Yesterday some of our members attended the funeral of Paul Gibson who died after a short illness on April 2nd, aged 66. Paul had been a founder member of Durham City Harriers in 1971; he subsequently joined Elvet Striders, a member for several years, but in recent times he was doing more cycling and so joined the tri-club, Paul was a committed and accomplished athlete with a passion for XC. I first met him in 1982 when I joined DCH with Jan Young. Paul was one of small group of elite runners, arguably one of the best in the club. That group made new runners like us feel welcome although we were nowhere near their quality. Paul has always been a very warm and sociable guy. He joined us in various pubs after training or races for some food and a few drinks, and was very entertaining company. He had a great sense of humour and a very engaging personality. He will be sorely missed by his friends from all his clubs and the ‘affable cyclists’ ( they know who they are!). I for one am honoured to have known him.
Christmas Handicap 2018, Houghall, Durham, Sunday, December 16, 2018
The Christmas Handicap came within a whisker of being cancelled this year. A few days before the deadline, I had only 6 entrants and quite a few apologies from people who would normally take part but were doing other races or Christmassy things. But then there was a flurry of last-minute entries and on the morning of the race, there were 34 runners, about normal for the last few years.
The theme for fancy dress this year was ‘Movies past and present’ – lots of scope in that, I thought. George Nicholson and David Shipman had agreed to lead off the ‘scratch runners’ so that anybody new to the course would not get lost (more about that later!) and the various turning points and ‘hazards’ were well marked with arrows and tinsel.
And so we were all set to get going at 11.00 … except that the only ‘scratch’ runner hadn’t turned up. So I had to do a quick revision of the handicapping – mostly in my head.
Where’s Allan Seheult when you need him? He’d have done it in a heartbeat! So David (alias Where’s Wally and George (alias Banana Man?) set off with the 3 new scratch runners, followed by Wendy (the Riddler) Littlewood. There were some amazing costumes including Captain America, Crocodile Dundee, a nun, a busy-bee and Conrad who seemed to be a downhill racer!
It was a good day for running – not too cold, sunny and the only bit of ice was on part of the footpath and on the corner at Houghall Lane. Everyone entered into the spirit of it – the bran tub was overflowing and Santa entertained passers-by as usual.
The first across the finish line was Fiona Harrington Hughes in 47 minutes. Fastest male was Bryan Potts in 32:07, the fastest female was Fiona Brennan in 34:56. All 3 juniors got prizes – the fastest being Lewis Littlewood in 41:01. The rest of the prizes were for fancy dress. And then we come to the last across the finish line … we waited but there was no sign. And then someone said ‘Is that not him running down from Shincliffe Bank?’. Completely from the wrong direction! He had just kept going past Houghall Lane in spite of the large arrow and tinsel directing runners to turn right. Obviously ‘in the zone’! Anyway, he saw the funny side of it.
Afterwards, we went to the Court Inn for the Christmas Carvery and the prize giving. Fancy Dress prizes went to (in no particular order) Lizzy Wallace, Conrad White, Mike Bennett, Anna Mason, George Nicholson, Lesley Charman, David Shipman, Wendy Littlewood, Tim Matthews, Lesley Hamill, Karen Byng, Fiona Kinghorn Jones, Joanne Richardson, Sam Renwick, Jonathan Hamill and Fiona Brannan.
Once again it was a very enjoyable and sociable event.
|Name||5 mile time||Handicap||Finish time||Actual time|
|Fiona Harrington Hughes||51.00||0.00||47.00||47.00|
|Fiona Kinghorn Jones||45.00||6.00||58.16||52.16|
Great North Run, Sunday, September 9, 2018
The Great North Run – And The Benefit of Hindsight
Hindsight is a wonderful thing don’t you think? And it was with the benefit of hindsight – I realised quite quickly, yesterday actually – that thinking of running the GNR was extreme folly! Let’s look at the facts – I hadn’t done a serious race since 2017, the Coniston 14 in March. Since then I did the Beer Belly run, a fun run in Consett – 5K of fancy dress mayhem on August Bank Holiday 2017, and a couple of park runs this year. I had to defer my GNR number for last year. So there I was in the late spring this year, my knees had at last started behaving themselves, so I thought, hey, I’ll start training for the GNR. After all I would have paid over £100 for the same number.
So around 2 months of training commenced, basically starting from scratch. My longest run (last weekend) was 9 miles on the Waskerley Way, painfully slow. But I thought, what the Hell, I’ll get round. The plan was to start very slow, and to walk up the hills. Or to do Allan Seheult’s run 5mins walk 2mins plan. I had serious doubts all last week but I thought – what’s the worst that could happen … another black eye?? After all, it was plastered all over the walls of Howtown Outdoor Ed Centre when I was a young teacher “A quitter never wins; a winner never quits”. So no quitter, I thought just do it.
Sunday dawned and I pitched up for the bus. Arriving at the start there was the usual stampede for the toilet cubicles (with many repeat visits!). At first the weather was uncertain – rain or sun? Or both, as it turned out. Eventually, I went to my number area (green) and my ‘pen’ group (i). Kay Cairns was there along with a few new Striders. It was a long wait with rain, then sun, then more rain … and the Red Arrows. It took around 35 minutes of walking to cross the start line, mostly walking. And then we were off. I didn’t even start my watch but I realised pretty quickly that my ‘start slow’ plan wasn’t working. On the Tyne Bridge I spotted that my number/pen group were following the pace flags for 2h25 and 2h 35 – surprisingly close to each other. I was thinking about 3hours (pathetic I know!) but realistic. So I slowed down and after the Tyne Bridge walked up to the Felling Bypass. By then, Mo would approaching the last mile and a sub hour victory!
So far so good. It was warming up and I got to Heworth ok with the run/walk plan. It was when I got to Whitemare Pool that things began to unravel. I was hot and I was starting to feel achy. I thought it was the beginning of cramp. Very soon just about everything below the waist began to tighten up and ache. By then I was walking. I trotted into a St John’s Ambulance tent and explained that I thought I was cramping up and could I have a painkiller? “Oh no” they said, “ We couldn’t possibly give you Ibuprofen!”. “To protect my kidneys?” I asked. (You see I do listen Paul Evans!!). “That’s right”, they said. So they applied something topically to my legs and lower back. I have no idea what it was, there was no smell and it could well have been a placebo, but it did seem to work, for a short while. They also gave me an electrolyte drink and sent me on my way. By the time I got to the John Reid Road and around 8 miles I was struggling. My legs really hurt and running was just so painful. So walking and the odd period of jogging ensued for the rest of the way. I’d had lots of spectators shouting encouragement and calling out my name. And around 9 miles I heard “Pam Kirkup, Elvet Striders, what are you doing back here? Get a bloody move on”! I have no idea who it was but it was both flattering and encouraging but also a little bit disheartening. I knew I could do much better. By the time I got to 10 miles I began to think ‘no this is not cramp it’s just extreme muscle fatigue’. I kind of imagined my legs screaming out at me “No! Enough already! What are you playing at? We’re not prepared for this”. And if muscles could speak they would have been right. My training had been minimal and I just didn’t have the stamina or the endurance to get around without causing this level of pain and discomfort.
When I got to the horrible hill at mile 11 I looked around me and thought, ‘Yes I’ve found my level’. Nobody was running – young, old, slim, overweight – everyone was walking. And then we got to the Elvis Impersonator at the top of the hill. I didn’t actually see him but the song ‘King Creole’ was belting out. The last time I ran the GNR his song was ‘The Wonder of You’ which, in my case, would have been somewhat ironic this year!
I had hoped to run down the hill to Marsden and along the last mile to the finish but by then my legs had seriously gone. I managed a few hundred yards but then I realised I was wobbling so much that walking was the best I could do. I did think they might give way but I got to the finish and then lurched off to the baggage bus for my stuff.
I got to the pub after a very slow walk – mainly the crowds –to Bents Park and then up the hill to the Look Out. I’m not a beer drinker but I have to say, the restorative powers of a pint of lager are amazing. By the time we left the leg wobble had gone and the pain was receding.
Positives – at least I finished even though it was tempting to jump on one of the hoppers taking struggling runners to the finish; I managed to avoid the burly nutters and thugs so wasn’t pushed over and no black eye; I have recovered quite quickly – no pain today; and it hasn’t put me off. It’s just made me realise I have to do much more consistent training for such a race. Maybe I should do a few 10Ks and build up. From nothing to a half marathon like the GNR is probably foolish – with the benefit of hindsight!
|1||1||MO FARAH (Newham & Essex Beagles AC)||00:59:27|
|10994||18976||Ben Gary Hunt||02:05:44|
|25835||17414||Alan Harvey Smith||02:30:58|
|42115||366||Barrie John Evans||03:29:07|
Swaledale Marathon – A Soaked Supporter’s View, Swaledale, North Yorkshire, Saturday, June 10, 2017
8.00am on the morning of the race Paul F & I pitched up to registration, in my case, to hand in my number for anyone who hoped to get an entry on the day. It was drizzling nicely.
An hour later at the start, this year’s cohort of runners seemed somewhat diminished from previous years. The purple posse was there in strength … and the rain was building up.
If you don’t know the course of the Swaledale Marathon it’s 23+ miles over quite diverse terrain, including valley paths, some steep climbs on rubble and bog, some awkward peat hags, some decent paths over the moors and a pretty unpleasant, stony downhill path to the road down to the village of Reeth. Saturday was probably one of the worst conditions I have seen for this run. It was going to be difficult and challenging – a certain bog-fest, even for the experts. A baptism of fire for Swaledale ‘virgins’.
After the start, the walking wounded – Mandy and I – trudged in the now heavy rain to Reeth in search of coffee and shelter. In the meantime the purple posse was doing the slog up the rubble to Fremington Edge. This is a swampy, boggy ridge which goes in the direction of Langthwaite, the route goes through a gate downhill into the valley and then on roads to the first checkpoint. On Saturday Fremington Edge would have been at its most unpleasant – and I hear it was very boggy – but nothing compared to what was to come.
The route then is mostly on roads to Whaw and the second checkpoint. After this is a steep uphill climb to the main road, which the runners cross to the path up to Great Punchard Head. A small stream on the way up had become much more full, and the stream crossing at Great Punchard Head seemed to have become a challenge to some people, as Paul arrived there. After Great Punchard Head route finding can be difficult but, although it was cold, very windy and the rain was hammering down, Paul said that the route was clear. No mist. And, for the first time, the path was marked with flags. However, the ground underfoot was very difficult. Nina said that she lost her footing and one leg ended up knee deep in a bog. A runner in front of Paul ended up thigh deep in a bog – thankfully he was able to haul himself out. Luckily, visibility was clear and so runners could find their way to Little Punchard and then on to Level House – a fantastic food station with tea, sandwiches, cake, flapjacks and lots more.
By then I had joined the dash to Gunnerside – you have to get there early to get a parking place. The rain was now relentless. I missed the first few runners coming through but I did see Jack, and then Stephen and Gareth (poster boy for next year’s race??). The camaraderie of supporters is really amazing – everyone shouts for other people’s runners as they sprint down that riverside path to the road. Even though you don’t know them! The purple posse came hurtling in after that. Phil & Tim, Matthew & Elaine, David Brown, then Jules, Mike Bennett, Jan, Nina, Malcolm Sygrove, Camilla & Kathryn and then Paul! I didn’t get photos of Elaine Bisson (3rd lady!!) who ran a blinder with Mathew Archer (how could he possibly have run that course in road shoes???), or David Brown – his picture was black .Rain?
From Gunnerside the runners leave the road at the top of the village, taking a long steep path up to a (usually) decent path to Blades. Part of this has vehicular access for the cottages and farms so wouldn’t normally be difficult. At Blades the route veers off to the left onto a level moorland path to Surrender Bridge which can often be quite muddy – a quagmire on Saturday! Surrender Bridge is the last manned checkpoint and marshals point runners in the right direction for the last push to Reeth. Once you’ve negotiated ‘Crinkly Bottom’, a small but steep ghyll, (I hear it now has a bridge to cross it), you make your way to a long, narrow and often steep path of stones and boulders. Punishing on, by now, sore and weary feet. For me it’s always been a nightmare. Then it’s a downhill cruise on the road to the finish.
In the meantime, I drove back to Reeth, after Paul came through Gunnerside, and joined the finish supporters at the Buck Inn. People were sharing stories about the bogs, the peat hags and the awful conditions underfoot. It was certainly a more difficult course this year – for everyone. Gareth said “Never, never, ever again!”. Tim said “It was great I loved it”! Everyone had a story to tell! Spirits were high.
Regardless of the conditions, Elvet Striders did a great job. We were second male team, only just beaten by East Hull Harriers. And Elaine Bisson was 3rd Lady in a sensational 03.55 and was 33rd overall. There were some excellent times:
Michael Mason – 3.24, Jack Lee – 3.36, Steven and Gareth 3.39, Mat (road shoes) Archer – 3.53, Elaine (super woman) Bisson 3.55, David Brown 4.19, Tim & Phil – 4.31, Jules – 4.36, Mike Bennett – 4.45, Nina – 5.10, Jan – 5.17, Kathryn – 5.19,Malcolm – 5.26, Camilla – 5.27, Paul Foster – 5.37, Joan & Anita – 5.42, Emil Maatta – 6.02, Anna & Catherine – 6.51, Barbara Dick – 7.01, Louise Billcliffe – 7.20, Christine Farnsworth & Margaret Thompson – 7.42.
I hope the first-timers won’t be put off. On a good day it’s a fantastic course with wonderful scenery. Saturday was not the best start! However it takes more than a day’s deluge to dampen the spirits of the purple posse.
Here’s a gallery of some thoroughly soaked Striders!
The Coniston 14 2017, Coniston, Lake District, Saturday, March 25, 2017
This was the first ‘real’ race that I have done for 18 months – however the word ‘race’ was hardly applicable to me in the circumstances. So I decided to consider it a leisurely, weekend long run in the sunshine. No pressure then! Leisurely? You must be joking!
I arrived at the start area and met Michael Littlewood who was looking sharp and focussed. I had a pre-race chat with Andrew and Alan … and then we were off! That was the last I saw of them that day.
By the time I reached Torver – a 3 mile uphill slog to the first watering station – I had found my level. Towards the back of the field with the joggers, fun runners and ‘power walkers’. I was feeling alright at Torver so decided I wouldn’t need to call for a taxi back (!) and continued – on a really pleasant downhill part of the course towards the half-way turning point. I must say I met some very nice people to run along with and there was some great ‘craic’!
As we turned to run down the East side of the Lake a marshal helpfully told us that we would have some lovely views of the snow-clad mountains and Lake Coniston itself. This prompted some of my fellow runners to assemble for group selfies with a mountain background and random cyclists were flagged down to take pictures.
Anyway we struggled on in the, by now, increasing heat … and exhaustion. The second half of the course is deceptively challenging with some pretty relentless climbs. My particular ‘favourites’ are the series of hills near the Thurston outdoor centre. Horrible! John Ruskin’s house, Brantwood, some 2.5 miles before the finish, is the point where ‘killer cramp’ has kicked in for me in the past. Not so this year. Luckily I had drunk 2 litres of water with those Zero electrolyte & magnesium tablets that morning which I think made a difference. Never the less I was still physically drained. I got to the Head of the Lake where Paul F was waiting with another drink and some encouragement. I can’t remember what he said!
I finally got to the finish in 03.04.16 – chip time. Just the 22 minutes slower than my last personal worst which, in itself, was 20 minutes slower than the previous one! Michael would have had time for a shower and to down 6 pints by that time. Huge congratulations to both him and Elaine for fantastic running.
And yet somehow I was strangely elated. I had finished unscathed before nightfall without falling or being pushed over so no black eye on this outing. The finishing time was dreadful but I could not have expected anything decent considering the amount of training I had been able to do since Christmas. I didn’t have the endurance or stamina to meet the challenge of such a course. But it’s certainly something to build on.
It’s still my favourite race and yes, I will be back next year.
Michael Littlewood – 10th Man Prize!
|Race No||First Name||Family Name||Gender||Gender Pos||Cat||Cat Pos||Club||Gun Time||Overall Pos||Chip Time||Chip Pos|
Christmas Handicap 2016 – Heroes Just For One Day!, Houghall Woods, Sunday, December 18, 2016
December 18th, the Sunday before Christmas and some 36 Striders turned up at Maiden Castle for our annual romp around Houghall Woods in ridiculous outfits to work up an appetite for Sunday Lunch at the Court Inn. And possibly to go home with a bottle of wine, some chocolates or a lunch voucher. Only a few prizes were for actual running – first finisher, fastest man, fastest lady and 1st Junior. The remaining 18 prizes were for fancy dress so the competition was fierce!
The theme was based on a choice of two lines from David Bowie songs, in honour of the great man who died last January: “We can be Heroes just for one day” or “Scary Monsters, super creeps” – an alternative spin on Heroes & Villains I guess.
From about 10.30 various startlingly colourful creatures just kept on arriving at Maiden Castle, to the astonishment of the reception staff. Only one Bowie but several Super Girls, Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, three ‘Evil Sisters’, the Riddler, Ginger Spice and Tina Turner to name but a few.
Phil and Mike Hughes had been checking the course and marking any ‘hazards’ so at 11.00 we could make a prompt start. Of course there was the usual disbelief and mock horror at some of the handicap times given. Cries of, “That’s a ridiculous time for him” or “She must have a magic watch!” rent the air. However, the mockery died down and Starter/Timekeeper Sue set them off – subject to their highly suspect handicap times! Some found running easier than others who might have been somewhat handi-capped by their chosen outfits! Passing motorists were certainly highly amused.
Then after much shedding of tiaras, cutlasses and other accoutrements, runners began approaching the finish. First past the post was Mike Bennett in 38.04. Mike was absolutely delighted – in 29 years as a Strider he had never ‘won’ the Christmas Handicap. And he’s run most of them! Fastest man was Michael Mason in 30.26, fastest lady was Louise McCloy in 38.23, fastest Junior was Erin Keeler-Clarke in 38.04. The last finishers were the three evil sisters, Elaine Bisson, Lesley Charman and Katy Walton.
Afterwards, runners, supporters and marshals retired to the pub for lunch and the prize giving. Santa, ex-chairman Nick Young, presented the prizes, mainly for fancy dress as chosen by his two elves, Janice Young and Gill Wesson.
It was another very enjoyable Strider social event and I’d like to thank all those runners who took part, most in some sensational costumes. Thanks also go to the Start/finish team Sue Jennings and Phil Owen, the marshals, Mike and Phil for their work on the course and of course to Santa who always does a great job.
|Name||Gender||Cat||5m time||Handicap||Finish Time||Actual Time||Pos||Notes|
|Erin Keeler Clarke||F||J||32||24||61:04:00||38:04:00||9||1st Junior|
|Louise McCloy||F||37||19||57:23:00||38:23:00||10||1st lady|
|Bev Walker||F||V||56||0||DNF||DNF – did 1 lap|
The Beer Belly Fun Run, Consett, Saturday, August 27, 2016
6 x 1k laps
Stand and Deliver!
… otherwise known as the 2nd Beer Belly Run from the Grey Horse pub in Consett raising funds for Motor Neurone Disease.
This has to be said is a ridiculous concept, one that we have inherited from America. The idea is that runners do 5 x 1K laps around a pub, after each lap you down a half of beer until the last lap when you down a pint. Thankfully I was driving and so was excused the beer swilling however the landlady did give me a glass of wine at the finish.
The entry form said that fancy dress was “positively encouraged” so Paul and I joined the throng – me as Adam Ant in ‘Dandy Highwayman’ mode and Paul as a Beverley Hillbilly. If you weren’t around in the ‘60s Paul’s outfit will be a mystery to you! There were some cracking costumes – Harry Potter characters, Freddy Mercury, a zombie with a rubber mask, Elvis and a man in drag with enormous false breasts to name but a few! The fancy dress prize went to a bloke wearing hideous white Y-fronts with a towel stuffed down the front, he had a knotted hankie on his head, he ran in wellies and he had a brown ‘skid mark’ painted on the back of his pants with some toilet paper hanging out of the waist band. Gross but hilarious! Blackhill Bounders had a few serious runners in it to compete for the prizes – even so I think I might have been second lady! Paul & I certainly finished quite high up … which might give you an idea of the standard.
Afterwards there was a buffet and 2 bands were due to play during the evening. We left after the buffet but it was a very enjoyable afternoon and an entirely fun event.
The inaugural event was last year to raise money for Parkinsons UK – a local teacher, Nigel Nattress had been diagnosed with the disease and the pub organised a series of events to raise money for the charity. The final sum raised was £5000+. Unfortunately, Nigel had been misdiagnosed – he actually had Motor Neurone Disease and died in the spring of this year. He was only in his 40s.
So this year the pub continues fund raising – this time for the MND charity and Marie Curie nursing. The pub raised £500 on Sunday alone. Some students from Longfield School in Darlington, where Nigel taught have raised £2000 in a sponsored sky dive.
The run might have been quite silly, great fun but in a very worthy cause.
Do they know it’s Christmas?
To bring to an end our 30th anniversary year of celebration focusing on 1985 seemed entirely appropriate. A few of us would remember fondly (or otherwise!) New Romantics, David Bowie, the end of the Punk era … Margaret Thatcher. Others would be toddlers or in nappies! However, scope for fancy dress seemed vast and the runners did not disappoint. Numbers were down from last year as it was still very close to the New Year’s festivities but by 11.00am we had a motley crew of runners, leaders and supporters ready to face the quagmire which was Houghall Woods.
At 10.30 it was still very quiet in the cafeteria at MC and then in burst Freddie Mercury in true Live Aid garb, an unrecognisable Mandy Dawson. There followed Dougie, resplendent as Adam Ant (Prince Charming mode!), Anita as a cross between Toyah Wilcox and Cyndi Lauper and George as John McEnroe. Another version of Adam Ant appeared along with Doc Brown from Back to the Future. Tom seemed to be Too shy as Limahl and Catherine Smith brought her welding helmet from Flash dance. Michael came in a chavvy shell suit and then, the piece de resistance … Margaret Thatcher in red suit and gold handbag – Mike Bennett by any other name.
The weather was kind to us – no rain and it was reasonably mild. The woods were very muddy but everyone managed to get around. Mike amused the passers-by by delicately holding up his red skirt in order to run. There was great teamwork with the marshals and helpers at the finish and I’m very grateful to Anna, Tom & Anita for leading some of the newer runners around the course.
After a successful run we went back to the Court Inn for a very well deserved lunch. Santa, alias Nick Young – a member since 1985 and a former chairman – assisted Paul in the presentation of prizes. Fancy Dress prizes were also given to Tom, Anita, Dougie and of course Santa for their help and support on the day.
Once again, I’d like to thank everyone who helped out today. It was a very happy sociable event.
|pos||name||cat||5M Time||h’cap||finish time||actual time||prize|
|1||Gareth Pritchard||M S||29||34||65.13||31.13||Fastest Male|
|2||Paul Swinburne||M V||36||27||61.04||34.04||Fastest Vet|
|3||Conrad White||M V||37||26||62.55||36.35|
|4||Alex Witty||M S||40||23||59.51||36.51|
|5||Mike Bennett||M V||40||23||61.57||38.57||fancy Dress|
|6||Mandy Dawson||F V||40||23||62.19||39.19||fastest Female & FD|
|7||Andrew Davis||M S||40||23||62.58||39.58|
|8||Michael Ross||M V||42||21||63.17||42.17||Fancy Dress|
|9||Camilla Lauren-Maatta||F V||42||21||64.54||43.54||fastest vet F after MD|
|10||Victoria Brown||F S||45||18||63.35||44.35|
|11||Victoria jackson||F S||44.5||18.5||65.26||46.76|
|12||Steve Ellis||M V||45.5||17.5||65.23||47.53||Fancy Dress|
|13||Mike Parker||M V||50||13||61.24||48.24|
|14||Catherine Smith||F V||46||17||65.35||48.35||Fancy Dress|
|15||Jonathan Hamill||M V||50||13||62.25||49.25||Fancy Dress|
|16||Anja Fetchner||F S||46.5||16.5||66.01||49.31|
|17||Jan Ellis||F V||49||14||63.36||49.36|
|18||George Nicolson||M V||52||11||63.29||52.29||Fancy Dress|
|19||Fiona Wood||F S||48||15||67.48||52.48|
|20||Wendy Littlewood||F S||60||3||56.11||53.11||1st finisher|
|21||Margaret Thompson||F V||61||2||56.44||54.44|
|22||Erin keeler-Clarke||F J||40.5||22.5||69.08||56.08||Junior prize|
|23||Joanne Porter||F V||50||13||69.09||56.09|
|24||Joanne Richardson||F V||50||13||69.1||56.1|
|25||Shelagh Barton||F V||57||6||64.25||58.25|
|26||Kay Cairns||F S||60||3||62.31||59.31|
|27||Sarah Watson||F J||48||15||74.47||59.47||Junior Prize|
|28||Kath Bartlett||F V||63||0||60.31||60.31|
|Rebecca Talbot||F S||58||5|
|Kerry Barnett||F V||55||8|
|Joanne Parkinson||F V||55||8|
|Kelly Collier||F S||51||12|
|David Shipman||M V||50||13|
|Debbie Jones||F V||50||13|
|Ryan Johnson||M J||46.5||16.5|
|Steph Piper||F S||45||18|
|Junior Swinburne||M J||44||19|
|Helen Thomas||F V||43||20|
|Jan Young||F V||42||21||1lap|
|Louise Warner||F S||40||23|
|David Spence||M V||39||24|
|Peter Hart||M S||39||24||1lap|
|Elaine Bisson||F S||38.5||24.5|
|Jack Watson||M J||32||31||1lap||Fancy Dress|
Great North Run, Sunday, September 13, 2015
An Eyeful of Purple
Pam Kirkup …
This was to be my first real race for two years and I must admit I was filled with trepidation. I’ve done the GNR many times before but that seemed to make no difference, I was a bag of nerves. “Just treat it as a normal Sunday run” I was told, “relax and enjoy it!” Well, it’s a plan but that’s not how it turned out. The event was not without incident and hardly my finest hour.
So we arrived in Newcastle before 9.00am and the Purple Gang poured off the bus and onto the Central Motorway for the long wait for the start. It was a touch cool, ideal for running we thought at first, then began the recurring process of eating bananas, drinking energy drinks and queuing for the portaloos, the usual GNR ritual. Eventually we herded into our ‘pens’ – mine White, section G along with Steph Piper and 25 minutes after the main race had begun we got to the Start Gantry and we were off!
My “normal Sunday run – just a jog” wasn’t happening at first. I reached the 2 mile point in under 20 minutes which I knew I couldn’t sustain for the whole course but more to the point it was starting to get quite hot and I was overheating. So a gentle jog and lots to drink and I got to Heworth in the certain knowledge that, whoever had won the race would have gone through the finish, had a shower and be on to his first pint by now. A humbling thought!
Feeling reasonably ok I trundled on down the A194 until I encountered ‘Barging Brute no. 1’! Determined to get through, he knocked me flying without a second thought and I landed mostly on grass verge but managed to graze my elbow on the kerb. This was not too far from the left hand turn at White Mare Pool and the feeding station where there were some St John’s Ambulance people. They cleaned me up and off I went in the direction of the dreaded hill on the John Reid Road up to the Crematorium. This has always been a bad patch for me and this year was no different. By now it was really hot and I was struggling. I began to wish I’d just written off the £104 this race cost me, or as Allan Seheult put it, £8 per mile! Still the thought of the Strider supporters with their jelly babies at the 10 mile mark spurred me on.
However, just approaching 10 miles I came across ‘Barging Brute No 2’. I was running next to a woman who simply stopped dead and this bloke veered towards me and took me out. This time I hit the tarmac. Hard. I banged my forehead on the road which caused 2 cuts – one on my hairline and one on my right eye brow – and a nasty lump on my forehead. It hurt quite a lot. Thankfully this was close to a St John’s tent and they saw what happened. They set about cleaning up my face – the 2 cuts were bleeding quite a bit – and they checked out the bruises around my right eye. “You’re going to have some black eye tomorrow” they said. (Ain’t that the truth!!) They asked if I felt dizzy or sick; did I have double vision or a headache and did I want to drop out? Other than blood trickling down my face from a rather ineffective plaster I felt ok and with 3 miles to go, of course I’m going to finish!! So armed with gauze pads to mop up the blood I set off again but very gently at first. The main First Aider told me that if you raise your heart rate any cut would bleed more quickly. Seemed to be true!
A few minutes later I reached the Striders supporters and Phil said “Bloody Hell has someone beaten you up?” He then took a photo!
The last 3 miles were slow and uncomfortable. Lots of kind people asked me if I was ok when they saw the state of my face. Eventually I reached the Front at South Shields and the last mile. My finishing time was dreadful – my worst ever, but I didn’t care. I’d got round.
At the finish I was collared by yet another first aider – British Red cross this time. He insisted that I go to their ‘field hospital’ and once again cleaned me up. The plaster was removed and he was sure that the cuts would stop bleeding soon. They didn’t! Thankfully I was given more gauze pads to mop my face and eventually I got to the Look Out pub and a well-earned drink with everyone. The landlady gave me a catering blue plaster for the worse of the 2 cuts and eventually, the bleeding did seem to lEssen.
Has it put me off? Not at all – I wished I’d had a few more weeks of training under my belt because I think I’d have coped better with the heat and the distance. But I’ll certainly enter again and in spite of everything I actually did enjoy the day.
Woke up today with a few bruises and a massive black eye, but at least it’s in club colours!
… Peter Matthews
Here’s my story as a first timer!
After many, many years of claiming ‘anyone can do a half marathon, it’s only 2 hours!’, I finally managed to actually sign up! I thought that I had better get some training (and expert advice!), so I joined Striders soon after I had my GNR place confirmed. That was quite possibly the best move: the track sessions have been great, and helped loads in getting my pace to be just that bit quicker!
Anyhow, to the race: I was way at the back of Pen G. Everyone had warned me that the start would be slow. That was not the case: it was a fast and clear start. I might have gone just a little too hard here, but I just couldn’t resist the urge to blast my way down to the bridge! It was only at about mile 8/9 that the congestion started to build up, and then my legs didn’t quite have the fight left in them to push past the crowds quite so swiftly! I managed to lift the pace for the last mile, but coming past the coast there was nothing left in the tank!
I clocked in at 2:01:46, a shade over my 2 hour target. But then my GPS said that I had run 13.4 miles: Mo’s got it easy, that 0.3 mile would definitely have taken me more than 2 minutes!
The hardest part was getting up the hill to the Look Out pub for a well earned beer!
At first I thought this a ridiculous concept – run 5 x 1K laps around a pub, drink a half of beer after each lap plus a disgusting “snack” or canapé – I’m a Celebrity style – and then down a pint after the final lap. Apparently, such events occur all over the country – mainly as a fun way of raising funds for charity. And this is exactly what the Beer Belly Run was all about.
The Grey Horse pub in Consett has been supporting the fundraising for Parkinson’s UK, organised by Ian Pratt of Blackhill Bounders since early this year after a local teacher was diagnosed with the condition. This was the latest event and Paul & I decided to enter – and run in fancy dress which was “positively encouraged” on the entry form.
We turned up at the pub yesterday – a St Trinian’s schoolgirl and a pirate – for the 3pm start. There were 3 Elvis impersonators running, a gangster and his moll, Batman and a fat bloke dressed as a baby to mention just a few of the costumes. There were also quite a few Blackhill Bounders who clearly meant business! Some of them had disappeared for a half hour warm up session – and then there was the “pre-race stretching”. A mystery to most of the spectators!
So we set off at a leisurely pace – Paul & I were running together! Hampered by a hockey stick and a boater that kept blowing off, I think I slowed things down a bit but then it wasn’t really about the time. First lap done and the half to down and the “snack” to face – drivers (me) and “schoolgirls” (also me) were excused the half pint – not the snack – but had to do a 10 second penalty. Well, by the time Paul had drunk his half the 10 seconds were well over! And so it continued until we finished and the landlady gave me a well-earned glass of wine. The fasted male was a Blackhill Bounder in 21 minutes, his wife was fastest female and oddly enough the fastest team was also the ‘warming up’ brigade from Blackhill Bounders. There are no ‘results’ or times but it was a great afternoon. £757 was raised for Parkinson’s on the day. The Rag Pickers band played to entertain the troops all afternoon and they were fantastic – they even did a lap playing their instruments.
Ian Pratt tells me that Blackhill Bounders might put out a challenge to Elvet Striders for next year’s team event … so if you’re interested in a really good day out you might consider getting a team together. Five runners to run 1 leg each!