Category Archives: Fun Run

A Grand Day Out, Pooley Bridge, Sunday, November 10, 2019

40 Miles

Fiona Brannan

I find that in the running community, one of the most commonly talked about topics is shockingly, running.  One of the most frequently asked questions I seem to get is ‘so, what’s next, anything planned?’ to which my usual answer is no, not really.  I don’t often plan events far in advance, and tend to go where the mood strikes me, so here’s a brief insight into ‘What Fiona Did Next’


Many have heard of the Bob Graham Round, who devised a route across 42 Lakeland Fells and was (wait for it) 42 at the time.  Over the years, others (including Geoff) have felt that this is not sufficient and added extra fells on, to mark the passing of their extra years.  A few weeks before my 28th birthday, I decided that 28 sounded just about doable and could be nicely contained into a circuit around Ullswater, beginning and ending at Pooley Bridge.


The original birthday plan had been to complete the Abraham Tea Round with Elaine and Nina, but with Elaine having a bad knee, and Nina sensibly opting for a run out with Jan I set off on a solo mission to count down 28 completely arbitrary summits on a clear, crisp winter morning.

I began with Gowbarrow Fell, before heading up onto the Helvellyn ridge, right along to the High Street ridge, and back along the over Loadpot Hill.  My headtorch went on just before the last summit, Arthur’s Pike and I even passed a few walkers just afterwards who looked like they too had been out for a rather long day.  I stopped into the shop in Pooley Bridge before leaving, and the friendly shopkeeper asked what I’d been up to – I think I looked a bit tired – ‘over to Helvellyn’ – I’m not sure he realised I’d been there on foot!

The whole route took me around 9.5 hours and was around 40 miles, with 11,000 ft of climbing (I think, my watch ran out of battery at about 9 hours and 36 miles somewhere above Ullswater).  Summits included Wainwrights, Hewitts and Birketts (Every Wainwright is a Birkett and a Hewitt, but not every Hewitt and Birkett is a Wainwright…)

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Lakes Alive Festival – Wolfing down the miles, Friday, September 7, 2018

Jack Lee

I feel that the Elvet Striders have taken part of some odd and wacky events over time but it isn’t often that you get to impersonate a wolf for a weekend, so when Stuart Scott forwarded me an appeal for fell runners to impersonate wolves for the Lakes Alive festival, I applied.

At this point, I never foresaw actually doing the event. And so it was, with a fair bit of trepidation, that I donned my wolf cape and wolf head and set off on the Friday morning.

The event was part of the Lakes alive festival starting at Humphrey Head (the location of the last wolf in Britain) and running to Kendal. Over the space of three days the wolves had a lot to do. The aim of the game was for the public to come and “hunt” the wolves, which essentially involved members of the public trying to photograph the wolves and the wolves being elusive and evasive. The second day, however, involved a staged event where the public were ferried out to Mill Side and had a close encounter with the wolves but I am getting ahead of myself.

Anyway getting back on track, at 8 am on Friday the 7th of September, myself and three other fell runners from Sheffield set off from Humphrey Head, making the excursion through Allithwaite, Cartmel and Lindale over the space of the day. Each time we saw humans we skulked and hid in the shadows, but not well enough that they didn’t get a sighting. This, combined with howling on hilltops and relative gentle progress, marked a relatively casual first day, which ended in a bunkhouse in Mill Side eating good food and drinking a couple of beers with the trackers turned off.

The next day was focussed on the exhibition events where members of the public were ferried out to Mill Side for two events; one in the morning and the second in the afternoon. Early in the morning, the wolf pack set off for an hour or so run, over Whitbarrow where at approximately 11.30am we emerged from mists on the top and howled while visible to the people sheltering in the hide below. We then set off leaping rocks and pieces of broken limestone pavement and throwing ourselves down a steep slope to appear fifteen minutes later around a staged “kill” (in reality a deerskin and head). We approached carefully checking for danger while rubbing scent onto a couple of trees and getting our legs torn to pieces by brambles. Then after a while feasting on deer, all our heads went up in unison and we scampered off into the undergrowth. Only to reappear in the afternoon to go through it all again.

It was after this second performance that my time as a wolf came to an end and after some dinner, I got a lift back to Kendal to spend some time with my brother and father. The next day, however, I decided that the hunted would become the hunter. Not many people had been actively hunting the wolves during the first few days so after a coffee in Kendal I donned my running kit and grabbed my phone and the hunt began. The game platform was composed of a website with a live tracking display of the wolves’ locations, but to access this you had to share your location and I knew from experience as a wolf that if a hunter got within 200m then the wolves would be pinged an alert.

The wolves at this time were on Scout Scar and from my cunning and the route map, I had accidentally kept, I figured out I could cut them off as they circled Kendal from the west. I legged it up Underbarrow roads and waited near the top, but a game of cat and mouse ensued.

The wolves dodging other hunters repeatedly cut up and down the hillside meaning I kept overshooting or dropping short with only a few long distance sightings. I decided to relocate to the Kendal golf course where, hiding behind a wall lying fully prone, I got some photographs of the wolves passing. After a bit of a chase, we then met down in Kendal and I joined them for a final jog to the main staging point of the Lakes Alive festival. We were accompanied by a group of kids dressed up in wolf costumes of their own. All that was left after that was to wolf down some biscuits and a cup of coffee provided, then I left the pack and set off as a lone wolf.

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Hexham 5k Fun Run 2017, Hexham, Northumberland, Sunday, July 16, 2017

Celeste Veitch

 

I’d enjoyed last year’s Hexham 5k fun run so I felt compelled to support the organisers in their quest to secure enough attendance to route the run through Hexham’s town centre. The council agreed the request and with full road closures for the run, the 5k started 5 minutes before the half marathon from in front of the Queen’s Hall Art Centre. With pleasant weather and a fine view of the Abbey we set off, the HM runners and spectators cheered us from the start line.

Fifty runners followed the path down Hallgate bank and onto Wentworth Place, past the visitor and leisure centres onto the main road to the A69. If you don’t know Hexham this start was entirely downhill and the momentum along with the supporters propelled us along nicely. At this point the course goes over the bridge and drops down along Ferry Road. The course continues along the road where it crosses over the A69 and turns around just before Corchester Lane returning on the same route until a left turn onto Sandhoe takes you to the finish line and a handsome medal of the Abbey.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m not the Strider’s fastest runner but with the support, the downhill momentum and aid of Anna Seeley’s HM training sessions I’d managed to knock 3.05 minutes off my PB. The first place 5k runner came in at 20.42. I’m looking forward to Hexham 2018.

Results available here

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The Beer Belly Fun Run 2016, Consett, Saturday, August 27, 2016

6 x 1k laps

Pam Kirkup

Stand and Deliver!

Stand and Deliver! … otherwise known as the 2nd Beer Belly Run from the Grey Horse pub in Consett raising funds for Motor Neurone Disease.

This has to be said is a ridiculous concept, one that we have inherited from America. The idea is that runners do 5 x 1K laps around a pub, after each lap you down a half of beer until the last lap when you down a pint. Thankfully I was driving and so was excused the beer swilling however the landlady did give me a glass of wine at the finish.

The entry form said that fancy dress was “positively encouraged” so Paul and I joined the throng – me as Adam Ant in ‘Dandy Highwayman’ mode and Paul as a Beverley Hillbilly. If you weren’t around in the ‘60s Paul’s outfit will be a mystery to you! There were some cracking costumes – Harry Potter characters, Freddy Mercury, a zombie with a rubber mask, Elvis and a man in drag with enormous false breasts to name but a few! The fancy dress prize went to a bloke wearing hideous white Y-fronts with a towel stuffed down the front, he had a knotted hankie on his head, he ran in wellies and he had a brown ‘skid mark’ painted on the back of his pants with some toilet paper hanging out of the waist band. Gross but hilarious! Blackhill Bounders had a few serious runners in it to compete for the prizes – even so I think I might have been second lady! Paul & I certainly finished quite high up … which might give you an idea of the standard.

Afterwards there was a buffet and 2 bands were due to play during the evening. We left after the buffet but it was a very enjoyable afternoon and an entirely fun event.

The inaugural event was last year to raise money for Parkinsons UK – a local teacher, Nigel Nattress had been diagnosed with the disease and the pub organised a series of events to raise money for the charity. The final sum raised was £5000+. Unfortunately, Nigel had been misdiagnosed – he actually had Motor Neurone Disease and died in the spring of this year. He was only in his 40s.

So this year the pub continues fund raising – this time for the MND charity and Marie Curie nursing. The pub raised £500 on Sunday alone. Some students from Longfield School in Darlington, where Nigel taught have raised £2000 in a sponsored sky dive.

The run might have been quite silly, great fun but in a very worthy cause.

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The Beer Belly Fun Run 2015, Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pam Kirkup

Very Jolly Hockey Sticks!At first I thought this a ridiculous concept – run 5 x 1K laps around a pub, drink a half of beer after each lap plus a disgusting “snack” or canapé – I’m a Celebrity style – and then down a pint after the final lap. Apparently, such events occur all over the country – mainly as a fun way of raising funds for charity. And this is exactly what the Beer Belly Run was all about.

The Grey Horse pub in Consett has been supporting the fundraising for Parkinson’s UK, organised by Ian Pratt of Blackhill Bounders since early this year after a local teacher was diagnosed with the condition. This was the latest event and Paul & I decided to enter – and run in fancy dress which was “positively encouraged” on the entry form.

We turned up at the pub yesterday – a St Trinian’s schoolgirl and a pirate – for the 3pm start. There were 3 Elvis impersonators running, a gangster and his moll, Batman and a fat bloke dressed as a baby to mention just a few of the costumes. There were also quite a few Blackhill Bounders who clearly meant business! Some of them had disappeared for a half hour warm up session – and then there was the “pre-race stretching”. A mystery to most of the spectators! Paul striking a dignified pose

So we set off at a leisurely pace – Paul & I were running together! Hampered by a hockey stick and a boater that kept blowing off, I think I slowed things down a bit but then it wasn’t really about the time. First lap done and the half to down and the “snack” to face – drivers (me) and “schoolgirls” (also me) were excused the half pint – not the snack – but had to do a 10 second penalty. Well, by the time Paul had drunk his half the 10 seconds were well over! And so it continued until we finished and the landlady gave me a well-earned glass of wine. The fasted male was a Blackhill Bounder in 21 minutes, his wife was fastest female and oddly enough the fastest team was also the ‘warming up’ brigade from Blackhill Bounders. There are no ‘results’ or times but it was a great afternoon. £757 was raised for Parkinson’s on the day. The Rag Pickers band played to entertain the troops all afternoon and they were fantastic – they even did a lap playing their instruments.

Ian Pratt tells me that Blackhill Bounders might put out a challenge to Elvet Striders for next year’s team event … so if you’re interested in a really good day out you might consider getting a team together. Five runners to run 1 leg each!

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