Category Archives: Anita Wright

Time to move on …, Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Anita Wright

Having given this a great deal of thought in recent weeks, I’ve now decided that the time has come for me to resign my position as Website Officer.

As many of you know, at the end of 2017 I was forced to give up running, on the instructions of my spine consultant. This was an incredibly hard decision to take. I’d been a runner for 35 years, but having done some serious damage over that time, I knew that if I was to continue to do more of the ‘big-ticket’ items on my bucket list, preservation was critical.

I’ve found that decision both physically and mentally challenging. I’ve sought out new things to do, but nothing comes close to the enjoyment I got from running. I have found it very hard to come down to MC.  I’ve also found it difficult to sustain friendships when I can’t participate or talk about in the activity that brought me together with the people at the Club.

I’ve tried to stay engaged with the Club and have enjoyed doing the Website Officer role and supporting track, but it’s now time for me to move on. 

I’ll keep things ticking over until the end of April, or earlier if there is someone who is interested in taking over this brilliant role (and plan to renew my membership for the next year), but I will no longer be part of the Committee.

I’m happy to provide a handover and support to my successor at any time and hope that one of you will be interested in the role. It’s a wonderful way to meet people, learn about their challenges and achievements and engage with other clubs.

This is not a ‘political’ decision nor I am trying to make a point or be difficult in any way. Jonathan and the Committee have always had, and will continue to have my full support. 

Wishing you all the best and lots of success.

A special thanks to all the Committee, Officers and coaches for all the incredibly hard work they do, and for the time and enthusiasm they voluntarily put in to making this such a wonderful Club. 

I’ve loved being your Website Officer.

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Simonside Fell Race 2017, Saturday, September 16, 2017

BM / 11km / 350m

Anita Wright

Anita, Anna and Catherine (neatly in alphabetical order!)

This race is of particular significance for me. My parents started the race as a memorial to my brother, Mark, who was killed in a road accident in 1981. It is the reason why I run.

In 1982, as a thank-you to the villagers of Thropton for all their support and for turning-out en-masse for his funeral, my parents thought it would be a fitting memorial to organise a fell race as part of the village show. The show committee agreed to his request provided that my parents took on the entire organisation – all the marshalling, timekeeping, route marking etc. Every friend, acquaintance and relative was co-opted.

My Dad wrote recently that he remembers all of the names of the runners who participated in that first race in 1982. The names kept cropping up again and again over the years. Runners really loved and supported the race over the many years that the family were involved with it – many of those runners were Striders.

A few years after the race started up, I was co-opted into ‘computerising’ the entries and results. Being the only person with access to a ‘portable’ PC in the mid ‘80s (a Toshiba that weighed approximately the same as a small lorry) and knowledge of spread-sheets, I got ‘stuck’ in a caravan adding entries and times for the entire day.

Having done that for several years, I decided that there was nothing in the world that could be worse, or more stressful, than dealing with up to 300 fell runners banging on the caravan door pestering for results. It was time to take up running.

When Thropton Show moved to its present site in 1992, despite an extra mile and a road crossing being added, there was a bonus – the addition of the river crossing (out and back), which immediately became a feature.

In 2008, after 25 years of managing the race, my parents handed over the organisation to Morpeth Harriers and, more recently, the very capable hands of Phil Green from Heaton Harriers.

Fast forward to 2017 – The Return….

I arrived on the show-field early on Saturday and paid my £2 entry fee for the race.

Arrival of the Strider Posse!

The weather was atrocious, I was nervous and was just about to ‘turn tail’ and head for home, when the Strider posse, in the shape of Catherine, Anna, Geoff and Susan ‘rode over the horizon’ to save the day. I’ve never been so happy to see purple in my life.

Phil Green delivered the safety briefing and announced that the river crossing was ‘off- limits’ as the river was 4 to 5 feet deep. The announcement was greeted with much disappointment by all but one runner (me).

As the race started, the clouds parted, the rain cleared and we were blessed with the most tremendous views.

The first mile was steady and relatively flat with me driving Catherine on at an unsustainable Park Run pace (nerves got the better of me). Any time benefit gained from my Usain Bolt start was quickly lost as we started to climb. Accompanying the climb was an increase in the angle of incline, the number of obstacles and the mud.

The pièce de résistance of the 3 miles of steep uphill running, came in the form of a scramble up the crags to the summit. The path is much improved from the days when our family initiated the race, but nonetheless is topped off with a final pull up with both hand and knees.

On reaching the summit, it was wonderful to be greeted by my Dad who’d set off earlier to cheer us on.

The short stretch of path across the summit was particularly breath-taking; to the right are views all the way to the Northumberland coast, to the left, expansive views of the Cheviots (and the show-field 3 ½ miles away).

The scramble back down the crags was a bit hair-raising, followed by a short stretch of track and then on to the forest break (mostly mud and dense heather). More downhill and crags followed before hitting a stretch of forest road.

At this point the marking-up of the course left a bit to be desired and it became clear that many runners had inadvertently struck out their own routes back – fundamentally, however, so long as you keep going down, you can’t go wrong.

Deep Purple

It did, nevertheless, work to the advantage of Catherine and me as we made up a couple of places.

There was a brief ‘discussion’ with 2 hikers on the way down, who accused us of cheating, as we’d not followed the crowd of runners who’d gone in the wrong direction. They were clearly oblivious to just how perilously close they were to being punched in the mouth and being told where to ‘stick’ their advice. Out of all the runners on the route on Saturday, I’m pretty sure that given we’d initiated the race 31 years ago, I know the route!!

I’m very biased, of course, but this is a fabulous race (especially on a clear day), with a huge amount of variation and stunning views. I highly recommend it for next year.

Kurt Heron
(Ashington Hurst)
Karen Robertson
Geoff Davis
Susan Davis
Anita WrightFV566891.38
Catherine SmithFV406991.39
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Walt Disney World Marathon, Disney World, Florida, USA, Sunday, January 10, 2016

Anita Wright

Proving that it’s never too late for a race report.

Below is my account of the Walt Disney World Marathon, which I ran with my daughter, Lucy, in 2016. I’ve transcribed it word for word from my diary and have included some of my illustrations I’d drawn in it, at the time.

It was masses of fun, flat, you get to run through all the parks and their back-lots and then get to spend a week in Disneyland afterwards. What’s not to love and enjoy?

A GREAT BIG tick on the bucket list – can’t recommend it highly enough.



Thursday 7th – Travelling to London
Well…we’re off. 20 weeks of training and over 600 miles of running around Durham.
This is me. Currently worried about:
– getting a cold
– missing the flight
– flight being delayed
– flying
– not making the expo in time to get our bib
– being ill
– not waking up in time on Sunday
– needing the toilet during the race
– runners belly
– not finishing
– Lucy’s leg injury
– How I’ll meet Lucy at the end.

Met Lucy at Gatwick. Checked into the Sofitel and then did a practice run to the check-in desk for tomorrow.


Friday 8th – Travelling to Orlando
Stupid Sofitel!
Last night they told us that the phones and lift would be off from 09:00. What they actually omitted to tell us was that there was no flaming electricity in the whole hotel.
I got in the shower to wash my hair just as everything went black. I was left with wet hair and no way to dry or straighten it. This is how I arrived at check-in.

Cashed in all my Virgin miles and went Upper Class. What a treat.



Saturday 9th – Expo Day
Up stupid early to get our race bib – the next thing on my list of things I’m obsessing about.
Got to the bus stop so early that the buses to ESPN, where the expo is, hadn’t started. Despite my reservations, there were no problems at the Expo.
Looked around the Expo. Purchased additional T-shirts. One can never have too many commemorative t-shirts.


Lucy lied, she said my official T-shirt was a perfect fit!
Went to Epcot to carb-load at Italy.
Bed by 7:00. Earplugs jammed in.


Sunday 10th – RACE DAY
Woke up at 01:30 am (no surprise). The travel kettle I bought with us for our porridge is rubbish. The change of electricity means it takes 20 mins to boil. Good job I put it on a practice boil last night. Filled it up, switched it on and reset the alarm for 02:00 am.

Out of the room by 03:10. Tied up our hair in red and white polka-dot Minnie mouse ribbon.
Bus went directly from our resort to Epcot parking lot, where the race is due to start at 05:30. The timezone difference put us at a massive advantage but I think the people on the bus didn’t like us very much – they were sleeping and we never stopped yapping the entire journey – nerves and excitement.

Walked to the start through the parking lot and security.

So many people, so early in the morning. Had our photo taken and mulled around a while.

Real carnival atmosphere.
Lots of trips to the toilet. It’s SO incredibly humid. Sweating profusely. It was about a 10 to 15 min walk to the starting pens from the drop-off. Headed across at 04:00 am.

Yesterday at the Expo we signed up for ‘Live tracking’. The plan is that Michael lets everyone else know our progress through the race.

Lucy and I had a big kiss goodbye at 05:00 am before we split-up to go to our respective corrals. Both got very nervous. I cried when the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ was played.

The crowds were not as chirpy as at UK races. Not very cheery but I suppose the 02:00 am wake-up accounts for that.

We were set off by corral at 2:30 min intervals.
I wasn’t expecting that but EVERY corral got a firework display as they set off and a big send-off from Mickey, Dopey, Goofey and Donald.

Each mile of the race was marked by a massive illuminated billboard of a Disney character with the corresponding musical number. Got very emotional at the Beauty and the Beast one. They were playing ‘Be Our Guest’.

Masses of characters all along the race route. Lots of runners were stopping for photos but I ploughed on. The temperature when we set off was 18 degrees but the humidity was totally unbearable.

The 1st mile went by very quickly. I was so worried about setting off too quickly that I ended up doing the first 5 miles stupidly slowly but to be honest, the humidity was so bad at that point, I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish. I was streaming sweat and my heart rate was up at 185bpm.

It started to settle down by the time I approached the Magic Kingdom. As we approached the tunnel to the MK there was a man with massive hands on top the bridge, shouting words of encouragement.

As we approached the MK, the route followed alongside the monorail. As a train passed, it tooted its horn. Runners were literally jumping out of their skin with surprise.

Ran through the MK car park entrance booths, across the MK car park and into the MAGIC KINGDOM and then down Main St. It was utterly amazing. The crowds were huge.

It was still dark and very early but hundreds of people were crammed in, cheering and waving their posters of support.
This was my first view of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle since we arrived. It was all still lit up with its sparkly Christmas lights.

Despite having resolved that I wasn’t going to stop, I ended up taking a selfie.

The route passed through Tomorrowland, then by the Seven Dwarfs’ Mine train and back through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle where all the characters from Frozen were waving from the balcony. They even had snow falling from the balcony onto the runners. Wonderful. Headed past Big Thunder Mountain before leaving the park via the back lot. Lots of runners were stopping for pics. Saw the new mechanical dragon, which is part of the parade, all parked up in the back lot.

We then had a boring 6 miles of road, in the dark as we headed to the Animal Kingdom. Lots of characters along the way though; Corpse Bride, Mary Poppins, Mickey, Donald, Goofy and many more.

The sun started to come up and it was light by the time we reached the Animal Kingdom. As we approached they had petting animals by the road. I was disappointed that they didn’t have their proper animals out. They must have been asleep. Patted a Shetland pony, a donkey, a pig, a giant tortoise and a goat.

Ran past the Everest ride which was very funny. It was strange thinking that it was only a year ago since we were trekking the trail to the real Everest. I probably would never have trained for this had we not been there. Ran past the AK’s new Dinoland. Went by quite quickly.

Very disappointed to get overtaken by the 4:30 pacer – I should be doing better than this. Coming out of AK we reached the halfway point. People were perking up considerably at the sight of the sign – no idea why. We’ve still got the same to run again.

Another 5 miles of roads which went by quite quickly. The cambers on the turns in the intersections were mental. Almost running at a 45 deg angle. Very tough on the ankles, knees and legs

(Forgot to mention that en-route there had been numerous uniformed, marching high school bands and cheerleaders. That also made me emotional. Between sweating and crying, I was like a prune)

(NOTE: The banana advice I got from a fellow runner last night was spot on. At 11 miles, my stomach started to cramp and I thought I was going to be in trouble. Just as it happened a banana stop came into view. It was very difficult to eat and run. I looked like a chipmunk with it stored in my cheeks. It killed the cramps almost immediately. It’s obviously potassium that’s doing the trick. Had another one at 17 miles)

At 16.5 miles did a sharp left into ESPN. At this point, there were runners who were ahead of us on the other side of the highway. They were at 21 miles. That was a bit tough to handle.

Entered the gates of ESPN at 17 miles; left 3 miles later having run around EVERY conceivable sports groud known to man. Who knew the Americans played that many sports. Each time you left a sports ground, thinking it was your last, then you entered another one. What a nightmare.

Finally got to the baseball stadium, which I knew was the last one. Mickey Mouse was there and lots more cheering supporters.

At 21 miles we arrived at the only hill on the course (A bank to an intersection- hahaha). The much anticipated Toy Story Green Soldiers did not disappoint. They were barking orders to run faster, dig-in, etc at all the runners. I gritted my teeth and speeded up.

Another 2 miles to Hollywood Studios. At this point, I was doing lots of motivational talking in my head. 22.5 miles was the longest I’d ever run in my training. I had to keep saying to myself that it was only a  parkun.

Into Hollywood Studios past the Tower of Terror. Runners were stopping for rides – not me. You could hear people screaming as you ran on through the park.

Onward through Washington Sq gardens and the set of the New York streets with the false perspective. Ran through the Big Movie ride in the dark. Exited via Hollywood Bvd. We then ran around the lake and the Boardwalk.

Entered Epcot just in front of the UK part of the Round the World and then ran around all the countries of the world at Epcot Showcase. I was really biting back the emotional blubbering.
More head ‘talking-to’.

It was amazing when Spaceship Earth came into view. My last mile was bizarrely my quickest.


Finished 4 hrs 45 – blubbed my eyes out.


Rang Michael straight away. He told me that Lucy was doing really well so I decided to wait for her rather than go to the hotel as planned.

Got more photo’s together and Lucy posted on Facebook. More donations for our Just Giving page for the Alzheimer’s Society (we made over £3500 at the final count). Back to the hotel.

Both had ice baths which were a life saver. The only problem was that as soon as I got in the bath I discovered that I’d got blisters on my bum; Lucy was similarly scarred.

Once clean and tidy and Savlon-ed up, we headed back to Epcot in our T-shirts and medals to get more photos. It was brilliant. Everyone was congratulating us. Rode the all rides at Epcot. Mexico for dinner.

Back to the hotel and bed at 9:30


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