Tag Archives: Shaun Roberts

Shaun was the web officer for Elvet Striders for many years and has contributed countless race reports and articles.

DKMS Charity Relays, Aykley Heads, Durham, Saturday, June 23, 2018

24 hours

Clear skies and fine weather made for a great weekend of running round Aykley Heads. Unsung heroes saw the sun set and sun rise over Durham as they saw the event through from set up to strike down. 24 hours, and then some.

Shaun and Ros were there to open and close the event. I missed the start (I’d forgotten how steep that hill is up from Durham on a bike) so don’t have any photos of the beginning of the event. If you have any photos you’d like to add to the gallery below please get in touch.

Jonathan writes:

“We had everything in place and were primed for the start.  I was going to lead the first lap in my DKMS shirt and we realised we needed a baton.  Thanks to the quick thinking of our President, David Shipman, a frog (fly-swatter) was produced from his camper van which we kept going every minute of the 24-hour period.  We tweeted updates every 250km run and we hoped to exceed 1500km and were delighted to hit 1725km but more importantly, to finish with Shaun leading the charge on the final lap – with an impressive sprint finish. We often say we are proud to be purple (our club colours) and this weekend was no exception.

We took a total of £1110 in cash donations. In addition Abbey’s Angels have paid £95 direct to DKMS.  Jan and Tony Young who provided endless cups of tea and coffee (and cake!) over the 24-hour period also raised £86 in sponsorship (plus Gift Aid).  The Just Giving campaign page is heading nicely towards £500 plus Gift Aid, so we should raise at least £1 for every km run! “

Some statistics (H/T Angela):

112 people ran
Total of 345 laps run (1,725 km)

Teams with most laps
1) Waldridge Warriers completed 67 laps
2) Long Slow Run Sunday completed 36 laps
3) Sisters with Blisters completed 31 laps
4) Abbey Angels completed 15 laps
5) Durham City Harriers completed 9 laps
6) Farmer Maggot and his/her Turnip completed 2 laps.

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Howgills Barn Weekend, nr Sedbergh, Saturday, March 29, 2014

Shaun Roberts

Yes, that is Angela in that thing.Many thanks to Nigel for once again organising a great weekend in the Howgills! And this time he organised some decent weather as well, which really helped. The north-east may have been lost under sea-frets from the east, but the Howgills were warm, dry and even sunny. The barn was all very civilised, and there was good food and crack on the Friday night. On the Saturday a decent group headed off to the west for the day, and seventeen miles of hills, including Randygill Top, Yarlside, Cautley Spout and The Calf, whilst three walkers had it just slightly easier, on a good day out.

The Howgills!

The new choice of pub, the Dalesman in Sedbergh was a good one, with great food and a good selection of beers: many thanks to Angela and Mike for driving the lot of us over there.

Lunch stop in an artwork by Andrew Goldsworthy

More good crack after that, then Sunday brought a now-traditional climb through the ‘Clouds’ (i.e. limestone pavements) and on up to Wild Boar Fell in balmy conditions. After a rest on the beach at Sand Tarn, we reached the top, with earily atmospheric views across the Mallerstang valley, through cloud and sun. Then down the hillside for bacon, eggs and beans, helpfully cooked by Mandy this time, standing in for our usual chef, this year sadly elsewhere. Great stuff … so many thanks, Nigel, for once again doing the honours.

Here are a few more of his excellent photos for a taste of proceedings … see link below for the full set.

Still snow up here.Setting off up Yarlside. Life's a beach.Scene at High White Scar.
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Durham Dales Challenge, Wolsingham and Middleton-in-Teesdale, Saturday, June 22, 2013

30 and 16 mile options

Shaun Roberts and Rachel Bullock

Shaun Roberts on the 30-miler …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

… and Rachel Bullock on the 16-miler:

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

For what we are about to receive ...

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

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

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The Yomp Mountain Challenge, Kirkby Stephen, Sunday, June 2, 2013

23M / 4,000' (with 11.5M and 6.25M options)

Shaun Roberts

aka Mallerstang Horseshoe & Nine Standards Yomp

Well, what a difference a year makes. A year ago the marshals were freezing on the hills as the wind tore into their tents. This time round it was bright and sunny, and looked as if it could get seriously hot later in the day, though a bit of a breeze up on the fells made it all very pleasant to run in. Last time around, I’d just done the Half-Yomp, whilst Angela and Sue, as well as our visiting young Turk Yusuf, took on the full thing – about time for me to have a go …

Managed to get over to Kirkby Stephen in time for a nine o’clock start (you choose your own start time, between 8:00 and 10:00), only to see that Angela and John had already set off, as had Paul Evans and Anna Seeley. Off I went, out on the road heading south – before turning off across country, for the long climb up towards the Nab and Wild Boar Fell. The legs felt a tad heavy, and a few small muscles were twinging a bit – something to do with Netball the day before – but within twenty minutes all that had sorted itself out. After three miles or so, Angela and John came into view and we exchanged pleasantries … they were on a 100%-walking strategy, and they were going to stick to it. Onwards and upward … bit of a walk, bit of a scuttle, that sort of thing, gaining height … and Sue Jennings also hove into sight. She was running on her own this time round, and was looking good so far.

Finally it was good to emerge on the flat top of Wild Boar Fell, and I got to the trig point in 1:18. Then a lovely run down to a bit of a ‘saddle’ before another climb up to Swarth Fell, and some more good running to Swarth Fell Pike. Then there was a bit of a knee-knocking descent to get down to the bottom of the Mallerstang valley. Half-way down was Anna, quads suffering a bit from her 31-mile effort the week before … a quick few words, down into the valley, and then up again, in a long series of drags with the occasional flatter section, that took us eventually up via the Riggs to High Seat and High Pike Hill. Three hours in, now, as I came to another steep descent to get to the re-joining with the Half-Yomp route at Tailbridge.

Plenty of climbing on offer ...

So far so good. Felt ok … the usual mix of normal and caffeinated gels was doing the trick for me … so now for the mind games. I started thinking of how fast the descent was from the Nine Standards last time, and was it, perhaps, possible to get back to the finish in under four hours? Why do we do this sort of thing?? A good run would still be a good run whether it’s just under or over some round number, so why do we torment ourselves with this sort of crap?? Especially, in my circumstances, when I’d inconveniently forgotten the considerable climb to get up to the Nine Standards! Met Dougie and Roberta along here – they’d opted for a sensible walk over the Half-Yomp route, and I didn’t blame them – the views were absolutely fantastic in the clear air. So, to the Standards in 3h30, and again, I’m thinking about that round number. It wasn’t going to happen, as it seems that a long four-mile hammer down a hill when the quads have done 19 miles is a completely different proposition to doing it after 7! The hard stony bits felt very hard, and the tarmac seemed to go on for ages.

Good to get back into Kirkby Stephen in four hours and five minutes. I was well-pleased with that, as it’s a similar distance to Swaledale, but way more boggy, and also with more ascent. Saw Paul at the finish – he come fourth, which was a great performance. Unusually, he looked knackered, but explained that his youngest was keeping him awake at night! Sadly, Angela and John were also there, as they’d had to pull out at Aisgill due to Angela’s back giving her problems. Anna came in later on, as did Sue, a good ten minutes faster than her last outing here.

This one is only six days before Swaledale, so I’ll have to see how that one pans out (next year I may have a go at the Howgills Marathon that Dave Robson reported on a week ago). But this is an excellent trip out on the hills, as is the shorter Half-Yomp version. Well worth a go, and you can enter on the day … or not, should the weather be awful.

Results

Full Yomp
Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Patrick Hanna Howgill Harriers M 3:13:16
4 Paul Evans M 3:35:20
18 Shaun Roberts M 4:05:22
22 Emma Wood Unattached F 4:09:49
99 Anna Seeley F 5:40:54
131 Sue Jennings F 6:24:35

189 walkers and runners finished, 7 retired.

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Calderdale Relay, Halifax, Sunday, May 19, 2013

50 miles

Laura Garnham and Shaun Roberts

Laura Garnham …

The Calderdale relay – I didn’t know a huge amount about it, other than I had agreed to do it. Well, I was promised good scenery and free food and that generally tempts me.

Most of us (bar Will, Till, Bill, Mike H and Paul E) went down on Saturday and along with Pam went out in the evening for a curry. (Apparently Halifax is famous for its curries, honestly I just thought Halifax was just a branch of bank … next someone will tell me that there is a small town called Barclays in Sussex that makes a cracking fish pie).

On Sunday morning we woke early (Dave’s brother and his wife Lyn had kindly put Dave, Shaun, Nigel, Jan and I up for the night and even provided breakfast which I’m sure everyone appreciated) to get Nigel and Shaun to the start of the first leg in time. We managed to catch up with them a few times where the route intersected with the roads, and cheered them on (in fact most of the day consisted of cheering, for pretty much everyone who ran by, all in all a very good atmosphere).

Bill and Mike fuel up before the start of Leg 5.

Jan and I ran the second leg up to Stoodley Pike (that’s its name in my head at least) and some hill I now forget the name of. It was a very enjoyable run, plenty of water and mud, which I see as a good thing, some rather spectacular views, and a random lady gave me some jelly babies half way round, small acts of kindness and all that, can’t complain! I think it was about 10 miles (not sure how long it took us, I still haven’t got round to getting a watch). [1:34:02! Well done! Ed. ] Jan was a fab running partner and we pulled each other round well, I can get ahead a bit on the uphills but she flies down them while I try too hard not to be going down on my backside. I remember something about running like a duck being suggested, ducks obviously being well known for their downhill running style … though I’m sure it was helpful information. [You can rely on Jan for this sort of thing. Ed. ]

Once finished we got free hot showers (luxury!), changed into clean shoes and clothes (more luxury) and set off to catch up with and support everyone else on their legs. The only people I didn’t see on the day was Paul F who I think ran leg 3 with Dave, I’m sure he won’t mind but I have eaten his slice of cake. The day finished sometime after 3 with Mike B and Till completing leg 6 (which looked very scenic with canals, blue bell woods and wonderful views, but all paid for by a hill that seemed to take ages even to drive let alone run up!)

We were then able to trade our numbers in for a meal, pie and peas and mint sauce, which I didn’t have but everyone else seemed to enjoy. There were also free hot drinks, but no water (which seemed a bit daft, generally people finishing a run don’t crave a cup of tea … or maybe they do, I’m not a tea drinker so I wouldn’t know). We headed home soon after that and I hope everyone had a relaxing evening. All that remains is to thank Dave for getting us organised, Nigel for giving me a lift down and back, and Jan for kitting me out with all the equipment, and say well done to everyone who ran, from the looks of it we all got good times!

Paul and Will glad to finish Leg 4 ... ninth fastest time for this leg, btw ... yes, Jan was everywhere.

Shaun Roberts adds:

Many thanks to Dave Shipman for masterminding yet another epic outing to the southern reaches of Yorkshire for this superb relay event. Thanks also to his brother, John, and Lyn, for very hospitable bed and breakfast facilities, and to everyone supporting at many locations round the course … all much appreciated! As was the excellent curry the night before …

I recommend a look at Nigel’s excellent photographs (link below), which give a good feel for the day, should you be thinking of having a go next year.

Thanks Dave!

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Snods 6, Snods Edge, Sunday, May 15, 2016

6.25 miles

Shaun Roberts

Rubbish. Utterly useless. Sadly, Elvet Striders performances at Snods Edge were truly awful. This is the quiz I’m talking about. Failing to name the “lithuated lemon drink invented in 1929”, for example cost us dearly (‘Seven-Up’) … as did failing to actually get right answers such as ‘Anastasia’ onto the quiz paper, though I blame a certain Dutchman for that one …

The race, you ask? Well, let’s get me out of the way first. I had a good fast start, legged it out of the big dip, and felt Simon breathing on my shoulder. Managed to stretch ahead, and kept in front of him for a surprisingly long time, and went through 5K in 20:45 or so … so far so good. Then just as we went off the tarmac section he went past, and I wasn’t to see much of him again. Then I had another battle with a ‘PB Fitness’ runner, and he kept me honest till the finish, so I ended up pushing quite hard the whole way, and was well-pleased to get round in 43 minutes plus the small change.

Will.
photos © and courtesy Sara Sarginson

Marco.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile … at the sharp end, Will had won the race, after coming in second twice, I think, in previous attempts. Tom came in third, confirming how well he’s going at the moment, and Simon had overtaken a couple more to come in eighth. If our good friends and hosts the Bounders had been keeping track of team entries, I reckon we’d have been a shoe-in for the team prize. It is even dimly possible that my eleventh position might have qualified for a gadgie prize, had there been one, but more likely one of those young fit lads at the front will have turned out to be 59. One day …

Carolyn.
photos © and courtesy Sara Sarginson

Louise and Greta.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For our ladies, Carolyn, Jules and Rachel all had good runs, and with the largest number of entries from any team, we were well-represented throughout the field.

After the race, the usual festivities in the village hall were a good crack. Excellent bottled beers, a superb spread of food: curries, pizzas, pies, token salad … and a fine selection of puddings (thanks for yours, Lydia!), of which special mention goes to the carrot cake. Then the above-mentioned quiz, of which enough said, and the raffle, which we were seriously unlucky in, the notable exception being Carolyn who scooped a fine red hat with a bottle of wine inside.

So … many thanks to Blackhill Bounders for another splendid and well-organised evening! We’ll be back …

Sara Sarginson took some excellent photographs catching quite a few Striders in a good mood at a gate … more at link below:

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Will Horsley M 37:34
3 Tom Reeves M 40:49
8 Simon Gardner M 42:05
11 Shaun Roberts M 43:16
13 Cate Clarke PB Fitness F 44:21
27 Conrad White M 47:12
34 Carolyn Bray F 48:42
35 Marco Van Den Bremer M 49:07
37 Bill Ford M 49:22
49 Juliet Percival F 51:09
52 Rachel Bullock F 51:57
57 Danny Lim M 52:32
57+ Lucy Cowton F 52:45-ish?
58 Jean Bradley F 53:06
60 Paul Beal M 53:37
71 Lydia Hutchinson F 56:09
72 Louise Barrow F 56:19
73 Greta Jones F 56:19
76 George Nicholson M 57:32
76+ Barrie Evans M 60:00-ish?
77 Karen Chalkey F 60:24
79 Victoria Tindale F 61:44
80 Mike Elliot M 62:26
81 Andy James M 62:30
82 Christine Farnsworth F 62:50
84 Jo Richardson F 63:06
85 Dave Robson M 63:09

89 finishers.

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Colin’s ‘Leaving Do’ Social Run, Nr. Blanchland, Saturday, April 20, 2013

6 miles

Shaun Roberts

Colin explains that this is a 'leat' (also lete or leet, or millstream) - an artificial watercourse or aqueduct dug into the ground, especially one supplying water to a watermill or its mill pond, or as here for the delivery of water for mineral washing and other purposes. OK? Onwards ...

Many thanks to Colin and Elfie for organising a lovely run and walk from their house on Saturday! A couple of dozen Striders arrived on their doorstep on a beautiful sunny afternoon for gorgeous trips round lovely local bits of the North Pennines – great to be out running in the sunshine for once – and a first from Colin’s place, I have to add. Afterwards, we were supplied with a great spread, including sandwiches, cakes and cheesecake … all very welcome. We took the opportunity to pass on a thank-you gift of a crate of Durham Brewery ales as a token of appreciation for Colin’s hard work over the years on this very website – he will be sorely missed, though we hope he’ll still be available on the end of an email should extreme need arises. 😉

Once again, heartfelt gratitude from me and all the club! So long, and thanks for all the fish …

Come back Colin! All is forgiven ...

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Howgills Barn Weekend, nr Sedbergh, Saturday, March 9, 2013

Shaun Roberts

Many thanks to Nigel for once again organising a great weekend in the Howgills!

The Howgills!

The barn was as good as last time, as was the crack and the food on the Friday night. We had two running groups heading off onto the fells in epic snowy and windy conditions on the Saturday, plus walkers doing their own thing – also Jan doing the Dentdale Run. After the best part of five hours on the hills, we were ready for a spot of leisurely rugby-watching in the pub in Ravenstonedale, with good beer and food and more crack back in the barn. Sunday brought a bitter chill to the wind, but amazingly by five past nine we were all outside again and heading out for the top of Great Boar Fell. More snow and ice, also great views, before the weather closed in and we legged it back down the hillside for bacon, sausage, eggs, toast … all of which were very welcome. Great stuff … so many thanks once again, Nigel, for making this all happen.

Here are a few of Nigel’s excellent photos (see link below) for a taste of proceedings …

We're not going out in that weather, are we? Oh yes we are, says Geoff, demob-happy at the prospect of imminent retirement.

Laura, Rachel and Susan following Dave up into the mist.Quite a bit of snow around.
Dave and Rachel heading up Wild Boar Fell.The rush down for a bacon sandwich.

If anyone has any idea how these wild horses ended up in the Howgills, please get in touch!

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Pam’s Sunday Social Run, Allensford, Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shaun, Pam and Till

Photo-shoot in the Derwent Valley.

Many thanks to Pam and Paul for organising a great run and walk on Sunday! Twenty or so Striders and guests turned up at the car park in Allensford, which somehow managed to be both icy and slushy … a sign of things to come. Paul Foster lead us along a beck to the west, coming quickly to a bridge for an early photo-shoot, and a view of a waterfall, swollen with melt-water. Then we climbed through fields, then made our way along a country lane in complete flood. Cold freezing feet all round now … luckily the rest of the route wasn’t quite so soggy. As we got onto the C2C to head back east towards Rowley, we had the choice of foot-deep snow to run in, or rutted wet tracks through the stuff – I opted for lots of knee-exercise, for the most part, which kept the feet dry, and the sweat flowing.

Waterfall swollen with meltwater.This stuff was *cold*.

On now to the Hownsgill Viaduct, and great views in bright sunshine for miles. This Victorian edifice is being fitted out with anti-suicide fencing, that to my mind will not improve it’s looks one bit … and, I suspect not deter the more enterprising, get-up-and-go type of suicider anyway! Lovely snowy descent back to the River Derwent and a riverbank return to Allensford. Eight miles, but the best part of two hours running through all the snow. Many thanks, Paul – an epic run in those conditions.

Pam lead a lovely walk in the Derwent Valley at the same time as the run. Then off to the Punch Bowl at Edmondbyers for a great lunch, washed down by a choice of excellent beers.

A Sunday well-spent! Any more Sunday Run possibilities, folks?

… Pam adds:

Kim out and about on her new hips! Twenty runners/walkers turned up on a bright but chilly morning. Sadly the car park proved to be more difficult than the previous day – firm snow had transformed into slippery mounds of very skiddy stuff. But we managed and set off. The river banks were soft, slushy and slippery in parts but the main feature (hazard?) of the day was flooding – of varying depths and difficulty. At one point the bank was being submerged by the rapidly expanding river so we had to dodge around a tree to avoid it. Then there was a dash through a ‘lake’ to cross the stile in a field and finally a farm track which had become a mini stream! Various ‘river crossing’ techniques were applied while others looked on in amazement (amusement?).

However, it was a bright sunny day, the views were spectacular and we just had such a laugh. Eventually we all arrived at the Punch Bowl for an excellent lunch. ‘Man of the Match’ for me was Till who managed to run 19+ miles from Durham straight to the pub – and still arrived before the rest of us! Amazing!

I’d just like to thank everyone who braved the conditions for what was a really enjoyable day.

… and Till Sawala:

The Striders social run, combined with a Sunday lunch in Edmundbyers, looked like an excellent opportunity for a long run into previously uncharted territories.

After the thawing and freezing of the past few days had turned the soft snow cover on the railway lines into an icy obstacle course, I decided to swap the trail shoes for a pair of normal running shoes, and hit the roads instead. I left Durham heading east on the A691, through Witton Gilbert and towards Lanchester. The cycle lane turned out to be impassable, and the right side of the road littered with puddles and running water, so I kept to the left side – not recommended on a weekday, but on this Sunday morning, there was very little in the way of traffic (perhaps Andy Murray had something to do with it?). In Lanchester, I left the A road, and after a short detour, turned left onto quiet Newbiggin Lane. I crossed the railway line, only to confirm my earlier decision, and headed straight west. On the climb towards Humber Hill Lane, the going got considerably more difficult, as water was streaming down towards me. However, reaching the crest, I was more than compensated for wet feet by spectacular views of the snow covered countryside.

No end of melt-water about ... I turned right when I reached Longedge Lane, and right again to join the A68 towards Castleside. From here, the road descended steeply towards Allensford and the River Derwent, only to rise again equally steeply on the other side. I took the climb very slowly, navigating frequent puddles and looking out for occasional cars. Upon spotting the Derwent Reservoir in the distance, I took a left turn at Caterway Heads, onto the B6278. Another fast descent was followed by a gradual climb towards Edmundbyers, where I quickly spotted the Fruit Bowl [ Very close! Ed. ], and was soon joined by other Striders. A well-deserved pint or two, and delicious (vegetarian) lunch in great company followed. Special thanks go to Shaun, who lent me a warm fleece, to Pam who organised the event, and to Jan who gave me a lift back to Durham! For the record: 32.5 km (19.6 mi) with 486 m (1594 ft) climbed in 2:46.

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Clay Bank East, Sunday, January 6, 2013

BS / 5.7m / 680'

Shaun Roberts

What a difference a year makes. This time last year we had bright low sunshine, with superb views around the moors and crisp frost to run over. This time around was to be a much murkier, clartier affair. The route looks a bit intimidating at the start, as you look up to the edge of Urra Moor from Clay Bank … and yet, once up that steep slope, most of the rest is pretty runnable. Met Tom, Dave, Dave and Jan at the start … didn’t see Dougie then, though afterwards he says he heard me!

Tom reaches the trig point in the murk ...
photo courtesy and © Nic Barber

After a bit of a delay due to the good turnout, we were off, and funnelling towards a gate. We squeezed through this, and then I had a bit of luck. A little group ahead of me peeled off to the right, scrambling up the hill over grass, rather than sticking to the track, so I thought I’d follow them. Wasn’t sure whether this was a good idea until, reaching the top, faster runners went past, which is a sure sign that it was a good idea. Nice running now, along the edge of the hill, followed by a short steep bank before a long slightly uphill drag to the trig point. The conditions were getting really murky up here now … the excellent and atmospheric photos (link below) give a flavour of this. After a slightly annoying bit of two-way traffic along a sheep track, we now had a superb gently-sloping downhill section of about two miles, interrupted by a short uphill bit of forest track in the clartiest, and messiest of conditions. Great to hammer down to the finish after this bit.

Tom was already in, after a great run to get inside the top twenty. I was a tad disappointed to come in a fair bit slower than last year, but I was higher up the field ??? So perhaps some of that was due to the clartiness. Dave Selby wasn’t long after me, claiming ‘Won’t be long before I’m in front of you!’ We shall see. Dave Shipman enjoyed his run, as did Jan, once again completely outclassing her age-group competitors – sorry, competitor – to win even more wine. Sure she’s winning it faster than she can drink it. And Dougie was next in, still ahead of 25 others, and also enjoyed a lovely little fell race, which I can recommend to anyone. Note: This was the 8th race of the 14 in the NEHRA Winter Series, and Esk Valley have collated the latest positions … see link below. Still 6 more to go, and so all to play for, with 8 results counting. Next up the ‘Broughton Woods Wobble’ on the 3rd of Feb, also from Clay Bank, and also, it looks to me, ‘runnable’. Details here.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Jayson Cavill Pickering RC M 37.00
19 Thomas Reeves MV45 4 42.52
39 Nicola Kent Loftus & Whitby FV40 1 45.14
85 Shaun Roberts MV55 7 51.08
97 David Selby MV40 12 52.19
124 David Shipman MV55 13 56.14
137 Jan Young FV60 1 59.34
145 Dougie Nisbet MV45 24 61.12

170 finishers.

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