Category Archives: Rachael Bullock

Carnethy ‘5’, Pentland Hills, nr Edinburgh, Sunday, February 15, 2015

AM, 6 miles, 2500 feet total climb over 5 summits

Dave Selby

The sound of the piper drove the lingering mist away from the hillside, exposing the Carnethy Five in its full glory. Across the lowland the initial climb and final descent awaited and called upon the 500-strong clan of fell runners to do their best. The gun released the rabble and the onslaught began. Across the grass, through the bog, around the thistles, through the gate, and then to find your place for the first of the 1000 feet climbs over just under a mile: up, up and more up. Stubborn mist made its greeting at the summit, along with a light but unforgiving breeze, cooling the sweat on the brow. An ever so slight decline permitted the legs to momentarily build momentum, until the next incline. Fast and furious the terrain went from up to down, back to up, and then into a glorious, several hundred foot rapid drop into a short-lived valley bottom the legs free wheeled. Funnelling through another gate, the final slope encounter beckoned: another 1000 foot climb in just under a mile. Steepening gradually with every step, it was now time to dig deep. Volcanic rocks marked the summit that was ephemeral, as was the plateau at the top. Over the top all went, down down down. Eight hundred feet in a few hundred meters. Across the scree, over the heather the thighs burned. Finally the finish line was in sight, all that was left was, once again, through the gate, past the thistles, through the bog and across the grass.

… Rachael Bullock

Having known Susan and Geoff for a while, I’ve realised that they are fairly selective about what races they enter. So seeing as they’ve both done the Carnethy over 20 times, I figured there must be something special about it. It’s also a ballot entry – pretty unusual for a fell race – another sign that it is popular and worth the journey up to Edinburgh. The race definitely didn’t disappoint. There were hills. 5.7 miles of some of the hardest and most unrelenting hills I’ve ever faced during a fell run. Hands on knees jobbies for much of the way. The penultimate hill was a killer, a long drag on rather tired legs by that point. Sadly, I thought (well really I was just hoping optimistically) that it was the last hill and I gave my all. It wasn’t till I reached the top and saw another monster climb ahead that I realised it was not the last hill. Heart-wrenching stuff. The final hill was a struggle, but pure determination, knowing I had put so much effort in already and that it would be a shame to waste it, kept me going. It was such a relief to get to the top….but only to be greeted by one of the nastiest descents I’ve ever encountered. Very steep and covered in slippery heather. As usual, the more hardy and experienced/senseless, fearless fell-runners skipped past me, as i dithered and tried not to fall. I really didn’t enjoy this bit, but sadly, it was the only way to get to the finish, so it had to be done. Once the skidding and sliding was over, it was a nice flat stretch of boggy, tussocky ground to stretch the legs out towards the finish. Here I tried to capitalize on recent Harrier league training to pass a couple of other ladies before the finish line, where Geoff cheered me in, and I was followed shortly after by Dave and Susan. Then it was back to the local high school for a good feed of pie before heading home! Despite the pain incurred, I would not have to think twice about doing this race again! It was pretty damn awesome and I can’t really think of a better way to spend Valentine’s day?!

(Visited 25 times, 1 visits today)

Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon, Bishop Wilton, Saturday, July 19, 2014

Rachael Bullock

This was my third successive running of this event, but it was the first time I was going into it niggle-free! This, along with all the fell-running I’ve done lately, meant I was feeling pretty confident of tackling this lovely, yet demandingly hilly, course without too much problem. LOL. Complacency = error #1.

This course has something like 900ft of ascent. This year, the course was modified slightly – the route remained almost exactly the same, but the start/finish location had to be moved due to re-location of the Bishop Wilton Show ground. This meant that the most gruelling 3 mile stretch of relentless climbing was now between 10-13 miles, rather than between 3-6 miles. However, I put this to the back of my mind at the start of the race, which coincidentally, was a lovely long downhill stretch, some of it off-road – just my cup of tea. Unfortunately I enjoyed this a bit too much and must have been close to a 5 K PB for the first 5 K of the race…. = error #2. I totally knew I had over-exerted myself and was going to pay for this later on.

A mugs' game ...

But I strided on, refusing to slow down, just in case this was to be my day! As we approached Millington village, I started duelling with a woman in pink. I WOULD NOT let her overtake me, even though I was really busting a gut to keep it that way and knew I couldn’t keep it up for much longer… = error #3. It wasn’t long before she zoomed past me on the downhill coming out of Millington – she must be a fell-runner! By 6 miles in I was pretty damn tired and now we had a huge hill to go up – this hill up to Givendale has been at around 10-11 miles into the race in previous years. I was expecting to find it easier at only 6 miles. But I was wrong, it was still horrible. I tried to make the most of the epic downhill from Givendale. But the downhill sections are quite steep on this course though, so even they take a lot out of the legs. As we hit the flattest section of the course around Meltonby, I knew that I needed to push hard and try and keep a nice rhythm, so that I wouldn’t be under too much pressure when I got to the last 3 uphill miles at the end. I felt like I was doing ok, but now a constant stream of runners was passing me and I was passing no-one. I took an energy gel on-board, hoping for a boost. They normally work pretty well for me, but sadly not today!! Now I was really paying the price for all those errors at the start of the race!

I was now dreading the last 3 miles, and I was right to! I felt totally knackered, but I was determined. I managed to overtake a few people for the first 2 mile stretch of uphill, but by the last mile or so of the race other runners seemed to have acquired a second-wind and quite a few overtook me during that final stretch. It was a nice surprise to see my parents cheering me on ~1/2 a mile before the end. The last mile took me about 12 minutes though…eurgh! I was really aiming for sub-1.50, and this was well within reach for much of the race, but my lethargy at the end pushed me well over to 1.54. However, it seems that many people found it much tougher than previous years with the new course configuration. And my time was 2 minutes quicker than my previous best so I can’t complain. Maybe one day I will learn to pace myself better….but I doubt it.

It is a shame that this race is always the same weekend as the Coastal run. Despite the hills, it is a lovely run, which seems to draw the same people back year-after-year. However, I’m sure there are some crazy Striders out there who would be up for attempting to double-up, running this one on the Saturday and the Coastal run on the Sunday…any takers?! [Try anyone with the surname ‘Robson’. Ed.]

(Visited 74 times, 1 visits today)

Saltwell Harriers Fell Race, Tuesday, July 1, 2014

BS / 6m / 1000'

Rachael Bullock

I was really looking forward to this race for multiple reasons: 1) I love fell running; 2) It’s a GP race so there would be lots of friendly faces there (plus some added motivation!); 3) I had fond memories from last year after finishing 5th lady (although I put this down to the appalling weather which meant a poor turnout!); 4) It was a gloriously sunny evening and 5) I REALLY love fell running.

There was indeed a pretty decent Strider turnout, including the mean machine that is Katy Walton! Seeing as Katy had just run a pretty amazing PB at the Humber Bridge half marathon just 2 days beforehand, whilst I had had a relatively restful weekend, I was vaguely hopeful that I may be in with a rare chance of giving her a run for her money!

I felt reasonably comfortable as we set off up the hill – a long but quite gentle climb, and I managed to overtake quite a few people. Sadly, my legs weren’t feeling particularly rested at all, but despite that I felt like I was going ok and making good progress, so when it started to flatten out I tried to keep going strong. Soon we started a long and gentle descent, although the ground underfoot was pretty rough – gotta keep your wits about your footing at this race. With the lack of rain recently, I was expecting pretty dry underfoot conditions, but it wasn’t long before I was greeted by a rather large boggy puddle. And for some stupid reason (I guess I’m just a huge pansy) I dithered for a good few seconds trying to work out how to negotiate it! It was at this point that I heard Katy’s menacing voice behind me – I can’t remember what she said, but it sure struck the fear of death into me as I now knew she was right behind me and those seconds of dithering could cost me dear. This prompted me to just splash through the bog any which way, as I should have done in the first place, and surprise surprise, it did not kill me.

On I trotted, well aware that Katy was close behind and a little surprised she hadn’t overtaken me yet. But then I thought … I know her game plan … she is just gonna let me pace her comfortably round and then overtake me on the uphill finish at the end (I had failed miserably to keep up with her during the hill session she put on last week). The descent is long and after crossing the road it gradually gets steeper and steeper, and rougher and rougher, and also pretty damp in places. I fell over in some bog at one point and witnessed several others doing the same. All the time I was convinced Katy was just behind me but I never once looked back, because that rarely works for me, it just makes me nervous and I prefer just to focus on what I’m doing. Katy didn’t pass me on the descent but fellow Strider Scott did – we had passed each other a few times already and he was clearly tiring of this child’s play and looked pretty comfortable on the descent.

Soon I reached the stream, where we had to go into the stream to clip our numbers! It’s a VERY steep descent down to the stream, not everyone’s cup of tea (including mine!) but I loved the stream! So refreshing! I wished I could have stayed in there for longer! It was pretty deep – I had soggy knickers when I came out! I wouldn’t advise carrying any valuables in your pockets for this race! It wasn’t until I was clambering out the stream that I realised Katy was nowhere to be seen! Turns out the purple vest I could sense behind me was that of Graeme! I was quite relieved at this point but I didn’t want to relax too much as I figured I must have been doing quite well and it would be a shame to let things slip at this stage.

So I pushed on up the next hill (brisk walk rather than running at this point!) and onto higher ground again where we had to contour around the hillside – I remember hating this bit last year as again the ground is very uneven and you are running on a slant. This year I didn’t find it too bad but I had a steely determination about me by now! In addition, I was still stupidly furious at myself for dithering earlier on at the bog…I couldn’t stop thinking about how ashamed mudman and mudwoman would have been!! So I was feeling the need to punish myself! A short descent followed (in fact quite a horrible one for those of us who don’t like steep, loose ground!) before the final uphill push to the finish. A marshal at the bottom of the hill informed that I was 3rd, or maybe 4th lady … YAY, I thought! But then I realised there was another lady not too far behind me and so if I was going to retain my position I was going to have to run all the way up this hill with a fair amount of conviction! And with some words of encouragement from Graeme, that’s what I did. I gave it my all and finished comfortably ahead of her. Turns out I had been in 4th position – I would have loved a podium finish but at least I was one place up on last year! I was completely knackered at the end, I had found it a very tough run. I would say that most finishers looked suitably knackered after the uphill finish, but some great results from fellow Striders nonetheless.

This is a great race and very friendly and fun atmosphere. There is a good amount of marshalling and taping for a fell race, so although it’s not the easiest of courses (in my opinion anyway) it is still pretty beginner-friendly.

Alister adds:

Rachael neglects to mention that the Striders Ladies (Rachael, Katy & Camilla) were first ladies team 🙂


Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Will Horsley NFR M 43.16
15 Karen Robertson NFR FV45 51.17
19 Thomas Reeves MV45 51.48
36 Michael Bennett MV60 54.38
50 Rachael Bullock F 56.15
54 Graeme Walton MV40 56.41
58 John Metson MV60 57.23
67 Nigel Heppell MV60 59.19
68 Katy Walton F 59.50
69 David Selby MV40 59.57
84 Alister Robson MV40 63.33
88 Camilla Lauren-Maata FV45 63.41
120 Jan Young FV60 72.40
123 Anita Clementson FV40 74.25
128 Denise Benvin FV45 78.42

128 finishers.

(Visited 32 times, 1 visits today)

That’s Lyth, Kendal, Sunday, January 26, 2014

24 miles

Rachael Bullock

Despite frequently proclaiming that I have no intention of doing a marathon anytime soon, I don’t think it was too hard back in the summer for Jules to persuade me it would be a good idea to sign up for something just short of a marathon at 24 miles long. So eager was Jules, in fact, that she was on the start line wearing the number 3!

Susan and Geoff informed us several times that they had always had good weather for this event in the past. But that was of little condolence as we stood outside the scout hut (Kendal first!) in Kendal in the dark at 8 am in the rain … knowing that it had already been raining solidly for a whole week (and I imagine the whole winter!) beforehand and so the ground would be sodden … and also knowing that the higher we got, the wind would add to the rain. But, I do believe we were all smiles, even though I was a little apprehensive about the weather and about being able to carry my legs around such a distance (17 miles is the furthest the poor wee things have endured previously).

The first 6 or 7 miles to the first check-point actually passed quite quickly. I was a little bit worried about the spritely pace that Geoff was setting, but decided it was probably just my legs trying to get going. The malt loaf and flap jack provided a much needed energy boost! But by CP1 I think we were all drenched through, despite being dressed in full Gore-tex! Mind you my newly-purchased waterproof socks were holding out well – my feet, amazingly, were the only part of my body with dry patches on at the end!

After CP1, we ascended onto the highest point of the route, Whitbarrow Scar. The climb was not too bad, although it was evident that I cannot walk as fast as Geoff and Susan! Was a bit exposed up there though, and my water-laden gloves were not keeping my hands warm AT ALL! Was very glad to descend and head towards CP2, where tea and biscuits were consumed and hand resuscitation was successfully performed. By this point, 14 miles had been covered and I was feeling much more optimistic about being able to manage 10 more, especially as the toughest section was over with. From this point on, however, my legs were getting more and more tired with every half-mile!

Vital refueling after the event.

CP3 seemed to come very quickly after the second. This was in someone’s garage and more sweetness was consumed! Now only 6 miles left to go. After boldly announcing on leaving the check-point that I was going to beast out a 10K PB, all I could manage was to get slower and slower! The last 4 miles were pretty damn painful and all my hinges were hurting! But spirits were high, especially as a bit of sun finally started to peep through! I went over the last stile onto the road into Kendal in OAP fashion and tried to give some welly and overtake a few people during the closing stages! As usual though I started my sprint finish waaay too early and ended up pretty much hobbling into the scout hut at the finish! Was very chuffed to have completed it and still be running at the end! A lovely, friendly event and the scenery must be great when you can actually see it! Despite the weather, I think we all had a good day! Would definitely consider doing it again!

(Visited 32 times, 1 visits today)

Coniston 14, Saturday, October 12, 2013

14 miles

Rachael Bullock and Pam Kirkup

Well I had always been a bit unsure about running this race – it sounded like a bit of a toughy and I’m not really one for training long distances. So I was secretly relieved when it was cancelled back in March! But then they had to go and re-schedule it didn’t they!! However, lured by the scenery and the chance for a fun-filled weekend with Miss Bray and Miss Percival and their friend Sarah-Jane, I found myself lining up with nearly 1000 other runners on a beautifully sunny morning in Coniston. Having stuck to my fairly minimalist training regime, which seemed to have worked out ok for previous events, I had no idea of what to expect from my legs on this fine day. The first 3 miles seemed to pass very slowly. I swear I had already run up and down about 25 hills (this is probably the most undulating race I’ve done – the hills are not big but they are plenty) and my legs felt quite lethargic. I started to worry that this race was going to turn into a fairly traumatic affair. But, buoyed by the fact that Miss Percival had not yet breezed past me, I plodded on. And the miles passed….and then cometh the 10 k mark, much to my joy, I realised I was actually doing rather better than I felt I was doing. Sub-2 hours was within my sights and so I decided now was the time up my spirits and push on. To cut a long story short, I finished in 1.58 and was absolutely chuffed – this was much better than I had anticipated and only 2 mins slower than my half marathon PB!

A sunny day in Coniston ...

Of course, by the time I finished, Mrs Walton had already been chilling out on the finish line for a good 11 minutes! And Richard Hall also looked to have had a great run, finishing in 1.42. Jean Bradley came in just a couple of minutes after me, winning her age category! Juliet, fresh from Kielder last weekend, and Sarah-Jane had decided on a more laid-back approach and crossed the finish line smiling in 2.16. The other Striders taking part were Marc Jones, Alan Smith, Jill and Bill and Pam. I hope they all enjoyed the race, and the weekend, as much as I did J

Disclaimer: Whilst the minimalist training approach does produce agreeable results, it does result in significant post-race soreness.

… and Pam Kirkup:

Katy under a brooding sky.

My recent experiences of The Coniston 14 have been somewhat chequered to say the least. I entered in 2011, after a few years gap, when the race had morphed into the Coniston 17 because of flooding. It was a very hot day in early April and I suffered! I had to be nursed around (dragged screaming??) by Dougie who just wanted a slow jog before London. Then in March 2012, I’d actually trained properly but was smitten with ‘flu, so couldn’t take part. This year the race had to be cancelled because of the horrendous blizzards – first time in living memory I gather – which brings us to this Saturday and the rescheduled race.

Unfortunately, we had already planned a weekend in Northumberland. Never mind, I thought, it’s just not to be. No way! Paul decided we would drive down – “We always do a long run on a Saturday, it’s just a bit further to drive!” So we set off from Wooler at 7.00a.m for the 3+hour journey to Coniston. Madness or what?! In the days before the race, I’d become increasingly stressed about getting cramp, following my GNR debacle. So by the time I reached the start line I was convinced I’d seize up at the first corner! But it was a bright sunny morning, there was a definite buzz in the crowd of runners waiting for the off and we were in for some beautiful scenery. So cramp was forgotten – after all, it was just another weekend long run!

The course is quite undulating and challenging in parts. The first 3 miles to Torver is persistently uphill with some steep bends before the first water station. As starts go it is tough – a few had already dropped out at Torver, one woman in tears! I felt ok – especially when Barrie Evans helpfully informed me that I wasn’t last! He was spectating this time. The next 3 miles includes some long downhill sections, gradually leading the route back to the lakeside, where a narrow lane (flood-damaged in 2011) takes you to the other side of the lake. This section is really lovely, especially on such a sunny day.

Jill n Bill.

From here the route remains reasonably flat through the trees before a deceptively steep climb up to Brantwood, John Ruskin’s house and some fantastic views of the lake, the mountains and the village. The final water station was here, preparing us for more climbing up to Thurston. This is where you know whether or not you’ve done enough training! I clearly hadn’t although the dreaded cramp did not strike!

At Lanehead the course starts to drop down to the Head of the Lake and that long flat run in to the village. I was very tired but still running – well, jogging – after a fashion. I knew my time was going to be slow but it didn’t matter. I enjoyed the race and I knew I’d feel ok after a pint of lager! The spectators were fantastic through the village, shouting and cheering for everyone, which kind of raised your game. I saw a few other Striders at the finish and then we headed off to the pub before the long drive back to Wooler.

The Coniston 14 was voted Britain’s most scenic race a few years ago by readers of Runner’s World and so it now attracts competitors from far and wide. Entries will be open soon for next years’ event so, if you’re up for a challenging road race in a beautiful part of the world, why not enter?


Pos Name Club Cat CatPos Time
1 Mark Hartley Staffordshire Moorlands M 1 1:20:33
20 Eleanor Fowler Nuneaton Harriers F 1 1:30:10
112 Richard Hall MV50 11 1:42:02
114 Marc Jones M 47 1:42:14
167 Katy Walton F 9 1:47:03
379 Rachael Bullock F 19 1:58:15
456 Jean Bradley FV55 1 2:01:24
554 Alan Smith MV65 7 2:06:47
717 Jules Percival FV40 45 2:15:55
802 Christine Farnsworth FV60 8 2:21:12
859 Jill Ford FV35 36 2:26:13
860 Brian Ford MV45 124 2:26:13
937 Pamela Kirkup FV60 10 2:42:50

980 finishers

(Visited 21 times, 1 visits today)

Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon, Bishop Wilton, Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rachel Bullock

Returned to Bishop Wilton for another dose of this beautiful but fairly gruelling half marathon. It is basically a race for those who are a glutton for punishment … so that makes it perfect for any member of the Striders. You can check out my report from last year for a slightly more comprehensive description of the route – comprises narrow country roads with a little bit of off road (track and grassy footpath) and a couple of really epic never-ending hills, plus one very steep one, which sap everything you have (over 1000 ft of ascent according to my Garmin). But I just love every minute of it.

I can only think of sexist or ageist captions for this one ... you make your own up, and send me any good ones. Ed.

There is a very nice atmosphere with it being a part of the Bishop Wilton show and plenty of support around the course, including 5 water stations this year due to the warm weather. My plan for this year was just to take it easy; I was really worried as I have been injured and was aware that I was going to hurt a lot if I actually managed to complete the course, plus, once again, I had not done any distance training.

Consequently I was really chuffed to finish in under 2 hours, 8 minutes faster than last year, and in fact with a 30 second half marathon PB. So, my game plan for future races is just not to train and just go out there and enjoy myself! Will definitely return to this one next year so I can add to my ever-growing collection of Wolds Half/Snake Lane mugs! LOVE IT!

(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)

Durham Dales Challenge, Wolsingham and Middleton-in-Teesdale, Saturday, June 22, 2013

30 and 16 mile options

Shaun Roberts and Rachel Bullock

Shaun Roberts on the 30-miler …

I’d had my eyes on this for one for ages … it starts and finishes here in Wolsingham, and the closer bits of the route are ones I train over, so there’s really been no excuse not to have a go … except for that ’30-mile’ bit. I’ve never gone that far before, so despite my telling myself (and quite possibly some others) that there’d be loads of walking on the uphills, I was a bit apprehensive going into this. Loads of friendly Strider faces at the start though, some on the 16-mile option, some walking, some running. Talked to Dave Robson who’d very helpfully indeed passed on his Garmin route from a previous outing to a few of us.

So … the ‘mass start’ was a very low-key affair, with lots of walkers obviously not about to go eyeballs-out over the start line. Nonetheless, I thought I’d start pretty firmly, and ended up running up Wear Bank in a group of five. One idiot had a radio in the top of his rucksack pumping out inanities from a commercial station – how’s that for a great way to ruin a day out on the hills? I’d told Dave R I was intending to run up this steep first hill, which he was surprised at – I said it’d get me warmed up (it did!), and that it’d be the last steep slope I’d be running up (it was).

Onto the moors, and the other four went off ahead. Err, surely too far ahead I thought … shouldn’t we be turning left here pretty soon? Well, yes, so I turned left alone at the first checkpoint: the others had all been on the 16-miler! So for what was genuinely the first time ever, I found myself leading a field. Small matter of having to do all my own navigation (doh!), but Dave’s course on my GPS was reassuringly telling me that I was on track, so onward and upward. Approaching a stream crossing a group of other runners did catch up, which was probably a good thing, and we headed into Hamsterley Forest more or less together, and I lost track of where I was in the field. The rain, by the way, was coming and going, and my jacket kept coming off and going back on again … this kept happening all day.

Navigate for 30 miles?? What could go wrong ...

Now, I won’t trouble you with the remaining details of each piece of bog we crossed, each stony track we walked up, each stretch of heather we picked through. Suffice it to say that there are a lot of these and more in the 30 miles between Wolsingham and Middleton-in-Teesdale, and with the weather not being great, the views weren’t as good as I know they can be – ok for running, though, tbh. Great to get to each checkpoint for a drink and as often as not a choice of cakes. But it was really nice to eventually make it to the checkpoint on the B-road over the moors, after which I was on very familiar territory, and could imagine the end. My quads were absolutely screaming at me by now, really aching for some reason … though the heart/lungs were going ok. What was really nice along here was being in a group of four, sharing the navigation, having a bit of a natter, and generally keeping each other going. Heading down into Weardale, a lad from Darlo and I pulled away a bit – I’d been helping him out with the route-finding, as he’d turned his first set of instructions to paper-mache, not having them protected, and was close to doing the same to a second set!

Thought I was going to have to walk/run the last bits, but kept plodding on as my last group-mate went off ahead. Delighted to make it back into the school in 5 hours 42 minutes, where they told me I was third! The Darlo lad had come in second, and only Nick Spencer of NFR had gotten away at the front earlier on. Giddy heights, eh? Dave and Mel got round in 7h11m, over an hour faster then the last time he did this. Dougie finished in 7h34m, which he was well-pleased with having contemplating dropping out with blister problems, and Angela & Sue took somewhere round 9hr 23min – so everyone got round ok in the end.

My overall impression of this one is that it was bloody long! Good to have done it … but I’m looking forward to something a tad shorter, such as the imminent Saltwell Fell Race.

… and Rachel Bullock on the 16-miler:

This was the first time I’ve done an event like this. Jules, Dave and I set off as ‘Team Cripple’, all of us having various ailments, but we had signed up for this ages ago, and I had been really looking forward to it, so there was no way we were backing out. The course was ideal for a first-timer, very few hills, fairly gentle terrain and easy to navigate. The checkpoints were the highlight for me; well-stocked with goodies – loved the ginger cake!! They made the route pass much quicker.

For what we are about to receive ...

We saw plenty of Striders around the course – Jan, Laura and Anita, all of whom had great runs – Laura in particular looked very comfortable and much more competent at following the instructions on the route sheet than we were. Seeing as Jules and Dave had already recce’d the route, we completely neglected the instructions sheet, which resulted in us missing three of the checkpoints!! But I promise that we did cover the full route!! I just blame missing the checkpoints on the fact that I had removed my glasses due to the fairly persistent rain between miles approx 5-10, or maybe due to Dave’s affinity to taking shortcuts. Lessons learnt for next time! But anyhow, we cannily managed to bag the checkpoints with the good food 😉

The only other issue on course was the bull, but after Jan had wrestled it to the ground, we pushed on towards the finish. The pie and peas (and more cake) provided afterwards were the perfect end to an overall really well-organised and friendly event. I’m sure it would also be very beautiful in sunny weather! I was also really pleased to have covered a greater distance than I have ever run before on zero training – for this I thank Dave and Jules for the great company! (And the checkpoints for the great food!). Although as I write this I can safely say that I am paying big-time for the zero training. Ouch.

(Visited 26 times, 1 visits today)

Beverley 10k, Sunday, May 12, 2013

Rachael Bullock

I always look forward to running in my ‘home’ county of East Yorkshire, and this was a race I had never done before, but I knew it was a very popular one, so I signed up nice and early. It would also be my first 10 K (my favourite distance) of the year and I had been in better form than ever lately, so I was super excited about the race and felt confident of getting a good time! Vdot, based on my recent Parkrun time, told me 46-47 mins. I had never even broken 50 before, but, spurred on by my recent form, I proceeded to tattoo my arm with the appropriate mile splits to achieve 47 minutes.

As we lined up for the start next to Beverley minster, I was getting quite nervous and thinking about how stupid I was to aim for 47 mins and how demoralising it was going to be to look down at my arm and realise I was hopelessly behind schedule!! And then I realised I forgot to drink before lining up…and it was really quite warm…ahh!

Oh well…off we went, felt like I was running quite slow but was glad when I realised I was ahead of schedule for the first mile (of course, I always go off too fast). But then as we left the town centre and onto the Westwood (a nice green place with a race course, a golf course and lots of cows), we started to go up a small hill and I was struggling already and also has a horrible stomach ache! This hill gradually got longer and steeper, but I fought on up it, even though I was already feeling knackered. Luckily the course is very pleasant (Beverley is a very nice market town surrounded by rolling countyside), so maybe that helped to ease some of the pain. By the second mile, I was behind schedule by about 30 secs, but I tried not to let it worry me, and I had expected it anyway! Changed my target to anything under 50 mins…!

Next 2 miles were a bit more enjoyable. But by around mile 4 I started to feel pretty horrible – had a cold, prickly feeling on my skin; maybe I was dehydrated. Think I took the 5th mile pretty slow. But then at 5 miles, an old compadre from Pock runners, Adele (who I was normally about 10 mins behind when I used to run for them!), came from behind with some words of encouragement…and this was just what I needed, it helped me SO MUCH and I was so grateful! Spent the last mile-and-a-bit duelling with her. It was great, I have never really battled like that with anyone before in a race (I normally just give in, claiming that ‘I like to run my own race’!)! The last mile also goes back down the hill across the Westwood and the wind was behind us, which helped a lot.

As we re-entered the town I knew the finish must be close and tried to give everything I had. As usual, I gave this a bit too early and when what I thought was the finish was actually the 6-mile marker, I thought I was going to have to walk last 0.2 miles! But somehow I kept going, though by now I couldn’t quite catch Adele. And did I manage the sub-50?! Yes! 48.08 – better than I thought I was going to achieve during my mid-race struggles! Geees was it hard though! I really don’t want to go back over 50 mins again now…but if it’s going to be that hard everytime…well…I ain’t looking forward to 10 K’s so much as I used to!! Overall a very nice race though…and I will remember it very well as my first sub-50 🙂

(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)

Broughton Woods Wobble, Sunday, February 3, 2013

AS / 8.5k / 430'

Rachel Bullock

photo courtesy and © David Aspin

It was a fairly mild morning in Durham when we set off – 4 of us: Jan, Barbara, Laura and myself (enough women for a team! Bit of a rarity apparently for fell races!). When we arrived at Clay bank and there was a decent covering of snow (and ice) on the ground, I realised how little I had thought this through – of course the high ground in the North York Moors was going to be colder than Durham city centre – and I felt a little under-dressed. But not to worry, I soon warmed up nicely once we started running and maybe it was even an incentive to run faster.

There were knee-deep snow drifts in some places, but snow was not covering the ground everywhere; where there wasn’t snow there was plenty of mud! There were also some track and paved sections, so there were some nice breaks in the tough terrain and decent chances to stretch your legs out. And whilst the ascents are always hard work, they were nicely spaced out and not super-steep so they were perfectly manageable. It did, however, feel like the longest 7.5 km (or was it 8.5 km? anyone’s guess …) I’ve ever run. But very enjoyable indeed and nice views.

photo courtesy and © David Aspin

It turned out to be a fairly eventful race … Barbara got lost (standard), but managed to find the rest of the runners and finished well (even if she managed to miss out part of the route … cunning!) Laura, in her debut race for the club, also got a little bit lost, but managed to cling onto other lost runners through swamp and all to return safely. Dave’s shoe fell apart so he did excellently considering!

And the highlight? I beat Shaun – which I think we can safely say was due to his drinking and dancing antics at the Christmas party the night before, but still, I’ll claim it as a victory – thanks Shaun, it made my day!

[ No problem, Rachel … any time! Any time the morning after I’ve had a skinful, anyway … Ed.]


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Ewan Brown York Knavesmire M 42:14
3 Will Horsley NFR M 3 43:11
26 Kay Neesam New Marske Harriers FV45 1 50:18
41 Mike Bennett MV55 2 53:53
86 Mark Dunseith M 29 63:12
87 Rachael Bullock F 5 63:35
90 Shaun Roberts MV55 9 63:48
98 Jan Young FV60 1 65:40
107 David Shipman MV55 13 68:35
118 Laura Garnham F 7 84:12
123 Barbara Dick FV40 6 91:38

127 finishers.

(Visited 26 times, 1 visits today)

Simonside Fell Race, Thropton Show, Saturday, September 15, 2012

BM / 6.4M / 1200'

Rachael Bullock

Grand Prix Race. King/Queen of the Mountain Race.

  • Absolutely lovely race and so much fun. Even though the first half is pretty hard work up the hill, I was still loving it! Think the weather helped too – it was lovely and sunny.
  • Good Strider attendance – Phil, Alister, Dave Shipman, Dave Selby (although who would know that he is a Strider, because apparently he does not like to wear his ‘wife beater’!), Geoff, Susan, Jan, Shaun. Plus a good support crew!
  • After some horror stories from last year, I was a bit nervous about the river crossing, but it turned out to be the best bit! Especially the second time around, it was very refreshing!
  • The trickiest bit was ‘scrambling’ down the crags after coming off the top. I was sooo slow! And there was not even any point to go slow because I still fell on my bottom and got two huge brown patches on my beautiful orange shorts! (Thank God for Vanish!!)
  • Views from the top were really fantastic (I actually remembered to take a look this time).
  • Very nice atmosphere – the race coincides with Thropton show, so there is plenty to keep spectators amused! Attractions range from wrestling to scones.
  • And Susan and Jan both won prizes, yeaaaah!
Striders at Simonside


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Nick Swinburn NFR M 43.24
19 Karen Robertson NFR FV40 55.26
28 Geoff Davis NFR MV50 58.41
44 Shaun Roberts MV50 63.51
57 Alister Robson MV40 69.07
59 David Selby MV40 69.49
63 Susan Davis NFR FV50 1 70.29
67 Phil Owen MV40 72.41
71 Rachel Bullock F 73.21
75 David Shipman MV50 76.27
76 Jan Young FV60 1 76.31

83 finishers.

(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)