Category Archives: Mike Elliott

Pennine Way Charity Relay 2015, Pennine Way, Friday, July 24, 2015

Anita Clementson

Northern Section: Friday Leg 2 – Byrness to Bellingham – 15.5 miles – with Diane Watson

Anita and Diane running toward the finish of their leg on Bellingham Bridge As we waited for the arrival of Kerry & James, our northern leg 1 runners, we took the advantage of having tea in the local inn and gaining some inside knowledge on the route ahead. On asking the rather grumpy woman at the inn, she took a long breath and turned her head slowly to the clock, then looked back at us: “are you planning to do this today?” We were obviously not giving her the impression of experienced fell types that were capable of tackling 15 miles of the boggiest part of the Pennine way (a feature she was also keen to warn us about).

Luckily we managed to regain some positivity and returned to wait patiently at the checkpoint. Text messaging allowed us to get some idea of Kerry & James’ progress. In the meantime we had a leisurely chat with a guy who had nearly finished his 18-day walk of the whole PW and then there were Kerry & James, bounding along looking quite fresh after their epic 25-mile first leg trek.

So Diane and I were finally on our way! Navigation was required for the first half of what was a fairly undulating but not too hilly route. Luckily there had been plenty of time to study our OS map and so we had more or less memorised the route ahead.

Due to the delay and the fact that we didn’t want to arrive too late for Scott, who was waiting to take over at Bellingham (we were nearing 3 hours behind schedule) we took the option of missing out the boggiest part of our section (we were also warned about this by two people we met) but had to add an extra half mile of easier ground. It wasn’t an easy decision, and it would have been nice to just follow the course of the PW but common sense took precedence. As a result, the ‘baton’ [or ‘map’ as it also known – Ed] was passed on safely at the bridge over the North Tyne in pretty Bellingham, pausing only to take some photos, before Scott was on his way…our job was done!

We encountered only beautiful scenery and a slightly surreal sense of being a little part of a much bigger event knowing that all of our friends in the club were with us in spirit and that we were making our mark in the history of the club.

Karen Hooper

Central Section: Sunday Leg 5 – Sunderland Bridge to Palace Green – 10 miles

Elvet Striders Relay Runners on Palace Green at the end of a successful 2015 Charity Relay We ran through armpit-high thistles with our arms in the air, got rashes from foot to shoulder from the long grass…I spoke to Striders I had never spoken to before…I turned round and saw a whole tribe of purple behind me in the beautiful countryside…I weed in a field with someone I’d only spoken to once before who I’m now proud to call a friend…I talked about the sadness of losing babies and the support that 4Louis provide to bereaved families with a total stranger…I cheered Striders running further than they’ve ever run before…I enjoyed meat pie and a pint with new friends in The Elm Tree and shed a tear at Paul’s speech. Thank you Striders – it was just what we all needed! X

Dave Shipman’s white van

Southern Section: Friday, Saturday & Sunday – Support

Dave and Jan about to set off the leg to Pen-Y-Ghent Thursday 6.30 am: Contents being removed including old lawnmower and box of unsold car boot stuff which I have carried round for ages. Must be an expedition coming soon? Parked up next to house, suspect we will head off after work?

Thursday 5.30 pm: I was right: all surfaces hastily cleaned and bags of kit thrown in.

Thursday 6 pm: ‘Driver D’ joined by ‘Kiwi Mike’ (with no dog this time, but several more bags and a tent). Off we go!

Thursday 6.30 pm: Durham City, pick up ‘Lady J’ (must be in for a long trip if the number of bags she has are anything to go by!).

Thursday 8.30 pm: Got through all the road works (and avoided running out of petrol) to Woolley Edge services. Joined by Driver D’s double, known as ‘Our Kid’ apparently – and yet more bags!

Thursday 9.30 pm: Fiddly, wiggly roads to the campsite. Abandoned in car park for the night – typical!

Friday 5.30 am: Kettle on – bloody hell, this is an early start! Joined by what looks like a black coffin -carrier but on investigation it’s a multi-purpose removal estate car on its way back from an end-of term university visit – my sympathies, done that run a few times! Mobile catering function required for several sleepy campers after what they describe as a snore-interrupted night (nothing to do with the beers they drank before bedtime then?).

Friday 5.55 am: Bleary-eyed bloke carrying two rucksacks approaches; also has what he calls ‘a tent’; looks more like a full-body condom to me! All goes in through the back door; he sets off running and away we go!

Friday 12.00 noon: After several hours hurtling over hill and dale, parked at length on the end of Saddleworth Moor. No sign of Kiwi Mike. Eventually he arrives after losing his way but by then I’ve moved on to Yorkshire where I’m joined by a red Honda Jazz and two more runners with lots of kit bags.

Friday afternoon: Yippee! Into Calderdale relay country after ‘Pirate Nige’ (the driver of the black coffin-carrier) and Lady J (she of the many bags) have been off-piste looking for hairy sausage caterpillars! Familiar roads and hills that I’ve been round a few times.

Friday night 8.00 pm: Make it to Malham before nightfall as required but then drive backwards and forwards on narrow, stone-walled lanes looking for Moon’s Farm campsite. Find two campsites but not of that name and eventually work out that it’s the one at the foot of Malham Cove. Joined by a red Golf and red Polo, so relay convoy status is now established. No room on the campsite but Mrs Moon kindly lets me use her car park, assisted by red Golf moving over to give me breathing space which I need after the last 24 hours!

Saturday 7.00 am: Mobile catering required again: runners seem even more bleary-eyed but still enthusiastic. Bags, damp tents and sweaty kit thrown in the back, along with an assortment of food and drink.

Saturday 8.15 am: Runners set off in beautiful sunshine. I get my insides swept out and Kiwi Mike beats my carpets – first time in a long time!

Saturday 8.30 am: Off for a beautiful trip round the Dales: up to Arncliffe, down both sides of Pen Y Ghent seeking runners on the move with no success. Then to Horton where I’m left in a pub car park but am eventually rescued by Kiwi Mike.

Saturday 2.00 pm: After being abandoned for a couple of hours in Hawes, found by Driver D and ‘Chatterbox Jan’, both looking sweaty and weary but with bags of food and drink and off we go again.

Saturday 6.00 pm: On the road for ages, over Butter Tubs Pass, people in and out, stops at Tan Hill, a tunnel under the A66, supposed to be heading for near Middleton but left parked next to a barn: sign says “To be kept clear at all times” so I will probably get towed away by a tractor! Passengers seem intent on standing in a field with cows, staring for over an hour at a distant horizon. Farmer arrives and doesn’t tow me away, instead gives friendly advice about how savage cows can be then, once the red Polo has been moved, farmer drives off up track. Eventually runners appear, pause briefly for water from my diminishing supplies then head off up the track after the farmer.

Facing up to 'savage' cows was all part of the challenge!

Saturday 8 pm: At last! A campsite instead of a car park! Company of other vans and tents; passengers have all gone to the pub; night may not end well!

Saturday 10 pm: As I suspected, a crowd of folk have returned to use my lounge facilities: Kiwi Mike brings out cake; ‘Party Jean’ finds a bottle of Amaretto left over from Xmas; rattling bags of cider and beer come from cupboards and rucksacks. Remarkably, peace and quiet by midnight.

Sunday 7.30 am: Breakfast time again: folk seem more bleary and tired, less energetic until joined by ‘Tigga Till’ and Joan who set off up the hills. Random packing follows before I head for Wolsingham Station via Bollihope Common and across the moors. Apart from our convoy, there’s hardly any traffic and no people.

Sunday 12.00 noon: Tigga Till and Joan arrive at the station, no trains running, so join us for a drive to Witton Park where I am left on my own for hours by the side of Paradise Park (an over-generous description when compared to the scenery I have been through in the last 48 hours!). Seemingly, Bleary-eyed Paul, Pirate Nige and Lady J got lost in the long grass!

Sunday 1.00 pm: Diversion to Newton Cap Viaduct seeking ‘Captain Anna’, who in turn was seeking Kiwi Mike; no sign of either so on to Willington…

Sunday 1.20 pm: Willington: amazing crowd of runners, all waiting for Kiwi Mike, none with bags and none needing a lift thank goodness! All say they are running to Durham.

Sunday 2.30 pm: Sizeable group head for Durham; party atmosphere. Kiwi Mike leaves me near Durham Rowing Club and heads off with Bleary-eyed Paul to do yet more running.

Sunday 5.30 pm: Kiwi Mike and Driver D return in pouring rain but good spirits. Appears that the trip has been a great success!

Sunday 5.45 pm: Parked up in Chester-le Street; over 450 miles covered; job done! Kiwi Mike and Driver D remove a few bags of kit and walk away. Wait a minute! Come back! What about the bags of wet and sweaty kit? What about the soggy bananas and left over cake crumbs, half-eaten sandwiches and water bottles? And who do these red boxer shorts belong to?!!

Penny Browell

Southern section: Friday Legs 5 & 8; Saturday Leg 1; Sunday Legs 4 & 5

Penny, Paul & Steph come together for an almost nocturnal 'selfie'.

Friday, Leg 8 – Ickornshaw to East Marton – 9 miles – with Paul Evans: having said I probably shouldn’t run at all (dodgy ankle making me whinge a lot), I decided I wasn’t content with the 10-miler earlier with Steph and Paul so volunteered to take on what turned out to be the final leg of the evening. I was told it was easy-ish and not too long (which I guess is what 9 miles and 1,250 feet is for Paul Evans!). But even he was tired (after more than 20 miles) and the climbs seemed bigger than they should have been and whilst it was lovely to see the sun setting from a perfect viewpoint it was also a bit nerve-wracking as we had no head-torches and there were still a few miles to go.

More worrying though, were the cows, one of which seemed to take a dislike to me and after a little lurch, started heading towards me. Paul recommended jumping over the fence but as it was about shoulder height for me – with barbed wire on the top – I didn’t rate my chances! To cut a long story short, we managed to escape unscathed but still had to race the light to reach East Marton by nightfall.

When we got to the canal we knew we were nearly there but when a slight edge of doubt crept in to Paul’s voice I was beginning to get a bit concerned. Then I spotted a lonely beam of light flickering in the darkness ahead – it was Steph! Come in search of us! And so, just before 10.00 pm, our leg was done. Sadly too late for the pub dinner I’d promised myself but still leaving me with a very content smile on my face.

Juliet Percival

Southern section: Friday Legs 2, 3 & 7; Saturday Legs 4, 5 & 6; Sunday Leg 2

Juliet in a 'weary legs' phase! As I write this, the three days of the southern legs are now a blur of…chilly dawns…hurried muesli…squeezing wet tents back into bags…driving…plodding…eating cake…driving…running…wonderful views…eating cake…running…endless views of rolling green hills and patchwork fields…waiting…cheering and clapping for smiling Striders out in force…drinking coffee…wonderful company…running…weary legs…waiting…runners’ heads bobbing up over the horizon…dreaming (of a hot shower)…drinking coffee… “there they are!” …running…COWS!…”what if it’s a bull?”…slow to a walk…eyes down…be invisible… beautiful, peaceful countyside…lovely banter…”how many more miles?” …getting late…pitching tents in the dark (hilarious!)…racing to the pub (too late for food)…crisps and alcohol for supper again!…”another round?”…”why not!” …returning to campsites in the dark…no showers…grim…feeling stinky…sleeping bags…overtures of snoring…chilly dawns (again)…hurried muesli…”off we go”…”

Roz Layton

Northern section: Saturday Leg 3 – Knarsdale to Garrigill – 14 miles – with Debs Goddard & Jean Bradley

Nothing could be nicer than standing in the middle of unfamiliar countryside on the Cumbrian/Durham border on a warm day, surrounded by orchids, harebells, cranesbill and buzzing insects. Just a nagging worry affects the mood: where are they? Are they OK? Have I missed them?

Thank goodness for a good phone signal and Debs’ clear decision-making (…leave Alston, come and meet her and Jean further up the route at Knarsdale). This turned out to be an abandoned station on the old South Tyne railway, with platform, an old ticket office and signs threatening forty shilling fines…

It wasn’t long before Debs and Jean came trotting along the track, cheerful but a bit frustrated by the disappearing Pennine Way ‘acorns’ [motif that indicates the Pennine Way trail – Ed]. So much for the Pennine Way becoming an eroded motorway then – even when we could find the route it was often overgrown!

Jean and I could only admire the map and its reader as we were ‘spectacle-free’ and so we continued, skirting Slaggyford happily enough but losing time as what ‘acorns’ there were led us over stiles and into fields with no apparent exit. On one occasion we found ourselves face to face with a herd of cows and their calves and – yes – climbing to his feet as we approached, a big creamy bull guarding the gateway!

Alston to Garrigill had less drama but was just as pretty. We anticipated ‘lashings and lashings of ginger beer’ but a wonderful half-pint outside the newly refurbished pub won out, underscoring the satisfaction of running twice as far as I’d expected and the ‘Striderly’ pleasure of running with good friends.

Mike Elliott

Northern Section: Saturday Leg 6 – Cauldron Snout to Holwick – 9 miles – with Andy James.

Mike makes the awkward descent of the waterfall of Cauldron Snout.

After doing ‘Park Run’ in the morning I checked my OS Teesdale map of early-60s vintage that didn’t even show the Tees being dammed at Cauldron Snout to form Cow Green Reservoir (luckily the contours were in the same place however). I then joined Andy at Ebchester for the drive to the start of the final northern leg of our charity relay, arriving there about 4.00 pm for an estimated start time of 5.30 pm. No other Striders were in sight but it was early days…

The weather was sunny: 14 degrees with a gentle breeze but then a black cloud appeared, bringing heavy vertical, then horizontal, rain and HAIL! (Was this July?). So, like the sheep around us, we sheltered behind a stone wall (baaa!). The storm passed, the sun came out again and we soon dried out.

By about 6.00 pm we concluded that with no one else was going to join us, and that we might have missed a ‘relay running late’ message. Miraculously, we found a sign near the dam which said ‘GOOD MOBILE PHONE SIGNAL HERE’ (move one yard either way – no signal!) and called Steph who said Jon Ayres was on his way from Dufton and should be with us in an hour and a half. Being the good civil and electrical engineers that we are, off we went to explore the dam and its water pressure measuring boreholes, generators and anything else we could find (howay, it filled in the time!).

To our delight, Jon arrived a tad early from his magnificent solo effort across the tops and after sharing info and pleasantries, his legs then had the luxury of driving Andy’s car to Bowlees visitor centre.

Still no more troops, so off we went, down the side of Cauldron Snout and onto the rock-strewn paths of the Falcon Clints’ boulder field (could have been on the moon) along with the odd board-walk then eventually onto something vaguely runnable. This was not going to be a 10K PB!

The first half of the leg was on the north bank of the River Tees (the south bank appeared to be marked on the map as an MOD training area). After the tribulations of the Clints and Holmwath Escarpments, we arrived at Widdy Bank Farm where we could at last make good progress after our mountaineering experiences. Then we saw the sign that said it all: three and a half miles back to Cauldron Snout, three and three-quarters to High Force. HEY UP – we thought this was a 10K!

Across ditches, and through stones walls via little wooden gates, across the bridge over Harwood Beck, then crossing to the south side of the River Tees at Cronkley, then onto a wide track for 400yards (which made us look like models on a cat walk).

Next was a trip around a farm yard (no Old Macdonald or quarter-pounder’s to be seen) where we encountered a problem due to the lack of way markers: options were to follow a boggy fence line, climb a steep hill covered in gorse or back-track towards the MOD area. We chose to climb the hill (probably a short cut to dry ground but slightly longer) until we hit the PW again.

Next obstacle was a barbed wire-topped fence where we put our high jump skills to the test (gold medals being awarded to both participants). Then it was back down to low ground to see some friendly faces albeit a flock of sheep (who decided not to follow us due to the fact they were not as fit as us athletes!).

At last we hit a reasonable track, so, putting more coal on the fire, we reeled in the miles to High Force. What a long three and three-quarter country miles that was (must have been all those photo stops)! A quick decision not to dive into the cold, fast flowing, peaty waters at High Force then we pushed on to Low Force and Wynch Bridge (a suspension footbridge built for lead miners in 1830).

Here we saw a poster nailed to a tree saying Strathmore Arms, 1 mile – nectar! In the heather we caught a glimpse of a young ‘Monarch of the Glen’ [a deer – Ed] scratching its lug at the sound of these two explorers; he then showed us how to cope with cross county hills by bounding away.

Onwards across the quickly darkening fields with Andy’s phone shattering the quiet of the countryside. It was Paul asking if we are still alive and what our favourite tipple is! Back to tarmac and the comforting lights of Holwick (or IS it Holwick? – No sign of a pub and only a few well strung out houses – have we got the wrong village? – We stop and knock on the door of a house at 10.00 pm – “Where is the Strathmore Arms?” – “Just there love” – relief!).

Finally, after two-and-a-half hours, we receive the most rousing of receptions from the locals and many of the lads and lasses who ran the Southern and rest of the Northern legs. Then it was into the pub with just enough time to embrace everyone in sight, hoy a pint down our necks (courtesy of the landlord) and enjoy the band.

The campers then made their way to bed so they could be fresh, waiting for Paul’s foreign accent to ring out at 7.00 am: “Hi de hi campers, your breakfast is ready and no cooking required: IT’S IN A CAN!”.

We intrepid explorers continued our adventures: a one-and-a-half mile cross-country walk to the car (thanks for the torch Nigel) and then over the dales to Ebchester. I never knew rabbits came out in such numbers at night, with the journey being a rabbit slalom course (we managed it without harming any, so rabbit pie was off the Sunday menu).

Hope you enjoyed the above tale. It could have been the tail of Peter………..Oh come on, they don’t get any better!

Joan Hanson

Central Section: Sunday Leg 1 – Holwick to Wolsingham – 16 miles – with Till Sawala.

Me and Tigger Till strike out for Wolsingham Today I picked up a total stranger that I met via a Facebook message then got quietly freaked out on arrival at the campsite at 8am to be told by fellow bleary-eyed striders that Till can run…didn’t you realise Joan?.. really quite fast…sub 3-hour marathon actually. Till then proceeded to run ‘really quite fast’ although he referred to it as ‘relaxed social pace’. He was certainly able to converse with ease as he bounced along beside me in his Hokas (quite a lot like Tigger) consistently up a big hill, then on tarmac (that’s another first). Words of encouragement were offered by a convoy of the aforementioned striders in their cars before we struck out over the moors and down into Weardale. We took slightly longer than the 2 hours on the original schedule for this leg but had a great morning out and we didn’t get lost.

(Visited 48 times, 1 visits today)

Sheffield Castle parkrun, Saturday, March 7, 2015

Mike Elliott

Whilst in the wilds of Sheffield last Saturday morning at 0800 what does one do but get ready for parkrun. Woke up the woman in sat nav who located the Castle parkrun starting at York House on City Road sat the top of a hill in the east of the town.

Welcomed by Diane and her crew in clear, cool and breezy conditions. Not a large number turned up as compared with Durham. 32 to follow all tarmac paths along the perimeter of this crater, left turn down a little slope then right up a little slope then weeee down into the bottom the park over the discreet bridge and onwards and upwards. Why discreet? Do not know. Could be a Yorkshire thing, memo ask Paul.

The cauldron of the park is of grass land with very few trees to act as a wind break. then a long drrrragggggg up hill to complete the first of 3 laps. The long drag is not as bad as it sounds due to it levelling out about half way up for 30 yards with Manor Field allotments on the right. Crunching the numbers 1st home was Robert Foster (25-29) unattached in 18.27, running at 69.92 %, 12 seconds outside his pb. I finished 23rd checking in with 29.50 @ 57.82% also first in my age group. It was easier than the original Gibside route.

Unfortunately I could not stop for cake and coffee at York House, as I had a meeting at 10.30. Back to the hotel showered, changed and a 3mile trip to town with 10 minutes to spare. How about that for a running schedule?

(Visited 61 times, 1 visits today)

Bridges Of The Tyne 5, Newcastle Quayside, Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Anonymous (but probably Mike Elliott)

Along with two other Striders was driven by an excellent chauffer who did not know the way and was very good [of course] following the directions to park at the Newcastle cycle hub arriving at the same time as Paul on his vroom vroom.

A story that was related on the way from Maiden Castle to the start was how this person managed to change out of working clothes into running gear whilst driving to Maiden Castle. Wonder if the other drivers managed not to crash watching this sight.

Goody bags and numbers picked up [really no need to do the race as we had the T shirt]. The smell of burgers at race HQ in the Tyne Bar certainly puts you in the mood for running on a nice warm evening. Forgot how far the start was from the HQ so ended up at the back of the field then heard a whistle which everyone thought was for the briefing but bugger me it was the start, so off we went like the clappers. Within the first mile we had passed all the 6 bridges of Newcastle. There was no more architecture to see, the only two sights left were the muddy banks of the Tyne which had turned into a piddle little stream cos the tide was out and the other being a little more difficult to see through as it was the low sun dropping out of the sky [looked as the females of any household had forgotten to switch the light off]. The best part of the race before reaching this point was seeing the field being split up by large patches of purple.

After a long 2.5 mile we reached the hill with its turn around point. Back along the river passing the ever encouraging marshals and walkers who were out for a stroll. Now two mile back to the Pitcher and Piano [must be the only pub that allows a race to go through its lounge bar as it is on the quay side]. Then the last 1/2 mile to the blown up finish and the cheering the sea of purple plus a cool bottle of water.

The End

Oh not to forget the burger and pint in the Tyne Bar and the canny crack. See you there next year.


Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Andy Burn Jarrow & Hebburn AC M 25:54
8 Alyson Dixon Sunderland Strollers FV35 27:27
32 Rob Everson M 29:24
32 Matthew Archer M 31:01
99 Graeme Walton MV40 33:20
101 Katy Walton F 33:29
125 Alister Robson MV40 34:15
152 Paul Pascoe MV40 35:19
183 Fiona Jones FV35 36:35
186 Lesley Charman FV40 36:41
192 Richard Hall MV35 36:55
208 Jackie McKenna FV45 37:33
219 Lucy Cowton F 37:56
224 Michael Ross MV40 37:52
237 Mark Dunseith M 38:36
241 Brian Ford MV45 38:43
251 Greta Jones FV45 39:09
253 Paul Beal MV50 39:15
259 Megan Bell FV35 39:29
291 Jill Ford FV45 42:57
295 Rebecca Fisher FV35 43:18
300 Jacquie Robson FV35 43:19
309 Katherine Preston FV45 45:02
314 Angela Coates FV40 45:58
316 Angela Robson FV40 46:08
317 Kelly Collier F 46:19
329 Emma Detchon F 47:51
329 Rebecca Maddison F 48:05
333 Anita Dunseith F 49:00
334 Mike Elliott MV65 50:10
337 Lindsay Craig FV45 51:21
337 Laura Gibson FV40 52:56
342 Natalie Stones-Johnson FV50 52:57
344 Kirsty Anderson FV35 53:30
345 Kerry Lister FV40 53:31

349 finishers.

(Visited 29 times, 1 visits today)

Stockton Winter 5K Trail Race #1, Wynyard Woodland Park, Thorpe Thewlis, Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mike Elliott

On a nice summer’s morning saw myself and 10 other Striders [ Paul, Angela, Megan, Graeme, Stan, Camilla, Kerry, Rob, Will, Kayden ] and over 200 others turn up for the first Stockton winter 5k trail race series organised by Vicky Fawcett and her crew with the help of Stockton Borough Council, Start Fitness, Sportivate and Activ8.

Start at Thorpe Thewles staion in Wynyard Woodland Centre on the tree lined track, the only difference being the leaves were in various shades of red, yellow and brown. Ok so the season was not Summer but Autumn or whatever it is called now.

Will finishing strongly ...
photo courtesy and © Peter Richardson

After a mile of level running on the main line – turn right onto undulating farm tracks then along the hedgerow [no wildlife seen] apart from humans. About 2 miles – turn back into the wood, up a steady inclined path to reach the bottom of 50 odd steps. At the top, catch your breath on the decline to pick up the main line back to Thorpe Thewles station pulling in on time at 32.23 mins after pacing Kerry this lovely 5k. I was looking forward to the next at Cowpen Bewley but it clashes with my transport duties to Jarra XC, so it will have to be Preston Park on Dec 8 at 1015. Nearly missed the most important announcement, Will watched his littlun, Kayden in the junior race before tackling the senior event and claiming 3rd prize. Paul kept his spot prize quiet until someone mentioned it on facebook.

Overall it was just like a parkrun only on a Sunday.

(Visited 29 times, 1 visits today)

Raby Castle 10K, Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mike Elliott and Conrad White

Grand Prix Race. Sprint Champion Race.

Mike Elliott …

Beautiful setting apart from that bloody hill twice.

Did not pre-enter as I was not sure of the weather forecast, if bad, it would have meant that Judy would not be able to move around on the mobility scooter and look after the dog. Anyway on arrival went into the grounds via the signposted route only to be turned round and enter by the normal route to gain access to disabled parking area. Discovered that registration was 1.5k away from the start so off I went with money and form in my grubby little hand to claim my number. Guess that had to do for my first ever warm up.

Back at the car sorted Judy and the dog out and watched several purple patches of Striders doing very fast gyrations to the music before the start. Some great movers, pity no camera available. Did see some little young and older Striders and Durham parkrunners finish the 5k and get their medals. Set off with Capt. Sue who was going to take it easy after returning from being out of fettle and marathons, we parted company on the first hill and I then caught Karen Younger up and ran together. At half way we were spurred on by Anne Nicholson, Jackie Smith and the Chalkeys and the main member of the said family. You have guessed it. The Dog. Thanks folks.

After the second long climb then onto the nice long downhill we checked our Garmins to discover big discrepancies – mine saying 12 min mile pace and Karen’s 9.30 pace: unbelievable when the blurb says how accurate they are. Somehow the electronic ether managed to get it sorted.

At the farm 7k we picked a target runner 500m in front to catch 100m before the finish and beat this was done with comparative ease. Why? Cos at the 9k mark the smell of the chocolate covered fairy cake memento at the finish was drifting across the course on a nice cool breeze. Definitely was too much to resist and then it was a sprint to the finish passing several folks alang the road. Oh!!!! that is a different race never mind, they had the pleasure of eating our dust before their cake and we did manage our target, coming in at 63 and 64 respectively with Capt Sue just behind.

Good to see some of our training partners taking part namely Hunwick Harriers, Crook AC and Durham parkrunners.

It was noticed that G N was too busy talking to eat his cake so it was taken off him for seconds.

… and Conrad White:

I was not planning on doing Raby Castle as I had not really registered it was on. At the park run I heard mention of Druridge Bay and Raby Castle. As it happened there was nothing else on the home calendar – the lawn cutting could wait – but did not realize until I got home after running fairly hard at the park run (and also running there and back). I thought I had not raced a 10k for a while and was amazed when the Garmin record said my last 10k was in 2008 and I had to search the internet results and found that I last ran Raby in 2006 (which was before the present web site results)! So I was certain for a personal best for the decade 2010s!

Sunday morning and I was prepared with my entry form and cash – it says the start is 15 minutes from the parking but the entries were only 5 minutes. I arrived early and having registered I went back to my car for a bit of a rest then met up with various Striders on the way to the start. The Sea of Purple was amassing and the kit certainly stands out. There are many who I do not really know in the Striders but the purple kit gets you talking to fellow team members which is absolutely fantastic. It was also good to meet up with Tony Young and Jackie Smith.

The day was bright and not too warm, the course I knew to be “undulating” – nothing to the fell runners in the club but enough challenge for me. My race plan such as it was – do not go off too fast and make sure the first 5k is slower than the average park run time.

Off we went. The course is on tarmac or very good forest trails. By the first km I could see Adam miles ahead (well certainly a few hundred metres – or yards for those of us who know about the old money) in or around the top ten and not far behind was Simon. Graeme had admitted to a bit of socializing at a stag do on Saturday night and was around and about me. I decided to try and stay with or around Graeme. He would pass me going up and I took him going down on the first lap (of two). I went through 5k in just over average park run time – so all was going to plan. He came past at around the 6k mark on the second long climb and I could not catch him again – but he was just that bit ahead and that encouraged me not to slow down. The views from the top as you come over the hill are stunning and I think make the climbs worth while. The downhills are not too severe and allow the legs to open up a bit.

As always at the finish there are cheers of encouragement and groups of Striders – there was even a bit of a photo on a phone.

As I predicted a PB for the 2010s but as it was the one and only so far not too surprising. The second 5k was around a minute slower than the first – so I think the plan worked. Two races (or at least a hard “run” and a race) in two days is not something I have done for years and the legs certainly felt it. You never know I might try another 10k in the not too distant future. One to be recommended for the beautiful scenery, it’s not far from home, probably lots of other good reasons and all in all a “cracking race” but not one for a PB.


Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Mike Jefferies Unattached M 34.23
7 Adam Walker MJ 37.23
17 Tracey Millmore Birtley AC F 39.32
26 Simon Gardner M40 40.28
81 Graeme Walton M40 45.55
86 Conrad White M55 46.12
94 Rachel Terry F40 47.00
108 Katy Walton F 48.09
115 Carolyn Bray F35 48.37
136 John Hutchinson M55 49.50
176 Paul Beal M50 52.14
178 Adrian Jenkins M45 52.21
204 David Spence M65 53.51
229 Katie Butler F 56.03
235 Barbara Dick F40 56.15
236 Anita Clementson F40 56.17
242 Denise Mason F 56.39
245 George Nicholson M60 57.04
253 Jan Young F60 58.12
260 Kirsty Anderson F35 59.04
263 Karen Anne Chalkley F50 59.13
277 David Mogie M50 60.54
293 Mike Elliott M65 63.11
302 Karin Younger F50 63.38
313 Sue Jennings F45 65.25
328 Margaret Thompson F60 69.14

346 finishers

(Visited 26 times, 1 visits today)

Hartlepool Marina 5M, Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mike Elliott

As it was a nice day I thought I would take Judy and Holly to Monkey Hanging country for a day out. Met up with Karen Chalkley and went to register aboard the PS Wingfield Castle. Karen looked after Holly dog whilst I completed the paper work on looking round they had disappeared only to be found on the gang plank, they had been hoyed of the boat because dogs were not allowed. Maybe Holly could have been the ships cat in disguise.

Next we bumped into Captain Ali and Secretary General Jacquie. Leaving Judy and Holly to look after the car we toddled over to the start and were overtaken by the starting gun on wheels (a cannon) so I guess we were in for a noisy start. Whilst waiting to be blown away with the noise we completed our warm up by setting watches and talking. Then there was a quiet pop and a puff of smoke and we were off Ali leading.

Mike enjoying the sun.
photo courtesy and © David Aspin

I had my sunglasses knocked out of my hand by the time I picked them off the floor Karen and Jacquie were in the distance up onto the prom turn left and after 1/2 mile turn round a cone and head back the way we came managing to say hello to our friends who were faster than us.

Familiar faces spotted, were spectators Dave Robson and Mel Hudson. Dave hiding behind one side of the camera so I thought I would hide a behind a couple of runners on the other side of the camera. and not be shot at.

Onwards towards the Ghost Ships if they are still to be seen I have Jacquie in my sights and pass her, approaching 2 mile. Thoughts pass through your a mind were is the traffic cone to turn round as nobody is in sight coming the opposite way, then this ghostly figure appears maybe from those ships and it looked as though he was riding the crest of the waves like a speed boat. WHY ! because he is being chased by a mad bunch of pirates. STOP. They are not pirates because there are some friendly faces to be seen and greetings are exchanged.

Turning point reached and were instructed by this 6ft 12″ pirate to go round him without any argument and head for the Castle. Spied by camera Dave and this time I was shot. Heading into civilisation caught up with Karen and dragged her to the finish taking a few prisoners on the way.

Across the line to a welcome bottle of white rum and a new shirt before retiring to McDs for cooked breakfast, cake, ice cream and coffee, before leaving the monkey hangers to there own devices.

Anybody turning up next year to create waves, as this year the course was flat calm.

(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)

City of Salford 10K, Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mike Elliott

The previous week Matt said his sister Claire had entered this race and thought it would be a good idea for me to join her (this would be her 4th previous times being 70, 67, and 65 min). Race plan was organised for a 60 min finish, start time of 10:00 arrived with a temp of 18°C. With all the family watching we set off from the Lowry Centre to complete a lap of the new BBC Media Centre then off along Salford Quays passing the Impressive Imperial War Museum North. Onward to Man U tunnel underneath the stand where we found the only shade on the route. It did not last long and out into the increasing temp of 20°C and back towards the Quays where we came across the much needed water station.

Heat was starting to take the toll on Clair. At 8.5k we could see large chap infront who seemed to be going quite well, so with a suitable comment (“we will get passed that large chap with the big wobbly arse we will pass him in the next 1/2k”) that was the inspiration to get us towards the final loop of the Lowry and the finish in 63mins. An excellent PB for Claire as she played in a hockey tournament all day Saturday.

(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)

Heaton parkrun, Manchester, Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mike Elliott

Arrived with son in law Matt who had not run since June this year, his idea was to run 30 mins. Stared with a circuit of the big house at the top of the hill – down the hill to cover 1k in 5.22 at the bottom, go L passing the cafe, lake and tram tracks. Then L up a slight incline and into the woods on time. Off round the other side of the lake to get ready for long drag up the bloody hill (200 ft ascent slightly easier than Sunderland). 3.5 k gone and Matt needed a breather, so he kindly let me carry on. At the top there was another circuit of the big house, stopping the watch at 28.59 (165/290). Matt come in at 30.33 (188/290) A good effort. Unfortunately there was a long queue at the finish due to one scanner breaking down. Then it was off to McD’s for a well deserved breakfast.

(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)

Snods 6, Snods Edge, Wednesday, May 16, 2012

6 miles

Grand Prix Race. Sprint Champion Race. I had this race firmly marked in my calendar as a ‘must do’ following on from the great experience I had last year at Snods as a relatively newbie strider.

Arrived quite early on a cool but pleasant Wednesday evening. The slow trickle of purple striders followed and it was good to see faces which you don’t see too often down at Maiden Castle or the Monday night runs.

The run itself starts from a lane a little walk down from the village hall. Lot’s of mutterings from people claiming to take it easy on this race due to other races just completed or planned, not to mention at the least Angela taking part in a relay marathon at 3am on the Friday of that week (mad, crazy girl). Once we were off the road took a climb up, not particularly steep but quite sapping all the same for the beginning of a race. (As I live at the top of a hill I struggle with any race that starts with an ascent!). The route followed through some quiet country lanes and the first 3 miles was mostly a gentle climb. The yellow of the fields at this time of year was lovely to see and breathe in the fresh country air. There was a bit of a headwind (notably the windmills were turned off! Why??). [They have only just been erected and haven’t been commissioned yet. Ed.]

I have to say there are not many races I’ve taken part in that are so well marshalled. At every turn, gate, sty there were a couple of cheery Blackhill Bounders with lots of encouragement and smiles.

The last part of the race was cross country and a fab downhill on soft grass which you can really make up pace and try to fill the gap with the runners in front. Right at the end there is a little climb to the posse at the top of the finishers and nice to have some encouragement from those already done.

Blackhill Bounders really push the boat out when it comes to hospitality. Back at the village hall the food on offer was fantastic. Lots of different curries (2 vegetarian options – impressively) and cakes, breads, pastries…yum yum and all for free. All washed down with a well-earned pint from the bar. On top it was all go with a quiz (our table just pipped the post by 1/2 a point…drat that Eve!!) and then the raffle. I didn’t win this year but many striders walked away with a nice prize.

All in all a great night out and to me epitomises what being part of a great club is all about. Roll on next year.

Striders at Snods Edge

…and Mike Elliot

Great turn out at Snods, runners, spectators and the dog. Looked as though some good times were recorded by the faster lads and lasses. ‘Middle’ pack were going at quite pace and chatting all the way, and the ‘slower’ pack enjoying the cool fresh air whilst saving themselves for the P2P on sunday. A good performance all round, especially those first timers.

Guess you were racking your brains out trying to work out which the Strider was in front of you at the first cross roads and then at the left turn in the housing complex. ‘How the hell did he get in front of me?’ Then all you see is a person jumping out pressing the camera shutter and saying, ‘Caught on camera, have a good run’. A comment was, ‘I saw you behind that lamp post’ to which the camera man replied, ‘In that case I must be too fat.’

I hesitate to pick out individuals but well done to Phil Todd who is making a come back after a very long absence.

The last comment of the evening must go to my most favourite girl, Holly the dog, ‘Doesn’t my Master have a great to have a good sense of humour? ‘


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
* Patrick Duffy Crook AC 36:32
1 John Taylor PB Fitness 40:40
5 Jerry Lloyd 41:48
7 James Garland 41:57
16 Tom Reeves 43:40
20 Mike Bennett 44:39
26 Amanda Crooks PB Fitness F 45:53
29 Alistair Robson 46:33
40 Nigel Heppell 48:40
44 Mike Probert 49:22
47 Aaron Gourley 50:06
50 Colin Blackburn 51:07
52 Juliet Percival F 51:40
56 Kevin Williams 52:17
58 Stephanie Barlow F 52:36
60 Jan Young F 52:58
62 David Spence 53:26
63 Jean Bradley F 53:58
34 Melanie Hudson F 54:16
67 George Nicholson 54:57
68 David Shipman 55:06
69 Lyndsey Tarn F 55:14
78 Louise Miller F 58:15
79 Alan Smith 58:18
82 Karen Chalkley F 58:32
84 Victoria Tindale F 58:40
92 Anna Seeley F 59:55
93 Phil Owen 59:56
94 Andy James 60:06
98 Jo Richardson F 61:44
100 Jacquie Robson F 62:52
101 Dave Robson 62:53
105 Anita Clementson F 63:45
106 Emma Detchon F 63:45
111 Margaret Thompson F 68:03
112 Sue Jennings F 72:03
113 Angela Proctor F 72:03
114 Pippa Coffer F 72:03
115 Philip Todd 73:48

115 finishers
* Patrick Duffy agreed not to take any prize as
he was not from an officially invited club

(Visited 52 times, 1 visits today)

Sedgefield Winter Handicap, Sunday, January 15, 2012

6.5 miles

Mike Elliott …

At 1000 on a cold and frosty morning, a grand group of 14 Striders mustered in Fishburn’s Workmans Club along with 51 others to pick up their numbers and race briefing for the Sedgefield winter handicap. Kick off was just down the road on a white covered hill, started with Sue, Angela, Joanne, Jayne, and Joanne following in the footsteps of the race director who had walked the course earlier and reported no problems.

Will receives his prize.
photo courtesy and © David Mitchell

Picked up the old railway line which had some uncomfortable ruts especially where the gates crossed the track. A 1.5m stretch along this sheltered cutting it was easier to run on the frost covered grass than the well worn track, passed Holdforth Farm and Bridge [could have been ‘Drop Five Farm’ oh dear country humour], to the marshalls showing us to turn right along the farm track passing dog walkers on the way who were muffled up to the eye balls as it was -2°C, the dogs were sensible and had their fur coats on.

Then it was a loup ower the farmers barricade and between the two cars and on up the hill to the next set of marshalls, mam with 2 little kids who were encouraging us to keep warm saying we should run faster.

Across the farmers field missing what looked like frozen sausages [it was dog crap], sharp right and on up the hill passing Town End Farm into Bishop Middleham were we were spied on by the local photographer. A short stretch of footpath down to the next marshall who pointed left up the tarmac hill only to go down again. Another left turn onto a track taking us passed a little lake or big pond up the steps across the bridge up the steps more friendly marshalls pointing left onto the track and the way home. Further along the track we came to a cross roads, not to worry this time big kid marshalls pointing straight on through the sheltered cutting and then I was passed by Will Horsely going like a steam train [see why in the results], on to the bottom of the starting hill, all the way to the top [of course] with a little 100 yards down hill to the finish.

We all finished within five minutes of each other then followed the race directors instructions to go back to the CLUB for the presentation, liquid and solid refreshments. O.K. as we had all ran our guts off we got back before opening time it had to be Tea, Coffee or Water.

First home was 16th Will Horsely in a run time of 37.06 and received a trophy and a bottle of wine [which he did not share] for being the Fastest Man. 26th Mike Elliott 59.05, 27th John Hutchinson 59.15, 31st Sue Jennings 59.51, 37th Angela Protecter 60.11, 46th Richard Hocking 46.28, 49th Greta Jones 56.53, 51st Joanne Porter 62.08, 52rd Jayne Freeman 62.12, 53rd Joanne Richardson 57.13, 54th Alister Robson 49.14, 56th Angela Robson 62.41, 58th Peter Bell 45.49, 62nd Louise McGolpin 55.50 – 64 finishers.

A well organised event by Sedgefield Harriers. Look forward to the Neptune relays Hardwick Country Park on Wednesday April 25, Registration 1800 – 1830, kick off 1845.

Will Horsley adds:

Fourteen Striders turned out for a very cold and frozen Gerry Kearsley Handicap Race, organised by Sedgefield Harriers. Runners went off in two minute intervals depending on expected finishing times. I was last, by myself, so had a lot of chasing to do. I started to pick off runners from about half way in the village of Bishop Middleham, the only section of road on the whole route. The rest of the route is on cycle tracks, farm tracks and footpaths in pleasant countryside around Fishburn. The frozen ground made this race faster than last year as some parts of the route would otherwise be quite boggy. The handicapper had done pretty well as it looked like most runners were finishing within a few minutes of each other.

I won a prize, which was a very big and shiny new trophy, for being the fastest male runner on the day. The winner looked really rather shocked to have won, which is understandable as he didn’t particularly have the physique that you might associate with race winners. This is a very sociable event and quite low-key. It is also free, which probably explains its popularity with Striders! Well done everyone.

(Visited 26 times, 1 visits today)