Tag Archives: Viking Chase

Viking Chase, Lord Stones Country Park, Carlton Bank, Cleveland, Sunday, July 14, 2019


Nick Latham

Courtesy of Clive Thornton

When is a race not a race?  When it isn’t on Strava?  That’s one opinion…

Jan Young asked on the Striders Facebook group if anyone wanted a lift in the week before, otherwise I would have missed it.  After convincing the family to come down and have a walk while the race was on, I rejigged my weekend’s runs to fit in.

I wasn’t planning to race earlier in the week and as I stood in the starting bunch of 91 runners, I came to the decision I wasn’t going to run it as one.  I’d been working on building some consistent aerobic mileage and didn’t want to ruin that with either an injury from an enthusiastic descent or just over-exertion.  I would take it relatively easy on the ascents and not over-egg it on the level and downhill.

I set off gently from the back half of the pack and was really chuffed to reach the trig point at the end of the first climb (stone track all the way) without having walked but not pushed into the red either.  There’s a first time for everything.  The descent back to the start was steeper and paved, which made it tougher, having to keep my eyes on my footing at all times, but at least this is where I’m at my most comfortable.  The paving was a theme on a lot of the path along the ridge to the turn at the far end.

That was only the first climb and I knew there were three more to come before the turn.  I ended up leap-frogging several other runners, them either being stronger than me on the ascent or descent (or me being stronger on the descent or ascent, whichever you prefer).  The views from the top of the ridge were spectacular, when I could lift my eyes off the path to take them in.  I decided to pause to take a snap on my phone, that’s how hard I wasn’t racing.

After a “scramble” through the Wainstones and the final ridge section, I came down to the third checkpoint at Clay Bank and turned for home…only to be faced with a fifth steep climb.  Minor planning fail, I hadn’t spotted this one on the elevation profile.  Once up this shorter climb, the forest track turned more undulating, without any more serious ascents and a net descent of about 50m.  An extra bonus was being back on earth rather than rock.  I still wasn’t pushing to the max and it was a good job I’d held back on the first half.  I was tiring but it seemed most of the other people I’d been swapping places with were struggling more as they fell back.

I say most because as I passed through the final gate off the fell I could hear footsteps behind me and one runner, from NYMAC, was close behind.  Rather than slam it in his face, I decided to hold it open and as he passed through I fell in behind him.  We turned onto the finishing field (unwelcomely slight uphill) and I already knew I wasn’t going to push him; if I was racing I would have dug in and given it some beans to the line, as it was I was content to follow him home.

Looking over the results, I was astounded to have come in around mid-table.  Nina Mason finished second lady and Camilla Lauren-Maatta was Striders’ other finisher, with Jan acting as sweeper for the day.

So when is a race not a race?  When you decide it isn’t.

Click here for the results


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Viking Chase Four Peaks, North York Moors, Sunday, September 20, 2015

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. King/Queen of the Mountain Race - click flag for more information. 8m / 1800'

Penny Browell

Despite it being a GP race only a handful of Striders made it over to Carlton in Cleveland for this friendly and scenic race. A shame as at £8 which goes towards the local mountain rescue team it’s a bargain and the weather was perfect for it, clear and calm with a bit of sunshine but not too hot.

A reminder of those Four Peaks

I’d been warned it was a race of two halves and it certainly was. For me the first half was a chance to display my strengths and extreme weaknesses as an aspiring fell runner. With four tough climbs and descents I felt strong and confident on the uphills. I was within spitting distance of Paul at the top of the first one and near the front of the pack. However descent 1 and I was overtaken by at least 15 people, including two ladies who were to become my nemeses for the duration of the race. Up the next hill and I overtook most of those who had flown past me on the way down (including the two ladies) but down again and past me they flew again. This happened on each of the four climbs and descents. So I finished the fourth descent rather further back than seemed fair after all of my successful uphill battles (and well behind the two ladies I’d already overtaken 3 times each!).

However the race was not over and as we moved into the second half it was time to go into more of a cross country mindset as we moved from climbing up and tottering down (in my case) to more of an undulating muddy course. This half was not without its climbs but the descents were more within my capability so I dug in and set about finding the ladies. Within a mile or so I could see nemesis 1. She was doing a good pace and it seemed to take forever to catch her but as we reached a slightly steeper hill I knew it was doable and went past her slightly more out of breath than is ideal with 3 miles still to go. However I sensed her dropping back once I was past so ploughed on in search of nemesis 2. I passed several men but it seemed ages before I spotted her black ponytail and she was moving very confidently without any signs of tiring. We ran through some gently undulating bracken (I think) and I just couldn’t get closer to her. Eventually with a slight climb I managed to make up some ground and eventually passed her with about ¾ of a mile to go. Unlike her predecessor she, however, put up a fight and I felt her behind me every step of the way. Having been caught on the line at my last race I was determined not to let her get me but it took all I had to hold her off. When we finally crossed the line I was just two seconds ahead of her. We hugged and congratulated each other – there is nothing better than a good battle to the line (especially when you win!). Paul had finished well ahead of me in spite of battling a horrible lurgy and it wasn’t long before Mike and Till came in within seconds of each other. Jan looked disappointed as she crossed the line despite a strong time which won her age category. New Strider Lorna Simpkin also completed the race despite being unwell for most of it.

Four Peaks, Five Striders, how does that work? All in all it was a fabulous morning out and although the descents were tricky (for me anyway) this is a lovely introduction to fell racing for anyone thinking of giving it a go. It was well organised, friendly, raises money for a good cause and (most important of all) impossible to get lost.


position name time
1 Harry Holms 01:01:39
9 Paul Evans 01:11:47
16 Penny Browell 01:14:48
24 Mike Bennet 01:16:59
25 Till Sawala 01:17:09
61 Jan Young 01:37:53

72 finishers.

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Viking Chase Four Peaks, Sunday, September 23, 2012

BM / 8m / 1800'

Dave Selby

For some of us Sunday means cutting a few extra zzzzzz’s, others a nice cuppa and the newspaper in bed, and others it could be something else (naughty). For four striders (Jan, Mike, Shaun, and I) it meant a rendezvous in an open field just south of Carlton-in-Cleveland by the Lordstones cafe (unfortunately closed). I’m starting to see some usual folks at these events, but Jan seems to know everyone (such a social butterfly).

It was a glorious Sunday morning, fresh and clear blue skies, absolutely lovely. For us and one-hundred-and-fourteen others all signed in for the race we headed to the base of Carlton Bank. The usual introduction talk and relaxed start set us free to begin the first of four ascents:

The Four Peaks. First Carlton Bank (a gentle climb and steep wet steps down), then Cringle Moor (slightly steep climb and a rocket descent), Cold Moor (up and down we go) and finally Clay Bank (protracted climb, a plateau and a heavenly descent). All this took us up and down through horizontally bedded Carboniferous rocks (330 millions years old) of sandstone and shale. After the descent of Clay Bank it was three miles of undulating terrain and plenty of muddy puddles (yielding artistic mud splatters on your shorts!). 'Eat my shorts?' I think not ... Mike was first home (very quick), then Shaun (who had decided to take a detour – silly billy) with me a few moments behind. [Your time will come … Ed.] Jan had stopped off for a jam sandwich and still came in to win a prize.


I have to say this was an awesome race/run and I recommend it to all for next year. Less prizes as the much of the race monies went to a good cause – Cleveland Mountain Rescue. But there was chocolate for all at the end of the race 😉


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Matthew Speake Dark Peak M 1 55.35
20 Kay Neesam New Marske Harrriers FV45 1 72.04
22 Mike Bennett MV55 1 72.42
70 Shaun Roberts MV55 7 86.41
73 David Selby MV40 14 87.14
100 Jan Young FV60 1 97.11

118 finishers.

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Viking Chase, North York Moors, Saturday, September 24, 2011

BM / 12.9km / 457m

Paul Evans …

Durham, 0900: cloudless, dry light breeze; perfect race conditions. Carlton, 1015: clag and drizzle. Welcome to the autumn season for the four Striders (+ Dougie in a DFR vest) who’d decided to run this fund-raiser for the Cleveland MRT and first counter in Esk Valley’s Fell Club’s winter series.

Up into the murk ...
photo courtesy and © David Aspin

I’d done this race before, 3 years ago in bone-dry conditions and remembered, possibly optimistically, relatively easy running along wide paths, with a few climbs and fast descents. The course was as I remembered it, with four good climbs in the first five miles, each preceding an equally sharp descent, except for one important factor: the Cleveland Way is paved from Lordstones to the Wainstones, and smooth stone slabs slick with rain are capable of rendering Inov8s useless. To be fair, the horrors didn’t start immediately, with a quick ‘ready, set, go’ sending a field of c120 into the mist and up a rough track onto Carlton Bank. The field rapidly began to separate and I quickly realised that the clag stopped me seeing the other Striders over my shoulder as well as the front-runners disappearing into the gloom. Lungs already beginning to twinge we reached the trig point and began the first descent, which is where things got interesting, some runners gaining huge ground as they bounded past me, others sprawling across the slabs as they misjudged the greasy steps and a handful like myself descending more cautiously and seeing the hard work up the hill go to waste. It was now back across the starting field, onto the long drag up to Cringle Moor and time to regain lost places.


Paul shows how to keep those shoulders high ... but is in need of a visit to the kitmistress!
photo courtesy and © David Aspin

Two lung-busting climbs and rather unpleasant descents later, all on the slabs, the Wainstones appeared thirty metres ahead. This was possibly the most entertaining section of the race, necessitating the use of hands as well as feet to scramble over them as quickly as possible in order to get onto the descent to the turnaround point and water stop. It was also here, just starting the descent, that anyone with a camcorder and interest in physical comedy could have amused themselves by watching four runners see the runner ahead slip, attempt to avoid, fail, go down themselves and take out the runner behind, causing yet more bruises but thankfully nothing more serious.


After all this, much of which I really couldn’t enjoy, it was onto the home leg, a 3 mile undulating section over mud tracks through damp conifers and bracken. It felt fast and allowed me to regain a few lost places before the final (grassy – hurrah) descent onto the starting field, but seemed a bit of an anticlimax as all the big climbs were over. Nevertheless, it was good to be able to open the legs up for the first time and actually race the runners directly in front and behind rather than just concentrating on getting round. Soon enough it was all over and I was able to wait by the finish and see in Nina (looking strong and not too far behind the first lady), Shaun in his first race for a while, Dougie and Jan, who did a good job of pretending to ignore the encouragement from the other Striders as she finished at a respectable pace.

Jan smiles after slapping a gormless spectator who foolishly got in her way ...
photo courtesy and © David Aspin

Thoughts? Good course. In dry weather (legs and bottom rather bruised at the present). Good Strider turn-out, with more of us than most clubs other than Esk Valley. Good cause, the entry cash going to the mountain rescue. Oh, and respect to the efforts of Dave Parry of Esk Valley, who organises the winter series on the North Yorks Moors and who never misses a chance for promotion of the sport.

Sample exchange as he was taking entry forms, ten minutes before the scheduled start:
Runner: (hands over entry form) Here you go.
DP: Thanks. Oh, it says unattached…
Runner: (puzzled) That’s right.
DP: Have you thought about joining a fell club? There’s a lovely one that’s free to join. Here, let me get you a joining form…

Next kit for the Striders after hoodies and vests – business cards?

… and Jan Young

Big turnout of 140 runners in the first race in Cleveland Hills Winter series. Bright dry Durham morning turned to thick mist on the four sharp climbs, on Carlton Moor, Cringle Moor, Hasty Bank; greasy slabs of Cleveland Way making for tricky descents. Lower path on return from Clay Bank made for faster efforts to finish near Lord Stones cafe. This race is a fundraiser for Cleveland Search and Rescue, whose members shouted encouragement along the route. The Queen Mother shared her eldest female chocolate prize with the loudest supporters, fellow Striders. Queen of the Mountains has threatened to run this winter’s series … now I wonder if I can take advantage of local knowledge and race experience and beat her? Doubt it!

Next race: Saltergate Gallows on 16/10/11, see Esk Valley Fell Club website for details.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Nicholas Barker Pennine FR M 1 60.45
10 Fiona Blackett DFR F 1 67.30
15 Paul Evans M 6 70.03
88 Nina Mason F 5 85.42
100 Shaun Roberts MV55 4 88.16
116 Dougie Nisbet DFR MV45 16 93.25
123 Jan Young FV55 3 96.15

141 finishers.

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Viking Chase, North Yorks Moors, Sunday, September 26, 2010

BM / 7.8m / 1800'

Jan Young

Cleveland Search and Rescue team must have been well pleased with the fee payers for the Viking Chase Fell Race. Good turnout against a chilly wind; first outing for buffs, thermal headbands, gloves, long sleeves. Starting and finishing at Lord Stones cafe/carpark, route headed west on a short circuit of Carlton Moor, back through the start, then off east, following Cleveland Way paved paths, ascending three more summits. Hasty descent off Hasty Bank, before turning west to follow lower track to Lord Stones finish.


I must be improving, as I passed runners, but not on CW paved path descents, sooooo greasy! Give me mud anytime! Tom R. ran, while Joan waved her camera and his boys cheered us on. Surprise box of chocs for me, oldest female grump! You’ve got to be in it to win it!

Note: Tom came 12th and was first MV40 Gadgie!

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