Tag Archives: Nina Mason

Loch Ness Marathon, Sunday, September 24, 2017

Nina Mason

At the start of 2017 my resolution was to try and regain my running ‘bug’ – the last few years had seen this fade (not to mention my fitness). I needed a challenge to help me stick to any sort of training plan, so I entered the Swaledale Marathon – giving me six months to prep with the aim of getting round.

It was all going reasonably well during the spring, and I started thinking about what came after June….I needed something to keep my momentum going. We were planning a week in Scotland in September, and I spotted the Loch Ness Marathon. The only other road marathon I had done was London in 1998, and I thought it would be ‘interesting’ to give one a go. Race reports were favourable – perfect. Race entered.

Swaledale came and went and I felt like I was enjoying running again. I had this foolish idea that if I could do 23 up and down in the rain and the mud, 26 on the road couldn’t be that bad…..could it?

September arrived and found me in the Highlands. The start was beautiful, up on the hills (no sign of the Loch until about 6 miles); the first few miles downhill overall but with some ‘pulls’ (reminded me a little of Dent); the support was superb, every house and village we ran through people were out cheering, handing out sweets; and the event organisation brilliant. And yes, stunning scenery.

As for my race – torturous. A fast-ish first 6 miles (I tried unsuccessfully to slow it down); a decent half-Marathon split, then an utter slog for the next 13 miles. I don’t feel that I would have got round more quickly/easily with better pacing – more training perhaps! Do I mention I finished behind someone dressed as Nessie? But I got round (and had a fab week away).

As we all invariably do, I look back to try and benefit from any insights I may have gleaned from the whole experience:

  • if road marathons are your ‘thing’ then I heartily recommend the Loch Ness Marathon, it’s a superb event.
  • I have ultimate respect for anyone that runs this distance, in whatever time; it’s a LONG way, and a long time to ignore that little devil in your head telling you ‘just stop and the pain will end’
  • the huge blow-up Nessie, chip-timing, and a finish with crowds and a ‘proper’ clock almost won me over…..almost. But I prefer those events where despite being nowhere near the ‘sharp end’ I still have the chance of winning a bottle of wine just because of who turned up on the day!
  • long roads….not my thing. Give me so much mud it sucks at your shoes, lung-bursting, thigh-burning uphills, trying to get my breath as I fumble with a gate latch, eye-watering ‘don’t fall! don’t fall! don’t fall!’ tumbling downhill over heather, roots, bog, stone…..

So – an experience, and reaffirmed what I enjoy about running. For now, Swaledale remains my favourite race, and I may try to get some fell races in (and for now, focus on XC!). For what it’s worth, I got a new marathon PB (beat my ‘98 London time by 25 min) but I won’t be planning to better that anytime soon….not for another 19 years anyway…..

Derwentwater Trail Race, Sunday, September 5, 2010


Dougie Nisbet

The Race

There were a bundle of Striders running in the Derwentwater Challenge and I jogged towards the Start area a few minutes before 1pm in the hope of grabbing a chat and a few photos. Unfortunately, the organisers had decided to start the challenge a few more minutes before 1pm than I had anticipated and all I saw were the receding backs of the runners as they headed up and away. So away I wandered lonely as a cloud for a while returning nearer to 2pm for the trail race. Anticipating that they might start this one early too I made sure I was lounging in the starting area in good time. Sure enough with the little hand not yet on 2 we were sent on our way.

I was curious how it’d feel doing this after the Grisedale Horseshoe the day before. Interesting. Very much like the second running phase of a duathlon just when you’ve hopped of the bike. Not unpleasant. Actually, yes, really quite unpleasant now I come to think about it. But I’d paid my (substantial) entry fee and made my choice. It’s really a rather nice course and fiendish in a mischievous sort of way. I like the way it snakes up one side of the valley, hops over, then carries on up the other side. The terrain was much squashier than I expected but I was wearing some lovely new Salomon trail running shoes that I’d bought from that nice Mr Fisher earlier in the morning.

Towards the end of the race I was beginning to loosen up a bit and started making a few gains on the fast descent to the finish. I had to explain to the lass in front that if she hung around gassing to her mates she’d lose her place in the funnel and I’d get her time and she’d get mine. No tea, juice or sandwiches for the finishers (you’d have to do a fell race at a quarter of the price if you want that) but a cup of water and a grubby bit of Kendal mint cake. No sign of any Striders but a browse of the results showed good fast runs by everyone who did the Challenge.

Nina Mason

The Challenge

Heading over the A66 on Sunday morning the weather looked promising. Stef and I had entered the Trail Race – which has the same route as the Challenge but without prizes and starts an hour earlier. With Debs, Denise and Jane doing the Challenge we decided to switch races; a civilised race start of 1pm meant that we could head off to find a coffee shop – sustained by liberal helpings of Debs’ delicious flapjack.

The race starts and finishes in Fitz Park, where we bumped in Barrie. For the cost of the race you get a well-organised check-in, baggage tent, technical t-shirt which you can collect before the race, markers and marshals throughout the course, and a PA system to encourage you at the finish. But the most impressive part is the route – setting off along the disused railway line out of Keswick, there are 8km of trails and boggy footpaths climbing up the valley by Glenderaterra Beck, then looping back following the Cumbrian Way, 6km along the contours of Lonscale Fell and a fast descent into Keswick.

The glorious weather made this a superb run, and it was great to see that the event’s organisation and support (and Kendal Mint Cake) encourages a good mix of runners to get involved. For five ladies and Barrie – a great day out and enjoyable runs had by all.

Darlington 10K, Sunday, August 8, 2010

Two reports … the first from Zoe Evans:

Jim before the start with diminuitive relative.
photo courtesy and © Northern Echo

No less than 16 Striders turned out on Sunday morning for the Darlington 10k! It was a lovely morning and Darlington town centre was packed with runners and supporters alike. The race starts near the market place and consists of 2 laps on closed roads (water at 3k and 7k), then finishes back in the market place.

There was a lot of support around the whole course from local residents who stood outside their houses cheering, and then some fair-sized crowds cheering nearer the town centre. Jan and Calum Young, Peter Brooks and Jacqui Robson all provided some very enthusiastic Strider support around the course which really helped when I was dying on my feet around 8k!

What I want to know is, why do people round these parts persist in describing races as “flat” when they just don’t know the meaning of the word? For your information, I’ve pasted the dictionary definition below:

adjective, flat-ter, flat-test,

1. horizontally level: ‘a flat roof’.
2. level, even, or without unevenness of surface, as land or tabletops.
3. having a surface that is without marked projections or depressions

Do the Brighton 10k and I’ll show you what a flat race really is!

Anyway… All in all it’s a very good race to get a PB – it does have a fair few downhill bits to match the uphills! Nina Mason had a fantastic run on her first ever 10k road race (if you can believe it!) and was the first Strider home in 44mins! Doing my warm-up with Nina must have psyched me up because I had a great run despite the undulations and got under 50mins for the first time ever which left me grinning for the rest of the day. Claire Readey also had a good run on her first ever 10k [ Her first ever race, I believe. Ed], clocking in under an hour. Good performances from all the Striders and lots of happy faces at the end.

… and the second from Nina Mason:

Not a lot of people know this, but Darlo is my hometown … born and raised (for a few years, anyway). There may be a few people – depending on their affiliations – that don’t speak to me for a while once they read this, but … I digress.

Despite this fact, I have never run the Darlington 10K. The day was a bit too muggy for comfort, but at least the sun didn’t come out until it was time to collect the t-shirt. As road-running isn’t usually my bag, I always feel privileged when I see roads closed for runners, fluorescent marshals, water stations, and numerous arrows and distance markers (though these were in kilometres and being the 10K novice that I am I spent a good part of the race trying to work out my mile times in my head). A flattish, two-lap course, with a fair few of the locals out to offer support all the way round.

A big turn-out for a well-organised race – including the Junior Race and Fun Run – plus a good show of purple, as always. As Zoe – who knocked minutes off her PB, well done! – said on the way home, a great way to spend a Sunday morning.

Late news: Jean Bradley won a prize for 2nd FV50!


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Daniel GARBUTT Durham City Harriers M 00:32:02
20 Rosie SMITH Durham City Harriers F 00:35:25
227 Nina MASON FV35 00:44:19
272 Richard HOCKIN MV55 00:45:16
366 Zoe EVANS F 00:47:33
401 Alister ROBSON M 00:47:58
440 Chris HEDLEY MV50 00:49:17
453 Dave WALKER MV45 00:49:40
468 Jean BRADLEY FV50 2 00:50:15
510 Melanie HUDSON F 00:50:47
511 George NICHOLSON MV60 00:50:47
519 Ian GRAHAM MV55 00:51:09
635 James NICHOLSON MV60 00:54:26
673 Mike ELLIOTT MV60 00:55:17
674 Greta JONES FV40 00:55:17
748 Kathryn SYGROVE FV40 00:57:19
837 Lindsey BROOKS FV40 00:59:25
848 Claire READEY FV35 00:59:55

1051 finishers.

VAANE XC Championships, Darlington, Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nina Mason

The working week had seen sunshine and spring-like temperatures. There is sunshine and blue skies today as I write this. Saturday however dawned grey, complete with drizzle to be followed by heavier rain. I smell a cross-country.

The VAA-NE Cross-Country Championships was run from Branksome School, Darlington and saw six Striders enjoy the fine x-country weather, with the added bonus of plenty of mud thrown in for free.

After a discussion as to whether it was warm enough in the teeming rain for vests only, or maybe t- shirt required, or the again gloves instead…it was ladies off first. Fiona Shenton, Jan Young and I formed part of a (somewhat disappointing) field of fourteen—there was no room for hiding in this one—accompanied by the men’s V70 and V75. Fiona had a good run on the fast and a bit-too-flat 5.5K two-lap course, finishing fourth; with Jan and me in hot pursuit.

There was no let up in the rain for the men’s three-lap 8.8K race, and a bigger field was dominated by Brian Rushworth winning an impressive eighth championship. David led the Striders men home with a strong run, with Mike and Conrad close behind.

A soggy, mud-spattered and somewhat chilly group of competitors gathered in the school gym afterwards and saw Fiona and Jan collect medals for winning their age groups. Us ladies also won second team prize, all of which shows you gotta be in it to win it!

A mention must go to Mike’s carrot cake—so good it was worth having to give my shoes an extra scrub.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 ANDERSON, Kirstie Tynedale Harriers F35 1 24:31
4 Fiona Shenton F50 1 26:46
8 Nina Mason F35 3 27:53
14 Jan Young F55 1 29:54

21 finishers.

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 RUSHWORTH, Brian Sunderland Harriers M45 1 32:04
25 David Gibson M40 5 36:23
35 Mike Bennett M55 4 37:58
47 Conrad White M50 6 42:08

60 finishers.