Race Rundown: Trail Outlaws Durham 10 Mile Trail, 12th May 2019

Summer finally decided to make an appearance just in time for this beautiful run. Into its second year, this event had sold out many weeks ago. The run is advertised as 10miles (elastic tape measure!), 1080 feet ascent (didn’t we know it!), 1079 feet descent (glad of it after the ascent) and 600 runners .

A motley crew of Harriers had decided to take on the challenge. The start line in a corner of Maiden Castle’s many playing fields was buzzing on the morning, collection of numbers and memento t-shirt all well organised, just as long as you had your ID with you. The Redbull car made an appearance with a very large sound system and Scott trainers had also rocked up with some shiny new shoes which they were showcasing at this run.

Some of us had planned a social run (some more social than others), although once the gun sounded a number of Harriers went off like a rocket, keen to get past the bottle necks of the noisy bridge and the limbo under the bridge at the Rose Tree pub. The course is a beautiful run along the river and through the woods, which are chocablock with bluebells at this time of year, stunning scenery when I was able to lift my eyes from the path! I know that we ran to Croxdale Hall and Sunderland Bridge but otherwise I really am not sure where we went!!! Across fields, down paths, up paths, following the Trail Outlaw yellow flags and being pointed in the right direction by some lovely marshals.

Once we came back towards Maiden Castle and back over the noisy bridge the finish line was in sight! But as with all Trail Outlaws runs, there was a sting in the tail; we were guided to take a right turn to continue along the river, round the uni rugby pitches and then up Whinney Hill, but thankfully what goes up must come back down again and this time we were heading towards the finish line.

After crossing the finish line a spectacular medal was placed around our necks and we were pointed in the direction of our mug memento and big water bottles, big boxes of jelly babies, cola bottles, liquorice allsorts and chocolate raisins. A mug of water and several handfuls of sweets were just what the doctor ordered after the run!

All the Harriers finished with big smiles on our faces (nothing to do with the sweets we were consuming!) and a little bit of sunburn. Some fantastic times on a very challenging course. If you haven’t got yourselves down to a Trail Outlaws urban trail series event, you don’t know what you have been missing!!

By Emma Featherstone




Race Rundown: Trail Outlaws Washington Trail 10k, 28th April 2019


Thanks to the trusty satnav I arrived at the tail of the queue trying to turn right into the car park at Prissick School. Having read the pre race instructions (brownie point) I turned left and parked easily in a residential estate without inconvenience to any residents.

Registration was outside the school building in a cool breeze and I was very glad of the top I’d brought “just in case”, though it did mean that I ran with my little backpack. Equipped with my little bracelet I then went inside to join the toilet queue which, though massive, moved steadily and I gained relief without embarrassment.

The Start

Outside I met Karen who always helps out at junior parkrun and we wandered down to the start, a 10 minute walk away. I spotted Rosie and Emma in the ever thickening crowd.  As we waited for the delayed start the organisers called for runners 6 and 9 to come to the front.  Wonder why?  Then they wanted numbers 68 and 86. A pattern was emerging, which is more than we did when the race started.  There was hardly room to shuffle feet as the crowd of 604 runners moved towards a tunnel.  “Watch out for the bollard” was the cry.  Bollard, all I could see was the back of the big bloke in front.  I was cursing the loss of time not realising ‘til the next day that my bracelet recorded the time as I crossed the start line and again as I crossed the finish. I am new to this though and technology is not my strongpoint.

The Course

The route is a figure of eight across both sides of the river using the contours to provide a varied course and terrain, through woods and open fields to a constant accompaniment of birdsong. We started by running through the trees on the north side of the river heading downhill then alongside the river before climbing towards the overflow car park of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. After a bit more climbing we then went downhill towards the start point.

A faller

After crossing the Wear at Cox Green Bridge we came into the sunshine and climbed gently through a wood where an old guy in front of me crashed to earth. A couple of us checked him over but apart from a nasty scratch or two he was able to continue. His shirt had “Bosnia Jack” on the back. I met him at the end.  He was called Bill, was 70 and had just recovered from 2 broken ribs from his last fell run.

Still climbing out of the river valley there was a series of fields. This provided several opportunities to catch your breath as you queued to climb over a stile or go through a kissing gate.  I pointed out to a guy behind that, although it was a kissing gate, he was not to get his hopes up. His riposte was lost on the wind.

The new friend

On a level section I found myself either a couple of steps ahead or a couple of steps behind number 74. We ended up running together for the rest of the race.

We entered a wood which was single track with no chance to pass ‘til a steep downhill descent allowed us to fly past a group of runners before a very sharp right turn (or get very wet). We continued on levelish ground alongside the river before recrossing the bridge.

The finish

With less than 800m to go I was able to stretch out and pass around 20 runners. Less than 200m to go, turn right and there it was. No, not the finish but “The Hill”.  Walking, aching, panting up the thing I passed a few more then there it was – the finish in sight.  Run up the last bit of hill then a furious sprint trying to hold off someone behind.  We hit the line together.

Waiting to return my bracelet there were Emma and Andy with the turbopram together with Rosie. Bosnia Jack followed behind and we were able to have a chat. Looking at the results later I was delighted to see my new mate, number 74, was just 2 seconds behind me.

It was a great day, a lovely run as long as you don’t care about a PB. I came home and booked the Trail Outlaws’ Branches and Bays and the Penshaw 10K.  I’m on my way to Islay on the day of the Durham 10 Miles. Phew.

By John Marshall

Full results: https://urbantrails.co.uk/washington-results-2019.php


Race Rundown: North Tyneside 10k, 21st April 2019

This was my first proper ‘adult’ race as I am now old enough to enter some of them and my first 10K race. I had decided to do this one because I am raising money for my GirlGuiding international trip to Canada in August. There is a link for this at the bottom.

It was a very warm day; about 22℃. I don’t like running in the heat very much, obviously I don’t mind a bit of heat but it was too hot for me. In addition to this when you were running there wasn’t a breeze (which would have nice) and very little shade and I was very glad that I put my suncream on.

There weren’t very many Harriers out, just me, my Mum and Dad, Chris Lines, Ciaran Lines, Peter King and Gary Auston. However we did have some good results:

At the start of the race I found that all of the people kept getting in my way and it annoyed me. The further I got through the race the fewer people there were around me, but they still managed to get in my way a bit, however by that point I was too tired to really care anyway.

To begin with I was ahead of my Mum but at about 7km she overtook me, I tried to keep her in my sight but then she just got too far so I gave up and stopped looking that far ahead. There was a tight corner before the finish but there were signs so you knew how far that you had left to go which I found very useful.

I found the race difficult because of the heat and the distance, but the route was very scenic and there was only one major hill which was quite near the start meaning it was easier than if it had been closer to the end. I was also pleased with my time because of all the 6 mile training runs I have done this was much faster; I personally think that 50:15 is very good, but I would have loved to get below 50 minutes.


There were a lot of people out supporting the runners which was nice and the marshals were also very supportive towards the runners.

I am collecting sponsorship for doing this event to go towards my Sedgefield Rangers trip to Canada. If you wish to sponsor me the link to my online fundraising page is is: https://www.justgiving.com/ crowdfunding/abbie-walker-canada-trip

I would be grateful for any donations.

By Abbie Walker

Race Rundown: London Marathon, 28th April 2019

By Beth Raine and Paula Warwick


If someone had said two years ago (before I joined the Harriers) that I would run a marathon, I would have laughed and said no way! Fast forward those two years and I’m stood in the pen with the thousands of other runners, waiting to set off for a journey into the unknown. Having been inspired by the efforts of fellow Harriers at Manchester three weeks before, it was now my turn to see what I could do.

Sure, I’d done the training runs with some amazing support of fellow Harriers (Tracy F, Ali, Alda, Sue D, Georgina and Paula) but could I go the distance and run 26.2 miles? I was about to find out.

With the plan to meet Paula at the mile 4 marker (we were starting in different zones), I was happy that we would run together and although at a pace considerably slower than Paula is capable of, it was going to be a good day out.


8th October 2018, the post lady had delivered another magazine, presumably for Dave (CIBSE or Investors Chronicle!!!), I picked it off the door mat to see “in!”, I quickly looked at the name and realised it was for me, then it dawned on me, oh no, I started to shake and felt sick, this had happened once before. I opened the plastic wrapping just to clarify it was from London Marathon before I carefully thought how I’d break the news to Dave!

So, my training started with Rosie in RED January, then got progressively worse when I went back to work in March only running once a week and usually with a buggy. I managed to squeeze a couple of long runs in with Jane and Tracy Glaister as they trained for Manchester and I finished doing a 20 miler with Beth.

Thursday 25th April: we left Sedgefield for Essex, Dave had a stomach bug and Amy was full of cold, I wasn’t happy that I had to share a car with them both for fear of catching something, let alone the same hotel room…..and bed! 😤

Marathon Day, Sunday 28th April, 26.2 miles awaited me. From getting up that morning I couldn’t wait to get back into bed! Full of cold, twisty baby, sick husband, watch battery dead, ran out the house late (as ever these days) and missed the train! Eventually meeting Beth and Mark in Greenwich a few minutes before the pen closed. I thought I’d chance it and try get into the red pen with Beth so we could start together, the Marshal insisted on looking at my number, I gave him a quick look but he clocked it….I was a blue, I tried to act stupid but they made me leave, with very little time to get to the blue pen. Thankfully Beth and I had a plan, we’d both start at 10.48am, I’d run a minute a mile quicker ‘til mile 4 then stop under the balloon arch where she’d find me! Unfortunately I was too late in my pen, I started at 10.59am with the 7 hour pacer 😫.


Well I arrived at mile 4 with no sign of Paula! I hovered for a minute, jogging on the spot, looking back down the field to see if I could catch a glimpse but to no avail. I decided to go on, but about 20 seconds later decided I hadn’t waited long enough so I jogged back! Still no sign, so I decided to carry on. Assuming she was behind me, I knew she’d catch me up at some point.

The course was absolutely amazing! I knew how privileged I was to be taking part in this iconic event. Having listened in awe to the experiences of others, I was eager to see if it lived up to the hype and boy did it! There were crowds along the entire route and I mean crowds ten deep in places, with rallying cries of “you’ve got this” and “you’re amazing”! The noise was phenomenal.

Having seen Mark and Dave at mile 7 just after Cutty Sark and keen to find out where Paula was, with the news that she wasn’t far behind, I carried on.

The course was pretty darn flat and as I crossed onto Tower Bridge, I got real goosebumps as the imposing landmark came into view. I was really enjoying the atmosphere and I was feeling strong.

The miles were ticking over (my Garmin was beeping about half a mile earlier than the mile markers due to the weaving and the little trip back to see if I could spot Paula) and I was happy with my pacing. I was even happier when I got a hug from behind at mile 16 and it was Paula. We’d found each other!


I ran as quick as I could, constantly dodging the walkers and fun runners in crazy costumes. I passed two rhinos, the 6.30 pacer, a man in a bomb disposal suit, the 6 hour pacer, a bloke running in ski boots, the 5.45 pacer, Jesus, another rhino and the 5.30 pacer.

I got to mile 4, I stood and waited with a lot of other runners who had the same plan. I was in two minds whether I should stop because I started so late but I said I would, so I did. After 10 minutes I felt I’d waited long enough and sure enough the 7 hour pacer was heading towards me. I ran on knowing Dave and Mark would be at Cutty Sark, mile 7. I spotted them and Dave shouted Beth was 8 minutes a head, I swore (a few times). I worked out that if I ran a minute a mile quicker than Beth and giving time for dodging the Rhinos, I would catch her about mile 16. I also thought it would give those at home tracking us some excitement. The chase began! Mile 15, I was bored, no one to talk to, no one to whinge at, no one to throw a paddy with (I missed Jane and Ray) then I spotted a white vest with blue band…I got closer. Before I put my arms around this woman I needed to make sure it was Beth…it was, I was so pleased.


Canary Wharf loomed into view and we were having a great time!

Having tried to channel my inner Tracy G (whose metronomic pacing at Manchester was inspirational to watch), at mile 21 things started to unravel a little and my pace dropped off. I didn’t hit “the wall” just a wave of fatigue and a stitch that wouldn’t go away. The last 5 miles were tough and the sight of Big Ben was a huge relief! I wasn’t great company for Paula at this stage who seemed to know I wouldn’t be up for playing the alphabet game right then! But just being by my side, was a huge support.

Turning into Parliament Square and across to Birdcage Walk all seemed unreal. I’d watched this event on the television in the past and wondered what it must be like to be there, and here I was about to turn onto the Mall. Just in that moment I heard a massive scream of “BETH” in the crowds and saw Aileen with yards to go. Buckingham Palace to my left, The Queen Victoria Memorial in front and then a right hand turn down The Mall. Then with a final push (not quite a sprint finish), we were over the line!


From there on we had a great race! No idea what time I finished, didn’t really care! Pleased to get the medal, Dave and Mark robbed the contents of my goody bag, Beth completed her first Marathon.


I did it in 4:53:59. As I stopped my Garmin, 2 new announcements…my record marathon time and my longest run of 26.96 miles! All that weaving and turning back had racked up some extra mileage! Knowing we’d raised over £1500 (including Gift Aid) for FoSH made the extra distance seem all worthwhile!

What do I think about this race?

I know entry is ballot only and I know how hard it is to get in, but if you do and you get to run this event, you will have the most amazing experience! The organisation is second to none, the crowds were fantastic and the backdrop of London’s landmarks was the cherry on the top!

Whenever I speak to people about running I am at pains to point out that Mark is “the runner” in our house and that I am just “having a go”. The day after the marathon as I reflect on my performance; whilst I am not quite up to Mr Raine’s speed, I think I might have to start accepting that it is okay to call myself a runner now!


When I got back to Essex, Amy greeted me with a snotty kiss, she wore her tee shirt with pride, I demolished a Chinese and thoroughly enjoyed climbing into bed!

Track Race Rundown: NYSD Middlesbrough, 16th and 23rd April 2019

Sue Dobson writes:

Track and field debut, 23rd April 2019

Following the Club track and field afternoon on Easter Sunday I was persuaded to give track and field a go. So on Tuesday evening I found myself back at the amazing track facility in Middlesbrough. Joined by Fay (Uphill), also on her track debut, we donned our numbers and made our way to the throws area. Our first event – the discus. As a coach I always used to stress to the young athletes to get a legal throw or jump, and so that was my main aim – to actually record a legal discus throw. I was the first lady to throw so took my place in the cage. My hands were freezing and the discus seemed very large in my somewhat small hand, but lets give it a go. Remembering Jane’s coaching tips from Sunday I went from high to low, slow to quick, and off it flew! It went straight and even reached the grass – a legal throw. I was so excited I didn’t hear the distance but I think it may have made double figures. My second throw was measured at 10.83m I think, so a PB. After Fay had thrown her second discus we decided to go to our next event – the 100m.

We arrived at the start area just as the official was asking for the competitors for the graded races. An eclectic gathering of athletes – all ages, heights, shapes and abilities. The official asked for anyone under 10. I was confused – there was no one that young in the group. 10 1, 10 2, 10 3…… Oh he was talking expected finishing times. Blimey, I’d better do a quick calculation. World record 9 point something….should I double it or triple it? I’ll guess at 25 seconds. As it turned out I didn’t need to worry as I was one of the last 10 athletes and we were asked to get into two groups for the last two races – the official said we could base it on age, height, hair colour – whatever we liked. So Fay and I lined up with two men with whom we didn’t appear to have any similar characteristics. I didn’t risk a proper crouched start (what is that called?) in case I couldn’t get up , so instead stood ready to give it my best. Thoughts of ‘go on the B of the Bang’ went through my mind – was that Linford Christie? Focus. And off we go. Run, breathe, stay in the lane, look for the finish line – blimey it’s over. I was not aware of anyone else but I was told I came third. I don’t know what my time was, but it is a PB that I am very proud of. What a buzz.

I made my way back to the stand. The verdict from Helen – “your hair was ‘very bouffant’!” Headband next time.

Fay went on to run a great 800m and we both agreed we would be back at the track to try some more events. There was a great atmosphere and support from the spectators and I would recommend that everyone gives it a go.

My discus result was 12th out of 14 and first (only) V50F
My 100m time was 17.85 so better than expected.

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Mark Raine writes:

Summer must be upon as the North Yorkshire South Durham Track & Field season has started – NYSD.org.uk for all the fixture information and results.

Having not attempted any track and field since my school days (other than the Harriers track day last year), I thought I’d venture down to Middlesbrough and have a go. The event I intended to try was the 1500m.  We’re all graded according to the time you give.  It’s all very informal as they call out times and you go into that group for a race.  I had absolutely no idea of my time but thought it might be wise to avoid racing against some of the very keen twenty somethings (at least I could bore them with having run at the old track at Clairville if needs be).  Fortunately Justin Cox was there so we hatched a plan to go in race 2 as it seemed a good idea.  The gun went off and the pace was furious to start with.  After a few hundred metres of very tight racing things seemed to settle down and a great race ensued.  The final 200m was very tough and I was glad the finish wasn’t any further away but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Justin and I were both gasping for air at the end but smiling from ear to ear.

First track race over and having such a good time I entered the 200m race. It’s a little daunting when others are carrying blocks to the start but there was great banter amongst us Seniors to settle the nerves.  The officials are very good and will answer any questions you may have.  The groups are sorted again, with lanes drawn before each race, then before I know it I’ve run a bend and am now swaying towards the finish. Although a short distance I’m absolutely exhausted but I’ve had such a great evening and was lovely being able to cheer on the rest of the Harriers.

Well the previous week didn’t put me off and I’m back for more of the action (23/04/19). This week it’s the 800m and 100m events.  Got to be easier this week I tell myself as I arrive, the sun is out, it’s a lovely warm evening and the distances are shorter!  It was another good turnout from the Harriers and some great performances were put in by the Juniors who ran first.

The 800m is a short and tough distance but again I finish smiling having had some good battles throughout. The 100m seems to be a specialist event with many turning up just to run that race.  After a nervy start and some starting advice from the officials – must mention again how friendly and encouraging they are – I was ‘hurtling’ towards the finish.  It was at this point I’m thinking to myself how does Usain Bolt manage to smile and have time raise his arms in victory, as I was struggling to breathe and keep my style – if you can call windmilling arms,  a tongue hanging out similar to a dog on a hot day and lunge to the line like a toddler learning to walk, style!

Only 900metres run in one evening but I was exhausted.

Will I be back on the 14th May? Most definitely a YES and I’m even going to try some field events.  It’s very welcoming, the atmosphere is great and it really caters for everyone.


Results: https://www.nysd.org.uk/

Race Rundown: Hartlepool Marina 5 mile, 14th April 2019

Out to Seaton Carew & back –(Paved & Flat)


This race report starts in June of last year when I had the bright idea of removing an unsightly raised flowerbed from the garden.

After I’d loaded two and a half tons of rubble into the trailer I discovered I had a bad back.

Despite seeing the physio on several occasions my back had ‘gone out’ more time than I had. I’m sure most of you could testify to this, due to my frequent wailing and gnashing of teeth on Saturday mornings.

The positive bit.

That is, until I started to attend a back class a month or so ago. After ‘engaging my core’ & punishing muscles I never knew I had on several occasions, I was feeling a lot better & decided to start entering races longer than the usual parkrun distance.

The morning of the race.

Still suffering with a cold & lack of sleep from staying up too late, the morning did not start well, but after some porridge & copious amounts of coffee I set off for the coast.

On arrival to say it was cold would be somewhat of an understatement. To be honest it was that bitter, not to mention a well known phrase, the round projectiles on the nearby Trincomalee had detached from their stands & were rolling around on the decks!


As with previous years registration was very friendly, quick & efficient. Tee shirt pickup was prior to the event, prompting many comments about not having to run now, I must admit, the thought had crossed my mind.

The obligatory visit to the thunder box.

The queue was quite long but I was soon in conversation with some other runners although I was wishing I had gone back to the car for my nice warm coat. Although I cannot say this was a particularly uplifting experience, the convenience was clean with a good supply of hand sanitiser. Furthermore unlike my experience of the great north run, it had not been delivered to site already pre-filled.

The warmup

I set out around the back of the marina at 10-minute mile pace but my legs were having none of it. Feeling absolute rubbish I persevered for half a mile thinking this is not going well. On stopping my Garmin to record even this brief event, it reported I needed seven hours recovery time- I’d only got 20 minutes before the race start!

I did a few strides and very reluctantly parted with my hoody as I proceeded to the start.

It was there I met Mark C, Lisa M and the family F complete with their turbocharged racing buggies. I couldn’t help wondering why they never made a bigger version so I could get in. It was then I started to contemplate my race strategy & concluded for some unknown reason I was going to start at nine-minute mile pace & see how it went.

The race (bet you thought this bit would never come).

After some brief race instructions we were off. Lisa, Andy & Emma soon disappeared into the distance but I could see Mark up in front from about 50 metres back.

I was soon up on the promenade and the wind hit, diagonally into my face coming in from the North Sea. I couldn’t find anyone tall to run behind, everyone moving at my speed just did not cut it as a windbreak, so I had to grin and bear it. My thoughts went to the buggies up front, it could not have been easy pushing in these conditions.

I hadn’t got to the two-mile marker when the lead runners flew past on their way back. ‘How is this humanly possible to gain over a mile on me already?’ I asked. I could still see Mark up front & thought this can’t be right, so I looked at my Garmin to see 8.5 minute pace and I was actually still feeling reasonable. I decided to stick with it, hoping things would get easier at the turn, telling myself ‘I feel good‘ in the hope it would help. I then saw Andy & Emma on their return journey now literally with the wind in their sails.

Boosted by this I dug in, & was soon at the turn & had actually started to close the gap on Mark. Now that the wind was slightly from behind things became less of a battle. I was actually feeling warm with no more thoughts of differential expansion between brass frames & iron spheres on the deck of the aforementioned warship.

After another half a mile I caught Mark up & concluded he was now paying for the 10 miles before 10 & Parkrun he did on the previous two days.

The Finish

I pushed on towards the finish now believing my own propaganda about feeling good & was overtaking a few fellow competitors along the way. Into the final straight my legs started to complain when I pushed a bit harder. Telling them to ‘shut up’ didn’t help, but I was soon crossing the finish line collapsing into a heap, but not before stopping my Garmin & gratefully grabbing a bottle of water.

As ever it took an age for my breathing to come under control before I looked at my time..


Official result 41.13 that’s 8:15 minutes a mile!


Well pleased with my first race coming back from injury & a negative split too.

And my back… well lets not tempt fate.



For full race results see & anything else you might want to know appendix below


By Davewiththeknees (David Round)


HMS Trincomalee

It is often stated that the phrase originated from the use of a brass tray, called a “monkey“, to hold cannonballs on warships in the 16th to 18th centuries. Supposedly, in very cold temperatures the “monkey” would contract, causing the balls to fall off.

Race results:





Race Rundown: Lakeland Trails – Hawkshead 16k – 13th April 2019

OK why did I sign up for this –

Great way to start our holiday in the Lakes.

Means we have to arrive early to start our holiday.

I love walking the hills in the Lake District.

To mark the last day in my forties!

There was a “challenge” option which is for the slower runners (or fast walkers), so no pressure!

Why this might be a bad idea –

Yes I do love walking the hills but I don’t like drops, I don’t like running down hill when it’s either steep, slippery, gravely or covered in stones/rocks.

I don’t like running up hills, does anyone?

Mile 8 was known as the coffin trail, steep uphill for a mile!

David was doing the “race” which meant he set off an hour after me, so my plan was to walk any bit I didn’t like and still arrive back before David. Matthew was to meet me at the end I told him it would take me about 2 hours (hopefully no longer)!

The race organisers said the weather was “perfect”, dry, just a bit breezy and cool, the 493 “challenge” runners lined up to start to the sound of drums and a brilliant atmosphere. We set off along the road and soon up the hill towards Chaife Heights, the pace was steady and I managed to run nearly all the way up, under foot was nice, no steep drops, not too much gravel or rocks, so the running was good.

Following a down, an up and then a lovely grassy downhill we passed though Far Sawrey and the first water station, I was enjoying every step.

From Far Sawrey there was a long uphill, but with so many people walking, I felt the pressure was off and was happy to also walk. Whilst walking I still managed to overtake a lady who was running, just shows sometimes it does pay to be a tortoise.

For me the next bit was the worse bit of the race I really didn’t enjoy the drop down to Lake Windermere, it was quite steep with rocks and stones, I went so slow down about 30 people flew past me. Once on to the Lakeside I managed to pass a few of them before starting the coffin trail, no one ran that bit at all!  After the coffin trail mile it was 90% downhill to the finish.

I must say the marshals were great, one of them had about 10 small toy sheep with him and the one on the coffin trail was a full size skeleton he was wearing a hi-vis vest and pointing the right way.

With just over a mile before the finish I passed Matthew walking up the hill, I guessed that meant I was going faster than planned! I did walk part of the final downhill due to loose stones but once we were on the field and the road for the final stretch before the finish on Hawkhead playing fields I picked up the pace and passed quite a few runners and even managed a sprint finish with words of encouragement from a gentleman from St Helen’s Striders as I went past.

There was a commentator at the end of the race who spotted my number and shouted “well done Marie” as I came over the finish line.

To greet everyone at the end there were the drummers again, a finishers t-shirt and a brilliant selection of traders with goodies for sale, Matthew enjoyed a venison burger, David an apple and cinnamon latte and me a lovely cup of tea!

I really did enjoy the race (challenge) and would happily do it or maybe another Lakeland Trail run again, they are really not about time, they are about enjoying the hills, the views, the atmosphere and the great sense of achievement, which I did have at the end.

Just for the record, time wise David in the race came 36 (out of 152) 1 hour 24 min 5th V50, and me I’m over the moon 1 hour 47 mins!  141 overall, 8th V40 lady (if the race had been the next day I would have been 5th V50, maybe I should do it next year J )

Results: http://www.lakelandtrails.org/download/Results/AA%2019%20Results/Hawkshead%2016k%20Trail%20Race%20Provisional%20Results.pdf

By Marie Walker

Race Rundown: Greater Manchester Marathon, 7th April 2019

Manchester Marathon 7th April . My debut, wow what a marathon.

My marathon began with a party going on in the hotel room next door!!! Finally dozing and then a fire alarm at 4am. Wake up call. FALSE ALARM!!

I arrived at the start line wiring for the toilet or so I thought! No I was in a pen with 2:45 runners ARGHHHH! No way out I was stuck.

13 miles in everything going to my plan and that included 2 toilet stops. Shell Garage was very kind and gave lots of encouragement! The crowds that supported the race were very supportive all the way along the full route. I was now in new territory, 20 miles, don’t look at the watch just keep going. I needed the enthusiastic crowds. Then out of the bushes appeared Jane! It was me who went to a proper toilet. That amused me for a while and made me chuckle.

The atmosphere was phenomenal, I have never seen so much support from the local community. The different bands on route were uplifting. All I can say is well done to the organisation of this marathon, it certainly inspired me.

For extra energy I used 6 orange SIS gels from 6 miles and that gave me enough to finish. I kept my head and stuck to my plan and although I didn’t blow up at 20 miles the last 6 were so hard. Weather conditions perfect for a long run and a lovely flat course which was supported all the way around.

By Tracy Glaister

Results: https://results.sporthive.com/events/6488812689306147584

Editor’s note: Tracy completed her debut marathon in a very impressive 4 hours 20 minutes.

Race Rundown: Druridge Bay Marathon, April 7th 2019

Here are some of my running stats:

  • Number of marathons completed ever:  4, all in 2017
  • Date of last marathon: September 2017, Hull
  • Number of times I’ve run further than half marathon distance in last 12 months: 1 (16 miles)
  • Months missed through injury in 2019: 2 (most of January and February)
  • Reason for entering Druridge Bay Marathon: Absolutely no idea

Well actually I do know why I entered, but nothing makes complete sense. I was inspired by Mike W running his first ever marathon at the Hardwick Winter Wonder in January, based on simply being in good running nick; I’ve been involved in a lot of marathon talk recently with the Manchester, London and York enthusiasts and it’s quite seductive (John H: “Camm on Pete, you’ve gotta do Yawk mayt”); I am a member of the North East Marathon Club, the clue is in the name; I didn’t take my free place at the Leas event nor was able to do the winter wonders due to injury, so I had this one for ‘free’; due to tide times at Druridge, those doing the full marathon had to set off an hour earlier than those doing the half, so I couldn’t start the half and just see if I could keep going, I had to state my aim.

But apart from being in decent running nick for me and racking up a few miles in March, I really hadn’t trained for it. I kept quiet about it, partly out of respect for those doing Manchester the proper way on the same morning, and made it to the start line.

I haven’t done Druridge Bay before, but it’s in keeping with NEMC’s events in that a number of attractive laps are repeated, four in total. Each lap was like a squiggly figure of 8, with a mid point (an interchange, enabling refreshments twice each lap). Those who have done Druridge cross country would recognise the lake to be orbited each time, but there were also really nice sections of path and closed road, all at easy gradients. The highlight of each circuit was the mile or so stretch on the beach, on hard sand with the wind behind, a lovely bay.

Conditions were chilly and damp, ideal for long distance running. After a quick briefing and ‘ready, steady go’ we were off. I can honestly say that the first two laps (half marathon) were a dream. I ran at a steady pace (just over two hours) and felt great. I made several new friends. Ryan was doing his first ever marathon, loping along in a very easy style; he lives up in Weardale, his wife works in M&S in Durham. It was only when I needed a wee at the end of the first lap that we were parted. Debbie D and her Peterlee friends were discussing HR issues at work. On lap two I caught up with David. Recently turned 50, he was training for an ultra in a couple of months’ time; should he go for a flat 47 miler or a Lakeland mountainous 32? We discussed the merits of each until I eased ahead of him on the second beach stretch.

In quieter moments I was also mentally writing my Rundown. At the halfway point it was all about how easy it was to run a marathon with no additional training. This new found revelation was despite me finding every long run difficult, ever, after about 16 miles…

There were no other Sedgefield runners in my race but I did spy Ben Smale at the interchange one time. He was doing the half, and flying along on his way to a brilliant 4th place and huge PB. Julia Atkinson-Tait was somewhere in the half field too. When I saw Ben, I bellowed a huge ‘Good luck Ben Smale!’ He told me later that he had heard and that it had really benefitted. The woman with the headphones alongside me that jumped out of her skin may have not felt so grateful. “Oh, sorry love”.

Lap 3 and I definitely started to stiffen up. I felt it first as I got onto the beach and by the end of the lap was finding it hard to keep moving. Stopping to empty my shoe of small stones was probably as much about taking a breather, but I did keep running overall.

The start of lap 4, coming back through the public area was really tough. Had it just been a more informal winter wonder type event, I would have called it a day then. I was knackered. But I kept going. A short way into lap 4, and I walked for the first time and so began the most miserable hour or so of running/walking since the closing stages of Hull, 18 months ago. The triumphant mood of an hour previous was long consigned and gradually many of the people who I had passed in the earlier stages, steadily came back past me. I was so full of self pity. I thought enviously of Chris and Ciaran doing 3000m at Middlesbrough. 3000m, now that would have been much more sensible. I began to rewrite this rundown in my head, recognising the stupidity of not training properly. I aimed for trees and puddles and any other landmarks to run (shuffle) to before walking again. I counted 100 running strides to 40 walking. My glutes said no, my pride whispered yes. The only person I had passed early on in this final lap was Noel. I only know his name through the results. His feet were killing him, he muttered. But not so much, because he stayed close for all the last 5 miles. We played slow motion cat and mouse all the way back; he catching me with a faster walk, my shuffle run slightly quicker. I never looked behind – now that would have betrayed my pretend nonchalance – but each time I heard him close I dragged myself into a jog. Once past the refreshment table (no final Haribo, I’ve had enough of those for a while!) I kept up a slow run for the last half a kilometre and thanked Noel once we’d both crossed the finish. 13 seconds separated us, he had really helped.

4 hours 31 is nothing to write home about, but neither was it a disaster. Feeling utterly fatigued I gratefully accepted both medals (yes two, one about ‘World Bamnation Weekend’. No idea what it means, neither does Google, but I deserved it). I had a photo with my lap 1 friend Ryan who also had suffered latterly and the briefest of chats with the likes of Mel, Ian and Omar from the club. I was so wrecked, that I just wanted to go home and curl up. Sitting on the boot lid of the car, wrestling with stiffness and the lining of my track bottoms, a member of the public came over and asked if I wanted some help. I must have looked that pathetic. I remember hearing myself say “Thanks, it’s okay. I’ve just run a marathon.”

The volunteer marshals were great as always: Karl & co hunkering down behind the concrete beach blocks, Andy swatting away midges for five hours, Chris on his camping chair in one corner of the park, Anna and her friend unable to take a photo because they were too cold, Christine on the refreshment table (who pointed out my bleeding nipples at about half way!). Others too. Heroes, all.

So would I recommend doing a marathon on minimal training? Absolutely not. Stupid idea. Running should be an enjoyable experience. Yet, as soon as I’d warmed up, grabbed a coffee, got a free electric charge at Stannington Services and thought about what I’d done, I realised I didn’t regret it. I’m so not a long distance runner, but I was quite pleased with myself. Marathon #5: third quickest (or slowest, if your glass is half empty).

I’m definitely not doing Yawk though John, before you ask again.

By Pete King

Results: https://www.trailoutlaws.com/tots/index.php

Race Rundown: Forestry 100 running series – Hamsterley 10k – 7th April 2019

I entered this race earlier in the year not really knowing what to expect. I spent a lot of time there as a child so was well aware of the multi-terrain possibilities of the course. My fear after entering was that it was all going to be off road, uphill, through mud and over tree roots (some people’s cup of tea but I’ve done my share of Tough Mudders).

The weather forecast the night before was for drizzle and the met office wasn’t wrong. I arrived in good time for the start of the race so had a little walk from the parking area to the start line to see what was going on. It was all very subdued, a hand full of people milling around, the registration tent, the finish line and a solitary burger van, the only sound was that of a nearby stream and the van’s generator. I headed back to the car to keep warm, pin my number to my top and take on a few sips of water.

15 minutes to start and I ventured out of the car towards the start. Steve Cram had followed me up the road to the start line and offered a courteous “good morning.” There were a few more people there now and a bit more of an atmosphere was building. I had a little jog out of the back to the finish line to warm up then we were soon called to the start. Steve Cram started the race with a speech about the important work of Forestry England and the benefit of physical activity in these areas. He was supposed to be running but claimed he’d sustained a hamstring injury in training earlier in the week (I think he probably didn’t feel he was being paid enough to run back up the hill that we had to drive down to get to the start).

The race was under way, I made a very steady start as I knew from the run route signs on my way in that after the 200m flat to the first bend it was going to be a steep climb for at least a few hundred metres. Luckily for me the route was all forest track so solid under foot but there was no sight of the top of the hill as we passed the car entry road. A dozen or so runners, obviously more adept at running up hills, passed me on the way up. We reached the 1k marker and were still climbing. First mile passed in 9:07 mins of quad burning pain and 255 feet of ascent but soon after it levelled out a little, the damp mist and drizzle had subsided and the trees cleared to reveal a view of the forest below. It was a very scenic panorama of the valley below, the evergreen treetops and Weardale in the distance.

Another 194 feet of ascent through the 8:22 2nd mile and 176 feet up in the 8:44 3rd mile had my legs screaming for some downhill at the half way point. Soon after passing the 5k marker, which the drinks marshal had enthusiastically claimed “was just around the corner,” but was in fact around the corner, down a dip, up the other side of the dip and around another bend on the top of another rise, the descent began. My legs loosened up surprisingly quickly and the miles passed by quickly as the route meandered through the trees back down to the finish line. My legs were more adept at running downhill and flat than those who passed me going up as I steadily re-passed the dozen or so runners that passed me on the way up on the sprint to the finish, (7:16, 7:11 and 6:42 for miles 4, 5 and 6 respectively and a 1:20 ¼ mile sprint to the finish). I crossed the line in 48:56 which I was more that happy with especially considering the punishing nature of the first half of the race. Mr Cram was handing out the wooden finisher medals and the “well dones” at the finish and I helped myself to a cup of water and a Jaffa Cake from the refreshment table while I caught my breath and watched a number of other runners finishing the course.

I thoroughly enjoyed this race, the sense of achievement in not giving in on the inclines, the interesting surroundings and tranquil, traffic free route made it different from the races I usually enter and I’d sign up to enter again next year (with a little more hill training under my belt).




by Sam Rudd.