Category Archives: Kathryn Sygrove

Silverstone Half Marathon, Sunday, March 3, 2013

Kathryn Sygrove

I ran this race because I wanted to do something different and it was quite near the in-laws. It is flagged up every year by the London Marathon, whether they accept you or not, and at first I thought who would ever want to do that? But I fancied a different setting on the Silverstone race tracks, it was billed as pretty flat (though we did run on several circuits which entailed running over bridges over other circuits) and it just beckoned me, so I entered.

The training had culminated in an 11.5 miler and I was happy enough, but got a fluey bug the week before and wasn’t certain whether to run or not. Feeling a bit brighter on the day, I decided to give it a go, and lined up at the start on the International circuit ready to go. There were several Runners’ World pacers so I aligned myself with the 1:45 guy, in the hope I could keep up. A smooth pace wouldn’t hurt after illness, would it? It was cold and windy, then warm and sunny, then cold and windy, so a funny weather to start with. I had seen the race layout which seemed to meander all over the place, off the International circuit, along here, over and under there, back on your self, a twist and over a bridge onto another circuit, along and round, back up, and back onto the first two miles, but in reverse. Yeah, confusing and boxed in in places. And less than flat at times.

So off I went with Joe Mackie, pacer, who valiantly managed the throngs around him, never put off by comments or jostling of any sort. I was quite happy until four miles, then started to feel over-hot and worn out, so I gradually fell back. There wasn’t much scenery as you would expect other then the backs of other runners, but some places became familiar. I passed Malcs and the kids at 3 miles, who roared me on, but felt like lead between 5-7 when I saw them again, as the kids ran over a bridge with me, waving and yelling that I was doing brilliantly. I really wanted to stop then and just join them. I remembered Malcs telling me on the walk there from the carpark (took about 20 mins) that that was part of the course, and getting over half-way was a big bonus at that point.

Miles 8-9 were probably the worst. Realising you have little strength and being overtaken as you plod wearily on isn’t great for your morale, but I knew I had no more to give, so had no choice. 10 miles was the psychological “homeward bound” point, and there were mile markers with times since the starting gun, so I just sang in my head till the next mile and the next, trying to encourage injured runners and those who had stopped or were flagging by then.

At 10 miles, I saw the family again, and as we entered the home straight, charity groups roared and thwonked their plastic batons together, which really lifted me. On the way back to the start, I thought, so I tested the pace, but still had no extra gears to notch up into, so plodded on up an incline, yelling encouragement at a wheelchair lady athlete who looked exhausted getting up that straight. I saw a few people collapsed, and it always reminds you that you have limitations, but wasn’t stopping at 11.5 miles for anything. The end seemed to take a while to get there, there was no sprint finish, just a continuation of steady pace. Again, seeing the family just before I crossed the line was great, and my daughter was waving frantically at me. If you saw the race photos you would see there is no delight at crossing the line, just a look of utter relief that it was over! To be honest, I don’t know how I got round as I did, it was slow for me, but could have been a lot slower, given how I was feeling.

Would I recommend it? Well, it was a one off, a flattish tarmac surface always bodes well for PBs when fully fit, but it was a weird course. I thought we would go round the same circuit 3 and a half times, not dart about all over the place. There was nil scenery other than other tracks, and I did not feel the excitement of being on the race course that I thought I might. So, I probably won’t do it again, but many others seemed to enjoy it and do well, a PB for Eian Thomas of 1:38 so I heard, and the pacers were brilliant. No, I will let this one lie, with happy reminders of the kids chasing me around, waving and yelling, and of the brilliant steel ska band which we boogied to before and after.

(Visited 105 times, 1 visits today)

Loftus Poultry Run, Sunday, December 16, 2012

7.8 miles

Kathryn Sygrove

I decided to do this race because it was on my birthday and fancy dress! I quite liked the idea of the mixed terrain, road and muddy fields, and just wanted to do something different somewhere different.

I went with Kate MacPherson, and we saw Ali, David Brown and David Catterick there, as well as lots of Sunderland Strollers. Many people were dressed up – elves, Christmas Puds (as was I thanks to Denise), Little Miss Muffett, Santas, and we collected race numbers on the day to the sound of Christmas carols by a band. I found my obligatory cup of tea, and we decided what best to wear.

Beaming in the sun. The race started on road, included three hills, and was interspersed with two well muddy fields, where I just laughed as we wondered how to get across them without falling on our butts. They were deeply furrowed fields and your feet just slithered everywhere, caked with extra weight of mud stuck to your shoes! But it was good fun, the sun was shining even if there was a nip in the air, and at times we came across some lovely views looking across to Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

The last 2 miles were back on road, slightly undulating, then a nice downhill finish. One woman overtook us at about 6.5 miles and said we were an inspiration – she had followed me and Little Miss Muffett all that way, and I think she was referring to us running in costume!! Kate and I kept overtaking and falling behind a guy in a yellow hat, who seemed to struggle the last mile or so. We offered for him to stick with us and he did indeed do that and we pretty much all crossed the line together.

I understood that they handed out a small tot of wine to those in fancy dress but must have missed mine. Great poultry prizes for the fastest winners, but the silly refreshments stand ran out of plastic tea cups, had no crisps, and ran out of mince pies. Nonetheless, a very friendly, fun, festive race which was a pleasure to be a part of.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 WILES, Andrew New Marske Harriers M 0:41:46
12 DIXON, Alyson Sunderland Strollers F 0:47:45
103 ROBSON, Alister MV40 1:00:20
147 CATTERICK, David MV50 1:03:30
154 BROWN, David M 1:04:02
288 SYGROVE, Kathryn FV45 1:19:42
289 MACPHERSON, Kate FV35 1:19:43

351 finishers.

(Visited 47 times, 1 visits today)

Abbey Dash, Leeds, Sunday, November 18, 2012

Kathryn Sygrove

Up and six, and leaving the house at seven with the kids in tow, I mused at my ability to pick races which required such an effort to get to them. Still, hubby was willing to drive me there, and we had a very straightforward beautiful drive in the quiet to Leeds, watching the dark evaporate and the morning frost thaw. Hmm, not so bad after all I thought.

Parked and off we went, this was my first Leeds race, I didn’t know where I was going, but runners milled all over by 8.30am, so we followed the crowd. It seemed well organised, plenty of loos, two streets of baggage as per the colour of your number (we were in theory to line up in accordance with colour code and time) and the runners-only/ warm-up area smack bang next to the impressive Town Hall and recently decorated war memorial. My family left me, and I headed off to the 9am warm-up, nithered, and having seen no familiar faces. But halfway into the warm-up, grinning Dave Selby, Rachael Bullock and boyfriend came across, took part, and we squeezed into the alloted places on the Headrow. 9,000 runners, one half of a wide road = still not much space! It was an out-an-back race to Kirkstall Abbey, the flattest I have done and, as someone pointed out, not massively scenic, but that’s town races for you. Waiting at the start, you could see the finish directly across the road. I gestured to Rachael that we might just jump across and be first back!! As if…

I knew Jill Ford was running but could not see her, and scoured for Dave Spence, who may not have run after all. Suddenly, we were off, heading into the unknown. I had entered this as a PB race, but wasn’t sure if I was ready physically or mentally after an op 3 weeks beforehand. I certainly wasn’t in the mood for any pressure of any sort. So, I stuck as well as I could to 7.30 pace, a little ahead on the slight downs, a little behind on the very slight gradients up. I just remember buildings, the sun getting warmer, and concentrating on staying steady. 2-3km went by, I didn’t feel into the race, but kept going, eye on the time, and I don’t know what else because I couldn’t tell you what we ran past! I think more buildings. By about 4km, we saw the first of the runners heading back home across the street. Eek I thought – my watch said 16 minutes, but they had started 3 mins ahead of us. You cannot help but stand in awe of their prowess, and feel slightly small at your own pace in comparison. But 5km was looming, turn-around point, and it was time to come back. That was about 23:44 I think, so I knew I might get by sub-48 PB after all. The sun was beautiful then, in fact, I think that’s why I couldn’t see much else!!

The second half seemed a little easier. I still didn’t feel settled in my pace, and mused at letting it slip, but a potential taste of improvement forced me on. Into more gorgeous but blinding sun, I held on past 6km (Jill waved at me across the road here) and 7km, seeing my pace hold, fall a wee bit, rise a bit, with the very slight changes in road evenness. For me, it was the steadiest race I had run thus far, more out of necessity than intention! Take heed, Kathryn. I was overtaken by Rachael’s boyfriend Igor at 7km with a broken “Hello”, and trotted alongside Dave Selby for a few paces at about 8km. We both confessed to heavy legs at that point. “Well done, hold onto it” someone yelled from the roadside. I nearly yelled back sarcastically, but thought, “No, she is right, my mindset can make or break this, and I have fought hard this far.”

That nailed it, amazing how a well-timed comment can change a dwindling focus. I focussed on the impending 9km with every step, then on the 10km when that arrived. Boy, was it hot in the sun. All I focussed on was the road ahead. My pace held pretty well, as we came over the road bridge before rounding back into the Headrow and up (yes up) to the finish. My legs ached, but seeing the end in sight, I gave it all I could. My hubby said he didn’t expect to see me so soon or so fast at that last bit. I couldn’t quite believe it when my watch said 46:52, official time was 46:51. Dave Selby came in very soon after me, and went to find Rachael, and we headed off for celebratory tea and cake! I think I will return for more PBs!

(Visited 21 times, 1 visits today)

Derwentwater Lakeland Trail Races, Saturday, September 1, 2012

15K and 10K

Denise Mason and Kathryn Sygrove

Denise Mason on the 15K Challenge …

Before the off ... I’ve been looking forward to this event for a while as I love getting over to the lakes and making a big camping weekend out of it. Zoe and Jane had come through to camp with us and brought their partners/family and I had managed to convince my boyfriend John to come through for his first big race. Having never raced before I was a little nervous for him especially as I knew what to expect with the terrain! We met up with Dave and Mel too who had come through only for the day as they had another 10 mile race back home to run on the Sunday.

We were distracted at the start line (Fitz Park) nattering away and listening to the Batala drumming band that we all ended up starting further back in the group. This turned out to be a little frustrating as the first couple of miles were along a narrow cycle path and we couldn’t get in to a comfortable pace. Knowing how competitive John is it was no surprise that he soon went ahead of me and ran with Zoe’s boyfriend Scott who had also gone ahead.

Zoe, Jane and I managed to stay together for a little while longer before Jane broke free and upped her pace. After approximately 3 miles we started a 3 mile long steep boggy ascent which proved (for me) impossible to run up. At one point I was thigh deep in mud! Zoe powered on ahead of me but I managed to keep her in sight for most of the climb. The views at the top were fantastic and I had to remind myself to keep concentrating as by this point we were running over some huge rocks which were pretty slippy after all the previous mud. It was pretty windy too as we started descending and my legs were really feeling it.

View from above. Having missed the first water station I was glad to down a sports drink with a chunk of Kendal mint cake at the second before starting the steep descent back to Fitz Park. When I say steep, I mean this was really tough on the hips! I briefly remember Dave and Mel storming past me as I realised we were really close to the finish. I absolutely thudded my way back to the finish line and as I ran the last couple of hundred meters I saw John standing clapping. I was very relieved to find him uninjured and smiling!

I finished in 1:35:49, last strider home, a minute behind Zoe and a full 18 minutes behind John (not that I’m bitter).

We got the tents set up at Rydal Hall campsite and had a lovely night of BBQ, food and beer before heading home.

… and Kathryn Sygrove on the 10K:

This was my very first trail race, done with Kate MacPherson, so we chose the brand new 10k instead of the 15k Challenge or Trail Race (same route but Challenge had more time to complete it). That was done by Zoe, Denise, Ellie, Jane Ives, and a few of their other halves. Oh Mel and Dave Robson were there too!

Kate on the hills. We arrived in plenty of time to register – about 9.10am and had till 10am to do so, even though the race started at 11am. There were stalls, food, coffee and teas, ice cream, local products and foods, Pete Bland Sports and a nice carnival atmosphere built up nearer the start with a great samba band. My hubby went off to climb Skiddaw, and the kids enjoyed the nearby park, food, music and atmosphere. As we lined up at the start (the other races were later in the day) the Samba band did a great intro, we had safety warnings, and headed off to the drums roaring – great stuff!

We headed up and out past the Sports Centre along 4km of woodland trail, before hitting THE mega-hill of great steepness which lasted about 2.5 km. Ouch! I plodded up a wee while, passed the half-way mark to marshalls ringing cowbells, was told I was fourth lady at that point, and then proceeded onto tough, rough, grassy uneven terrain -and steepness. A bit of walking was needed as the calves started to burn, and I fell into sixth lady’s place, but reckoned I would catch them on the downhill – as if!!! I didn’t realise just how steep THAT would be, having found a tree at which point to run again, off I went, racing past the second water station at Latrigg carpark, and plunging downhill sharply, on gravelly trail paths, round tight corners, through wooded bits, and onto more gravelly steep terrain.

I heard some footsteps behind me and tried to fend off another lady runner as we pelted downwards, but felt as if my feet might pull away underneath me, so had no choice but to slow a wee bit to ensure I didn’t land on my bum! She went past, and I realised that my well-worn Brooks’ addiction shoes (non-trail but grippy enough) weren’t quite up to the job. Still, once at the bottom my poor legs didn’t know what had hit them – thud! and they had to move on the flat again, up a tiny incline, round a bit of woods, over a field, and round the play park to the finish. My legs were done for, but plodded bravely on to the ever-loudening sound of the samba drums, drum-rolling every finisher home (as they did with all races that day!). I managed a small acceleration and couldn’t believe I had finished in 48 minutes and something, only 19 seconds outside my 10k PB.

At one point, we thought the race was only 5.5 miles (Kate’s Garmin stated that). The race organiser said 9.7km. Thankfully Ian Skelton (who ran on George’s Shadforth run) had done the race and said he lost at least half a mile satellite-wise through the trees, but his time was right. Phew! Although I finished a bit further down the ladies’ list, I was 7th lady, 2nd in my age group, and well-pleased. So much so, that we have signed up for the Lakeland Trail 17km at Haweswater at the end of April. Anyone care to join us????

(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)

Isle of Mull Half-Marathon, Sunday, August 12, 2012

Kathryn Sygrove

Three words come to mind in connection with this race – coincidence, care, and celebration.

I had gone on holiday expecting to be “invisible” and certainly the only Northern lass there. But within minutes, Malcs spotted a Sunderland Stroller vest which turned out to belong to Joy Champion, who I had never met before, but got along with nicely. Coincidence. We picked up numbers and bright orange tees, and went out for a few pix in the warm sunshine, before jogging up to the start.

Kathryn and Joy. This was about a mile out of Craignure, where the ferry docks from Oban, and we started basically in the road. A midday start meant it was well warm and a bit humid too. The race went back to Craignure, then another half mile past it, before turning back round Iona (the person not the island) and heading back through Craignure, past the start point, and following pretty undulating and uneven open roads back to Salen, the finish.

It always takes me 3-4 miles to settle into a race, even with a wee warm-up, but after a mile I wasn’t right. It was indeed hot, I started with a steady pace and waved at Malcs and the kids in Craignure, plodded up the hill round Iona, and threw my running cap at Malcs on the way back past them again. Malcs told me at the finish that, even at this point, he knew I was struggling. He was right. Leaden legs and feeling nauseous, I couldn’t get into my stride. And I don’t do heat well either. I mentioned this at the water station at 3 miles, where I could have happily stopped, but knew I hadn’t given myself long enough, so vowed to plod on until halfway. The marshalls were very supportive and (without me knowing) radioed ahead to other stations so they knew I wasn’t so good. Here comes the care element.

The views across the sea were marvellous, the scenery beautiful, but it was a tough road and didn’t come across as “mainly flat” as billed by the race organisers. The nausea didn’t abate by 5 miles, nor did the heat, so I stopped for a minute to re-assess how I felt. Runners-by shouted encouraging words, including a lass from Gateshead, then the Coastguard drove slowly by and checked up on me. He reminded me of the water stations with medical facilities every three miles, and I said I would take it easy in the heat.

At mile 6, the marshalls were expecting me, and their support helped me rally. It was starting to cloud over a bit, which helped too. The undulating roads continued, and I plodded on till I saw a sign for a campsite about 7 miles, which Malcs and I had stayed at many moons ago, and my heart jumped at something familiar. Most of the scenery was still close to the coast now, some trees, some odd houses dotted about, and a big downhill appeared which made me happy!!! The Coastguard had still been going back and forth, waving, smiling and nodding as if to say “I see you are still going there” but the miles weren’t going any faster! In retrospect, I don’t think the iron infusion had kicked in, and I simply had insufficient energy and oxygen in my blood, so had to rest at times for plenty of liquid and start off slowly again.

That big hill had helped and mile 9 came around fairly soon, but I was done in by 10. Enough, I thought, and route-marched half a mile as it started to rain gently. Other runners were very kind as they passed me, and echoed the concern of the marshalls, and Coastguard. After that, mile 11 came quite soon, and I knew I just had to pace myself slowly and I would finish. At mile 5, I could have cheerfully stood still and been driven to the finish. The Coastguard passed me here again with a wave and a “Keep going, nearly there”. My mindset altered as I focussed on getting to mile 12, then 13, and my pace quickened a little as we entered Salen. After a bit of an up, then another down, I could see the finish line, up a small incline, and pelted as hard as I could to the end. It was just over 2 hours, but I was delighted to finish at all. Celebration.

Once again, the marshalls and medics were waiting for me. A medic put his arm round my shoulder and asked how I was. I still felt sick, and off we went in to get some dioralyte. I was touched by the consistent care of the emergency services and volunteers, who had watched out for me all the way, the medic told me. I thanked him and asked him to pass my thanks to the Coastguard who had pretty much kept me going throughout. The medal had a sort of Olympic flame on it, it being the last day of the Olympics, and I wore it that afternoon and all the next day. Unfortunately, once we got to Tobermory, I was sick all over a coffee shop floor. But still pleased as punch that I had completed the race.

(Visited 34 times, 1 visits today)

Coastal Run, Beadnell to Alnmouth, Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tide was out, nearer to 13M than 14M

Grand Prix Race. Endurance Champion Race.

 Dougie Nisbet…

Not for the first time I found myself checking myself out (so to speak) in Tesco Express Corner Shop in North Road. Despite the unexpectedly refreshing pint or two of “Ageless” beer from the Red Lion, I’d arrived back in Durham with a perishing thirst. It’s very handy that Gillingham’s chuck us out just a few hundred yards from an off licence on a Sunday afternoon after a tough race. I’m not one for arguing with serendipity. Judging by the purplish hue in the queue it seems I’m not alone in this philosophy.

Iain and DougieIt seemed no time at all since I was sat in the tent at the start wondering where my next safety pin was coming from. A kind voice in the corner asked me if I was expecting a good run. It seemed familiar, and I looked up to see my old friend Iain chatting to me as if it was only yesterday (rather than 20+ years) since we’d last seen each other. We used to be friends and rivals in the Dunedin Cycling Club in Edinburgh, where Iain was always the better athlete. Glancing through the results and noticing his 1:39 time, I see nothing’s changed. Ah well, as an ex-member of Dunedin CC and COERC, I’m never one to deny myself a bit of reflected glory!

And so to the traditional primal start on the beach. A massed bunch of hunter-gatherers fidgeting around the start waiting for the signal to go hunting. And away we go. Nowadays I’m pretty good at not charging away like a Kathryn when the gun goes off but there’s something incredibly exciting about running along a beach and I’m sure I got a bit over-excited and headed straight for the sea, carefully resisting the temptation to shout Freeedom!” as I sploshed through the pathetic excuse for a burn that the marshalls had warned us about. I’m glad I’m not the only one who runs inefficiently close to the waves to cut the corner; not because it saves time, but just because it’s far more fun than going the long way round.

A few miles in and I could still see John Hutchinson ahead so that could only mean one thing. I’d started too fast too soon for too long. I glanced at my Garmin and noticed I was way into the anaerobic (My Garmin can’t lie). I calmed down a bit and presently Kathryn caught me up. She asked if she might run with me to Craster. This was rather sweet and I wasn’t sure if she was indulging in a bit of tactical maneuvering or asking me out to the cinema. After Craster Kathryn asked if I minded if she ran off ahead, so that she could stop and have a bit of a rest. Ever the bewildered gentleman I nodded in polite and mystefied agreement. Some time later, sure enough, I passed Kathryn as she paused and supped on a yucky gel, and I ran on by. She’s up to something, I thought.

Kathryn, Claire and JeanMy parkrun the previous day had crushingly confirmed to me that I wasn’t nearly as fit and fast as I’d tried to convince myself I might be. So I was periodically trying to decide whether I was ‘racing’, ‘training’, or just having a bit of a run. After Craster we see a relatively new phenomenon thanks due to the introduction of the bus. Supporters got tipped out around half way and so you pass Strider Walkers who cheer you on in the last few miles as you approach the finish. This is really nice.

About 3 miles from the finish I passed a Crook Vest that looked familiar. I glanced over to see the Lord of the Streak in a bit of a bad way. On Saturday Paul is running all 11 North East parkruns in aid of Acorns, but today was not a good day. As a very 20-something-plus parkrunner I’m not used to overtaking a regular sub-20 parkrunner, but it was clear that Paul was struggling and my Pacer gene kicked in and we ran together through a tough headwind to the line, where Prince Archie appeared and suddenly I was on my own again.

Once over the line news trickled in from a Tyne Bridges runner of a Strider lady who was having a tough time a mile or two from the finish. A posse was formed and we walked down the beach looking for our woman down. Was it Denise? No. Was it Claire? No. With everyone denying being the damsel in distress we all sauntered to the Red Lion in search of the Barbecue which many of us had fond memories of from yesteryear. The BBQ wasn’t there, but the Adder Lager was still available, along with a bountiful selection of booze and nosh.

On the coach trip home having exceeded my recommended daily alcohol consumption with one pint of Ageless I contentedly chatted with Colin Sue and Angela about nasal hair, dried skin, alcohol consumption, sex, sheds, and a little bit about the race. Kathryn has also challenged me to a sub-2 hour show-down one year from now. Place your bets!

Striders on the beach

…and Kathryn Sygrove

I had a bad experience of this race in 2011 – illness en route temporarily stopped play, and I lumbered home in a reasonable time, having paid little attention to the surrounds, simply to droop in the coach at the end. Shame really, for such a beautiful and rugged run, not to appreciate the landscape, and the various terrains on offer – so much so that I really could not remember much of the route from last time!

Marco, Kathryn and GoergeStill, we started on Beadnell beach, a bit soggy and cloudier than expected, and the race started in a flash. 2 miles over very wet sand, with one rivulet pulling you down to your knees, we ploughed on with drenched shoes and socks! Actually, I was going easy at first after a manky virus, wondering if I should be attempting this distance and terrain so soon afterwards. Off up the beach and onto coastal paths, a bit of road through a village, and back onto the sand towards Dunstanburgh Castle. It seemed to get warmer, there was definitely some wind, and I was feeling well invigorated at this stage.

I even raced across the boulders coming off the beach, like a mountain goat, and onto the narrow stony coastal paths round the castle. You see, I had someone in view by now – Dougie – and that was too much to resist. I caught him up and we ran till 8 miles together, beyond the Castle, up over fields, into Craster, and back out across field tracks including some rather steep ones at that. Time passed well and the sun was really warm by then, but my energy was already starting to fade.

I had a wee pitstop for Gatorade and snack bar, and then felt like lead. Dougie was ahead, but I felt too worn out to catch him. I put my head down and did whatever pace my legs could manage but it felt really hard. I think we went over some more field tracks, and – oh yeah – that pig of a hill about 9 miles!! which I had completely forgotten about. It was very warm by now, and I was already willing the race to be over. But the water stations at Boulmer refreshed me Yellow vestsand I ran off with a new lease of life up the road to the final stage – about 2 miles of sandy beach to the finish.

Wham! into the fierce headwind, sand blowing up at you, and I’d had enough. I strode forcibly forward, with marching arms, which seemed to do more than a pitifully ineffective attempt at a jog at that point. “It’s like being in slo-mo” another runner joked at me. How true! After a while, I started to jog again, end in sight, though it came v-e-r-y slowly due to the sand pulling your feet down, and the wind pushing you back. There seemed to be too many flags at the end, and one was placed rather cruelly, so as to appear to be the finish, but it wasn’t!! There was still a wee way to go! A few congratulatory cries from other Striders helped push my weary legs over the finish line, less than 2 minutes behind Dougie. All finishers got yellow jerseys, a la Bradley Wiggins, which made me smile. At the Red Lion Pub, I thanked Dougie for his companionship and threw down the sub-2 hour gauntlet for next year, which he grinningly accepted. Watch this space!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Ian Harding Morpeth Harriers M 1 1:16:54
27 Jane Hodgson Morpeth Harriers F 1 1:28:17
85 David Gibson M40 42 1:37:36
130 Jeremy Lloyd M40 60 1:42:18
138 Michael Bennett M50 17 1:43:11
141 Fiona Shenton F50 3 1:43:19
209 Alister Robson M40 87 1:48:26
239 Steve Lindsay M50 31 1:49:57
286 John Hutchinson M50 40 1:53:28
308 Marco Van Den Bremer M40 121 1:54:56
309 Juliet Percival F40 18 1:55:04
466 Dougie Nisbet M40 160 2:04:46
489 Colin Blackburn M50 88 2:05:34
502 Kathryn Sygrove F40 44 2:06:22
513 Angela Proctor F35 19 2:06:54
547 Carolyn Bray F35 21 2:09:30
559 George Nicholson M60 26 2:11:01
567 Melanie Hudson F 31 2:11:41
569 Dave Robson M60 27 2:11:47
583 Jean Bradley F50 23 2:12:27
617 Greta Jones F40 69 2:15:56
622 Sue Jennings F40 71 2:16:06
627 Denise Mason F 2:16:33
636 David Shipman M50 2:17:32
662 Alan Smith M60 34 2:19:21
708 James Nicholson M60 38 2:24:25
716 Anita Clementson F40 89 2:25:14
728 Christine Farnsworth F 2:26:35
736 Claire Readey F35 40 2:28:03
742 Mike Elliott M60 43 2:29:05
751 Nicola Van Den Bremer F40 94 2:31:05
788 Margaret Thompson F60 4 2:43:21

809 finishers.

(Visited 57 times, 1 visits today)

Bamburgh 10K, Sunday, June 17, 2012

Kathryn Sygrove

I’m going for a flat and fast PB at Bamburgh, I thought, as Danny picked me up at 7.20am and we raced off to Bamburgh (fast driver!) for 8.50am to pick up race numbers and stand ages for the loos – well I did! Overcast, slight drizzle, pretty cool but not bad race conditions all told. Time flew till we were at the start at 9.30am just up near the Castle, and I stood right at the start line. Danny reckoned it would ruin his PB chances standing that far ahead, but I reckoned I had as much right as anyone to be at the front, but moved to the extreme left so the mega-fasties wouldn’t stampede over me once the klaxon had gone. Only about 200 runners, but a canny turnout for another Run Northumberland scenic 10k race.

Kathryn just has this effect on people.

Woosh down the hill, heck it was hard to hold back down that little steepie onto the road below but I let the ultra-fasties race ahead and watched my pace as we went up through the village and then turned left onto a minor road and along the first 5-6 km before turning back. I was aiming for 7.30 min miles, and it was harder to maintain than I thought it would be. Too fast on the little and frequent downs, and too slow on the equally frequent and slight ups. Maybe it will even itself out I thought, sploshing merrily through half-decent puddles at about 7.15 min/ miles from time to time, then feeling the burn up slow drags soon after. Hmm, not REALLY that flat, unlike Blaydon, I mused.

Anyhow, the kilometres passed by (no mile markers, that sucked, I like totting up the MILES) and before I knew it, it was 5km and on the turn back to the main road for the second half. At 23.50 halfway I knew my time had slipped a tad, but someone said it was downhill ALL THE WAY back -oh yeah! If you wonder about view, well it was a bit mizzly for that, and being on the back road there wasn’t much to see, fields and fields, but not unpleasant. Then came the main road, and onto open roads on the way back. Hmm silly cars, didn’t they know there was a race on?

By 7km my calves were burning with repeated little uppy-downy bits and I conceded that I had run too far the preceding week and was not quite as fresh as a daisy as I had hoped, but never mind. I ummed and ahhed whether to fight for the pace or let it slide, then realised I might still JUST skim a whisker off my time if I gritted my teeth and fought hard. So I did. I had come for a PB whether seconds or minutes. Ignoring the Garmin, I put my head down and ran as best I could, up more slight but obvious pulls, willing them to finish. Where’s the ruddy flat bit, I thought? I could have flatten the numptie who had obviously talked out of his butt at that point!! (joke)

The funny thing about the last 4km was that the Castle was there, kinda taunting you in the distance, a bit like the beach finish at Pier to Pier – seemingly sooo near, and yet annoyingly not. And behind another little undulation. and another. Until 9km came in sight and I knew it was going to smooth out a bit. Think I was doing about 7.40 by then, so held on for a last surge at about 9.8km when a daft marshall bade me halt a wee second and go round the back of a car. What? Stop and change ruddy direction? Cheers, mate, at a right crucial point. So I dodged back behind said car, across the road slightly bewildered and (as Danny kindly pointed out after, with loss of a good few seconds no doubt!!) onto the path leading to the finish on the grass of the Cricket Pavilion. Goodness knows what the official clock was doing, showing time it wasn’t. 48:16 my watch said, 48:18 theirs said. A PB by 8, nay ,6 seconds!! And those ruddy uppy downy bits had my legs all wobbly afterwards, I worked MUCH harder at that than at Middlesbrough where I got the previous PB.

So, flattish, uppy-downy, not THE fastest, but a pretty fast course. Beautiful view of the Castle on the way back, albeit somewhat tantalising as it dipped behind another gentle incline time and again. Danny rocked home about 90 seconds after me and needed to sit down. He had worked hard too and wasn’t for speaking straight afterwards (unlike me). Cups of tea, bananas and Snickers followed (Heaven) and an unexpected wait for my family to pootle on up to meet me meant a welcome trip to one of Bamburgh’s lovely teahouses, where we sipped copious cups of coffee, warmed through, and Danny had a ploughman’s brunch to boot. We wondered at the weird-looking straw people draped around the Cricket Pavilion obviously made by schoolkids for the Torch Relay three days prior and felt a warm snoozette come on…

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Pier to Pier Race, South Shields to Roker, Sunday, May 20, 2012

6.9 miles

Kathryn Sygrove

Grand Prix Race. Sprint Champion Race. I last ran the Pier to Pier race two years ago, just before joining Elvet Striders, and was paggered at the end, barely able to face the final section across the beach. I have no recollection of the time, but it was probably about 70 minutes and I was so glad it was over.

Kathryn with  Alan Knebel and Dean Phillips of Sunderland StrollersThis year, I snuck it in as an extra race, the week before my Edinburgh half, as there was a bus on, and lots of people seemed to be going. When we arrived at the start, I had my number to pick up, dropped off my baggage, stuffed an oatmeal and raisin muffin down my neck, and went in search of familiar people from other nearby clubs. David Savage and Dean Phillips from Sunderland Harriers were not far away, and I decided to warm-up with them and Al Knebel of Sunderland Parkrun, with a few woops, skips and jumps for good measure. It seems that I missed the Strider group pic as a result -sorry! I also started away from our other Club members, as I like to focus on my own race, and pace myself better if running next to runners I don’t know anything about. Or in this case, runners so much faster than me that it was immaterial how I ran – I was never gunna catch them.

The beach start wasn’t too bad, the ascent up the sand a bit tough, and I had forgotten that overall there was a climb to the Lighthouse approx halfway. Multi-terrain ain’t my baby, so I felt the difference on my legs on sand, grass, gravel paths, grass again, but was enjoying the lovely view around me towards the sea. I hadn’t seen any Striders around me, only Paul Lordsmythe Smith (Crook Harriers) who yelled at me and then pretended he hadn’t, as he sort of hobbled by on his dicky knees. They were still bloomin fast!

About four miles, I felt like a furnace. I suddenly remembered that the previous week I had had a fluey headache which had drained me, thought it had gone by Saturday, and hey-ho, here it was back. Oh well, I didn’t feel too good at that point, but several narrow paths and gates meant it wasn’t that easy to pass other people so my pace dropped a bit and I was quite glad of that right then. More grass came, seemingly weighing my legs down and it suddenly seemed a long way to the finish, but at 5 miles, I knew I had to just run steady till 6, wait for the run-in to the beach, then go for it. We had certainly moved onto much more level terrain by now, and soon came the paths along the promenade.

I was still boiling hot, but the same steady pace obviously covered greater ground on the flat even surface and soon it was the last corner before the beach. A small cluster of people supping hot beverages and eating chips clapped and cheered at the beach cafe and I really liked that. It was also a tad cooler round that curve, and I liked that even more. The beach just came at me and I started singing a song in my head, shutting out the distance to the finish line, and keeping it steady. “Come on Kathryn, last 50 metres to sprint!” yelled James Garland all of a sudden, and “C’mon Kathryn” bellowed Ali (THANK YOU both!!) and I lurched to the finish with their support.

I didn’t realise till Jan Young told me later that I was First Lady Strider home (don’t always notice people passing me) and was pleasantly surprised, given that I hadn’t felt too good. I will definitely be back next year, hopefully without head cold, to knock a few minutes off my time! It was also a good boost for me after my DNF at Milton Keynes, and many thanks to all Striders who have enquired after my health and welfare since then.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Luke Adams South Shields 37:01
14 Alyson Dixon Chester-le-Steet 40:28
43 Jerry Lloyd 44:14
50 James Garland 44:36
55 Adam Walker 44:56
60 David Gibson 45:14
164 Alister Robson 50:38
217 Marco Van Den Bremen 52:10
288 Andrew Jordan 54:09
347 Kathryn Sygrove 55:52
360 Jane Ives 56:15
384 Stephanie Barlow 57:00
406 Jan Young 57:33
415 George Nicholson 57:49
425 John Greathead 58:08
444 Jean Bradley 58:33
466 Greta Jones 58:59
472 Christopher Hedley 59:10
494 Rachael Bullock 60:00
505 Camilla Lauren-Maatta 60:15
512 Debra Goddard 60:30
531 Juliet Percival 60:57
534 Barbara Dick 60:59
540 Denise Mason 61:06
553 Jacquie Robson 61:26
562 Alan Smith 61:39
584 Louise Miller 62:27
596 Karen Chalkey 62:44
635 Victoria Tindale 63:50
641 Claire Readey 63:58
667 James Nicholson 65:19
669 Sue Jennings 65:23
725 Christine Anne Farnsworth 67:37
727 Emma Detchon 67:44
737 Anita Clementson 67:59
817 Margaret Thompson 72:38
865 Rob Clark 76:40

908 finishers.

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Cragside 10K, Saturday, April 14, 2012

Kathryn Sygrove

This was my first Run Northumberland run, a 10k enticed by the beauty of Cragside Estate near Rothbury. Having got up early and travelled there with Kate MacPherson and her sister for Kate’s first race for a wee while, it had snowed, sleeted, rained and was well cold when we got there. We got there about 8.20am – way too early – but thankfully the loos were open and so was the coffee shop soon afterwards!! We thawed out, got ready, drank warm beverages and went to the finish-line which at first we thought was the start. Then the first of many climbs began to the actual start, which was about 1km away back from the finish, which you went through twice -at 1km and at the end. It was a pretty steep hill to climb to the start, so we knew that the first and last bits of the race would be pelts downhill…but we also knew there were massive ups to contend with. We huddled next to a little marker – not much fanfare! – about 200 runners in all, wanting the race to start. I spoke to Vince Emmett from Sunderland Harriers who I see at lots of races, and it was nice to see a familiar face. Apart from me, and Kate MacPherson, the only other Strider was Ian Spencer. As we waited it had started to get sunny and the grounds looked beautiful. This is the second year this race – one of the Run Northumberland series – has taken place, but first time for us.

The course was steady away for the first 4km, and the sharp downhill levelled out after 1km to mild undulations until about 4km. Hmm, where are the steep bits I thought. Someone said to me on the way to the start that this wasn’t a PB race, and now I knew why. Till about 8km the race went up and up and up. Burning calves set in and ,as the sun shone down, I wondered why I had added the extra layer, but as we climbed up to the higher lake, it cooled off a bit, and I was glad I had stayed with it. The lovely views offered respite from thinking about sore legs and the weather held off. And of course, having started the race partway down a hill, we knew the plateauing had to happen at some point. Mercifully it did and at about 8kn I espied the possibility of equalling my PB. But I knew I could not sustain a sprint for 2km so eased off a bit until we hit the start point again, then really let rip. In fact, the sheer downhill scared me more than the hills – having had some ankle tenderness recently, I wasn’t prepared to risk my marathon at Milton Keynes in 2 weeks to go full-pelt, so I gauged how my feet felt on the steep tarmac then gradually widened my step as my legs took the sudden change of elevation literally in their stride.

Striders travelling incognito ... The finish line was well in sight at the bottom of the steepest descent, and as we evened out again, I pushed as hard as I could. A finished runner clapped and nodded his “Well done” as I zipped to the finish, and I heard someone’s footfall trying to pass me. No chance I thought, and pushed with my arms across the line. I got there first, grabbed my bottle of water and meandered about aimlessly at first, till I recovered a bit. Ian Spencer came in soon after me, then I grabbed my teeshirt memento, and waited for Kate and Bec who looked very comfortable as they finished together in the hour. At that point, the cloud cover appeared, it started to drizzle, and got very cold again. So we grabbed extra clothes, and soought comfort in hot tea, food and a warm car. Exhilarating race, hard going, but spectacular. And on that note, Bamburgh 10km here I come!

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Coniston 14, Saturday, March 31, 2012

14 miles

This was my first very undulating road race, four days after my last 20-miler for my (Milton Keynes) marathon. I was still feeling weary after that, and very nervous: why had I chosen a race which was not my sorta thing just now? I fancied a scenic route – the race circumvents Lake Coniston – but the undulating roads on the way there made me question my decision.

Still I soon found some fellow Striders and was at the start line before I knew it. I decided to run with Juliet Percival to start with, and as she wondered if she was slowing me down, my chest and legs ached on the ups and downs, and I assured her otherwise. It was sunny, pretty warm and the scenery beautiful, but I still felt weary. We chatted on until about 6 miles, and my gut started to churn. Sweets didn’t do much to revive me, despite Juliet making me laugh with her “fangs” and at 7 miles she ploughed on whilst I stopped to cool off and top up on liquid and mint cake. I soon plodded on but still felt churny, yet it was noticeably cooler and flatter on this side of the Lake, the views were stunning, and that all seemed to help.I gradually got more into my stride, and psyched myself up to head for the 10 mile mark.

As my speed increased, I remembered the hill at 11 miles (I had not run this race before but Richard Asquith had forewarned me of the only “proper” hill) and got ready to attack it. It kept climbing for about a mile, but the daft cars trying to squeeze past us at a tough part of the race was a tad more irritating. At the top, 2 youngish cyclists yelled at everyone that there were only 2 miles downhill to go, and my heart soared. The sudden drop down was a bit of a surprise and plunged everyone into the valley and homeward-bound.

Kathryn crosses the line. At about 13 miles, my legs wanted to give up. Dougie was creeping up on me (someone shouted his name, that’s how I knew) and I thought, oh no, here we go, pipped at the post again. But Dougie offered a truce: to run to the finish together and I was more than happy to oblige. We crossed the line hands raised together in just under 2 hours, and I was delighted. It hadn’t been my best race; maybe I shouldn’t have even been racing this weekend, but Dougie’s gesture meant a huge amount to me, when he could easily have notched up a gear. It reminded me that there is so much more to running than just “taking out” the next runner because you can; but that camaraderie is sometimes means more than out-and-out competitiveness. In that respect, Dougie won hands down.

… and Dougie Nisbet

In the Court Inn, a few weeks earlier, Kathryn asked me (with an affected air of nonchalance),
“so, er, you doing Coniston then Dougie?”
All very civil but I detected a definite furrowing of eyebrows. Dougie, my lad, I thought, you’re a marked man. Still unforgiven for the Brass Monkey I reckon.

This was first time doing the Coniston 14, rather than the Coniston 17andabit, and I was looking forward to the shorter distance. It’s a big field but with chip timing I happily started at the back of the field as I knew it would take me about half the race to get warmed up anyway. Too many coffees meant it wasn’t too long before I was refreshing my arboricultural id skills, and then, feeling oh so much better, I began to wind up the pace.

I caught Jean at the usual place, where I usually catch her in this race. Every year. Then the effortless bounding gait of Yusuf appeared a few minutes later. The shorter course was suiting me well and around mile 8 I spotted Kathyrn’s long red socks on the horizon. On the horizon they pretty well stayed for the next few miles and I couldn’t find the speed to close the gap. Then in the last mile, it wasn’t so much me that sped up, it was Kathryn that slowed down.

Running into Coniston the gap closed down to a few yards and I knew that if I edged past now I would get counter-attacked and pipped on the line. So I did the noble, decent, sportsmanlike, gentlemanly thing. I kept quiet, hid myself behind other runners, gathered my energy, and prepared to sprint by in a surprise attack at the finish. But I’d forgotten how good Strider support is in this race.

“Come On, Kathryn! … Come on Dougie!”. Well that was my cover blown. Rumbled! Kathryn looked over her shoulder and saw me lurking in the shadows. With a startled yelp she suddenly lifted her pace but it was too late, I’d already narrowed my eyes. With just a few hundred yards to go I managed to pull alongside and consider my next move. I thought it’s a lovely day, the sun is shining, and this is awfully hard work. An unexpected idea suddenly popped into my head:

“Tell you what, I won’t sprint if you won’t sprint. Deal?”. Kathyrn’s response went on for some time and seemed to involve a detailed physiological breakdown of the preceding 13.5 miles, but I think the answer was “yes”. So we did that Tour de France thing and called a truce. Hostilities were suspended as we wound up the pace so by the time we crossed the finish line hand in hand we were pretty much flat out but with an agreed dead heat, and great fun it was too.

Marc and Juliet led the Striders home, followed by Kathryn then me (pity we didn’t have a photo finish!), with Yusuf, Jean, Jim and Alan completing the team. Another great race in this neatly-sized race where the town is buzzy and exciting, lots of vocal Strider support, but still plenty of space in the bars and cafes to wander in and get a beer and coffee afterwards.

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