Tag Archives: Simonside Fell Race

This is a classic popular fun fell race set as part of the Thropton Show so there’s usually something to eat and drink for you at the finish. The course is an interesting one that involves getting your feet wet at the optional river crossing early on. If it’s been raining then you’ll get more than your feet wet.

Simonside Fell Race

BM / 11km / 350m

Anita Wright

Anita, Anna and Catherine (neatly in alphabetical order!)This race is of particular significance for me. My parents started the race as a memorial to my brother, Mark, who was killed in a road accident in 1981. It is the reason why I run.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fast forward to 2017 – The Return….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

nameagePOSITIONtime
Kurt Heron
(Ashington Hurst)
SM151.18
Karen Robertson
(NFR)
FV402062.55
Geoff Davis
(NFR)
V602864.57
Susan Davis
(NFR)
FV505577.22
Anita WrightFV566891.38
Catherine SmithFV406991.39
(Visited 95 times, 1 visits today)

Simonside Fell Race, Thropton Show, Saturday, September 19, 2015

BM / 6.4M / 1200'

Nigel Heppell

See the small white bar-shape in a distant field near the centre of photo 1? – that’s the marquee at the start and finish.

photo 1

photo 1

To get to this viewpoint you go up here – see photo 2.

photo 2

photo 2

and then you descend this – see photo 3.

photo 3

photo 3

You also run across some fields and through a river before being entertained by wrestling children, barking dogs, giant leeks and all the fun of this traditional show.

Results are interestingly presented, nobody gets a time, just a placing:

1st Man – Nick Swinburn, NFR 1st woman – Karen Robertson, NFR, position 24th

1st Associate strider – Susan Davis, NFR, 76th
1st Strider – Steph Piper, 86th
2nd Associate strider – Geoff Davis, NFR, 87th
2nd Strider and 3rd Associate strider – Nigel & Esme Heppell, 102nd

114 runners.

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Simonside Fell Race, Thropton Show, Saturday, September 20, 2014

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. King/Queen of the Mountain Race - click flag for more information. 6.4M 1200' Cat BM

Nigel Heppell

For me the first part of this race was just getting to the start line on time. What should have been an easy journey turned to a frustrating dash after joining stationary traffic on the A1, diverting along the backroads of Gateshead towards Newcastle only to see traffic queuing to cross the Redheugh bridge to St James’, leaving no option but to push a way through the throngs of happy shoppers winding their way through Dunston to the Metrocentre. One whole hour for the first 9 miles – I could have run there just as fast, well, once upon a time, maybe. Fortunately not much on the roads beyond Newcastle so managed to arrive in Thropton, park, change, pay entry, register for race with about 5 minutes to spare. Joining Mike B, Susan & Geof(NFR) and Sally H, I was wearing the last-registered number when we started.

Safety briefing highlighted the potential hazards of wading through the river, running through recently felled forestry, along with scambling up and down crags, and included the words ‘what do you expect, it is a fell race you’ve entered’. Nice steady start along road out of village, down along streamside then a refreshing paddle across River Coquet before another level stretch of field gradually rising to uphill lane, double bend through farm buildings and onto steeper pasture land before entering woods where aforementioned forestry vehicles had churned up the surface.

Mike B had long since disappeared ahead and Susan passed me on the climb. I noticed Sally having to hold herself back to keep Geoff company a little way behind. Not so much of a scramble up the rocks to Simonside as steps have been constructed since I last ran here in 2008 but the descent from the ridge seemed trickier and I left a bit of shin skin on a boulder up there as a memento. Downhill through the heather and then the woods is always the most enjoyable part of this race for me and from time to time I do get to overtake a few other runners too, then the pressure is on to maintain the advantage down the lane and across the open ground back towards the river. A quick glance back saw the red-shirted runner I overtook falling further back, but what was that purple vest coming into sight?

I’m gratified to be able to say I had been ahead of our club captain for 6miles of the 7mile race – but only because Jan and Paul suffered transport problems that gifted the rest of us a 10min head start! Paul flew past and continued to draw out a considerable lead in the last stage of the race through a field of long grass, a short stretch of road and an impressively large finishing funnel. I thought about giving chase but after a few paces filed that idea in the folder marked ‘futile’.

Striders were in the (bottled) prizes today with, in no particular order, 1st in age group wins for Susan, Sally (non-alcoholic), Jan, and Mike B.

Next year, 2015, is the 100th anniversary of the Thropton show, a date to remember for anyone planning that far ahead. After serious critical appraisal of the exhibits Mike and I reckon we could clean up in the drop scone, sponge cake, and jam making categories; with a bit more training we could improve our placings in the fellrace and would then be suitably warmed up to do alright in the Cumberland wrestling. We might have to enlist help from Angela for the funniest-shaped vegetable though.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 John Butters NFR M 51.48
12 Karen Robertson NFR F 56.14
25 Mike Bennett M 59.04
?? Paul Evans M ??.??
42 Nigel Heppell M 66.41
45 Susan Davis F 68.28
52 Geoff Davis M 70.34
53 Sally Hughes F 70.34
?? Jan Young F ??.??

74+2 finishers.

(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today)

Simonside Fell Race, Thropton Show, Saturday, September 21, 2013

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. King/Queen of the Mountain Race - click flag for more information. BM / 6.4m / 1200'

Graeme Walton

Grand Prix Race. King/Queen of the Mountain Race.  Well that was tougher than I expected!

With the weather fair Alister and I headed up to Thropton to take part in the fell race that was part of the Thropton Show. We arrived in time to spectate in a bit of Terrier Racing and then along with Mike Hughes it was off to the start. After a pre-race briefing from Phil Green we were off and running.

The first half mile or so was steady and relatively flat. The “fun” was about to start with the river crossing. This turned out to be simple enough and was actually quite refreshing to feel the cool water splashing over my legs. From here we all headed onto an incline through a field and then onto a long drag uphill on differing surfaces. Just as I thought I must be getting somewhere near the summit the real challenge came into view. This next ascent was viscous, climbing up through the rocks to finally reach the high point of the race where the stunning views could not really be appreciated.

Coming down is not my strong point and I lost a couple of places as the more seasoned fell runners showed a lot more courage than I did! As the terrain improved and the gradient lessened my pace improved, picking up a few places. It was then back down through the field, across the river and a quick run to the finish line with terrific support from the spectators. Mike and Alister soon followed with us all in agreement that it was a fab race but we were pleased it was over!

Can’t wait for it next year!

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Morgan Donnelly Borrowdale MV40 44.08
9 Jo Gascoigne-Owens Alnwick F 52.19
29 Graeme Walton MV40 59.17
51 Mike Hughes MV45 64.53
67 Alister Robson MV40 72.31

99 finishers.

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Simonside Fell Race, Thropton Show, Saturday, September 15, 2012

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. King/Queen of the Mountain Race - click flag for more information. BM / 6.4M / 1200'

Rachael Bullock

Grand Prix Race. King/Queen of the Mountain Race.

  • Absolutely lovely race and so much fun. Even though the first half is pretty hard work up the hill, I was still loving it! Think the weather helped too – it was lovely and sunny.
  • Good Strider attendance – Phil, Alister, Dave Shipman, Dave Selby (although who would know that he is a Strider, because apparently he does not like to wear his ‘wife beater’!), Geoff, Susan, Jan, Shaun. Plus a good support crew!
  • After some horror stories from last year, I was a bit nervous about the river crossing, but it turned out to be the best bit! Especially the second time around, it was very refreshing!
  • The trickiest bit was ‘scrambling’ down the crags after coming off the top. I was sooo slow! And there was not even any point to go slow because I still fell on my bottom and got two huge brown patches on my beautiful orange shorts! (Thank God for Vanish!!)
  • Views from the top were really fantastic (I actually remembered to take a look this time).
  • Very nice atmosphere – the race coincides with Thropton show, so there is plenty to keep spectators amused! Attractions range from wrestling to scones.
  • And Susan and Jan both won prizes, yeaaaah!
Striders at Simonside

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Nick Swinburn NFR M 43.24
19 Karen Robertson NFR FV40 55.26
28 Geoff Davis NFR MV50 58.41
44 Shaun Roberts MV50 63.51
57 Alister Robson MV40 69.07
59 David Selby MV40 69.49
63 Susan Davis NFR FV50 1 70.29
67 Phil Owen MV40 72.41
71 Rachel Bullock F 73.21
75 David Shipman MV50 76.27
76 Jan Young FV60 1 76.31

83 finishers.

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Simonside Fell Race, Thropton Show, Saturday, September 17, 2011

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. King/Queen of the Mountain Race - click flag for more information. BM / 6.75M / 1200'

James Garland

Grand Prix Race. King/Queen of the Mountain Race.

The river was quite deep this year!Almost thwarted by the midday A1 traffic I made it to Thropton with just enough time to grab number 70, pin it to my vest, greet the 11 fellow Striders and partially listen to the route description while tying my shoelaces. Five minutes later I was wading through the fast-flowing Coquet, wondering whether this was a sensible warm-up to the GNR.

Fortunately, the sun was shining and I soon got into a steady pace, but not before the guy in front of me was totally taken out by a charging sheep! Yes, really, did anyone else see this? Or did I dream it!? It was a close shear (;-) but would have been a great excuse for the GNR. After the leaping sheep in the field incident it was uphill for the next 2 miles through woodland, fields, heather and mud before the summit of Simonside came into sight. Some runners took the more direct heathery route, others the longer but possibly quicker route along a rough path then the footpath to the summit. By this time the field had scattered and as we descended it was a case of sticking close to the runner in front who, I hoped, knew the way down. Weaving around trees and avoiding deep mud and ankle-twisting terrain, a pack of five of us emerged from the woodland for the quick descent through the fields, down the lane and back across the river, which seemed even stronger. Having crossed this final obstacle we were down to 2 and the competitive spirit kicked in as we approached the showfield for a final sprint. It was then great to see the procession of Striders come home wet, smiling and, in one case, rubbing their head (Alister!) after an encounter with a rock rather than a sheep. Fantastic effort all round!

… fast forward 21 hours and my calves were being pummelled by 2 Teeside physio students in the BUPA GNR massage tent. This running malarkey is definitely worth the pain and effort!

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Phil Sanderson NFR MV40 48:47
6 James Garland M 55:27
17 Ali Raw FV40 58:15
19 Tom Reeves MV40 58:44
26 Geoff Davis MV50 1:00:55
41 Richard Hocking MV60 1:07:33
42 Nina Mason F 1:07:35
46 Alister Robson M 1:11:27
54 Susan Davis FV50 1:13:09
57 Dougie Nisbet MV40 1:14:02
60 Jan Young FV50 1:16:22
61 Phil Owen MV40 1:16:46

70 finishers.

(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)

Simonside Fell Race, Thropton Show, Saturday, September 18, 2010

BM / 6.75M / 1200'

Dougie Nisbet

This was my third run of this quirky and entertaining fell race and a reassuringly half-decent one it was too. After what seems like an interminable series of lacklustre performances I was chuffed to have a faster than usual scramble across the boulders and heather of Simonside. There was the small matter of a little road race the following day that I was saving myself for but when you’re careering down Simonside with a mad grin on your face and there’s a catchable vest ahead, well, what’s a man to do?

On arrival I checked the information board to check our billing; just after Children’s Sports and just before the Wrestling. If I was quick I might just be back in time for the terrier racing. They’re a good crowd at the Thropton Show and they make the fell runners feel a bit special, not just on departure, but on return too, with a generously sized ‘runway’ that takes up a decent chunk of the showfield. There’s something quite buzzy about entering and leaving the showground via the main gate and feeling an integral part of the show rather than some bolted on extra.

Jan and Nina appeared on the start line, with Will running for NFR. I was in my DFR vest and recognised Denise, Matt and Ros also from DFR. I also spied my dependable pace setters Terry Hart and Eric Whittaker. Phil Green briefed us on the course details which like a lot of fell races, involved going away, going up something, going round the top of the something, and coming back again.

So down the road we went and soon hit the [optional] river crossing. Surprisingly deep and refreshing, though not into nadger numbing territory by a long way. Across a field or two then the settling down into the climb up to Simonside. I past Jan about half way up the climb which gave me a bit of a confidence boost and spurred me on up through the wood.

As you emerge from the wood with Simonside you face a route choice. On previous years I’ve taken the tourist route but this year I was a bit quicker and more confident and decided to follow all the bright young things heading directly up the crag. I was right on the heels of NFR’s Terry Hart when he suddenly exited stage right and took the track towards the low road that follows the tourist trail to the top. Ha! He’s taken the long scenic route, and I won’t see him again in this race I thought …

It’s an exciting hand-over-hand scramble up through the heather and I could now see Ros ahead as we hauled our way over the crags to the summit. Although I’ve done this race twice before nothing ever quite prepares you for that tingle as you hit the top and take a sharp left, and you’re suddenly running on the top of the world. But not for long, blink, and you’ll miss the tapes telling you to turn left and go home. This race has a fine and noble tradition of runners going off-piste. The route is clearly marked, it’s just that you have to concentrate very hard otherwise you’ll easily overshoot the marker tapes. Running quite slowly helps.

If you read old race reports for this event you’ll sense that the descent is FUN! A manic, slightly reckless, whiplashed bobsleigh ride down through the conifers. And an NFR vest ahead! I chose a point to overtake and as I shot past I did my best impression of the waiter in the opening credits of Top Cat. It was Terry Hart! How on earth did he get ahead of me? Is it true? If you take the low road and I take the high road, will you be at the top of Simonside afore me?

The run back to the showground is just a blast with a return splash through the river and final push up the lane (this year we were diverted around the sheepdog trials). Matt was there to cheer us on as I managed to close the gap on Ros, and Will and Nina were there at the gate to cheer me back into the showground and the surprisingly euphoric ‘final approach’ along the taped highway to the finish.

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Simonside Fell Race, Thropton Show, Monday, October 19, 2009

Colin Blackburn

Thropton Show is a real shepherds’ show tucked away in the hills beyond Rothbury. There are sheepdog trials (in fact Elfie talked to one guy over from the Netherlands with his dog who’d come a long way to take part), a bit of horse jumping, a small industrial tent, a few stalls but, best of all, Simonside Fell Race. There are several races up and along Simonside. This one sits in the middle in terms of length but is right at the top in terms of fun, if you like scrambling. It’s pretty much out from Thropton, up Simonside, down Simonside and back to Thropton. On the way you get to wade a river, run through beautiful forest, clamber up a heathery hillside and scramble up and over the rocky summit. Lest I put you off for next year, you can avoid the wade and the scramble at the expense of a slightly longer run.

This year Dougie and I were taking part for our fell clubs with just Shaun representing Elvet Striders. As Shaun ran across to register he looked like he was cutting it a bit fine but he still had plenty of time to change into his home-made light-weight racing vest. At 2:20 the 82 runners assembled and were called to order by Phil Green. After a route talk which roughly amounted to, “you have to run to that craggy bit and back”, we set off in wonderful autumn weather.

The show starts and ends in the main show field via a taped-off corridor. There’s a handful of applause and a similar number of bemused looks as we all run out of the show field and on to the roads of Thropton. The short road section is soon over as the river bank path is taken to the “ford”. Last year the course was diverted via the footbridge. This year the river crossing was only knee deep and so deemed safe enough. It’s great getting your shoes wet so early in a race as it means you don’t have to bother avoiding puddles or mud for the rest of the race.

Climb? What climb?

Photo courtesy and © Rob Stephens

For most of this gentle part of the run and as we started to climb up to and through the woods I had Shaun in my sight. As the heather started and the real climb kicked in I felt I was gaining on him, little by little. After hauling myself on to the summit rocks he was just a few strides ahead of me. Then the descent. It is precipitous! It’s a steep rocky track cutting through the heather. The odd boulder is so big it’s best to sit on it and drop down. At this point I passed Shaun, or rather he let me pass him—what a gentleman! As I negotiated the heather I didn’t think too much about how much ground I was making on Shaun (if anyone now has the idea that I had a personal aim here… ). I finally came out of the heather and on to the track and looked back. I had picked up a fair few yards.

The zigzagging descent through the woods here is really nice. It’s mostly on good tracks and is good running. At this stage I was starting to feel fairly alone barring one woman up ahead of me. Every now and then she’d zig and then a few seconds later I’d zig. Then she’d zag and another few seconds later I’d zag. As I emerged from the woods I looked at where she’d gone, saw the tape on the stile and where she zigged so I zigged. After a great descent down a steep pasture I got to the gate to see her stood there asking if I knew where I was going. I suddenly realised she didn’t. I apologise to her now if she’s reading for what might have been a slightly crude comment. A few moments of panic struck…was there tape on the gate? No…was there an obvious route back toward Thropton? No…had I made a really stupid mistake? Yes!

So, I mustered everything I had and ran back up the hill to see runners emerging from the wood and going the other way. I didn’t recognise any of the runners so I guessed I’d lost a fair few places. Ah well, these things happen. The lost woman and me then started to pass the slower runners who were now ahead of us. They all must have realised we’d either paced it badly or got lost. As we got back toward Thropton a runner who looked like he’d finished joined her to cheer her in, it turns out he was the winner of the race. A few seconds after her I crossed the line to see Shaun looking slightly bemused. He’d realised I’d made a mistake and pretty much the same mistake he made last year. I’ll not make it again at this race!

A couple of minutes later and Dougie finished, though he still had the GNR to run! The final runner got very lost with a team of runners going out to look for her once she had been reported missing. She turned up safe and sound.

Would I have stayed ahead of Shaun? Who knows. Was it an enjoyable race? Yes. Will I be back next year? You bet…I just hope Shaun is too!

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 James Buis Heaton Harriers M 46.17
17 Karen Robertson NFR FV40 55.04
56 Shaun Roberts MV50 1.05.45
68 Colin Blackburn NFR MV40 1.08.58
75 Dougie Nisbet DFR MV40 1.14.25

82 finishers.

(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)

Simonside Fell Race, Thropton Show, Saturday, September 20, 2008

BM / 11km / 350m

Nigel Heppell

Saturday’s Simonside Fell Race attracted a field of 80 runners. Nigel H, Shaun R, and Dougie N ran for Elvet Striders, and Susan & Geoff D were in disguise as NFR.

On what must have been one of the warmest days of the summer – I know that’s not saying much, but it still caused the perspiration to flow and the cheeks to glow – the race followed the usual route*, although sadly we had to omit the plunge through the river because there was too much err , water, in it. From my position in mid-field across the valley bottom I watched Shaun gradually pull away from me, and ahead of him I caught brief glimpses of Geoff’s steady lope as he disappeared up the hill and into the distance. There followed a runable climb up the roadway before we hit the steeper track through fields and my first walk of the day. Fortunately, this doesn’t go on for long and the track flattens before entering the woods and climbing again. This bit is like trying to run up a narrow boulder-strewn dry stream bed and a lot of bunching occurs, which is a good excuse to slow down and catch breath.

*As we leave the woods and hit the heather, those of us who’ve done it before know to veer left and head directly for the escarpment though deep heather and broken ground. The turning is marked with a strip of tape but I noticed a group of runners ahead of me ploughing straight on up the gully. I hadn’t the breath to shout after them, but assumed they were seeking easier contours Approaching the base of Simonside I was hailed by a cry of “Nigel….you b**tard” from somewhere behind and I turned to see a good number of runners who I knew to have been well ahead of me floundering through the heather from an odd direction. It seems they’d missed a turning. Oh dear! [ Do I detect a note of glee, by any chance??? What I actually shouted was: “Nigel, you bastard! Take a bloody short-cut, would you?” Ed.]

I was surprised how energised I felt after that, and with only a short scramble on all fours to reach the top of the course I began to think I could make a bit of a race out of this on the downhill section. Charging through the woods, dodging low branches, twisting and turning and splatting through the gloopy bits, slithering over tree roots and moss-covered rocks is great fun and I knew I wouldn’t be overtaken by anyone I knew until we cleared the woods and got back onto the drudgery of the roads and the flat valley crossing. Determined to make the most of my unexpected advantage I kept my head down and didn’t look back although I fully expected to be overhauled at any moment.

One or two other runners came past as I crossed the final field – through the middle of a sheep dog trial – and a particularly energy-sapping knee-deep bog, but no-one I knew. From there back into the showfield and down the funnel to the finishing line I wasn’t challenged at all and was very satisfied with my time. I stood around waiting to cheer the others in but it took ages before they appeared – to paraphrase a recent race report editor, I’d gone home and had my tea before Shaun appeared. I’m told a second wrong turning was taken along with a few other runners and valuable time lost. C’est la vie.

Geoff of course was well up the field and Susan came in a few minutes after Shaun. Dougie turned up a little later looking remarkably fresh after his exertions.

Moral of this story – it’s not just the running that counts in a fell race!

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Nick Swinburn NFR M 47.12
18 Aly Raw Bingley FV40 58.54
20 Geoff Davis NFR MV50 2nd MV50 60.15
33 Nigel Heppell MV50 66.45
52 Shaun Roberts MV50 71.34
59 Susan Davis NFR FV40 75.05
61 Dougie Nisbet MV40 76.09
65 Eric Whittaker Blackhill MV60 1st MV60 77.38

79 finishers

(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)

Simonside Fell Race, Thropton Show, Saturday, September 15, 2007

BM / 11km / 350m

Colin Blackburn

Another Saturday, another country show race. Thropton is pretty village nestled on the edge of Simonside just beyond Rothbury. The latest outbreak of Foot & Mouth in Surrey once again meant a show without livestock but all the usual attractions were there and there was a good selection of produce on show. On the drive up from County Durham the rain started but by the time we got to the show the weather was glorious. After registering in the back of a horsebox there was time for a quick warm-up before a prompt if slightly unexpected start.

The start and the finish take the runners right through the showfield to the applause and bemusement of the visitors. After a jog through the village the route goes off-road alongside the river before the runners are forced to cross the River Coquet, only knee-deep thankfully. There’s then a mix of fields, tracks and roads leading to the gradual climb through the the forest on the slopes of Simonside. Emerging from the forest reveals the rocky summit of Simonside itself and a realisation of the sharp climb ahead. After struggling through the heather “foot hills” the real clim begins as we all end up on hands an knees as the slope bites. The final scramble through a gap in the crags brings us to the summit for a very brief flat run before we head back down through the crags for a precarious descent. Once off the steep slopes the race becomes a gentler descent back through the forest and then back to Thropton, inluding crossing that river again just when shoes have started to dry out!

The race was followed by a fantastic spread of cakes made by the organisers and a presentation in the beer tent. Three Striders, Sue, Geoff and I, ran under our NFR vests (though two of us had our Striders shorts on!) while Dave Robson ran this as his first fell race.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 R. Anderson Teviotdale M 49.12
14 V. Oldham Norham FV40 52.36
33 G. Davis NFR MV50 57.45
60 C. Blackburn NFR MV45 62.16
76 S. Davis NFR FV45 67.21
92 D. Robson MV55 73.22

100 finishers

(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)