahead already after about 200 metres. I had some ground to make up as I like getting a quick start, so once we got on the downward hill, I tried to weave in and out of people the best I could on a narrow section of the course.

I managed to get caught up once we reached the woods section and had him in my sights for the next few kilometres, just keeping a decent pace behind him. I had in my mind under 40 minutes for the race and was determined to stick to it.

All was going well after 4 km and was under 16 minutes which was well on time, between 4-5km was the hardest on the course and steepest incline and it really tested me and I am guessing all other runners. Once we reached the loop near Quarrington Hill, I made ground on another Elvet Strider, Graeme Watt, and for some reason I found more strength going up the hills and made better ground. At one point I managed to overtake Graeme but this did not last for long. On the way back towards Kelloe he found extra acceleration on the downward hills and powered off into the distance.

Between 5-9 km I managed to keep an average pace around the 4-minute per km mark and knew I was on target. Then I realised the last part of the race was the steep hill at the start of the race. Both Stuart and I nearly took the wrong direction as we had a choice of left or straight ahead and thankfully a steward behind shouted which way. The hill took its toll but I was glad to be able to power up it at a decent pace even though it seemed to be never-ending.

Once at the top, around 10 supporters were cheering runners up the hill and onto the final stretch. It was back along the straight for a few hundred yards, then a sharp right into the woods for less than a minute to finally see the finish line out of the woods and three Striders, who had already made it back in the distance. A time of 39:51 and a 10th place finish made it all worthwhile and I was pleased to see a number of Striders in the hunt for a top 20 place just behind me. An excellent day all round and a very good first trail race which all in all was well signposted and stewarded to make the day even easier.

posbibNametimeGender
1207McKenzie James (Heaton Harriers)00:35:04M
342Callan Chris00:35:55M
4181Mason Michael00:36:44M
9122Watt Greame00:39:19M
10110Potts Bryan00:39:51M
1163Scott Stuart00:39:57M
1364Kirtley Barry00:40:22M
1762Anderson Michael00:40:49M
369Holcroft David00:44:38M
37103C. Anton Juan00:44:41M
43164Darby Lisa (Sedgefield Harriers)00:44:55F
46230Ray Phil00:45:23M
4719Barlow Michael00:45:24M
4915Basu Anna00:45:29F
50209Mitchell Dan00:45:34M
5193Jones Fiona00:45:47F
52220White Conrad00:45:59M
614Alfree Robert00:47:06M
62116Lumsdon David00:47:23M
7077Chaytor Trevor00:48:32M
78189Sabate Jordi00:49:59M
8044Carr Matthew00:50:07M
88117Connor Philip00:50:51M
9345Scott Alan00:51:05M
9639Foster Mark00:51:26M
97132Panke Jan00:51:28M
10870Mason Anna00:53:09F
113176Brown Alex00:53:33M
11984Ellis Stephen00:54:54M
12518Barlow Stephanie00:55:50F
131208Talbot Rebecca00:56:36F
13649Dixon Angela00:57:26F
13843Scott Aileen00:57:33F
140168Young Jan00:57:50F
144137Stephenson Lee00:58:06M
152111Glassey Danielle01:00:03F
159136Walker Sue01:01:38F
17047White Staney01:03:16M
175118Waugh Lynne01:03:57F
184195Dennis Sophia01:07:10F
18622Fisher Anne Marie01:07:47F
187105Pattison Sharon01:08:34F
18992Richardson Joanne01:09:28F
196140Lumsdon Lisa01:14:25F

(Visited 100 times, 1 visits today)

Lakeland 100, Friday, July 27, 2018

Juliet Percival

Sitting poised at my computer on September 1st last year waiting for online entries to open for the L100 2018, I browsed the website with a few minutes to go …

The Lakeland 100 ‘Ultra Tour of the Lake District’ is a circular route that encompasses the whole of the Lakeland fells and includes in the region of 6856m/22,493ft of ascent. The event is continuous in nature, the overall time available for the route is 40 hours but time is not on your side. The climb, descent, rugged terrain, darkness and tricky navigation generally ensure a 40-50% failure rate over the 100 mile course. Seasoned ultra runners have tried and many have failed, a finisher’s medal in the Lakeland 100 is possibly one of the most treasured possessions you will ever receive.

At 9am on the dot I rushed to enter online. In just three and a half minutes, all the places had gone, and to my amazement I had bagged one of them. A few months off due to injury meant I had recently missed out on some special events, so I was chuffed to have a new training focus and the prospect of lots of Lakes adventures in 2018.

I put a shout out to some folk for help, and started planning Lakes trips towards the end of last year. The race organisers put on a series of organised recces ahead of the event, splitting the route into x4 chunks (you are left to your own devices, using the map and written description to navigate around the course, with cut off times in place). The buses that run you from the finish to the start make travel logistics MUCH easier, and these recces gave me the chance to see if I could run the route quickly enough. My first reality check came mid November when Elaine Bisson kindly accompanied me on the first recce (Coniston to Buttermere) as part of her Bob Graham preparation. Allocated 9.5 hrs, we completed it with only 30 minutes to spare…and I struggled. Blaming my relatively unfit state on my recent injury, I just hoped that by next year I would be fitter, and it would feel easier … if I felt that tired after just 26 miles, how would I cope with 100?

I drew up a training plan, and over the next months gradually built up my mileage … incorporating multiples of a 15m off road local loop and shorter tempo runs into my week (thanks Geoff Davis) … a painful contrast to the hours spent plodding.

With the help of Joan and Mandy from the club, I ran routes on the N York Moors, visited the Lakes over New Year, and in February ran the Yomp and Howgills marathon routes on consecutive days. The idea was to run long miles on tired legs, and as Spring approached, the back to back weekends became more frequent and included memorable adventures … an autumn pie pit-stop in the bracken above The Rigg at Haweswater, ploughing through thigh-high snow in Durham and Ostmotherly, sitting by Lake Windermere in the evening warm sun, eating mid marathon giant hotdogs in Wensleydale, or re-fuelling on mid run chips at the Wasdale Inn, to name just a few.

I signed up for more official recces in late March and May, and upon each of these and other visits to the Lakes and events elsewhere, did two back to back days running 25-30 miles each day. The LDWA Yorkshire 50 on July 7th was my longest single training run, and during the 3 week taper I did a couple of shorter days in the Lakes to check the navigation on a couple of the route sections.

As event weekend approached I had mixed feelings … at times it seemed ridiculous to have signed up for a race in the Lakes that relied on others providing transport for the training and event itself. I knew that no amount of plodding around Durham and doing reps up and down Redhills like a loonie would alone be suitable preparation for Lakes terrain, but hoped that combined with the training trips I’d had, would be just enough. By mid July I felt as fit as I had ever been, I had trained to the best of my ability, so I knew that it was now or never.

Continue reading Lakeland 100

(Visited 182 times, 1 visits today)

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’NeillFVET50Sunderland 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

(Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)

29th Allendale Challenge, Allendale near Hexham, Saturday, April 7, 2018

26 miles

Penny Browell

I first heard about this race a few years ago when Mike Hughes told me he’d done a race which involved running over mounds of mud which were taller than him. I couldn’t quite envisage what he meant and whilst intrigued I didn’t really want to experience it myself at the time I was more interested in trying to get PB’s in road races rather than wading through mud for hours.

Fast forward a couple of years and I will do pretty much anything to avoid running on the road and am one of those slightly strange people who go out in search of mud and hills every weekend.

Having missed a couple of other long fell races I was looking through the race diary and spotted the Allendale Challenge on a weekend where I knew I was going to be child-free. What had sounded like madness now seemed like the perfect way to spend a cold April Saturday.

After a spectacularly wet and cold winter, it was clear the conditions were not going to be good. Apparently, this race is muddy even after the driest of winters. This didn’t bother me too much and I was quite cheered to see the weather forecast was kind-ish; clear in the morning and a bit of drizzle for the last couple of hours of the race. Perfect for when you’re getting a bit hot…

Geoff, John and I headed over early on Saturday morning and got there about an hour before the race started. It was a lovely morning and I imagined the walkers (who set out 2 hours before the runners) would be having a lovely time. After a quick warm-up, we were sent on our way. With gloves and two layers, I was soon quite hot.

The race starts with a reasonable amount of climb on road and then gradually you move onto track and after a few miles, you’re into the fun stuff. Geoff and I had been to and froing up until this point but once we got into the mud I seemed to lose him and also got myself to the front of the ladies’ race. I’m not sure how as I felt like I was moving backwards through the thick bog. The only way I realised I was going faster than walking pace was that I started to pass quite a few of the walkers.

It was at this point that the “drizzle” arrived. At first, it was just that and quite pleasant but it quite quickly became heavy and rather than refreshing was just making it even harder to see properly and to gauge how deep the mud was. This is one of those races where you can’t get into a rhythm – every few steps a leg will disappear deep into the mud and I had soon coated both legs from foot to thigh in thick mud. As we climbed up towards Killhope I stopped to put my waterproof on – I was starting to get really cold and the extra layer gave me a boost as I was immediately much more comfortable.

Killhope is the highest point of the race and about halfway through the 26 miles. I knew the race had more climb in the first half and was looking forward to speeding up after the hard work climbing through mud, rain and snow. The descent arrived and I did feel better – it was a stony track that went on seemingly forever. Not the most comfortable in fell shoes but a relief after the mud. After a quick checkpoint, we were back in mud though and on the way up again. And then the peat bogs…

Mike hadn’t been wrong.. I thought I knew mud but this was something else. You completely lose your sense of direction when you’re hidden amongst enormous piles of peat… so whilst some people tried to run between them I kept going over the top to try and spot the runners ahead of me. Typically I lost confidence in my route choice so did a bit of shuffling around trying to decide who I should be following. Eventually, we came through it and I was pleased to hear a few supporters and walkers telling me I was still the first female.

There was now about 8 miles to go and I’d been told that the final section was not too tough – a long slow climb (“the drag”) and then an easy-ish descent back into Allendale. I felt good. At this stage in a long race I know if I’m going to crash or not and today was a good day.

As I sped down an easy rocky descent before the drag I knew it was all for the taking – first lady and (perhaps more importantly) a victory over Geoff!

Then suddenly a rock decided it had other plans for me, in slow motion I went over one rock then my leg crashed against another and finally my head clunked hard onto a third. It was like they were all distributed carefully to cause me as much damage as possible. I was winded but thought I should be ok to carry on. The runner behind me thought differently – he told me to sit down and shouted ahead to get medical help. I told him I had to finish the race and I was fine. (I’d DNF’d my last long race and was not about to let that happen again). He said I was bleeding and should get my head looked at. I put my hand to my head and realised he was right…with a handful of blood and legs which were beginning to hurt more, it became apparent I had to do the sensible thing. I wasn’t giving up though and my new friend started to walk me up to the medical van so I could get sorted as quickly as possible.

I had a few shocked looks as I climbed up but I assured everyone I was fine. At the van, I told them repeatedly that I had to finish the race. They seemed to think my health was more important (obviously not runners) and insisted on doing various checks, cleaning all my wounds and asking me a series of questions, to most of which I replied: “I’m fine, I need to finish the race”. After several minutes a lady passed and I complained to the medical team that I’d lost my place – still I wasn’t allowed to go. A few minutes later and Geoff appeared looking a touch concerned (but not enough to stop!). Eventually, I was allowed to head off as long as I promised to stop if I felt ill and to check in with the final checkpoint. I was determined to gain back the places I’d lost and set off at a good pace up the drag. It wasn’t long before I spotted Geoff and I could tell he was using the run/walk system, which I’d read in previous reports he often found sensible for this section. I knew I could get him, so dug in and before long I passed him. Then I thought I spotted the first lady ahead of me and sped up again to try and catch her. I think this was a mistake… it turned out not to be the first lady but a man… and the burst of speed was swiftly followed by a wave of nausea. The weather was getting worse and worse with rain falling heavily and I couldn’t work out if my vision was blurred because of the head injury or because of the rainwater filling my eyes. I slowed down for the descent to the next checkpoint feeling sicker and sicker and cursing myself for thinking I could run at speed after my fall.

On arrival at the checkpoint, as promised, I was given another check over and asked whether I felt well enough to continue. I admitted I felt sick but figured with only 3.5 miles to go I had nothing to lose. So I continued, now at a walk and still in mud (so much for the easy finish to the race…). Before long Geoff passed me – he asked if I wanted him to walk/run with me but I declined, preferring to admit defeat… There is a short section along the river towards the end which I’d imagined would be quite pleasant but even that was deep in mud. I managed to build back up to a run and before long I was on the final road which would take me back to Allendale, warmth and food!

I finally got to the hall in 4 hrs 48 minutes… not quite where I wanted to be… and not the first lady but still a very happy runner.

My head wound decided the end of the race was a signal to start bleeding again so I was properly patched up and given a full MOT by the fabulous mountain rescue staff whilst Geoff (who had beaten me by 2 minutes in the end!) provided sweet tea and Jaffa cakes to get my blood sugar levels up.

Not long after, John returned and we made our way to the Golden Lion for pie and peas, the perfect way to celebrate finishing what had been a tough race for everyone, Geoff claiming that in 13 years of running the race, this had been the worst conditions yet.

If anyone has made it this far, I must say a massive thank you to the North of Tyne Mountain Rescue team both on the course and back at Allendale. We know from their incredible work looking after Rob Wishart last year that the emergency services are brilliant at what they do and they proved this again. Profits from the race go towards this fantastic resource and for that reason alone I recommend it to anyone. However, unless you’re a really big fan of mud I’d suggest choosing a slightly drier year!

(Visited 43 times, 1 visits today)

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.

(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)

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

(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)

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.

 

(Visited 27 times, 1 visits today)