Category Archives: David Shipman

August Annual Club Run and BBQ, Waldridge Fell, Wednesday, August 7, 2013

David Shipman

As part of the continuing fantastic summer weather, the club run took place in beautiful sunshine, which lasted until the end of the night, so things couldn’t have been better for the crowd of sweaty runners, charred meat, smoked veg and fruit eaters, friends, family and dogs who stood chatting around the BBQs until after 10 p.m. The run followed a meandering route for an hour, taking in a mixture of clear paths, head-high ferns, viscious nettles and brambles, a few hard hills, several bridges and two cooldowns paddling across streams. Because of the heavy rain on Monday several sections were overgrown, very green and lush.

Mandy waits for her enormous corn cob.

As ever, folk new to the fell were amazed it is there and said they never knew about it, some veterans of several such runs still said they didn’t have a clue where we were or where we went to. Susan and Geoff said it should be listed for extra Harrier League training sessions.

A fine array of burnt offerings ...

After the run a sumptuous supper of great variety was produced. Alister won the prize for eating the most burgers, Danny definitely ate the most food, Jules had the fattest sausage, Mike the stumpiest carrot and Mandy the biggest corn cob. Most impressive veggie delight had to be Carolin’s kebabs. As ever, Angela drank the most tea.

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Pinchinthorpe Plod, Guisborough Forest, Sunday, April 7, 2013

BS / 6.2M / 900'

Dave Shipman

Perfect weather, cool, blue skies and no wind, so expectations were high as Mike Bennett and I headed down the A19 for the next race in the Esk Valley Winter fell series. Surely even on the tops of the Cleveland Hills there would be no more snow and ice to contend with?

In reality it turned out to be one of the most pleasant fell-running experiences I have had so I would strongly recommend this race to others. Registration at the Pinchinthorpe Railway Station, in the carriage opposite the cafe, parking in a farm field nearby so no hassles, competitors seemed very cheery and enjoying the sunnier weather, many wearing just vest and shorts, with a relaxed attitude to kit requirements, though Mike and I both stuck to the trusted “bum bag and extra gear just in case” approach.

The run started on the old railway line, now a popular mountain-biking route, before cutting steeply up through the woods on the first of only two significant hills. A long,dry trail along the ridge/tree line followed, great views across and before a steep dip and ascent no.2, then a stretch across the moor edge, rather bleak where forestry has recently been ripped out, and clearly very muddy in recent times, but fortunately not so today!! A sharp left and a descent to the Hanging Stones came next. Pre-race instructions had included time penalties for taking short-cuts and the fact that we had to touch one of the said stones, all sounded very significant, possibly complicated and taxing, but in reality you couldn’t miss them and giving one a pat in passing was straight-forward. It was then a steep descent through woods, including some very greasy bits, some wiggly ‘where does the route go’ next bits (some folk did get lost too: I came across a couple from NYM club who had gone completely the wrong way) then a lovely, gradual downhill through woods past the Blue Lake, and finally a couple of miles on farm tracks and old railway lines to get us back to Pinchinthorpe.

It was about 10k with 900 feet of climb, very runnable overall. Mike had a storming run, I plodded round at the rear. Great stuff and only £6 a head. Bring on the summer series – keep an eye out for car sharing to mid-week races if you fancy it.

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Commondale Clart, North York Moors, Sunday, February 17, 2013

BS / 5.2m / 722'

David Shipman

Beautiful, sunny skies and temperatures above freezing with only a breeze made for near-perfect running conditions on Sunday, apart from the fact that underfoot all was entirely clarty, as the race title suggested!!

Numbers depleted by the late drop outs, Mike B and Nigel H, a small band of Striders assembled outside the pub in Commondale village, rallied by Jan Y, led home by Will H, with Mike, David, Laura and Barbara also enjoying a largely runnable route across the moors, with fantastic panoramas if you took a moment to pause for the views and get the breath back … which was essential after the uphill start.

Despite the abundant clart the path was pretty easy to follow for us mere mortals, though at the sharp end the leading pack of 8 runners, including Will, missed a turn and headed for the next valley, finishing much further down the field than pace and form indicated, so for Will it was a disappointing start to the NE fells championships!!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Joe Blackett Dark Peak FR MV45 40.00
14 Kay Neesam New Marske Harriers FV45 1 41.43
55 Will Horsley NFR M 21 49.40
71 Michael Hughes MV45 11 52.07
83 David Shipman MV55 8 53.08
103 Jan Young FV60 1 57.11
117 Barbara Dick MV40 7 65.18

128 finishers.

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Windermere to Wear Relay 2012, Saturday, June 23, 2012

David Shipman, Nigel Heppell, David Catterick, Danny Lim

First, David Shipman…

To kick off the Charity relay Mike Bennett and I left Chester-le-Street at 6am heading for Bowness, spurred on by texts from Geoff which said in sequence 1.It’s very, very wet 2. It’s blowing a gale and we may have to review the bike ride leg 3. Great North Swim is cancelled. Only the third one, whilst a real disappointment for the club members planning on swimming, was positive for us, as it meant there would be less traffic and less commotion around Bowness.

Striders at the finish

…and now Nigel Heppell…

Leg 1: Windermere to Staveley, 5.74M

Atrocious weather for late June meant the postponement of the Great North Swim which was fortunate for us as we had chosen to meet in one of the designated car parks for that event. As it turned out, there was no shortage of parking space and the only sign of activity was a lone street-sweeping machine sending up a bow wave as it sloshed through the surface water.

Just before 9am the rain eased off and Dave S, Mike B and Benjy saw Nigel H and Geoff W dip a toe in the water of Windermere before setting off on leg 1 from the ferry landings at the western end of the Dales Way long distance path.

We had only gone a few hundred meters through town when I was surprised to see Geoff accost some poor girl struggling up the hill under a loaded rucksack and grab a quick embrace – it turns out that they do know each other! On and up we went to find the first bit of off-road track that led through some very scenic undulating countryside. Water featured large at every twist and turn, if we weren’t dodging puddles we were getting soaked from sodden grasses and nettles that had handily sagged over the track under the weight of rainwater in a most refreshing manner. All gullies, gutters, streams and rivers were alive with fast-flowing water.

It soon transpired that we had picked up the wrong map for this leg but decided to continue on memory and relying on this well-defined route to be well marked, which it was; most of the time; but not always. At one farmstead we spent a few minutes wondering which of two tracks to take before deciding on the one with slightly more bent grass. This could have been an illusion but turned out to be the right choice as we picked up the Dales Way signs several fields further on. There seemed to be a lot of cattle in the fields in this area, most of them with calves in tow, and in light of recent events in other parts of the country Geoff and I formulated a plan such that if we were pursued by an irate mother(I’m talking about the cows now, not the earlier incident in town) to sprint ahead together before each making a 90 degree turn in opposite directions at the last moment and in that way giving ouselves a 50/50 chance to avoid being pounded into the fellside mud.

And that is how it continued; up, down, left, right, until passing under the railway bridge at Staveley pretty much on time to meet once again with Dave and Mike who set off on Leg 2.

Leg 3: Grayrigg to Sedbergh, 8.31M

Geoff had obviously had enough of me by the time it came to start leg 3 as he swopped with Mike B who elected to continue straight through from leg 2 – two long legs together; quite appropriate really. This time we made sure we had the right map but I have to confess that neither of us had really studied it beforehand so there were regular halts to check that we were still on the correct route. Even so there were several places where the track seemed to dematerialise and no amount of staring at the map made any difference. Annoyingly, on the map someone had put a lot of red blobs along the relay route and some of the fine detail was obscured. Consequently we would enter a field at a Dales Way stile only to find ourselves trying to find a way through barbed wire fencing a few hundred metres further on. Likewise, near Beckfoot, on the map the Dales Way joined a road for (apparently) 100m before heading off onto a track on the other side of the road; could we find it? err, no, and so a long road leg followed which usefully helped bring us closer to schedule which had slipped a bit by this time. We lost the route later on at Branthwaite too.

Where the road from Beckfoot meets the River Lune there is a stunningly pretty collection of stone buildings and beautifully tended cottage gardens set off by a cascade of waterfalls(splendidly full today) and an old mill. The Dales Way continues along the banks of the Lune for a couple of kilometres before deviating uphill through Thwaite, Bramaskew and Branthwaite; each of these is a farmstead and the Dales Way passes right through the farmyard. Off to one side the bulk of the Howgills hills looked impressive with a dark cloud base skimming the tops. Somewhere shortly after the last of these buildings, although we were following what seemed to be the only well-defined track with public right-of-way signs, it became obvious we were once again going off-piste as the route was set to drop back down to the riverside when in fact we should have been ‘contouring’. Mike and I were tired by now and we decided to compromise by following a long-disused railway line rather than climb back uphill. Not marked as a right of way, the old line was still equipped with stiles where there were fences and made good running on the grassy surface kept short by sheep and rabbits until we came to a completely overgrown bridge that could not be passed.

From here we picked up a lane and soon joined the A684 main road for a steady jog and a bit of traffic-dodging over a couple of kilometres into Sedbergh where we were met by Jan and Benji just as the heavens opened and it began to pour down.

…back to David…

Carrot Cake by Candlelight anyone?

Sixteen hours later we were outside the Tan Hill Pub, trying to work out how 3 men, a dog, 6 sets of wet kit, 3 bags of food and 3 bags of clothes/camping gear/wet running shoes could fit into my campervan, as the gales were still blowing and Mike and Geoff had decided that pitching tents was not an option. Paul Gibson made the same decision earlier – not sure if it was chivalry or cowardice, but, faced by the scene of several flattened tents held down by stones, he volunteered to drive Mandy and Louise back to Cowgill and then home to comfy beds and dry surroundings, on condition that they all returned for leg 8 on Sunday.

We had survived running and cycling in horrendous conditions,we had placated Scarey Mary serving food in the pub,all meekly agreeing to have mash even though we had all ordered chips. We had enjoyed good company, a few beers, live music and George doing his fundraising bit with the Olympic Torch – how that worked its magic, with young and old all wanting a photo or a hold – but how would we get through the night?

Frantic piling up of gear ensued,in darkness apart from 2 headtorches and a candle on the front dash board, with the van swaying constantly as the wind and rain continued. Detailed negotiation established the boundaries – I am having a bed (me). I will need to get to the loo during the night (me). I will sleep anywhere as long as its not out there (Geoff). I don’t think I snore(Mike). I am happy to sleep with the dog (Mike).

In the end we were sorted,gear piled up to the van roof in every available space,Geoff and I “top and tailing” on the bed ,Mike in the front passenger seat in full recline,Benji (the dog) on the floor under the dashboard,with enough space to allow access to the loo and stove,comfortable enough for Mike to reveal a large slab of homemade carrot cake which we washed down with hot tea. Sleep was fitful, my trips to the loo, the continuing storms, the noisy party in the pub, 3 men and a dog tossing and turning in a very confined space and a strange, damp, soggy odour permeating the van, which strangely got worse and worse as the weekend progressed.

By daybreak the whole place smelt like a bag of ferrets, the van doors were flung open and under a blue sky with no rain we breakfasted al fresco in the company of two of Geoff’s friends, a pair of tame sheep who apparently grew up by the fire inside the pub. A good job he hadn’t met them the night before, as I haven’t a clue how we could have fitted them in as well!!

…and now David Catterick…

Leg 9: Eggleston to The Grove (Hamsterley), 5.77M

Arrived at Eggleston on a dry Sunday morning to meet a rough looking lot. (Apparently it rained yesterday). The plan was to run over the Dales to The Grove with Will. This I was looking forward to as I hoped to pick up some fell navigation skills (licking fingers, navigating by the sun etc etc). Well, Will arrived and announced that he was going to push his son`s bike up the hills (good handicap I thought) but it turned out the terrain was too bad.

Off we went. It was then that Will announced that his faithful GPS had just broken (What GPS?!) So it was down to good old map reading after all. Anyway, after we got lost and tracked back, we had a lovely run down into Hamsterley to meet up once again with the motley crew.

Leg 10: The Grove to Wolsingham, 5.17M

This time I ran with Barry Bird. Barry joined the Striders 25 years ago when he was 21. As we ran I learned a bit about the history of the club. This chit-chat distracted us from the Doctors Gate climb. Where was the nice cool rain when you need it? (More later!). The gate is called Doctors Gate as it was where supplies were handed over to villagers at times of Plague). After a lovely run down the road into Wolsingham we were cheered into the Market Place.

Leg 11: Wolsingham to Waterhouses, 7.77M

Girl Power! So it was that Sue J, Emma, Angela and myself headed up the hill out of Wolsingham towards Tow Law where Jan joined us. At Tow Law we found the off road route, which, in parts suggested that the OS maps needed updating! As we passed through a wood the rains started. (A bit too rainy thanks). Back on the road with a mile to go a search party of Dave ( bike) and John H ( running – what else) appeared. So it was we arrived at Waterhouses where we were greeted by the Final Leggers. Thanks to the organisers for another excellent weekend of fun and thanks to Georges Flame surely a record sum raised. Roll on next year!

…and finally Danny Lim

Legs 12 & 13: Waterhouses to Broompark to the Castle, 5.5M & 2.38M

I was doing the last 2 legs into Durham. I started off in Waterhouses joined by Angela Proctor, Claire Readey, John Hutchinson and Roz Layton. Dave Shipman and Stephen Garbutt were our bike escorts. It was a pleasant run along the bike paths. Though, the heavens soon opened and it became a puddle run. At least, I didn’t need to take a shower! At Broompark, we were joined by George Nicholson, Melanie Hudson and a few others, who i apologise for not naming. By now, it was all familiar territory. We paused briefly at Windy Gap before our final dash to the Castle. We were welcomed by friendly faces and to a round of applause.

It’s quite an achievement to run a relay all the way from Bowness to Durham. As far as I was concerned, I was doing the easy bit. David Shipman and Geoff Watson spent so much time organising this. We had a fantastic support crew too. And I must thank our supporters along the way. Last but not least, the best part was the company and being able to run alongside such great people. What a fantastic club!

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Allan Seheult (1942 – 2019)

This eulogy was read out by our club Chairman, David Shipman.

A tribute to Allan Seheult

Runner, triathlete, cyclist and coach

Carole has asked me to talk about some aspects of Allan’s sporting life: as a runner, cyclist, triathlete and coach; but it goes without saying that I am also describing a much-loved friend. Put simply, Carole, we loved him to bits and we will miss him terribly. 

Allan enriched our sporting lives with his humour, friendship and enthusiasm. In his modest and unassuming way, he would share his expertise, give advice and support, encouragement and direction.  Whether you were a novice beginner or serious competitor, it was always about you, not about him.

Later in the day you might hear about his life, what Carole and the family were doing or what events and targets he was focussing on. That’s a very special quality in an environment where most of us, let’s be honest, are almost entirely focused on ourselves.

Allan came to running from a background of football, a keen and skilful goalkeeper. He always said he was more of a sprinter by physique, and avoided anything over 10k if he could; he saw himself as determined rather than talented.   Don’t be fooled by his modesty; he ran for the Striders in relays, cross-country and road races all over the UK.

In his 50s he applied his systematic approach to marathon running, grinding out 10 milers and half marathons, successfully completing 3 London Marathons in total.

Throughout his time running, behind the scenes, he gave a great deal to the development and success of the Striders; he was an active club member for 35 years and there are a number of Club Captains and Chairs here today who are very grateful for his support.

As a cyclist Allan showed that same determination and enthusiasm, enjoying regular cycling with groups of friends here and abroad. He completed the Coast to Coast, made several trips to France to watch the Tour, did hundreds of training rides and participated in a number of organised sportive and charity rides.

Certain features always stood out: using the latest technology and upgrades to improve his performance; wearing very smart cycling kit; seeking out good places for coffee and cake; taking ages to get ready for a ride!

In the last couple of years Allan’s enthusiasm for cycling, which had waned after a period of ill-health, was re-ignited when he purchased his Orbea carbon e-bike. It gave him a new lease of life, allowing him to resume riding with the Sunday morning tri-group.  With the additional electric power, Allan took great pleasure in beating everyone to the top of the hill, where he would take photos and jokingly insult the stragglers.

Aged 60, Allan shifted his focus to triathlon, applying the same thorough approach to conquering the 3 disciplines. Allan would say he never quite got there with his swimming, holding a diagonal position in the water at times. He said he had heavy legs from years of sport!

Building on regular training with the TRI club in Durham, he attended training camps in Sardinia and Majorca for several years. He competed in 3 World Championships: Lausanne, Hamburg and Vancouver, where he won a bronze medal.

As a coach Allan combined his sporting experience with his statistician’s mind for detail and precision. He developed equations and spreadsheets for absolutely every distance or event. A conversation with Allan would go something like this: ‘Take your PB for 10k, multiply it by your V2 max, divide that by a factor of 3.25 then run two laps of Maiden Castle at 70 seconds per lap.  If you can do that and the weather forecast is ok, you can run a PB at London next year!’ Don’t ask me how he worked it all out!  Seriously, he drew on a lifetime of training and competition experience, backed up with extensive reading and research.

But he wasn’t some sort of robot coach, because his approach also featured a healthy dose of aspiration and admiration for his sporting heroes.  Mohammed Ali and Pele have already been mentioned.  I could add in Coe, Ovett, Usain Bolt, George Best, Geraint Thomas and many others.  His starting point might have been the science, but he was also a great dreamer, moved and motivated by the drama of sporting achievement.

He knew that success depended on a combination of head and heart, physical effort and commitment.

Many individuals here today have benefited greatly from Allan’s personable approach. He believed that everyone could improve, achieve and succeed.

In the last few years, working closely with Ian McKenzie, Allan refined and shared his approach, running duathlon events at High Shincliffe and turbo sessions at Coxhoe Sports Centre and, most significantly, weekly track sessions at Maiden Castle. Typical Allan, inclusive, supportive he would turn out in all weathers at all times of day and night. He also supported and encouraged other coaches and was a great sounding board for new coaches, helping them to overcome barriers to success.

I would like to give you a flavour of Allan’s last week.

– A Sunday bike ride with the tri-club, coffee and cake at Betty Bees.

 -Track sessions on Monday and Wednesday, with Christmas Food and drink trackside afterwards.

– A Turbo session followed by Costa Coffee on Thursday

– Individual training on Friday

-Triathlon coaching, followed by a debrief in Betty Bees on Saturday.

I think we can tell from that, a typical week, that Allan was doing what he loved doing right to the end.

Finally, for the athletes in the room, some advice from Allan himself, comments which have served us all well over the years or which may be useful for your next event. You may have heard Allan shouting these out on the side of the track or when watching you in an event:

‘Don’t go off too fast!’- ‘Stay comfortable!’- Stay relaxed!’- ‘Don’t forget to drink!’ – ‘Save your effort for the final phase!’ – Remember the iron bar!’- Remember the crisps!

And lastly, ‘FINISH STRONG!’

David Shipman

President of Elvet Striders   20/1/2020

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Keith Wesson Remembered

Dave Shipman writes…

Following on from the announcement of Keith’s sad and far too early death, it occurred to me that many club members, especially newer ones, will not know Keith or be aware of his contribution to the Striders over many years. Due to Covid restrictions we won’t be able to give him the send off he deserves and because of his shyness and modesty it’s also a chance to share a bit more of Striders history too.

Keith took to running at school in Middlesbrough, combined with a serious and successful road cycling career, including with Cleveland Wheelers on Teesside. 

When he came to Durham he ran with Durham City Harriers and later Chester le Street AC, riding the wave of the running boom in the early 1980s, including the emerging popularity of London Marathon and Great North Run .By the time he joined the Striders quite frankly he had done it all, including a sub 2.30 marathon, 6 and 12 stage relays, National Cross Country several times and all of the established track, road, fell and cross country races.

With that pedigree Keith, along with the likes of Dave Jenkins (Sunderland) Mickey Page (Houghton le Spring AC), John Marshall and  Barrie Evans (Durham Harriers) was part of a small experienced group who trained with the Striders in the early days and passed on their experience of the running world ,helping to establish the Striders as a new club in the North East, while still competing seriously for other NE clubs.

Keith’s racing experience, advice on targeted training, his careful approach to injury management and peaking for specific races proved invaluable to all of us as we naively explored the running world by doing as many races as possible. His long Sunday runs and hill sessions around his home area of Esh and Cornsay were legendary.

Eventually Keith realised that he could run seriously and also have more fun so left Chester le Street to become a regular with the Striders, turning out for over 20 years at races, relays, Harrier League and the gamut of club events. He was also one of the many club members who gravitated to the Saturday morning runs on Waldridge Fell, where he became a key part of the social off road running there.

Together with his wife Gill he was also a regular at most social functions, parties, fancy dress runs and Christmas handicaps. There was a great deal of truth in the story that most of his costumes were directly from his current wardrobe!!

As a club member Keith was always reliable and committed, a creature of habit who did the races he knew and loved, dragging Gill and his family around the country, often disguised as holiday destinations or weekends away. For 20 years or so when the Calderdale Relay came round he would say ” Put me down for leg 6″ and he would guide his relay partner round, always saving energy for a fast last mile to overtake competing pairs and ensure we weren’t last!!

As an individual Keith often presented as a complaining, Victor Meldrew-like personality, known for a time as Grumpy of Esh, a title bestowed on him by Mudman and Mudwoman, Geoff and Susan Davies. For those who got to know him over the years he was a funny, kind, devoted family man who had a huge amount of detailed knowledge about running, athletics and cycling. If you ever did a long run with him you might also benefit from his more specialist subjects, including cars, aeroplanes, motorbikes (anything with wheels and/or an engine), wartime airfields of Lincolnshire, Polish steam engines, the journalistic skills of Suzannah Reid, or the well-hidden musical talents of the Pussycat Dolls.

Post-running on Wednesday nights, refuelled by a pint and his staple chips and gravy, apart from talking about the races coming up in the near future his regular lectures on how not to parent three teenage girls or how to prevent them from ever getting a boyfriend were legendary.

Keith made a significant contribution to the club, especially in the early days, then wearing the Striders vest in races for many years. He will be sadly missed by many friends in the club and our thoughts are with Gill and family after his sudden and unexpected death.

David Shipman, President – Elvet Striders,  August 2020

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