Category Archives: Anita Clementson

Charity Relay, Pennine Way, Friday, July 24, 2015

Anita Clementson

Northern Section: Friday Leg 2 – Byrness to Bellingham – 15.5 miles – with Diane Watson

Anita and Diane running toward the finish of their leg on Bellingham Bridge As we waited for the arrival of Kerry & James, our northern leg 1 runners, we took the advantage of having tea in the local inn and gaining some inside knowledge on the route ahead. On asking the rather grumpy woman at the inn, she took a long breath and turned her head slowly to the clock, then looked back at us: “are you planning to do this today?” We were obviously not giving her the impression of experienced fell types that were capable of tackling 15 miles of the boggiest part of the Pennine way (a feature she was also keen to warn us about).

Luckily we managed to regain some positivity and returned to wait patiently at the checkpoint. Text messaging allowed us to get some idea of Kerry & James’ progress. In the meantime we had a leisurely chat with a guy who had nearly finished his 18-day walk of the whole PW and then there were Kerry & James, bounding along looking quite fresh after their epic 25-mile first leg trek.

So Diane and I were finally on our way! Navigation was required for the first half of what was a fairly undulating but not too hilly route. Luckily there had been plenty of time to study our OS map and so we had more or less memorised the route ahead.

Due to the delay and the fact that we didn’t want to arrive too late for Scott, who was waiting to take over at Bellingham (we were nearing 3 hours behind schedule) we took the option of missing out the boggiest part of our section (we were also warned about this by two people we met) but had to add an extra half mile of easier ground. It wasn’t an easy decision, and it would have been nice to just follow the course of the PW but common sense took precedence. As a result, the ‘baton’ [or ‘map’ as it also known – Ed] was passed on safely at the bridge over the North Tyne in pretty Bellingham, pausing only to take some photos, before Scott was on his way…our job was done!

We encountered only beautiful scenery and a slightly surreal sense of being a little part of a much bigger event knowing that all of our friends in the club were with us in spirit and that we were making our mark in the history of the club.

Karen Hooper

Central Section: Sunday Leg 5 – Sunderland Bridge to Palace Green – 10 miles

Elvet Striders Relay Runners on Palace Green at the end of a successful 2015 Charity Relay We ran through armpit-high thistles with our arms in the air, got rashes from foot to shoulder from the long grass…I spoke to Striders I had never spoken to before…I turned round and saw a whole tribe of purple behind me in the beautiful countryside…I weed in a field with someone I’d only spoken to once before who I’m now proud to call a friend…I talked about the sadness of losing babies and the support that 4Louis provide to bereaved families with a total stranger…I cheered Striders running further than they’ve ever run before…I enjoyed meat pie and a pint with new friends in The Elm Tree and shed a tear at Paul’s speech. Thank you Striders – it was just what we all needed! X

Dave Shipman’s white van

Southern Section: Friday, Saturday & Sunday – Support

Dave and Jan about to set off the leg to Pen-Y-Ghent Thursday 6.30 am: Contents being removed including old lawnmower and box of unsold car boot stuff which I have carried round for ages. Must be an expedition coming soon? Parked up next to house, suspect we will head off after work?

Thursday 5.30 pm: I was right: all surfaces hastily cleaned and bags of kit thrown in.

Thursday 6 pm: ‘Driver D’ joined by ‘Kiwi Mike’ (with no dog this time, but several more bags and a tent). Off we go!

Thursday 6.30 pm: Durham City, pick up ‘Lady J’ (must be in for a long trip if the number of bags she has are anything to go by!).

Thursday 8.30 pm: Got through all the road works (and avoided running out of petrol) to Woolley Edge services. Joined by Driver D’s double, known as ‘Our Kid’ apparently – and yet more bags!

Thursday 9.30 pm: Fiddly, wiggly roads to the campsite. Abandoned in car park for the night – typical!

Friday 5.30 am: Kettle on – bloody hell, this is an early start! Joined by what looks like a black coffin -carrier but on investigation it’s a multi-purpose removal estate car on its way back from an end-of term university visit – my sympathies, done that run a few times! Mobile catering function required for several sleepy campers after what they describe as a snore-interrupted night (nothing to do with the beers they drank before bedtime then?).

Friday 5.55 am: Bleary-eyed bloke carrying two rucksacks approaches; also has what he calls ‘a tent’; looks more like a full-body condom to me! All goes in through the back door; he sets off running and away we go!

Friday 12.00 noon: After several hours hurtling over hill and dale, parked at length on the end of Saddleworth Moor. No sign of Kiwi Mike. Eventually he arrives after losing his way but by then I’ve moved on to Yorkshire where I’m joined by a red Honda Jazz and two more runners with lots of kit bags.

Friday afternoon: Yippee! Into Calderdale relay country after ‘Pirate Nige’ (the driver of the black coffin-carrier) and Lady J (she of the many bags) have been off-piste looking for hairy sausage caterpillars! Familiar roads and hills that I’ve been round a few times.

Friday night 8.00 pm: Make it to Malham before nightfall as required but then drive backwards and forwards on narrow, stone-walled lanes looking for Moon’s Farm campsite. Find two campsites but not of that name and eventually work out that it’s the one at the foot of Malham Cove. Joined by a red Golf and red Polo, so relay convoy status is now established. No room on the campsite but Mrs Moon kindly lets me use her car park, assisted by red Golf moving over to give me breathing space which I need after the last 24 hours!

Saturday 7.00 am: Mobile catering required again: runners seem even more bleary-eyed but still enthusiastic. Bags, damp tents and sweaty kit thrown in the back, along with an assortment of food and drink.

Saturday 8.15 am: Runners set off in beautiful sunshine. I get my insides swept out and Kiwi Mike beats my carpets – first time in a long time!

Saturday 8.30 am: Off for a beautiful trip round the Dales: up to Arncliffe, down both sides of Pen Y Ghent seeking runners on the move with no success. Then to Horton where I’m left in a pub car park but am eventually rescued by Kiwi Mike.

Saturday 2.00 pm: After being abandoned for a couple of hours in Hawes, found by Driver D and ‘Chatterbox Jan’, both looking sweaty and weary but with bags of food and drink and off we go again.

Saturday 6.00 pm: On the road for ages, over Butter Tubs Pass, people in and out, stops at Tan Hill, a tunnel under the A66, supposed to be heading for near Middleton but left parked next to a barn: sign says “To be kept clear at all times” so I will probably get towed away by a tractor! Passengers seem intent on standing in a field with cows, staring for over an hour at a distant horizon. Farmer arrives and doesn’t tow me away, instead gives friendly advice about how savage cows can be then, once the red Polo has been moved, farmer drives off up track. Eventually runners appear, pause briefly for water from my diminishing supplies then head off up the track after the farmer.

Facing up to 'savage' cows was all part of the challenge!

Saturday 8 pm: At last! A campsite instead of a car park! Company of other vans and tents; passengers have all gone to the pub; night may not end well!

Saturday 10 pm: As I suspected, a crowd of folk have returned to use my lounge facilities: Kiwi Mike brings out cake; ‘Party Jean’ finds a bottle of Amaretto left over from Xmas; rattling bags of cider and beer come from cupboards and rucksacks. Remarkably, peace and quiet by midnight.

Sunday 7.30 am: Breakfast time again: folk seem more bleary and tired, less energetic until joined by ‘Tigga Till’ and Joan who set off up the hills. Random packing follows before I head for Wolsingham Station via Bollihope Common and across the moors. Apart from our convoy, there’s hardly any traffic and no people.

Sunday 12.00 noon: Tigga Till and Joan arrive at the station, no trains running, so join us for a drive to Witton Park where I am left on my own for hours by the side of Paradise Park (an over-generous description when compared to the scenery I have been through in the last 48 hours!). Seemingly, Bleary-eyed Paul, Pirate Nige and Lady J got lost in the long grass!

Sunday 1.00 pm: Diversion to Newton Cap Viaduct seeking ‘Captain Anna’, who in turn was seeking Kiwi Mike; no sign of either so on to Willington…

Sunday 1.20 pm: Willington: amazing crowd of runners, all waiting for Kiwi Mike, none with bags and none needing a lift thank goodness! All say they are running to Durham.

Sunday 2.30 pm: Sizeable group head for Durham; party atmosphere. Kiwi Mike leaves me near Durham Rowing Club and heads off with Bleary-eyed Paul to do yet more running.

Sunday 5.30 pm: Kiwi Mike and Driver D return in pouring rain but good spirits. Appears that the trip has been a great success!

Sunday 5.45 pm: Parked up in Chester-le Street; over 450 miles covered; job done! Kiwi Mike and Driver D remove a few bags of kit and walk away. Wait a minute! Come back! What about the bags of wet and sweaty kit? What about the soggy bananas and left over cake crumbs, half-eaten sandwiches and water bottles? And who do these red boxer shorts belong to?!!

Penny Browell

Southern section: Friday Legs 5 & 8; Saturday Leg 1; Sunday Legs 4 & 5

Penny, Paul & Steph come together for an almost nocturnal 'selfie'.

Friday, Leg 8 – Ickornshaw to East Marton – 9 miles – with Paul Evans: having said I probably shouldn’t run at all (dodgy ankle making me whinge a lot), I decided I wasn’t content with the 10-miler earlier with Steph and Paul so volunteered to take on what turned out to be the final leg of the evening. I was told it was easy-ish and not too long (which I guess is what 9 miles and 1,250 feet is for Paul Evans!). But even he was tired (after more than 20 miles) and the climbs seemed bigger than they should have been and whilst it was lovely to see the sun setting from a perfect viewpoint it was also a bit nerve-wracking as we had no head-torches and there were still a few miles to go.

More worrying though, were the cows, one of which seemed to take a dislike to me and after a little lurch, started heading towards me. Paul recommended jumping over the fence but as it was about shoulder height for me – with barbed wire on the top – I didn’t rate my chances! To cut a long story short, we managed to escape unscathed but still had to race the light to reach East Marton by nightfall.

When we got to the canal we knew we were nearly there but when a slight edge of doubt crept in to Paul’s voice I was beginning to get a bit concerned. Then I spotted a lonely beam of light flickering in the darkness ahead – it was Steph! Come in search of us! And so, just before 10.00 pm, our leg was done. Sadly too late for the pub dinner I’d promised myself but still leaving me with a very content smile on my face.

Juliet Percival

Southern section: Friday Legs 2, 3 & 7; Saturday Legs 4, 5 & 6; Sunday Leg 2

Juliet in a 'weary legs' phase! As I write this, the three days of the southern legs are now a blur of…chilly dawns…hurried muesli…squeezing wet tents back into bags…driving…plodding…eating cake…driving…running…wonderful views…eating cake…running…endless views of rolling green hills and patchwork fields…waiting…cheering and clapping for smiling Striders out in force…drinking coffee…wonderful company…running…weary legs…waiting…runners’ heads bobbing up over the horizon…dreaming (of a hot shower)…drinking coffee… “there they are!” …running…COWS!…”what if it’s a bull?”…slow to a walk…eyes down…be invisible… beautiful, peaceful countyside…lovely banter…”how many more miles?” …getting late…pitching tents in the dark (hilarious!)…racing to the pub (too late for food)…crisps and alcohol for supper again!…”another round?”…”why not!” …returning to campsites in the dark…no showers…grim…feeling stinky…sleeping bags…overtures of snoring…chilly dawns (again)…hurried muesli…”off we go”…”

Roz Layton

Northern section: Saturday Leg 3 – Knarsdale to Garrigill – 14 miles – with Debs Goddard & Jean Bradley

Nothing could be nicer than standing in the middle of unfamiliar countryside on the Cumbrian/Durham border on a warm day, surrounded by orchids, harebells, cranesbill and buzzing insects. Just a nagging worry affects the mood: where are they? Are they OK? Have I missed them?

Thank goodness for a good phone signal and Debs’ clear decision-making (…leave Alston, come and meet her and Jean further up the route at Knarsdale). This turned out to be an abandoned station on the old South Tyne railway, with platform, an old ticket office and signs threatening forty shilling fines…

It wasn’t long before Debs and Jean came trotting along the track, cheerful but a bit frustrated by the disappearing Pennine Way ‘acorns’ [motif that indicates the Pennine Way trail – Ed]. So much for the Pennine Way becoming an eroded motorway then – even when we could find the route it was often overgrown!

Jean and I could only admire the map and its reader as we were ‘spectacle-free’ and so we continued, skirting Slaggyford happily enough but losing time as what ‘acorns’ there were led us over stiles and into fields with no apparent exit. On one occasion we found ourselves face to face with a herd of cows and their calves and – yes – climbing to his feet as we approached, a big creamy bull guarding the gateway!

Alston to Garrigill had less drama but was just as pretty. We anticipated ‘lashings and lashings of ginger beer’ but a wonderful half-pint outside the newly refurbished pub won out, underscoring the satisfaction of running twice as far as I’d expected and the ‘Striderly’ pleasure of running with good friends.

Mike Elliott

Northern Section: Saturday Leg 6 – Cauldron Snout to Holwick – 9 miles – with Andy James.

Mike makes the awkward descent of the waterfall of Cauldron Snout.

After doing ‘Park Run’ in the morning I checked my OS Teesdale map of early-60s vintage that didn’t even show the Tees being dammed at Cauldron Snout to form Cow Green Reservoir (luckily the contours were in the same place however). I then joined Andy at Ebchester for the drive to the start of the final northern leg of our charity relay, arriving there about 4.00 pm for an estimated start time of 5.30 pm. No other Striders were in sight but it was early days…

The weather was sunny: 14 degrees with a gentle breeze but then a black cloud appeared, bringing heavy vertical, then horizontal, rain and HAIL! (Was this July?). So, like the sheep around us, we sheltered behind a stone wall (baaa!). The storm passed, the sun came out again and we soon dried out.

By about 6.00 pm we concluded that with no one else was going to join us, and that we might have missed a ‘relay running late’ message. Miraculously, we found a sign near the dam which said ‘GOOD MOBILE PHONE SIGNAL HERE’ (move one yard either way – no signal!) and called Steph who said Jon Ayres was on his way from Dufton and should be with us in an hour and a half. Being the good civil and electrical engineers that we are, off we went to explore the dam and its water pressure measuring boreholes, generators and anything else we could find (howay, it filled in the time!).

To our delight, Jon arrived a tad early from his magnificent solo effort across the tops and after sharing info and pleasantries, his legs then had the luxury of driving Andy’s car to Bowlees visitor centre.

Still no more troops, so off we went, down the side of Cauldron Snout and onto the rock-strewn paths of the Falcon Clints’ boulder field (could have been on the moon) along with the odd board-walk then eventually onto something vaguely runnable. This was not going to be a 10K PB!

The first half of the leg was on the north bank of the River Tees (the south bank appeared to be marked on the map as an MOD training area). After the tribulations of the Clints and Holmwath Escarpments, we arrived at Widdy Bank Farm where we could at last make good progress after our mountaineering experiences. Then we saw the sign that said it all: three and a half miles back to Cauldron Snout, three and three-quarters to High Force. HEY UP – we thought this was a 10K!

Across ditches, and through stones walls via little wooden gates, across the bridge over Harwood Beck, then crossing to the south side of the River Tees at Cronkley, then onto a wide track for 400yards (which made us look like models on a cat walk).

Next was a trip around a farm yard (no Old Macdonald or quarter-pounder’s to be seen) where we encountered a problem due to the lack of way markers: options were to follow a boggy fence line, climb a steep hill covered in gorse or back-track towards the MOD area. We chose to climb the hill (probably a short cut to dry ground but slightly longer) until we hit the PW again.

Next obstacle was a barbed wire-topped fence where we put our high jump skills to the test (gold medals being awarded to both participants). Then it was back down to low ground to see some friendly faces albeit a flock of sheep (who decided not to follow us due to the fact they were not as fit as us athletes!).

At last we hit a reasonable track, so, putting more coal on the fire, we reeled in the miles to High Force. What a long three and three-quarter country miles that was (must have been all those photo stops)! A quick decision not to dive into the cold, fast flowing, peaty waters at High Force then we pushed on to Low Force and Wynch Bridge (a suspension footbridge built for lead miners in 1830).

Here we saw a poster nailed to a tree saying Strathmore Arms, 1 mile – nectar! In the heather we caught a glimpse of a young ‘Monarch of the Glen’ [a deer – Ed] scratching its lug at the sound of these two explorers; he then showed us how to cope with cross county hills by bounding away.

Onwards across the quickly darkening fields with Andy’s phone shattering the quiet of the countryside. It was Paul asking if we are still alive and what our favourite tipple is! Back to tarmac and the comforting lights of Holwick (or IS it Holwick? – No sign of a pub and only a few well strung out houses – have we got the wrong village? – We stop and knock on the door of a house at 10.00 pm – “Where is the Strathmore Arms?” – “Just there love” – relief!).

Finally, after two-and-a-half hours, we receive the most rousing of receptions from the locals and many of the lads and lasses who ran the Southern and rest of the Northern legs. Then it was into the pub with just enough time to embrace everyone in sight, hoy a pint down our necks (courtesy of the landlord) and enjoy the band.

The campers then made their way to bed so they could be fresh, waiting for Paul’s foreign accent to ring out at 7.00 am: “Hi de hi campers, your breakfast is ready and no cooking required: IT’S IN A CAN!”.

We intrepid explorers continued our adventures: a one-and-a-half mile cross-country walk to the car (thanks for the torch Nigel) and then over the dales to Ebchester. I never knew rabbits came out in such numbers at night, with the journey being a rabbit slalom course (we managed it without harming any, so rabbit pie was off the Sunday menu).

Hope you enjoyed the above tale. It could have been the tail of Peter………..Oh come on, they don’t get any better!

Joan Hanson

Central Section: Sunday Leg 1 – Holwick to Wolsingham – 16 miles – with Till Sawala.

Me and Tigger Till strike out for Wolsingham Today I picked up a total stranger that I met via a Facebook message then got quietly freaked out on arrival at the campsite at 8am to be told by fellow bleary-eyed striders that Till can run…didn’t you realise Joan?.. really quite fast…sub 3-hour marathon actually. Till then proceeded to run ‘really quite fast’ although he referred to it as ‘relaxed social pace’. He was certainly able to converse with ease as he bounced along beside me in his Hokas (quite a lot like Tigger) consistently up a big hill, then on tarmac (that’s another first). Words of encouragement were offered by a convoy of the aforementioned striders in their cars before we struck out over the moors and down into Weardale. We took slightly longer than the 2 hours on the original schedule for this leg but had a great morning out and we didn’t get lost.

(Visited 46 times, 1 visits today)

UKA Fell & Hill Relay Champs, Middleton & Barbon Fells, Kirby Lonsdale, Sunday, October 19, 2014

Scott Watson

Sally & Mike B before the offThis year, this prestigious event in the fell-running calendar was held on the little-known (to me at least) Barbon and Middleton fells, a very compact but no less hilly venue between Sedbergh and Kirby Lonsdale. Conditions-wise, wind was to be the main feature of the day but at least in Durham it remained a generally pleasant day; over the Pennines there was no sun to be had and the weather deteriorated persistently as the day wore on, leaving later runners to contend with driving rain and mist.

Mike B finishing Leg 1 for Team 'B'The event was well organised as always, this time by Dallam Running Club and Howgill Harriers, and the first runners representing the 213 registered teams were marshalled together on a wind-blown field at the foot of Middleton Fell for a 10 o’clock start. Elvet Striders were able to field two teams: Team ‘A’ comprised Sally Hughes (Leg 1), Mike Hughes & Paul Evans (Leg 2), Camilla Lauren Maatta & Scott Watson (Leg 3) and Jan Young (Leg 4); Team ‘B’ was Mike Bennett (Leg 1), Kerry Lister & Nigel Heppell (Leg 2), Anita Clementson & Phil Owen (Leg 3) and John Metson (Leg 4). Of course, it shouldn’t be forgotten that ‘Mudman & Mudwoman’, Geoff and Sue Davis (running for that ‘other’ club on this occasion) were there first thing with tent erected and waiting to receive guests!

As I mentioned before, this is a prestigious event that always attracts the very best fell runners in the country to compete for their clubs, consequently the course is ‘challenging’ to say the least. Legs 1 & 4 were for single runners and were effectively the same course run the opposite way round. Leg 2 was a longer course for pairs and Leg 3 was a navigational course for pairs.

Sally finishing Leg 1 for Team 'A'There are many (many) words to follow and it is a shame that the consistent efforts of those dependable runners who are relied on to make up the core of any team often fail to get a fair crack of the whip commendations-wise, but the day – quite rightly – belonged to two ladies for whom this was a real baptism of fire. Sally Hughes must have been the youngest competitor at the event and had only ever (to the best of my knowledge) previously done one fell-race – Simonside Show – and compared to this, it doesn’t really count. By her own account she had a tough run, with the vagaries of the fells playing their part but she kept her head and her spirit and finished in proper fell-running style!

Twelve hours earlier, Kerry Lister had been drinking champagne and recounting her York Marathon adventures the previous weekend. When Jon Ayres was forced to pull out, a desperate email plea went out for a replacement and it was Kerry who stepped up – despite never having done a fell race in her life – only to be given the hardest leg of the race! Admittedly she was well paired with Nigel who, I think she has already agreed, calmly guided and encouraged her to achieve a never-to-be-forgotten and quite extraordinary athletic milestone.

For my own part, Camilla and I enjoyed (I hope she agrees) a very satisfying run on Leg 3 which, because we left with the mass start, required almost no navigational input with the exception perhaps of keeping an eye out for any small advantage that might be gained. However, with good visibility and a chain of runners stretching for half a mile, that hope was a faint one. Squally rain showers driven by high winds were possibly the most significant impediment to our progress (disregarding a few steep hills of course!) but if you’re not intending to pitch a tent in it at the end of the day it just adds to the experience! Roll on next year!

…And Mike Hughes (Team A/Leg 2 – with Paul Evans)

Mike Hughes & Paul Evans climb away from the showground at the start of Leg 2Paul and I waited eagerly for the return of the Leg 1 single runners; you could see them coming down from the fell in the field opposite and hurriedly dibbing at the last point before making the last effort to the finish where a firm tag on the hand was needed to set the pairs away for the second leg. Many had come in by now and we had seen some really fast pairs run off up the slope towards the right turn to Eskholme Pike, picking off some of the pairs in a very short time. Then she appeared, safe and running well, our Sally, able to run the first leg as it was the only leg permitted for an under 18. She strode down the fields with her lanky relaxed gate and was soon running towards us. I held my arms out for a proud embrace and we were off, charging up the hill after the others, although none in sight just yet.

We climbed steadily and I was soon quite breathless, don’t know if it was the wind that seemed to take my air or trying to keep pace with Paul, down a steep gully and up the other side. It was mostly runnable but the climb to the first check point brought me to a walk. As we climbed we caught up with Nigel and Kerry. At the same time were greeted by an ex-strider who was out on her own, her name I can’t recall but many of you will – a very pleasant French lady who invited a bus load of striders to her wedding in France many years ago.

After a brief chat we pressed on, Paul offering for me to lead and set pace but I thought we’d be faster if I let him lead and I tried to keep up, that seemed to work. We decided to run to the base of the next hill and then stride to the next check point, Paul saving us time by getting to the check point a good few strides ahead of me and then we were straight off after the nod from the marshals when we were a pair again.

The view of the runners strung out ahead to CP3 and Castle Knott ahead was quite something. We had picked a few more off by now and I seemed to be getting my “second wind”. I knew we were looking for a right “out and back” after that to pick up CP4, from the contours on the map it looked steep but maybe not too far. As we traversed round it came into view. I laughed, that’s mad I thought, it was way down in the valley, really steep, and as soon as you hit the check point you had to come straight back up of course and even further to the wall corner for CP5, mentally tough as well anything else.

We descended rapidly, passing a few more and were soon out the other side of the gully and attacking the hill. I looked up to the top of the hill, I only looked the once, head down and get on with it, this was seriously painful. It was rough heather scrub, the heather compressing as you stepped on it which sapped what little energy my legs had, you couldn’t stand really, the best technique seems to be climb it on all fours, grabbing the heather as you went and as much pulling yourself up with your arms and pushing with your legs which felt like they would burst.

Paul was getting away from me but I managed to gain on others. Eventually the top came and I joined Paul who was able to stop and take in the view back, I didn’t and we were off again, returning to soft grass and probably the easiest run of the day to CP5 on Calf top and the turn left down Middleton Fell. We were going well, we were heading home, the ground was soft, deep, moss and undulating as we descended and traversed.

We ran quickly, I was twisting and turning, at one point my body was facing forward but my legs were still running sideways after stumbling on a rocky outcrop, I was starting to feel exhausted and didn’t have the energy to correct with the forward momentum of the decent but managed to keep upright. We caught up with a couple of NFR runners (Steph Scott and Katherine Davis). We were heading back in the direction of the event field, I guess maybe only 2-3 miles to go, when there were shouts of “wrong way”.

Confusion ensued, there seemed to be runners everywhere all of a sudden, some going on ahead, some running back, some way down in the valley bottom going the other way (turns out some were also the Leg 3 navigators). A quick glance at the map, damn, where were we, we had just arrived at a deep gully with a stream, we realised on the map that that had to be the unnamed watershed down into Luge Gill to the West of CP6.

We descended a little further and back over the gully, it looked runnable for the traverse along a wall to find the gill we needed – Wrestle Gill – but we were soon in deep bracken and slowing down. We could see runners further up the hill so traversed and climbed, followed the stream up the gully and eventually came to the check point, blisters starting to shout by then.

Check point dibbed and we were off, how much time we had lost I don’t know, 10-15 minutes maybe, so we pushed on trying to claw that time back. Could we make it back in time for the cut off, yes, you could see the tents down in the fields about a mile away. Someone said “ten minutes to cut off”, press on, Paul looking back, he had that look in his eyes and I knew this was going to be the last hard push, eyeballs out -it’s all going to be over soon.

We were soon running across the fields and back into the main field, we thought we had made it in time, we looked around but soon heard the jovial commentator announce over his tannoy “it’s no good looking rounds lads, they’ve gone, you’ve missed them”…..still, a brilliant run and great to have Paul encouraging me by making it look so easy!

…And Jan Young (Team A/Leg 4)

Sunday’s race renewed my passion for the fells, testing my resilience, after a summer in the doldrums. No navigation needed for solo leg 4, switch brain off and follow red flags, peering through mist and blinding rain, to find cairn checkpoints and marshalls huddled as low as possible, finding respite from Howgills howling wind. Recommend pie eating or backpack rocks, to add weight, as got blown sideways…… a lot.

Brilliant commentary from announcer: “They call it fell running because you fall down lot.” “They say it’s hell up there; you wait till leg 4.” He was at it all day, entertaining and enthusiastic. Hot food served all day, cake, hot drinks and beer. Shared Striders’ tent and cakes with NFR, all supportive.

Striders of the day: Sally, already very fit, whose confidence in her ability is rocketing – she must have been the youngest competitor? And ‘I’ll try it Kerry’ – from the York Marathon to challenging terrain on the Middleton and Barbon fells. No problem!

…And Nigel Heppell (Team B/Leg 2 – with Kerry Lister)

A last minute drop-out meant a new recruit and a re-jigging of teams, such that I took Kerry out as my partner for Leg 2, which happened to be the longest leg (9 miles apparently). Excellent company, enthusiasm and unflagging good spirits but it was definitely a baptism of fire (or should that be wind and hail? – easily blowing 60mph on the tops – and turbulent too) for Kerry.

Part of our route went half-way down this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-oIkNu9MwA&feature=youtu.be – and then straight back up, all the way into the clouds that were covering Calf Top.

Quoting from the organiser’s website: “There is only the one annual race currently touching upon the Middleton and Barbon fells event area; it involves a lung bursting, calf straining, dash to Calf Top from the washtubs in Barbondale and back and has one of the steepest ascents and descents of the Kendal Winter League series. There are sore backsides in store for runners looking to overtake and losing their footing on the run in to the finish.”

We did complete our leg successfully albeit taking a bit longer than most, well, ok, all; but at least we got all the checkpoints; 10 teams failed to do that. Heard some rumours that Mountain Rescue were about to be summoned! I had the satisfaction of doing some actual navigation because there was no one else in sight to follow – it’s an ill wind …

…And Kerry Lister (Team B/Leg 2 – with Nigel Heppell)

The story starts on Saturday night, approximately 1030pm, checking my emails I saw a plea from Paul Evans for anyone willing to be a last minute stand-in for the fell racing championships. Ah well I though, better than sitting on the back of a motorbike all day…. off went the email, with 3 caveats – don’t be cross at how slow I am, I am very poor at navigation and please can I run with someone else. Hastily packing my little rucksack with the ‘essential kit’ and laying out my flat momma off to bed for an insanely early Sunday morning.

Next thing I know I’m getting into a car with 3 likely lads (Paul Evans, Nigel Heppell and John Metson) and off to Middleston Fell we go. At this point I really don’t know what Ive gotten myself into. Arriving in good time for our team captain to register the 2 teams we have fielded, I being to get a bit worried, lots of racing snake type fell runners, I pop to the portaloo then try to find the Strider tent which Sue and Geoff have erected for the Striders nd NFR teams to share. Me being me, with absolutely no sense of direction (admittedly not ideal for a fell run), it takes me some time to find the tent.

Numbers allocated and pinned on: I’m running Leg 2 with Nigel in team number 73. Mike Bennett was our Leg 1 runner, Flip Owen and Anita Clementson our navigation Leg 3 and John Metson our number 4.

Then it was off to find the Young Farmers’ tent for a very reasonably priced bacon bun and coffee (£3!). Nigel and I had a quick recce of the map(ashamedly all I know about maps is the closer together the lines are, the steeper the hill/gradient, and my goodness those lines around checkpoint 4 were very, very, close together!).

Leg 1, ready to go – Mike Bennett and Sally Hughes were looking resplendent in purple as they lined up with the elite fell runners – then they were off! Estimating a return time of around 40 minutes it was off for our kit check.

I had brought everything I needed except whistle and compass, so after our illustrious team captain provided me with a compass and a new whistle was purchased from Pete Bland (my first ever Pete Bland store purchase – I think that makes me a fell runner now!) I went to show my gear to the checkers. She was suitably impressed with my woolly bee hat (complete with antennae) but strangely made no comment on my ‘pac-a-mac’ cagoule.

After a last, nervous, loo visit, Nigel and I dibbed into the starting pen, to await Mike’s return. When he appeared over the hill, his long, loping, stride seemed to devour the ground beneath him, then, with a quick tag of the hand, we were off. Giggling like a girl (well I am one I suppose) it wasn’t long before my marathon tired legs and unaccustomed lungs started to protest, Nigel coached me with top fell runner tips as we climbed and climbed and climbed.

And as the pairs passed us (lots of them) the head start Mike had provided us with was soon gone and Paul and Mike Hughes were soon upon us, passing us with a cheery wave, smile and ‘well done’. My lungs were bursting by now, my calves were screaming but I was still smiling.

At last checkpoint 1! I’d like to tell you more about the route but to be honest it just seemed like a lot of ups and ‘jocks heeds’ to use Sue Davis’ phrase. Looking forward to the descent to checkpoint 4 we ploughed on, and when it came it looked like a cliff edge – I’d never gone down anything so steep without an abseil rope! I started the very slow creep down Barbondale, giggling maniacally with hysteria and joy, busying my brain with thinking of what I was going to put in this race report.

I managed to make it almost to the checkpoint (in record slow time) before slipping onto my bottom – no damage done. Nigel ‘the dibber’ did the dibbing and then it was the horror of ‘the Ascent’. Now I had seen an alleged quote for Dean Kamazes: ‘run when you can, walk when you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up’.

This was the time to invoke all of these methods of transport: on my hands and knees I became acquainted with much sheep poo, my back felt like it was breaking, my calves felt like they would pop, then the wind came – only about 60 mph (estimated by Nigel) in big ‘whooshy’ noisy gusts.

I must say I was scared and wondered numerous times why I was doing this but at the same time I felt elated. Wow, what an experience to be here, a running novice competing (well that’s maybe a bit strong) in the National Fell Running Championships in an awesome landscape with weather as I had never experienced it.

Up and up we went, Nigel keeping the conversation going, waiting patiently for me and pointing out the way. Then, all of a sudden, we were at the top – well, only a little way to go before the actual ‘Calf Top’ – a ‘Marilyn’ as my guide informed me. We were now in the clouds and about to start the descent(I was fully expecting to find ten black toenails and big blisters on my feet when I eventually took my shoes off).

On our way from CP 5 to 6 we came across a team of Congleton girls who had been to CP 6 but couldn’t find CP 7. We dubbed them the ‘Congleton Panickers’ as they were genuinely scared and lost. Nigel sorted them out and pointed them in the right direction (what a gent; I had dabbled with the idea of sending them the wrong way to gain a place ‘mwah-ha-ha’!). The lovely ‘holder of the dibber’ at CP 6 saw us coming and met us a little way up the hill and we were soon off to find CP 7 and ‘The Finish’, which seemed like it would never come.

Eventually there it was, after 3 hours 40 minutes (yes, you read that correctly) and approx 9 miles covered with an elevation gain of 772 metres, Nigel dibbed his last dib. We had missed the cut-off point (no sh*t Sherlock) and Leg 3 runners had already set off, but we had made it. Nigel looked like he’d had a gentle walk around the park; I was exhausted, elated and emotional.

Arriving back at the Striders tent, it emerged that the organisers had been five minutes away from calling mountain rescue, as we’d taken so long, and no-one had heard from us, even though we’d dibbed at every CP and had been practically followed by the marshalls from CP 6 all the way back (obviously the mobile signal is not the best in this setting – maybe they need radios next time…..).

Two cups of hot, sweet, tea later, Flip and Anita returned from their leg. Flip kindly donated his meal ticket and a beer to me. Happy, dry, fed and watered and sitting at the back of the tent as the weather closed in, we awaited John Metson’s return. Then the tent came down and we were off home.

Although we were time last on our leg, we managed (due to Nigel’s skill) to get all seven checkpoints dibbed, a feat which ten teams didn’t, which means we weren’t officially last on our leg! And overall there were six teams below us. Outstanding work I’d say.

So the question is: is this novice a fell runner? The answer: I’d sure like to be! I have never been so scared, astounded by my capability, in awe of the support and kindness of my fellow runners or proud of my achievement as I was on Sunday 19th October 2014.

I urge everyone and anyone to try fell running – maybe pick your first one a bit more carefully – but as Scott Watson said on FB: “maybe the race will choose you!”

…And Anita Clementson (Team B/Leg 3 – with Phil Owen)

It was a mass start at 1315 for Leg 3 runners should your Leg 2 team mates not be back and approximately 20 teams were set off. As this was the navigation route, they were pulling no punches at the nationals with no chance to prepare beforehand and maps were given out a short distance after the race start as you were climbing the first hill.

Phil took charge of the map whilst I did my best to keep up and not lose sight of the runners ahead (very quickly disappearing into the distance). We dodged a few very fast fell runners who were making their descent (this is what it’s all about, rubbing shoulders with the best fell runners in the country!).

The terrain was both wonderful and brutal. There was no room for wimps out there on the Middleton Fells. It did feel quite bleak when the winds caught you on the highest points – no-man’s land – feeling the elements and feeling alive!

Long before the final descent, the booming voice of ‘Mr Commentator’ could be heard in the distance (I want some of what he was on). We were disappointed to lose a checkpoint; a simple error and we were too busy looking for the runner ahead (I was no help whatsoever). We ran right near it too looking back on the map.

Thanks to Phil, for being a great teammate (luckily he was happy to take it easy at my pace whilst keeping an eye on an injury) and thanks to Paul for pulling this off – Team Elvet will be back!

(Visited 41 times, 1 visits today)

Saltergate Levisham Fell Race, Sunday, October 5, 2014

BM/17 km/430 m

Anita Clementson

All Creatures Great and Small

Anita & Camilla at Saltergate Levisham 2014Only two Striders represented the club at the second race in the Northern Runner Winter Series organised by the fantastic Esk Valley Fell Club. I hadn’t done this race before and was encouraged to make the extra-long journey after reading Shaun’s report from a few years ago (always an excellent source of info is our Striders website).[We aim to please. Ed..

We were at the south end of the Yorkshire Moors for this event in the hamlet of Levisham (nr Pickering). Camilla and myself arrived at the delightful village and parked on the green near the village hall (race HQ). I just love these small low-key races; no fuss, no frills but a great day’s running guaranteed and you get to meet some lovely folk! Entry on the day for £7 and a chance to admire the lovely home-made cakes and soups on offer – enough to encourage one to try just that bit harder to make good time back before all the grub has gone!

Camilla at Saltergate Levisham 2014Anyway onto details of the race. Dave, the race organiser, gathers us all together at the head of the green (approximately 70 runners from a quick headcount) and shouts out some details, with most of them sounding quite alarming, i.e. mention of highland cattle with calves, and navigation that sounds quite difficult to follow, before closing with the comment ‘but don’t worry about that’.

A fast start, up a gradual incline and I make the mistake of trying to keep up with Camilla but after about the first half-mile I give up as my stomach comes up to say hello. Mile 1 and it’s ‘the highland cattle’ – coming down a hill you can see them in the distance dominating the path! My heart rate goes even faster! I’m not a big fan of cattle and have had some unfortunate encounters when running in isolated places. As I get closer their horns seem to get bigger! ‘Oh bloody hell!’ I just run as fast as I can to swerve past the one standing right in the path, staring runners in the eye… Well, I’m still here to tell the tale!

Anita at Saltergate Levisham 2014After that ‘excitement’ the rest of the race was a delightful mixture of trail and fell, quite a lot of steps (‘Angel Staircase’ being one particular flight) and a circumnavigation of the ‘Hole of Horcum’. The visibility was ideal to admire the rolling countryside – ‘God’s country’ – as were the weather conditions.

Following some other runners, I ended up taking a wrong turn but was rounded up by the back marshal eventually! So I ended up at the back, but did manage to pick a few off at the end which was a lovely long stretch for the last 2.5 miles.

Camilla had a good race and even had an encounter with an adder! We took advantage of the cakes and applauded the endless recipients of wine for the various category winners. This race can be highly recommended and is suitable for runners of all abilities, who have a passion for the great outdoors and are up for a bit of adventure in their running.

(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)

Swaledale Marathon, Reeth, Saturday, June 14, 2014

23.2M / 4,128'

Anita Clementson, Will Horsley

Anita Clementson …

Elvet Striders – Tour de Force at Swaledale

My third attempt at this gem of a run. Rolling hills, fabulous views, checkpoints which would give any WI cake stall a run for their money and of course the cracking company.

A really well organised event from start to finish, on its 35th year so I guess they have had lots of practice. They even had a nice shiney new shuttle bus to take smellie runners back to the car park just outside Reeth post race.

Swaledale Sunshine. Great to see such a good turnout and mix of striders, from the very experienced Will, Dougie, Maggie, Andrew T and Mandy to striders taking the plunge for the first time on a longer distance fell event namely Camilla, Lucy, Kerry, Denise & Helen. A few striders choosing to take the walking option were Roz, Barry & Christine. Also Angela teamed up with Sue who was pacing herself salvaging energy for the Rosedale marathon on the following day!

Swaledale Selfie. The morning started off feeling quite warm with the clouds giving a slight promise of the sun making an appearance at some point. Runners and walkers gathered for the ‘grande departe’ at the foot of fremington edge. We were off but no mad dash with elbows out, no, this was a walk and a queue up the hill with runners politely by-passing the walkers. In reality this only lasted about 5 mins then we were making good ascent up the edge and once on the top the race really began as there is a lovely long stretch slightly downhill to Langthwaite. I was running with Camilla and Lucy and it was their first Swaledale. My aim was to get under 5 hours and better last years time of 5.21. Pacing was on plan as we hit the next climb upto Punchard, felt good but bloody hot! The miles just seemed to tick by really comfortably, running with company was really enjoyable and we passed quite a few other striders on our way having a quick chat and also chit chat with other fellow runners. This is one of the absolute highlights of this type of event, it is relaxed and everyone’s out for a good days run taking on the challenge soaking it all in.

Climb out of Gunnerside. A cake fest at checkpoint after a bit squelchy Punchard, pass through ‘moonscape’ then a grassy descent to Gunnerside with a couple of really cheeky steep banks thrown in (unfortunately cramp set in for Camilla at this point). Re-fuelled with more cake and tea here for the last stretch. Was fab to see Jan Young & hubbie next cheering us all on (hope you will be running next year Jan), this was a real boost. Lucy was running really strong as she had plenty left in the tank for a good finish so at the next checkpoint Surrender Bridge she bounced off into the distance. I’d forgotten the last section, even though it’s mostly downhill it is quite stoney so requires a fair bit of concentration and effort to not fall flat on your face! I was still on track for achieving my desired time, the rocky path finally came to an end and a Marshall shouted ‘300 metres to go’. Dodging the throng of cyclists doing a reccie of stage 1 of the TDF, I ran as hard as I could, past the crowd outside The Buck Inn and all the finished runners lying on the grass, cheering everyone in, what a finish! Will was first strider home and 4th male, Jon A , Mike H & Aaron all gaining PB’s. Mandy & Jules 1st strider ladies home with Lucy 3rd. David Brown, David Selby & Rachel strong finish times on first Swaledale. Ladies team 2nd overall, Men’s team 4th.

Aye, a grand day out in all.

Panoramic Finish.

… Will Horsley

Swaledale from near the front

From the very start a couple of fellas made their intentions clear and were pretty much out of sight by checkpoint 1. Did catch one last glimpse of them on the climb up Punchard Moor and they were still on each other’s heels. It looks like they pushed each other to very quick times. For the chasing pack we settled into a steady rhythm and took turns in leading, with me usually leading the climbs. Eventually me and a lad from Newton Aycliffe, Dez, pulled a small way ahead and pushed each other round for good finishing times. Indeed Dez acted as a superb guide when it came to the descent to Gunnerside. We both slowed up badly in the final few miles with Dez staying just that little bit sharper than me. Conditions were very humid at the start and dehydration was clearly going to be a concern. It stayed warm all day but conditions dried out. It was cool and very damp underfoot on the top at Punchard Moor. This was a fantastically organised event with cheerful marshals and supporters, nice conditions, beautiful surroundings and a huge number of striders. It was also great to see Jan, Tony and Pam out on the course cheering on the striders and others. I gave this race everything and am still recovering now but it was worth it. So proud to be a part of this club, which looks like we had the greatest number of entries and took 4th men’s and 2nd women’s team positions. Stride on!

Is there something else happening soon?

Results

Pos Name Club Cat CatPos Time
1 Tony Lambert Swaledale R M 03:00
4 William Horsley M 03:18
19 Jane McCarthy Ilkley F40 03:35
48 Jon Ayres M 04:07
60 Michael Hughes M 04:16
78 Aaron Gourley M 04:28
96 David Brown M 04:34
97 Mandy Dawson F40 04:34
98 Juliet Percival F40 04:34
127 Lucy Cowton F 04:49
135 Anita Clementson F40 04:53
142 Rachael Bullock F 04:59
143 David Selby M 04:59
152 Paul Foster M50 05:02
183 Camilla Lauren-Maatta F40 05:18
189 Andrew Thompson M 05:20
196 Dougie Nisbet M50 05:21
271 Phil Layton M50 06:18
275 Margaret Thompson F40 06:20
302 Sue Jennings F40 06:39
303 Angela Proctor F 06:39
360 Christine Anne Farnsworth F40 07:21
361 Barrie John Evans M50 07:21
370 Roz Layton F40 07:30
372 Denise Benvin F40 07:31
373 Helen Allen F40 07:31
374 Kerry Lister F40 07:31

436 finishers

(Visited 73 times, 1 visits today)

Blakey Blitz Fell Race, Lion Inn, North York Moors, Sunday, March 23, 2014

AM / 10.6m / 2805ft

Anita Clementson

Two Mikes (Hughes & Bennett) along with Danny and myself represented the striders in one of the many scenic races put on by the Esk Valley Fell Club.

The only way is ... up.

Standing in the ‘queue’ for registration (in the car park of red lion pub, somewhere in North York moors!) with some hardy looking fell runners and was told this was the hardest of the fell series runs ran by Esk Valley. The no frills approach of these races is quite appealing, only £6 for entry handed over to Race organiser Dave sat in his warm car! I did take his mobile number for emergency use as the echoes rang in my ears of what I heard in the queue!

Looking up at the blue sky it could be quite easy to think that the kit required is overkill, but the weather can change very quickly and dramatically on the hills and I actually quite like running with my small rucksack, if I ever fell backwards it would be a soft landing if nothing else.

We all set off down hill and the main running field I could soon see snaking off in the distance. For me today this was just all about getting round and enjoying being out in the elements, getting away from it all and to keep at least one runner in front to follow the route! I soon got into a comfortable pace and footing was a little precarious on that first downward section. Soon we were climbing up and I took the sensible option of walking the hills, of which there were 3 notable ones in this race. The views were fantastic which the climbs rewarded you with.

Surprisingly there were a couple of marshals out there and navigation wasn’t too bad as red tape was at points where there was a turn. The terrain was a mix of bog, stones, stoney paths, heather and farm track, the weather was full of all elements with some light hail snow thrown in.

However near the end I took a silly turning and ended up doing an extra mile. The field was so spread out by this time there was no one ahead to follow. I realised my mistake and got on the right track and was happy to see the odd runner still in the race so I wasn’t quite last!

That last hill was a killer, really sapped you of all energy. Was pleased to meet Dave again, yes sat in his warm car taking the numbers of the finishers. Mike H & Danny also got slightly lost and Mike Bennett had a good race with his 35th position and 2nd in his age category. Worse ways to spend your Sunday morning.

Overall a very enjoyable Sunday morning and hope to do more of these series.

(Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)

Carlton Challenge, North Yorks Moors, Wednesday, May 15, 2013

BS / 5m / 1181ft

Anita Clementson

On the sunny evening of 15th May, four Striders set off on a lovely sunny evening to a small fell race on the Cleveland Hills.

Race ‘registration’ was at the top of the hill (rather strange for a fell race to start at the top of the hill I thought). Jan parked her car amongst the others at the side of the road. A queue was formed near a car where registration was taking place. Bargain at £6!

Anita leads the way across the moors.

In true fell race style the ‘toilet stop’ was to find some shrubbery or discreet side of the hill to relieve yourself pre-race. Approx 100 runners were set off after a brief announcement. First going was through the heather and bracken slightly downhill, soon there was a clear line of runners ahead. The rain earlier in the day made for some slippy conditions and I found the going downhill bit quite tricky over peaty uneven ground, I thought I’d better dig in and speed up though as didn’t want to lose sight of any runners in front of me in case I got lost. (although the map showed quite a simple loop) but there is always the risk of this happening and easily taking a wrong corner, especially when you are concentrating on your footing so much and not taking much notice of what is going on ahead of you.

After a couple of miles of going downhill (and knowing there would be an ‘up’ at somepoint), the route went through a lovely woodsetting. Then we joined the ‘yellow brickroad’, the familiar paving of the Cleveland Way. I could spot plenty of runners dotted out ahead of me. I dug in and managed to close the gap quite well. The views across to Teeside and Roseberry Topping were stunning. Up and up (I’m sure didn’t go down as far as this!) and then finally reached the trig point at the top and could see it was just a short descent to the race finish. Down the ‘devil steps’, these were tricky and I ended up walking down and lost precious time. First time I ended a race not out of breath.

Good results from other Striders with the ladies team represented by myself Jan and Laura, 6th out of 9 possible places. Jan did splendidly though and came 1st in her age category. Mike also had a good run, also winning his age category, and Laura whom has taken to the fell circuit very well in her short time with the Striders, also had a good one.

Highly recommended and this race would be good for any fell newbies as an easy route and distance not too far.

(Visited 20 times, 1 visits today)

Edinburgh Rock n Roll Half Marathon, Sunday, April 14, 2013

Anita Clementson

The Rock and Roll series of races is well established in the states and these are now being rolled out across other parts. This was the 2nd one in Edinburgh, replacing the previous Chris Hoy / ADT Half Marathon. It sounded fun and I liked the idea of ‘bands on the run’ at each mile point and the end of run music festival.

Anita, goggle-eyed in Edinburgh ... After a sleepless night (got to sleep at 4:30, up at 6:30, the wind outside kept me awake!) with my friend Liz we got our fancy dress sorted out and with fake tattoos applied we headed to McDonald’s for porridge breakfast. We did receive some funny looks and double takes by early morning risers, and street cleaners! It was a bleak morning with the wind and rain lashing, runners were huddled under the nearby Scottish Parliament building for cover. The race started and ended in Holyrood Park, right under Arthur’s Seat. We tried to get cover from the howling winds, it was bloody freezing, portaloos were swaying in the wind and one blew over, a marquee was blown off its hooks and disappeared in the distance.

The race started with pumping music and a staggered start for fast to slow runners which worked really well (5000 runners). I decided I would run in my wig and ‘guitar’ glasses (I did a little run around the windy field and all stayed in place). The route took us out to the coast and looped back again to the city. Unfortunately 4 miles in I had rather a nasty fall (and some nice knee and elbow bruises to show), Luckily I was right near some toilets so I took 5 mins out to check everything over and apart from a few scrapes and bruises all was in order to carry on although the glasses had to go! The race continued with a circular route around Arthur’s seat, the last few miles took us through the various parts of the city, quite undulating and great for seeing Edinburgh. The crowds were really good and encouraging which really helped as my legs were feeling tired after 10 miles (I forgot the dextro tabs). The bands were great too and I found myself looking forward to each mile point for the inspirational beat. At a few points there was a man with a microphone shouting out people’s names, high fiving runners. The last mile was an enjoyable sweeping downhill run onto the Royal Mile and back to the park.

Whoop! Unfortunately things went further downhill at the race end, there’s was no goody bag for your goodies so you were left juggling various and there was huge queues for bags and t-shirts. Due to the horrendous wind the organisers had to take down some marquees, also the end of run festival had to be cancelled. After nearly an hour wait (couldn’t get myself a foil either) finally re-acquainted with bag and Strider hoody, never been so pleased to see it.

But overall this was an enjoyable run, even with the American cheese thrown in. There were people from all over the world we spoke to who had come to it and whom were avid followers of the ‘rock and roll series’ and why not!

My time was 2.15.03 oh! and the medal is rockin outta this world! High five!

(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)

Derwentwater Ten, Keswick, Sunday, November 4, 2012

Carolyn Bray and Anita Clementson

Carolyn Bray …

We left a very foggy Durham behind and headed towards a beautifully sunny Keswick, complete with a fresh sprinkling of snow on the mountain tops. We began to feel rather smug as the layers we piled on earlier in the cold mist of Durham were gradually removed! Juliet and I spotted the purple hoody of Anita as we collected our numbers from the Crossthwaite School. We were just a trio of Striders but knew that there were plenty more dotted around the sunny Lakes for other races! The Derwentwater Ten is a ten mile clockwise road race around Derwentwater. It begins in Keswick and heads south following the lake side in a gently rolling manner, skirting round the south side and through the pretty village of Grange.

'By the way, don't worry, nothing strange has happened to Anita's appearance - that's my Dad in the middle!' Carolyn. Shortly after this point the real hills begin! There’s some decent climbs on the western side of the lake (which also happens to be second half of the run) but compared to Susan and Geoff’s hill training sessions it was a breeze! There was a long, flat and fast finish along a stretch of main road leading towards Keswick with a swift cut in to the School at Crossthwaite for the finish line. There were no T-shirts, no medals, no fancy drinks or goody bags – just a cup of water and lots of smiley volunteers. What more could you ask for, it was a gorgeous run and Juliet kept me going (and kept me nattering) all the way to come in well under my aim of 1.5hrs!

… and Anita Clementson:

My weekend was planned around a trip out with the family to the lakes and do the 15k trail race in Helvellyn. However this lovely idea was dashed with car parking issues due to a flooded field and shuttle buses being put on from Penrith to Glenridding painting a picture of a day full of hassles so decided against it. Running is supposed to be fun isn’t it …

Due to Alisters’ fantastic newsletters I’d read there was another race on the Sunday in Keswick (EOD) which would fit in with family and meant I could still run in the lakes as planned! So off we headed on a very misty Sunday morning along the A66. Past Kirby Stephen the mist cleared and we were treated to marvellous views of snow dusted fells.

Behind you! The race itself is a road race organised by Keswick AC, surprisingly chipped timed and started in Keswick market place. Fellow striders Jules & Carolyn also took part and it was nice to see familiar faces at race registration.

The run basically goes along the road that runs around Derwentwater, unfortunately not traffic free. After leaving Keswick it was a case of playing cat and mouse with the traffic. I got off on a good pace and was registering 9.2 minute miles, my head was telling me to slow down as this was 10k speed for me but I was feeling pretty comfortable so kept the pace up. The traffic was really annoying though and one 4×4 drove so close to me I tripped over. One runner ‘Geoff’ had run the race 20 times and he took to running in the middle of the road and shouting abuses to driver’s randomingly. He was quite amusing.

Thankfully the 2nd half of the race was much more pleasant (less traffic!) and a few hills resulting in fantastic views over to Lakeland fells and over Derwentwater. I even managed to take a few photos. Towards 8 miles I was recalling my PB from a previous 10 miler and then it hit me that if I pressed on with current pace I was on for a PB. I crossed the finish in 1.35.56, well pleased!

At the end of the race after being handed a cup of water I was ushered to a queue at a car boot where you were given a print out of your race time. That will do me for a race momentum!

Highly recommended but even better if they could get the roads closed.

(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)

Swaledale Marathon, Reeth, Saturday, June 9, 2012

23.2M / 4,128'

Anita Clementson

I was really keen to do an endurance event this year and push the boundaries from my previous longest race (Coastal Run). The Swaledale marathon ticked quite a few boxes for me 1) nice views 2) mixed terrain 3) hills 4) friendly non corporate event 5) (and most importantly) serves tea and cake at checkpoints!! Thanks to the reminders on the Striders emails I got a place as they fill up literally within hours when the Swaledale Outdoor Club announce race entries early in January.

The weather conditions looked pretty grim on review the night before and thus was expecting a soggy experience. Arriving in Reeth though the next morning the clouds were breaking and I dared to be optimistic that the forecast could be wrong. A handful of Striders were taking part in doing the race, Maggie & Andrew Thompson, Christine, Shaun, Dougie, Jan, Tom, Angela and Sue (who’d both completed the full yomp last week, hence not much recovery time but that’s never held these two feisty ladies back!)

This race was hilly and this was no joke for the first slog upto Fremlington edge, wisely was a steady walk and this took on the premise for the rest of the race, walk up the hills! Once we got upto the edge the sun came out and the Yorkshire Dales were in all their glory. The views were stunning and really lifted my spirits. Another positive feature of this race is it has walkers as well as runners, the field of competitors was very friendly and a few words of chat were to be had when passing people en-route. This also meant for me as a slower runner that I wasn’t at the back of the field for once.

We’ve had horrendous weather over the last few days with lots of flood alerts. The tops were very boggy (nearly lost my shoes a few times) and had to negotiate a lot of streams and bogs. Everyone commented that it’s the wettest they’ve seen it on this race. Although conditions were pretty good for running staying dry and sunny but not too hot with good views until the last 3 miles (after surrender bridge) and then we had hail stones (felt like it anyway, was well battered!) was very soggy at the end, the stony path backdown into Reeth turned into a gushing stream (a kayak would have been useful a runner behind me commented).

I paced myself with Maggie who is a seasoned marathon runner and on her 10th+ Swaledale. There were check points serving cakes and tea! You don’t usually get that on runs. One checkpoint had homemade fudge (yum yum). With the slower pacing and fuelling I felt pretty fresh at 17 miles and Maggie encouraged me to go on. After a 15 minute teastop at Gunnerside the last few miles were my fastest and I even did a sprint finish to the village hall finish in Reeth. This was assisted by making sure I overtook Mr Nordic poles whom was in my eye line in the 21st mile, who made a comment about runners as he overtook us at checkpoint 1. A free meal and copious amounts of tea were served up in the Reeth village hall with lots of volunteers (seemed like the whole village had come out to help) and caught up with other club members whom had already finished and also Barry & Pam who’d had to give numbers up unfortunately. I’ll definitely be back next year.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Tony Lambert Swaledale Road Runners M 3:07
15 Naomi Fowler Unattached F 3:52
27 Shaun Roberts MV50 4:03
76 Andrew Thompson M 4:41
115 Paul Foster *HS MV50 4:57
153 Jan Young FV40 5:24
169 Joan Hanson *HS FV40 5:27
170 Tom Reeves *RWM M 5:27
171 Dougie Nisbet M 5:27
225 Christine Farnsworth FV40 6:08
233 Anita Clementson FV40 6:12
237 Thomas Hanson *HS M 6:14
256 Margaret Thompson FV40 6:26
274 Angela Proctor F 6:40
275 Sue Jennings FV40 6:40
309 Bob Layton *HS MV50 7:08

419 finishers.
*HS Honorary Strider
*RWM Running With Missus
Striders Mens team 7th, Striders Womens team 15th, of 18.

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Snods 6, Snods Edge, Wednesday, May 16, 2012

6 miles

Grand Prix Race. Sprint Champion Race. I had this race firmly marked in my calendar as a ‘must do’ following on from the great experience I had last year at Snods as a relatively newbie strider.

Arrived quite early on a cool but pleasant Wednesday evening. The slow trickle of purple striders followed and it was good to see faces which you don’t see too often down at Maiden Castle or the Monday night runs.

The run itself starts from a lane a little walk down from the village hall. Lot’s of mutterings from people claiming to take it easy on this race due to other races just completed or planned, not to mention at the least Angela taking part in a relay marathon at 3am on the Friday of that week (mad, crazy girl). Once we were off the road took a climb up, not particularly steep but quite sapping all the same for the beginning of a race. (As I live at the top of a hill I struggle with any race that starts with an ascent!). The route followed through some quiet country lanes and the first 3 miles was mostly a gentle climb. The yellow of the fields at this time of year was lovely to see and breathe in the fresh country air. There was a bit of a headwind (notably the windmills were turned off! Why??). [They have only just been erected and haven’t been commissioned yet. Ed.]

I have to say there are not many races I’ve taken part in that are so well marshalled. At every turn, gate, sty there were a couple of cheery Blackhill Bounders with lots of encouragement and smiles.

The last part of the race was cross country and a fab downhill on soft grass which you can really make up pace and try to fill the gap with the runners in front. Right at the end there is a little climb to the posse at the top of the finishers and nice to have some encouragement from those already done.

Blackhill Bounders really push the boat out when it comes to hospitality. Back at the village hall the food on offer was fantastic. Lots of different curries (2 vegetarian options – impressively) and cakes, breads, pastries…yum yum and all for free. All washed down with a well-earned pint from the bar. On top it was all go with a quiz (our table just pipped the post by 1/2 a point…drat that Eve!!) and then the raffle. I didn’t win this year but many striders walked away with a nice prize.

All in all a great night out and to me epitomises what being part of a great club is all about. Roll on next year.

Striders at Snods Edge

…and Mike Elliot

Great turn out at Snods, runners, spectators and the dog. Looked as though some good times were recorded by the faster lads and lasses. ‘Middle’ pack were going at quite pace and chatting all the way, and the ‘slower’ pack enjoying the cool fresh air whilst saving themselves for the P2P on sunday. A good performance all round, especially those first timers.

Guess you were racking your brains out trying to work out which the Strider was in front of you at the first cross roads and then at the left turn in the housing complex. ‘How the hell did he get in front of me?’ Then all you see is a person jumping out pressing the camera shutter and saying, ‘Caught on camera, have a good run’. A comment was, ‘I saw you behind that lamp post’ to which the camera man replied, ‘In that case I must be too fat.’

I hesitate to pick out individuals but well done to Phil Todd who is making a come back after a very long absence.

The last comment of the evening must go to my most favourite girl, Holly the dog, ‘Doesn’t my Master have a great to have a good sense of humour? ‘

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
* Patrick Duffy Crook AC 36:32
1 John Taylor PB Fitness 40:40
5 Jerry Lloyd 41:48
7 James Garland 41:57
16 Tom Reeves 43:40
20 Mike Bennett 44:39
26 Amanda Crooks PB Fitness F 45:53
29 Alistair Robson 46:33
40 Nigel Heppell 48:40
44 Mike Probert 49:22
47 Aaron Gourley 50:06
50 Colin Blackburn 51:07
52 Juliet Percival F 51:40
56 Kevin Williams 52:17
58 Stephanie Barlow F 52:36
60 Jan Young F 52:58
62 David Spence 53:26
63 Jean Bradley F 53:58
34 Melanie Hudson F 54:16
67 George Nicholson 54:57
68 David Shipman 55:06
69 Lyndsey Tarn F 55:14
78 Louise Miller F 58:15
79 Alan Smith 58:18
82 Karen Chalkley F 58:32
84 Victoria Tindale F 58:40
92 Anna Seeley F 59:55
93 Phil Owen 59:56
94 Andy James 60:06
98 Jo Richardson F 61:44
100 Jacquie Robson F 62:52
101 Dave Robson 62:53
105 Anita Clementson F 63:45
106 Emma Detchon F 63:45
111 Margaret Thompson F 68:03
112 Sue Jennings F 72:03
113 Angela Proctor F 72:03
114 Pippa Coffer F 72:03
115 Philip Todd 73:48

115 finishers
* Patrick Duffy agreed not to take any prize as
he was not from an officially invited club

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