Category Archives: Kerry Lister

Hardmoors 30, Ravenscar, North Yorkshire, Friday, January 1, 2016

30 miles

Kerry Lister and Sue Jennings

Kerry Lister …

Sue and Kerry looking sunny

I decided to enter my first Ultramarathon when entries opened for the Hardmoors 30, encouraged by Denise Benvin and Sue Jennings, with the reassurance that Sue would run with me.

So, after abstaining from the usual excesses of New Years Eve the alarm woke me up at 530am Friday 1st January 2016 for the journey to Robin Hoods Bay, the weather was promising to be kind to us with a beautiful red hue, hopefully we’d be finished by the time whatever it was warning the shepherds of.

Friendly faces filled Fylingdale Village Hall and we were kit checked by Phil Owen and Anna Seeley. All present and correct, tramp stamp obtained, number pick up was as easy as pie, as always with the well organised Hardmoors events. Time enough for a cuppa and peanut butter and banana crepe before race briefing.

Jon Steele reminded us of all the usual stuff, be courteous to other people using the routes, no litter, watch out for the missing dog Betty, no swearing at the marshals but sweepers were fair game.

Then we were off, down the Cinder track en route to Whitby, so far so good, we could still see other runners in front of us and the sweepers weren’t in sight behind us. Pretty plain sailing so far, very light wind, some surface water on the track, dry feet all the way to Whitby. First real challenge was the 199 steps up to Whitby Abbey – I’d love to know if anyone did actually run all the way up those!

Then we hit the Cleveland Way back to Robin Hoods Bay, this is where the fun starts! Mud, mud glorious mud! Slipping, sliding, giggling, squealing, what fun! And Sue even managed to stay upright…… for now……. The 15 ers started going past us, some of them at break neck speed, they were awesome!

I couldn’t believe it when we arrived back at Robin Hoods Bay after 13 ish miles, feeling good, happy to see Denise with hot tea, cakes and jelly babies. After a brief stop we were off again. This time from Robin Hoods Bay we were headed to Ravenscar … a slow long drag up to the next checkpoint. Hallway up started feeling grit getting down my socks so a quick stop to re Vaseline the feet (a blister already forming) and change my socks then off we went.

Marshmallows and rola cola at the next checkpoint, a nice shout out from Mark Preston and off down the cinder track again headed to Hayburn Wyke the down, the up, the mud, the slippery stones, the little stream at the bottom, beautiful. And still the weather held out.

Time to layer up now, we were hitting the later part of the day and it was starting to get a bit chilly, the wind was biting but still not strong. Debating if we should get our headtorches out but decided we had about another hour of light before we needed them, the aim was to get back to the Ravenscar checkpoint before darkness fell. We did it, we got back to Ravenscar and over took 5 people on the way!

couch to ultramarathoner Feeling pretty pleased with ourselves we embarked on the final leg of the course. In the dark, close to the cliff tops, in the mud. We managed to maintain our lead ensuring we weren’t going to be last.

Then it happened, Sue’s spectacular fall. Don’t know quite how it happened but she ended up on her back what seemed like inches away from the cliff edge! Scary stuff. Once we’d ascertained she wasn’t in any real danger and wasn’t hurt we could appreciate the funny side.

Just Boggle Hole steps to encounter now quads burning and lungs feeling like they were collapsing we made it to the top. Only a mile or so (and that steep hill from the bottom of Robin Hoods Bay) to conquer. A few young people asked what we were doing “finishing a 30 mile run” we said, “Wow” they said.

And we did it, we finished the 30 ish mile route in 8:18 to a huge round of applause. Hot tea and hugs from Phil, Anna and Denise, a welcome bowl of leek and potato soup and the coveted medal and Tshirt.

So from couch to ultramarathoner in 3 years- I think that’s something to be proud of!

… Sue Jennings

When I got a message from Kerry asking me whether I would run the Hardmoors 30 with her on New Years Day I was well pleased as it meant that I would have company around the route rather than spending the whole day on my own or with the sweepers!

We set off from Kerry’s at 7am on New Year’s Day in Beryl (Kerry’s car) and arrived just after 8am and managed to get one of the last parking places. We went in to the village hall at Robin Hoods Bay and registered and then did the usual round of loos, drinks, check backpacks, etc and it seemed to take ages till we eventually set off at 9.30am.

It was a fantastic day weather wise – cold but no/little wind, a bit of cloud and no rain – two years ago I ran this race and it was the most horrific conditions – a lot of people said they would never do it again and I remember 2 ladies turning back on the cliff tops after 25 miles saying they couldn’t stand up in the wind!

We did the section from Robin Hoods Bay to Whitby along the cinder track (about 6 miles) and then hit the steps going up to the Abbey at Whitby which are always a tough climb – 199 steps in total. The section from Whitby back to Robin Hoods Bay was pretty muddy but no more than we had expected for this time of year – the picture above is from this section.

We got back to Robin Hoods Bay (13 miles in) and we were back at the start – could have been quite tempting to stop at this point but that never even entered our heads as we were enjoying ourselves too much. At this point we had been running with a lady with a dog and the sweepers.

We left the check point to head up to Ravenscar which is about a 500 feet climb over 4/5 miles on the cinder track – we power walked this section. I had a time in mind that I wanted us to get to Ravenscar in and we missed it by about 3 minutes – at this point the sweepers caught us up and followed us down to Haeburn Wycke – this was a lovely down hill section on cinder track which we ran most of. However what does down must go up as they say.

The next section back to Ravenscar was along the coast which was quite muddy and very much back uphill! Fortunately for us, the weather was even more kind to us as the wind had picked up but it was behind us pushing us towards the finish. We had completed about 23 miles by the time we got to this section so were a little tired but we were soon pleased to see that we could see people in front of us. One of the tail runners, Roy, said you will catch them and we did! Before the checkpoint at Ravenscar we passed a 4 people and a dog – just shows the benefits of taking things steady!

At Ravenscar we had to switch our head torches on as it was dark but fortunately I knew the route back over the cliff tops to Robin Hoods Bay. We did make a small error and turned down a lane to a farm but quickly realised this was the wrong way and turned back. One of the other runners caught us up at this point and I said to him about passing us if he wanted to. He said he preferred to stay with us, The three of us continued across the cliff tops back to Robins Hoods Bay until I had a fall and hit my head! I wasn’t injured though thankfully and we eventually got back to Robins Hoods Bay and climbed the long, steep hill back up to the village hall. The three of us finished together in a time of 8 hours and 18 minutes.

We had a fab day out and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the race and course. It is a beautiful area of the country to run in and although it was challenging at times, it was well worth it and we would recommend this race to anyone who enjoys off road, longer distance challenges.

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MoRun 5K, Town Moor, Newcastle, Sunday, November 9, 2014

Kerry Lister

'Mo Sistas' suitably attired for the MoRun 5K at NewcastleOne 10k race on a sunny Sunday wasn’t enough for Helen Allen, Vicki McLean, Laura Jackson and me so, after the Heaton Harriers Memorial 10K, we signed up for the Newcastle 5k MoRun while Denise ‘the Machine’ Benvin joined Kirsty ‘looks like her dad’ Steed in the 10k.

The race is run in support of ‘Movember’ to raise money and awareness for Prostate Cancer so, yeah, it was expensive compared to the Heaton Harriers race in the morning but you get an awesome moustache medal, and I’m fairly sure our ‘running outfits’ may well have been frowned upon on by those in the more serious earlier run. Fancy dress and moustaches were optional but when my number came through as 118 then my fate was decided!

We lined up with hundreds of other people, young, old, dressed up, moustachioed, bare faced – all were welcome – then we were off! With many moans and groans we started on our 3rd lap of the Town Moor, then our legs finally loosened up and we began enjoying our MoRun. It wasn’t fast, it wasn’t particularly comfortable but, hey, it’s not every Sunday you get to be a Mo Sista!

'Mo Sistas' done it for themselves - complete with 'tash' medals!
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Northumberland Castles Marathon, Alnwick, Sunday, October 26, 2014

Kerry Lister

Kerry celebrates her success after the Castles MarathonLining up on the start line at Alnwick Castle to complete my second marathon in 2 weeks with only 73 other people was a daunting start to a Sunday morning. Still I knew I could do the distance, not quickly but it could be done.

After a quick briefing, basically don’t get run over because the roads aren’t closed, we were off. Most of the other runners disappeared quite quickly into the distance. I could see a man in front of me and a lady behind me, both far enough off that I could see but not communicate with them. I was on my own.

Sticking to my run/walk race plan I plodded on, stopping at about mile 6 to loosen my right shoe as my toes were hurting. Mission accomplished – pain dissipated – I continued on.

Mile 10, getting a bit lonely so (against race rules – sorry) popped a single earphone in and enjoyed the company of the Marathontalk boys for a good few miles.

The man in front had now disappeared, leaving me and the lady behind. Plodding on, up inclines and hills, sideways rain lashing for a short time, reaching the halfway point 2:31 – not bad considering both my GNR times had been significantly more than that.

At this point the young lady, Nicola Hall, overtook with a smile (or was it a grimace?) – her first full marathon and she was trotting along nicely.

Then the wind started. Confirmed the next day by the Met Office as consistently 25-30 mph with 50mph gusts I was mighty pleased I’d done the fell run the week before – I knew I could do this. Time for an entertainment switch – bit of Barry Manilow (don’t judge me) kept me going.

Conjuring a smile for the camera during the Castles Marathon 2014By mile 20 into the headwind I was doing 50-100 steps running, 10-20 steps walking but the miles were being eaten up and, I’m proud to say, I overtook a group of 4 of the half marathoners.

Regular interaction with the marshals made the journey more pleasant and a car full of lovely ladies with signs supporting Nicola kept appearing ‘touch the flash for power’, I’m grateful for the hugs and the fact that although Nicola was now in front of me they waited to cheer me on.

The water stop at mile 24 got me emotional, there the ladies were with a new sign ‘you’re a marathoner’ and a little pep talk from the marshal while I stopped my hyperventilating sobs and I was off again for the final uphill stretch.

Coming into Bamburgh was awesome, Helen and Phil Allen cheering me on, my sister and hubby at the finish line. The lovely Nicola and her ladies drinking champagne. I’m not ashamed to say I was tearful, although I’d been proud at the Yorkshire Marathon, today I’d been alone for 5:33:58 and 26.2 miles, I had accomplished this all under my own steam. So I was last, I was number 74 out of 74, probably the first time the first Strider in was the last runner. But I did it, I’m proud of me.

Quote of the day from an older lady in the pub ‘I’ve never met a marathoner before’, well, I told her ‘you have now’ .

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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 – – 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!

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Parachute Regiment 10M, Catterick Garrison, Sunday, August 31, 2014

Kerry Lister

So, following the Fan Dance earlier this year I willingly signed up for the Paras 10 at Catterick. Once again running it as opposed to ‘tabbing’ it (Tactical Advance to Battle) in the P Company Challenge.

A generous Strider discount was provided (thanks very much) .

Today, 31st August, was the day. Early morning and 815am pick up for me and hubby (doing the load bearing version) by Major McGonnell and off we went. Lovely hot sunny day, well. Lovely if you weren’t planning on doing a 10 mile event either with or without a 35lb Bergen.

Registration was simple and quick, the timing chips were put on our shoes, the lads weighed their bergens in, Rob was 1lb short so the Para gave him a 1.5kg bag of porridge to make it up. Then we waited til 1045am for our briefing and warm up, which basically consisted of a Para making us all do a funny dance.

The cani-cross entrants went off first, followed after a couple of minutes by the runners (including me, Natalie Torbett and Laura Jackson) followed 10 minutes later by the tabbers (including Rob Lister, Tony McGonnell and Adam Chapman).

I knew there was 1 brutal hill around mile 8 but I didn’t realise the 8 miles getting there would be quite so ‘undulating’. It wasn’t long before the first of the tabbers overtook us slower runners and the Gurkha tabbers were phenomenal with their speed and determination.

The miles were clearly marked, the cattle grids (of which there were many) had sheets of wood partially covering them. There were 2 water stations, however I was pleased I had my camelbak on, it was very hot out there! And plenty of Paras marshalling.

Up and down, up and down we went then there it was ‘Pussy Hill in the Land of Nod’, at this point I was very close to the 1:50 man (under 1:50 is the selection time for the Paras), then there was a ‘last hill’ sign, get in! Almost there.

At last a lady shouted ‘just round the corner onto the grass then it’s the finish’ and it was, all of a sudden I could see the finishers funnel, big cheers from the spectators spurred me on to a sub 2 hour finish which I was really pleased with. Medal around my neck and goody bag in my hand I joined Marie to cheer the others in.

One by one they came round the corner, smiling, tired and sweaty but triumphant that we had all completed this tough challenge.

Fantastic event, well organised except the free for all at the race finish water point where people were taking 2 and 3 bottles without a though for other competitors, the coffee was rubbish too and no beer tent!

But, I will be signing up next year, for the P Company TAB Challenge…….

(Visited 45 times, 1 visits today)

Summer Fan Dance Race, Brecon Beacons, Saturday, July 5, 2014


Kerry Lister

So, after cheering my hubby on in January at the Avalance Endurance Events Winter Fan Dance, he and his friend booked for the summer one. Unfortunately The friend got a bad back following the Durham Coast Half Marathon a few weeks back, and as it was so near the event, no money back or deferral til next time, there was, however, an opportunity to transfer the place for the sum of £10. Weellllll, I had done Swaledale, Penshaw, Roseberry Topping, Round Sheffield and a couple of other half marathons so surely I’d be ok for ‘a gruelling 24km non-navigational race over two sides of Pen Y Fan, the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons. This infamous route has long been a part of SAS (Special Air Service) and SBS (Special Boat Service) Selection and is considered the yardstick of a candidate’s potential to perform well on Test Week and ultimately pass the Special Forces Selection programme.’ taken from the website.

Kerry at the start ...

Took the option to go ‘clean fatigue’ or non load carrying to the uninitiated. Rob went for the load bearing option (as expected). Borrowing Denise’s fell shoes and waterproof jacket, off we went on the 6 hour drive to Brecon.

As we approached Rob kept pointing out very high points on the landscape. Not sure if he was trying to scare me or prepare me. anyhow we arrived safe and sound, settled into our hotel and set the alarm for 615am.

The morning came around and in silence we prepared separately for our upcoming challenges. The weather looked okay, the tops were shrouded in mist and the weather forecasts said 20/30% chance of precipitation. Not bad odds really.

At the red phone box of the Storey Arms 830am came and the rufty tufty load bearers had their briefing from former SAS fella Ken Jones and off they went . I had another hour to wait til my set off time so, as you do, started chatting to anyone around me. The folks at the Fan Dance are a good bunch of people, unpretentious, all ‘bricking it’. Finally 930am arrived, we had our briefing, well the folks at the front did, at the back ( my natural place) we couldn’t hear, however, me being me I forget instructions very quickly so probably funny miss much.

... and Kerry at the finish.

Off we went, the sun started coming out, the first hill was long, the first 2 miles were all climb, too much for me to run, and in fairness I didn’t see much running at this point, I did however start overtaking people and eventually found my pace with a lovely lady called Sue (who had suffered a back problem, had surgery and found a new love of all things fitness) and her nephew Ashley ( who was training to run 6 marathons in 6 days for charity). I managed a little jog at the bottom of the summit (if that makes sense) of Pen Y Fan and left them behind for a short while, and reached the summit (886 m) in about an hour. Considering the climb I was well pleased with that, and of course had to have my photo opportunity.

Off we went again, to Jacobs Ladder, well all we saw was a precipice, fortunately there was someone who knew what he was doing to show us the way, imagine Roseberry Topping on steroids on top of another mountain and that’s Pen Y Fan and Jacobs Ladder.

Once down there we hit the Roman Road, the main challenge here being not breaking an ankle or face planting (again). Plenty of ‘well dones’ and ‘keep goings’, eventually passed Rob on the return journey with his bumbag full of burst gels and massive blisters on both his feet.

Just after mile 7 was RV2 also known as the turnaround point, good glug of water and some flapjack for the return journey, a quick check by the DS that I was fit to continue and off the three if us went again, a bit of a jog here and there as terrain allowed then there it was. The monster that is Jacobs Ladder – part 2. Bigger and uglier than going down was going up. Load bearers were struggling to stay upright and keep moving, it was long, very long then that little steep scramble at the end to reach the Pen Y Fan summit for the second time. Now we knew from here it really was all downhill, well apart from the little up hill bit. 4 hours passed, which means we did not managed to complete the course in the time required for SAS selection, secretly we were all pleased about this as we didn’t really want to join the SAS anyway.

With the thought of collecting our patch and enjoying the promised hog roast we practically skipped the last stretch, seeing the red phone box of the Storey Arms and Rob standing there we knew our journey was complete, we had done it!

With Hugs and handshakes from everyone we had encouraged, passed, hi fived and raced we made our way back to the car for a well deserved bath and Fan Dance Race beer. The photo with the patch and the red phone box – 2 icons of the Fan Dance Race experience, had been taken.

Was it a challenge? For sure. Would I do it again? Absolutely. Will I do it with a full load next time? Probably.

(Visited 61 times, 1 visits today)

Loop Den Haag Halve Marathon, Rotterdam, Sunday, March 9, 2014

Kerry Lister

My good friend in Holland mentioned a few months ago that he was doing the CPC Loop Den Haag Halve Marathon, I thought I’d kill 2 birds with 1 stone, visit my friends and their 10 month old baby and take the opportunity to become an international half marathoner.

So this weekend I flew off to Rotterdam to take part in the Loop Den Haag or Run The Hague translated into English. The weather was glorious, too glorious for running a half marathon when what I’m used to is cold, wet and dark. Last year it was reportedly snowy and windy.

Kerry and Remco going Dutch.

Remco and I arrived at the Malieveld race headquarters by metro in plenty of time to get orientated to the festival style area, have a cup of coffee, visit the porta loos 2or 3 times, being English and used to orderly queues I missed my turn a few times before I learned I had to just race for a door as I opened. Then we put our numbers on and put our bags into the very well organised baggage areas.

There were several races of different lengths and got different age groups throughout the day so we had a late start time of 2.30pm so we lined up at the start point and even though we were right at the back it only took around 90 seconds to cross the start line. We went off a bit too fast for me and after about 3km (they do things in km on the continent don’t you know) I let Remco leave me behind to run his own race. The heat soon started to take it’s toll and not a minute too soon the first water/sports drink station came up at 5km. There was lots of support on the pretty streets of Den Haag and because the race number has your name on it was lovely to hear your name being called with encouraging words although I didn’t really understand what was being said. The drinks stations were well placed with plenty of hander outerers, essential in the heatwave weather.

If a Dutch man tells you Holland is flat, don’t believe him, at about 15km there was a slow long climb up the Promenade at Scheveningen (the beach) with a brass band at the top, realistically it wasn’t anything horrific just unexpected in the reputed flat lands of the Netherlands.

The support of the lovely people continued throughout the 21km and I got a huge lump in my throat when I saw a man with a ‘be awesome’ sign, ‘we’re all awesome!’ I shouted to him giving the thumbs up. At the final straight I dug in and managed to overtake 4 other runners in true Strider style.

Although there was a cut off time of 2:30 I crossed the line at approx 2:37, collected my medal and found Remco who had finished in approx 2:20. Not my best race but a great experience. I’ll be back next year. All together 40,000 people participated in the races to celebrate 40 years of the CPC Loop Den Haag.

(Visited 39 times, 1 visits today)

Northumberland Big 10, Ponteland, Sunday, November 24, 2013

Kerry Lister

After missing the Brampton to Carlisle last weekend and feeling the urge to do a longer race than 10k I signed myself and hubby, Rob, up for the Northumberland Big 10. Rob had never run that far before and my long run history was the GNR last year and a couple of Broom Park Sunday morning sessions. So it was an adventure to say the least.

Packing our bags with the ritualistic before, during and after drinks and some warm clothes in case we got wet we set off for Ponteland. Arriving nice and early at Kirkley Hall organisation seemed reasonable, plenty of signage to the number pick up point and plenty of loos (even for the girls). We picked up our numbers, these were ordered by last name initial, there was no signage to indicate which was where but as there wasn’t a huge amount of runners there was no great problem, got the obligatory pre-race photo taken by a kindly passer-by, met up with Bill Ford, Richard Hall, Rebecca Fisher and Robert Clark and headed to the start line.

All set in Ponteland.

Promptly at 945am, after a safety chat, set the Garmin and we were off. I quickly lost sight of Rob, Bill and everyone else as they sped off. I stuck to my race plan of staying around the 10 min mile mark, running the sums through my mind of how long it should take me to complete the 10 miles. ‘I’ll be happy with less than 2 hours’, which slowly became ‘hmmm I might manage 1:50’ and as I clocked the miles up thoughts of 1:45 were coming up.

The course description was ‘undulating’ and undulating it most certainly was. However what goes up must come down and there were some nice down hills to match the slow inclines (which I am not embarrassed to say I walked most of – also in my race plan).

Settling into my stride around mile 4, I plodded on, took a selfie at mile 7, and kept going, managing to keep to my 10 minute mile pace or thereabouts. I soon found myself catching up to a clutch of ladies around the same age as me, which has become a regular feature of my races and then slowly overtook them.

There were water stations every 3 miles, semi manned – whatever than means! Marshals were present at most crucial points. Until, as I plodded on all alone, there was a fork in the road, no marshal, no signs and me with a very poor sense of direction. There I was standing at the fork, cursing and thinking ‘which way! which way!’ I asked a passing motorist if she’d seen any runners on the road she’d come down, she answered in the negative so I followed the other option and was quickly reassured by a passing cyclist that there were other number bearing runners in front of me.

I reached the 8 mile marker feeling surprisingly positive as it had been a while since I had run that far. Now the 1:45 was firmly in my sight, determined to keep a little bit of leg for that final ‘sprint’ finish I plodded on and on.

As I round the corner to see the Kirkley Hall main gate, Rob was standing waiting for me, he’d finished at 1: 28: 49, he ran the final 200 metres up to the finish line with me with a freezing cold wind directly in my face as I crossed the line at 1: 45: 22 seconds.

We made our way back into the hall to collect our t-shirts, started the Christmas shopping (there were some goodies on sale) and then made our way for a well-deserved tuna and cheese panini and a cup of tea in the Orangery Café before heading off home.

(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)

Town Moor 10K, Sunday, November 10, 2013

Kerry Lister

After a last minute shift change at work I found myself at a loose end on Sunday so signed up for the Town Moor 10K.

By the magic of Facebook I cadged a lift with the infamous George Nicholson and along with Karin Younger we arrived nice and early at the RGS in Newcastle to pick up our numbers and timing chips. The chips were different to any we’d used before and even though ‘the oldies’ didn’t bring their specs to read the instructions we muddled through. It was freezing outside, slippy and frosty underfoot and not much warmer inside the school hall. We all wished there was a cafe for a hot coffee before the start.

Other Striders were, of course, in attendance, including Kathleen Bellamy running her first 10K. Pre-race photos were taken with the seafRUNt smilers by Paul Mustard who hung around the course to capture the occasion:

Keen as Mustard, this photographer ...

Moving on the start line Karin, John and I had a little warm up jog, eyeing up the burger van on the way. At 11am we had a 2 minute silence to remember the sacrifice that has been made by so many brave men and women. Then the gun went and we were off!

Settling into my usual pace I enjoyed the 2 laps of the flatter than I’m used to course. However, there was a freezing wind blowing right in my face on the inclines which made it a bit more challenging. It wasn’t long before Kathleen Bellamy and Gareth Pritchard went past me and Karin Younger was always in my sights with her flowing pre-raphaelite locks like a shining beacon in front of me. I didn’t see any other Striders on the course.

Aiming for a sub 60 minute finish time I ploughed on enjoying the sunshine and cheering encouragements from the marshalls and other innocent bystanders.

Coming up to the finish line I caught sight of Mr Mustard with his camera and managed to get a decent photo taken where I look like I’m enjoying myself as much as I am rather than my usual agonised ‘race face’:


George Nick was there cheering me over the finish line to a PB by 5 min 50 seconds – a massive achievement but still 36 seconds over my sub 60 goal.

Hugs and congrats were exchanged with the other Striders then it was off to the aforementioned burger van for a well deserved reward. We didn’t get any other awards, no medal, no goody bag, no prizes. But still for £7 entry it was a well organised, well supported race and I WILL get my sub 60 10k – next time.

(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)

Richmond Castle 10K, Sunday, October 13, 2013

Kerry Lister

As I wasn’t able to do the Hellhole 10k last week in my naivety I entered the Richmond Castle 10k instead. Thinking ‘there’s a CAMRA real ale festival at the same time to keep hubby happy’ two birds one stone. Then the tales of ‘hilly’ course start coming in….

Left the house really early as wasn’t sure of the logistics of parking, although there were excellent pre race instructions from Swaledale Roadrunners I’m not the best at following instructions. We arrived nice and early and managed to get a parking space in the Market Place right next to race hq.

Race HQ was really well organised and I picked my number up no problem and hot a cup of coffee from the little coffee stall in the corner. Unexpectedly bumped into a couple of runners from Run Peterlee which settled my nerves a bit, then Alister and Jacquie turned up too with a couple of other Striders as well.

The course was, well, I think hilly is an understatement and I was walking up them before I knew it, mind you, what goes up must come down and there were some nice downhills and flat bits. For most of the race Maggie Thompson and I were playing catch up with each other, which really kept me going, how inspirational is she? Very is the answer. She gave me great advice to save a little bit for the final hill into the castle.

The course was well marshalled with a very friendly and encouraging bunch of people who managed to stay cheerful even in the ‘kind of rain that gets you wet through’ in the words of Peter Kay. Bright yellow kilometer markers, reminders to stay on the left and ‘beware runners’ were prolific.

At about 8km a bystander shouted for me to overtake the man in front of me so round the next corner I started my ‘speed up’ then I hit another hill, ‘the finish is just around the corner but there’s another hill’ encouraged a Marshall. Really tried to put a sprint finish in the last bit, then I heard the usual Striders welcome from Jacquie and Alister, feeling buoyed up I managed to overtake a couple of other people on the last very steep hill into the castle to the finish line.

Found my hubby sampling some of the ales at the festival, I was disappointed that they’d sold out of the Richmond Castle 10k ale the day before. So settled for a hot sugary cup of tea at the bargain price of £1.

Maggie did the Striders proud by coming away with a prize, of which there were many. There was no goody bag or t-shirt but we did get a neck tube thingy which is a very useful thing to have.

The results were printed up quickly and I was amazed to get a time of 66.24, which is less than a minute longer than my PB at Tynedale, so I am very pleased with myself.


Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 James Askew Durham City Harriers M 0:35:23
12 Nicolene Van Staden Unattached F 0:38:28
109 Alister Robson M40 0:45:48
150 John Hutchinson M50 0:47:57
297 Jacquie Robson F35 0:54:58
424 Kerry Lister F35 1:06:24
425 Margaret Thompson F55 1:06:29

455 finishers.

(Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)