Race Rundown: Baydale Beck Trail 5k, 27th February 2022

by Susan Milburn

On Sunday 27th February, I took part in the second Grand Prix event of 2022. This was the Baydale Beck 5k trail race (which was the 5th race in the Darlington trail race winter series).

This event was my third race for Sedgefield Harriers since joining with my husband Peter in January 2022.

It was a low key local event with relatively small numbers on the day. It had a nice relaxed atmosphere with friendly marshals and volunteers.  This race has previously been held on an evening in the summer.

The race starts further along from the Baydale Beck pub in Darlington and is a one lap multi-terrain course.

The route commences on a bridleway with a short out and back section along the Baydale Beck. It then re-joins the bridleway heading north pulling up to a farm.  We then turned right on the field leading us to a short footpath section on Staindrop Road. Leaving the footpath we turned right onto the Baydale Beck bridleway.  The path followed the beck and we then passed the sewerage works before joining the final trail path to the finish line.  The race distance was 3.24miles.

The conditions were cool and dry with a southerly wind. Underfoot was firm with only a small amount of mud to wade through.

Sedgefield Harriers had a good turnout making up over of third of the overall runners on the start-line.

All Sedgefield Harriers performed very well with 5 males in the top 10 finishers. The ladies also performed very well overall within the finishing positions.

At the end of race, parked in the layby after the pub was Harvey’s mobile café which offered a wide variety of refreshments which appeared to be popular with runners, dog walkers and local residents.

See results below:



Race Rundown: Marathon Parlauf, 23rd January 2022

By Stuart Park.

Parlauf meaning paired run or from now on – two idiots.I remember on one of our saint-trails a few of the group were talking about this run and I thought it sounded interesting but never got round to doing anything about it. Fast forward a few months and because Jane has injured herself she has persuaded me to take her place.One week to race day and I have not trained, or really run much this year. Lisa, Mark and Pete have all run half marathon PBs in the last two weeks. Me? not so much. I did run about 7 miles on the 2nd  January.It is a good running day, calm and cool and there are 3 Sedgefield teams. Graham and Rachel, Pete and Mark and Lisa and me.

The theory behind the race is simple, Runner 1 runs a mile. Runner 2 runs a mile. repeat until 26 miles are done then the two runners complete a victory lap of 0.1 miles taking the total to 13.1 each or 26.2 miles.So we started running. Lisa first, then me. I got about 5 and a half minutes rest between runs then got ready to go again. Lap 1 was too fast. Nothing new there. Laps 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 were all good. I knew I was running too fast and they were all Sub 7 minute miles however I still felt good at this point.During the first 6 laps Lisa and I had been keeping pace with two ladies from Richmond & Zetland, The Ladies in Red as I named them. Sometimes Lisa would finish ahead of their runner, sometimes behind but it was close.Lap 7 and I started a bit behind my runner; I was determined to catch her but it was getting harder. I could see Mark ahead too. He did not seem to want me to let me pass him but I was not letting the lady in red beat me. I eventually caught her at the last bend. 7 miles done. Lap 8 started and she was ahead again. There she stayed, neither gaining or losing ground. 8 miles done.The rests seemed to get shorter by this stage and the miles longer.

My times were starting to slip over the 7 minute mark too.Mile 9 and my lady in red was gone, Never to be seen again.Mile 10 was hard. 11 harder. My plan had changed and I was aiming to do them in all under 8 minutes.Mile 12 – 8:14 – oops.Mile 13- this one never ended but I just had to finish and do a tiny bit more.Lisa met me for the last bit and seemed to have boundless energy for it. I dragged myself round.

But we finished and in a good time.Now for the fun bit. Some stats:
Stuart 13.1 miles = 1:36:23Lisa 13.1 miles = 1:32:50Total time =3:09:13 (official time was a bit less because we ran the last bit together)

I would highly recommend this run to everyone next year. It is local, well organised and very social.ThanksStuart.

very detailed official results

Race Rundown: Brass Monkey Half Marathon, 16th January 2022

Records are there to be broken

Brass Monkey half marathon is the best way to kick start the new year with a PB. I have raced on many different routes and you won’t find a better course than this to achieve a PB. The only down side is it requires training through the winter months and Christmas and then race day weather is not always guaranteed in mid January.

This was only my second time running the Brass Monkey. Last time was way back in 2016 when I was aiming for a PB of sub 75mins however it wasn’t meant to be and failing to get under 75 minutes again two months later in Cardiff I pressed the pause button on my half marathon exploits. Fast forward six years and I was ready to tackle the distance again.

As every plan starts when we enter a race, we organise a period of weeks to train for the race and have big goals and a desire to put our all into the training ready for the big day. I am no different, I entered the race. planned out a 12 week training block ready to get that elusive sub 75 PB and 2 weeks in life gets in the way: work, kids, Christmas and so instead of quitting I just kept re setting that training plan. I am not one for quitting, reset, reset, reset. Having reset a few times and invested some money into these new carbon shoes, training started to come together. I managed 5 good weeks out of the 12 planned and concentrated on quality rather than quantity. Like many I don’t have the time to run 40 mile weeks so I just concentrate on practising running at my race pace when I get the chance, even if it’s 8:30pm on a Tuesday night.

I finally reached the end of my plan and it was race week. I was fortunate enough to have a good last week which made me feel much better and I had been able to run at my goal pace of 5:40 min per mile which would just get me under that 75 minute mark.

As always, the day before the race you want to be relaxing getting a good night sleep etc etc. In reality we have to continue our daily lives, take the kids to gymnastics, tidy the house, do the washing, get the shopping, all before having an early night?? In my dreams, if I had time to dream!!! An extremely disruptive night sleep meant the best option I had was getting in the car at 5am, drive down to York and get some sleep in the car before the race. Race bag scrambled together, grabbed some food for the drive and a hydration drink and set off for York. As I got nearer to York I passed a McDonalds and was far too hungry not to stop for a double sausage and egg McMuffin, and you thought us fast runners ate well!! That demolished I headed to the race course to find a layby to get 45 minutes kip before having to get parked and think about warming up.

Alarm set for 8:30 I finished my last bit of porridge and fell asleep. I awoke to a few noisy dog walkers and a beautiful sun rise, it was going to be a clear day with perfect running conditions. I got parked in the official car park and had a walk around the race course to wake my legs up and catch up with some friends. I’ve missed racing and big events, the buzz around the start catching up with runners you’ve not seen for ages, except stalking their Strava profiles. It had been six years since I last raced a half marathon and I was nervous. I had failed on two attempts to get sub 75 minutes six years ago and not raced the distance since. It was soon time to be in the pens ready to be led to the start like cattle to Bolams! It was at that point I realised how much i had missed racing and being amongst others that were there for the very same reason, to get that PB.

The stage was set, loads of fast runners, a course known for being fast, carbon super shoes on my feet and the most important factor, the weather, it was glorious. I had my race planned out: 5:40 min per mile then at mile 10 kick on and see what’s left. The gun went and we were off, I was in a good group of runners and felt good, mile 1 flew by and the watch said 5:31, wow! I didn’t need to panic I felt good, there were plenty of good runners around me and so I thought just keep going and let the race dictate. As each mile went past I was maintaining that 5:30 pace, although 10 seconds per mile quicker than I wanted I was feeling good. I got to mile 6 and took my planned gel, I was nearly half way and was in good shape. The shoes were doing their job and I was loving racing.

The half marathon begins at 8 miles so as we neared this mark I knew the pace might increase from the group. It did a little bit but I was able to keep going and we were closing in on the last 3 miles, the point in my plan I thought I would kick on and empty the tank. But I had run 10 miles 10 seconds per mile quicker than planned, so lacking a bit of confidence I stayed with the group and thought to myself I’ll go at 11 miles. We hit mile 11 and started to approach the only incline in the race. As we started to climb the group started to break up into single file and I kicked on up the hill and down the other side and kept going. I had left them and was gaining on the runners ahead. I started to open up my legs and put in an 800m sprint to the finish line to dip under 72 minutes! Official time 71:56 (1:11:56). I crossed the line knowing I had run the best race of my life and achieved a time I could only dream of.

In the car before I set off home I had a quick check to see if that was the Sedgefield Harriers half marathon record, which it was and then I checked to see if I had done enough to get a championship entry to London Marathon 2023 which I had. Putting two and two together I checked the Harriers marathon record which was set back in 2009 2:41:41. So this will now be my next target in 2023 at London.

I was extremely fortunate that on the day everything came together, weather, good runners, and the perfect course. I am all too aware it doesn’t always happen this way. It is not always possible to have the perfect preparation or for life to go smoothly to allow us to train when we want and how we want. But as long as you don’t quit you will at some point achieve whatever it is you wanted.

Don’t QUIT, just RESET

James Oldfield

Brass Monkey HM 2022

Race Rundown: Stuart Pailor Memorial (Old Monks) Race, 2nd January 2022

On Sunday 2nd January, I took part in the first Grand Prix event of 2022, the Old Monks Trail Race starting & finishing in Hart village. Although there was a significant turnout of Harriers it was freezing cold, so we didn’t gather for much of a pre-race chat although we were persuaded out of our vehicles for the pre-race photo before moving to the start line. And then we were off!

Together forever…

As I was recovering from having had covid over Christmas my race plan was to simply enjoy it and not get stuck in one of the denes! I set off with Beth and we decided to run it together but if either of us felt strong and wanted to go ahead that’s what we would do. Running down from the top of the hill, we headed into the first dene and as I am generally unstable on slippery downhills, I took it cautiously and Beth got ahead of me only for me to catch her on the uphill. This pattern continued for the majority of the race helped by the lovely marshals giving us loads of support and encouragement on route. We managed to catch up and then overtake Mike Wood, but Gary and Kathryn Forster were playing it tactically. Once Gary spotted us approaching from behind, they seemed to step it up a gear and we just couldn’t close the gap. We also played a game of cat and mouse with a lovely lady from Saltwell Harriers who gave us encouragement every time we went past, and we did the same to her.

… and never to part…

The route is a mixture of uphill and downhill with road, trail, gravel, and mud! We even managed to catch a glimpse of the sea at the start and finish.

Together forever we two… No, wait!

As we approached the last hill, Beth fell a few paces behind me so I waited for her at the top as I thought we had come this far so we would finish together. We ran into the last section together until Beth spotted the finish line and realised an extra grand prix point was up for grabs if she could get past me and so she did!! She found an extra gear, sped past & left for dust and I had no chance to respond, I was beaten.

Well done, Beth, points mean prizes!

Congratulations to all Harriers on their individual performances in this thoroughly enjoyable first race of the Grand Prix. I would highly recommend it to other members of the club as an ideal race to burn off those Christmas calories.

By Georgina Letts.

Results: http://www.hartlepoolburnroad.co.uk/results/Old%20Monks%20Jan%202022%20Results.pdf


Airs & Grace Rundown: London Marathon, 3rd October 2021



Early alarm, I hate mornings, darn it,

Best get some gel on my newly shorn Barnet.


All fresh experience for this Marathon newb,

Off we go to the Oxo Cube.

Newly shorn Barnet.

For a man more accustomed to Hampstead Heath,

His London Marathon began in a field in Blackheath.


Having missed the start time prediction Holy Grail,

Starting at the back, felt like a snail.


Start Zone Six adorned my Dickie,

Surely someone’s taking the Mickey.


Running alone for the first couple of miles,

I’m finding this easy; lots of Sandy Lyles.


As I romp along, 6 minute miles, grinning,

The crowds bellow out, “keep going, you’re winning!”.

Passing the Oxo cube.

Three miles in I catch an earlier corrale,

Runners everywhere start to affect my morale.

34405 was on my permit,

More time on the kerb than my preferred Kermit,


But just as I feel I’m running in rewind,

I catch a glimpse of a familiar behind,

‘Straussy’ on his shirt, that’s him, yes, Sir Andrew,

Slapped him in the Chaminda, I promise, it’s true.

“Come on Straussy, lad!”, the limit of my talking,

Former England captain, why is he walking?


I try to keep pace, but crowds continue to build,

To keep ambitions duly fulfilled.

As halfway approaches, behind target, a smidge,

But a beautiful sight as we reach Tower Bridge.

Thirteen to go, keep going I oughta,

As we cross The Thames, the Fisherman’s Daughter.


This is too slow, same pace as my jogs,

As we roll on to The Isle of Dogs.

Time to speed up for this little dwarf,

As we rise up a Jack and Jill towards Canary Wharf.


‘All bets are off’ when you get to mile twenty,

30k down, for most that’d be plenty.

Still 10k to go to men like Pheidippides,

But what’s that pain coming from ‘neath my Biscuits and Cheese?

There’s sweat on my brow, my Vera Lynn damp,

When a familiar foe strikes, it’s the first nip of cramp.

How can this be, surely not my fault,

I’d tried to prevent this with five tablets of salt.


Alas, no joy, so we’d better not shirk,

Time for DB to summon Captain Kirk.

Along The Embankment, with a massive Box of Toys,

Huge encouragement from Twisted Twirls and  Rob Roys.


Time for some mantras, ‘Knees Up Mother Brown’,

You’ve nearly completed a lap of Old London Town.

As others around me start running quite sloppily,

Collect 200 pounds, it’s like a game of Monopoly!

A quick butcher’s hook down at auld chalk farm.

A quick Butcher’s Hook down at auld Chalk Farm,

Just one mile to go, no cause for alarm.

What time will we finish, I just don’t know when,

Right now it is time to turn right at Big Ben.

We approach the finish, there’s no time to talk,

As us runners head down the renowned Birdcage Walk.

Past the home of Baked Bean, The Mall and finish in sight.

26 down, one final turn right,
Past the home of Baked Bean, The Mall and finish in sight.

As I cross the line, as happy as Larry,

I see Mr Thwaites, our good friend Gary.

In under three hours, we’d made it, I swears,

But tomorrow I fear the Apples and Pears!

Over the Patsy Cline feeling very hairy knees with myself


By David Bentley (2 h 45m  5s)

Race Rundown: Branches & Bays 10k, 15th August 2021

On Sunday I took part in my first Trail Outlaws race with the choice of a the scenic but challenging Branches and Bays 10k. I went into the race with no expectations other than we were going to get wet as it had been raining for a few hours. A handful of harriers took part with Emma, Rosie, Claire, Christine, Vicki and DB all on the start line
We lined up opposite the pub on the start line. After a bold choice from Rosie, we had me, Emma, Claire and Rosie on the 2nd row from the front. The race started in Hawthorn village.
 A winding route out of Hawthorn took you into Hawthorn Dene. I went out strong and hit 7 min miles for first 2 miles and felt really strong. I got to the first beach and the steps and had an Asthma attack which slowed me down, and allower Rosie and Claire to overtake me. I rallied and got back to a recent pace along the cliff tops towards Seaham and the beach before noses point. We got onto the 2nd beach and faced the steep slope up to Noses Point. I struggled to breathe at the water station as Claire and Rosie disappeared into the distance and Emma closed in behind.
A strong run over the trails back to Hawthorn Dene kept Emma at a distance but getting into the Dene saw my Asthma kick off again and my HR go up to 185. Stopping to recover Emma overtook and asked if I was ok. I waved her on. A miles worth of struggle I got to the finish and staggered over the line virtually unable to stand or breathe.
A lovely medal and fantastic event. I will be back. Finally, a well done in particular to David Bentley for 4th place overall.
by Andy Featherstone.

Race Rundown: Durham City 10k and Run Like a Legend, 15/16th July 2021

You wait 16 months for a Race and 2 come along together!

My last race was the Thirsk 10 mile, it seems like a lifetime ago. Many of you may have already had your first race of the year in club colours, this was to be mine. Once it was confirmed the Durham City Run Festival was going to be going ahead, emails pinged and race numbers dropped on the doormat soon after. This was a race deferred from last year and one I have raced every year since its inception. Was I excited? Hmmm…. Yes and No in equal measures.

The Yes bit is obvious, I absolutely love race day!  Getting stuff together, planning travel, etc etc

The No …. A little un-fitter, injury niggle for past year or so, will my race vest fit (this was a very real concern, lol), how will it work with new course and covid restrictions.

Race Day was here, I pinned my number to my vest, packed my bag and off I went.

My vest was a little snug, but still so happy to be wearing Harriers colours again. But not sure what to expect in Durham.  The race start was moved to the Racecourse, as I walked there, I was joined by a few familiar faces, and even more Harriers were at the venue. Everything seemed like normal, lots of people, different clubs represented. And it was a fantastic evening weather wise.


The organisation was absolutely superb. Everyone had a colour coded number, I was in the first wave, we were corralled and led to the start line, the next wave formed behind and so on. The walk to the start was a good couple of hundred yards away, all the waves in place moving very slowly to be released in a rolling start every few minutes.

As I approached the start line, I glanced across the field and saw Pete King, he was going to be the last man to cross the start line. The Americans call it playing the dead man running game, whether intentional or not, the aim is to overtake as many as possible before you cross the finish line. I on the other hand was doing the exact opposite, start first and see how many runners can pass me.

The race was off, new course and full of hope. We did a loop of the Racecourse and then headed through Old Elvet and down by the river, crossed the foot bridge and were doing the Parkrun in reverse on the undulating path next to the river. Crossed the very narrow wood bridge at about 3k (apologies for being slow and causing a bottle neck behind me) and on towards the very loud, shaky bridge at the Sports Complex.  The surprise next was a left hander and onto the running track for about 300m then off and in between the various sports pitches for a lap of the complex on the grass, which turned into another field and a lap before heading back along the river path back towards Durham.


This was the 5k point, and when the wheels started to fall off, my calf injury started hurting and gradually was to get worse. Slowing down even slower if that was possible, I heard Pete behind me and asked if I would do a race rundown. In a moment of weakness I said yes, no problem, he then ran off before I could change my mind!

The pace was getting slower and pain was starting to hurt, but I was determined to finish. The route was not as hilly as previous years, a good course I thought.  So we crossed the Old Elvet Bridge and ran towards the market place, through the shops and up Claypath, to turn down the steep hill towards the old ice rink site. And over the river again we go, the last painful kilometre towards the city centre.  We ended up crossing the Framwellgate Bridge and running up the steep hill towards the market place and onto a finish at The Gate, Claypath.


The support from fellow Harriers was as it always was, and always will be, genuine, warm and encouraging. My race was not the greatest at 1 hr 20 mins.  But on reflection I still enjoyed my race day. And another race the following day!



After limping the last 2 miles the previous night, I did not know what to expect from my Run Like A Legend mile race.  My preparation was lots of warm up drills, stretching on the morning and becoming best friends with my foam roller.

I was racing with 5 other people on the riverside path at 2.00pm. The course was an out and back on flat terrain, a lot easier than last time’s course.

I ran like the wind, it seemed like I did anyway, was very hot and sticky but it’s only a mile isn’t it?  I gained confidence from the fact I was not hurting and ran as fast as I could, my target was under 10 minutes, a good benchmark for the rest of the year.

A very good 9.43 which I was pleased with, all is restored in Andy World.


As a footnote these two races being part of the Durham City Running Festival are excellent local events in a fantastic setting, well organised and laid out, medals and T-shirts are of good quality. All in all a great experience I will continue to support.

Andy Corfield.

Race Rundown: Sunderland 10k, June 20th 2021

So where do I start? One Sunday morning running with Pete (a surprise I know lol), we started discussing races and potential times. I said ideally this year I wanted a 50 minute 10K, and with currently running well, Pete said he would happily pace me round. Bonus, I thought, not knowing how my idea would potentially blow up lol. So the scene was set, Pete would pace me round. Then up pops Sunderland 10k and a message from Pete saying he’s in, 30secs later I had entered not knowing what to expect as I hadn’t completed it before. This is now where the pressure started to build, mainly from myself as I told everyone I wanted 50 mins, and my previous best was 52.09 (a section on the Thirsk 10 miler) so I knew I needed to push myself to achieve my goal…

Happy Fathers Day. Yeah very funny…

The day before the race the Harriers Sunday group page started to blow up with predictions of my time, which ranged from 48-49.59, I joined in and thanked everyone for their support… Race day, the nerves started to kick in and my thoughts turned to what if I don’t achieve my time, the adrenaline definitely started to flow around my body. We arrived at Sunderland where Pete parked his car ready for a free charge !! We quickly nipped over to McDonalds (me, Graham and Pete) for a pre-race coffee, then wandered down to the start.

So onto the race. We lined up and I remember Pete just kept saying to me you’ve got this and don’t go off like a loon. I stuck to his advice and off we went, both me and Pete went off together and I thought he was going to stick with me throughout. First K done I felt comfortable and still able to talk lol, second K just about completed and I hear Pete shout ‘keep going you’ve got this!’ and then a follow up of ‘4.37 for the 2nd  K’, and I knew then it was all on me so away I went on my own trying not to look at my watch.

I tried to pick off a few runners in front of me, and use them as a gauge and to keep me motivated, 3, 4,and 5K. I kept plugging away and managed to get an new PB over that distance of 22.31 which alone was a massive achievement for me. We then turned down onto the front and on came a few spots of rain. By this time I could feel myself getting tired, but I knew I had to push on, I took a sneaky look at my watch and it flashing ahead by 1.30 minutes. Think that gave me a little boost. I continued on trying to maintain average splits, and by 8.5k I had manged to take it to 2 minutes ahead, and by that point I knew I had given it a go.

Then the final long drag, a few people started to overtake and I knew I didn’t have anything extra at this point, I just needed to maintain it for the final 1/2k then the sneaky little detour around by the university put another slight incline in. I was digging deep and pushed through, over the bridge and onto the final straight. I tried to give everything I had left and looked at the clock and it was towards 47 mins. I think I crossed the line just before the clock time of 47 and there was Chris Lines saying ‘You smashed it well done!!’ as I then walked round to collect the goody bag my phone pings and the time comes through 46.43…

Not only did I achieve my 50 mins target I smashed it well and truly!! And as most have seen I honestly couldn’t have been happier. That’s officially about five and a half minutes off my best ever 10k time…

I do have to say a big thanks to everyone that believed I could achieve my goal and to Pete for keeping me grounded over the first 2k as I think otherwise I probably would have gone off way too fast. Now maybe the next goal will be 45mins….

By Mark Chapman.



Race Rundown: Windermere Marathon, 23rd May 2021

This race had been a long time coming, as I had entered Manchester Marathon in 2020 but we all know what happened there… fast forward a year and the appetite to want to run the marathon distance was still there.  With all the large races cancelled or likely to be with Covid restrictions I looked to see if there were any smaller races.  Windermere marathon seemed ideal, well except maybe for those hills, this is what the blurb says:

The Windermere Marathon has a reputation as one of the most challenging road marathons in the UK. Categorised by Runner’s World as ‘undulating’

I started out this training block hoping I’d get past the 12 week mark and thankfully about a month before the race they sent out the confirmation that the race would be happening, albeit under covid restrictions, numbers for the race were limited to 800 (~555 people ran on the day), there would be staggered starts and runners were encouraged to be more self sufficient with hydration and nutrition with fewer stations around the route.  It also meant no spectators or events put on at Brathay Hall which normally happen for the waiting family and Friends

The race starts and finishes at Brathay Hall and follows an anti-clockwise route, passing through Hawkshead, Newby Bridge, Bowness-on-Windermere and Ambleside.

I’d booked a start time of 8:45 and instructions were to not to turn up until ~15 minutes before the start time to get through registration.  Getting in and parked, and through to the start line was very easy, and one bonus of these staggered starts is no queues for the toilets!  It was all very relaxed at the start line, and although they said we’d go off in groups of 40, in reality once at the start line you could start when you were ready.  Certainly a lot less stressful this way, but a little underwhelming way to start!

The course lived up to the billing as ‘undulating’ right from the start but more rolling ups and down to ease us in and get the legs warmed up.  In the first half of the race I did have to contend with the rain – heavy downpours with some hail thrown in for good measure.  The showers would be spread out enough just enough to dry off and then get soaked again.

The big climb of the course came at mile 7 –known as the devil’s gallop, 200ft over half a mile, and keeping my sensible head on, took the approach of walk the steep parts and save those legs – a long way to go yet!

Luckily the next 4 or so miles were gradually downhill so a slight rest for the legs.  Simon and Chloe were waiting for me at Newby Bridge so time for a quick hug and words of encouragement and then time to head back up the lake.

There is usually a time during a race that I question why I do these things for ‘fun’ and the road back up towards Bowness-on-Windermere was certainly it, I can only describe it as a rollercoaster of hills – they just kept coming and even the downs weren’t that fun!

Once through Bowness-on-Windermere and the road levelled out. At this point I was also entering unchartered territory, having never run further than 21 miles before.  Fortunately the wall was never hit!  Coming up to around mile 24, I noticed a couple of spectators that looked familiar – Beth and Mark!  Gave me a great boost to see you cheering – thanks guys!

There was another quick hug from Chloe in Ambleside and then time for the last push back up to Brathay Hall.  By this time the legs were complaining quite loudly at any slight incline, bad news then that the finish was uphill – that’s just cruel!  However, as the 26 mile marker ticked by I was so so happy that I was going to make it and crossing the finish line in just over 4 hours and 21 minutes was an amazing feeling!

By Fay Uphill.

Race Rundowns: 22nd April Muddy Roads Pine Forest Trail 5k and 3rd May Muddy Roads Pizza 8k Trail

After a good few years of running either with Rosie or with my trusty old border collie Jess, and entering the odd running race and a few sprint triathlons for ‘fun’, Rosie finally convinced me to actually join the Harriers.

Pre-covid I was never able to attend any training sessions due to work commitments, but working from home meant that I no longer had that excuse, and with the gym pretty much shut I needed something to keep the wine and chocolate calories from piling on, so I signed up and joined a few Netpark & Hardwick Park sessions as well as some runs with Emma, Vicky and Fay.

I’m generally not very motivated if I don’t have something to ‘train’ for so I signed up for some races this year and the last 2 weeks have seen me wear my new vest not once but twice! And what beautiful settings for races they were. Both were Muddy Roads trail races and were extremely well organised, everyone was friendly, welcoming and really supportive. And Rosie was at both handing out race numbers along with lots of encouragement for me and the rest of the runners. Huge credit to Vicky Fawcett and the whole Muddy Roads team, you guys are awesome!!

So on to the races…..

Pine Forest is located at Flatts Lane in Middlesbrough and the race started on a beautiful Thursday evening at the visitor centre before climbing on a winding trail path up through the trees before opening up to stunning views of Roseberry Topping. I can’t say that after that climb I could see much of the view through the sweat in my eyes, but apparently it was there!

The lovely and encouraging marshals at the top cheered me on and I later found out they were the Harriers’ very own Bethany and Mark Raine. And thanks to Mark, there is photo evidence to prove that the view exists and you can see the happiness on my face at being at the top of the climb!

The run then undulates back through the forest with steep downhills and a long flat track before a small climb back up to the finish line. I managed a time of 25.56 which, for anyone who knows me, knows how much I hate hills, I was quite happy with!


The second race in my new vest took place on Bank Holiday Monday and was the Pizza 8k Trail at Errington Woods in New Maske  – and it was another hilly one  – but the draw of pizza at the end was enough to lure me in. And some other Harriers too!

We were lucky given the horrendous forecast for the day, that the weather was dry and cool for the race and the heavens only opened when we were on our way home.

The trail was similar to the first race with a start climb up through woods and then across dusty fields at the top with more stunning views of Roseberry Topping and also Saltburn cliffs and out to  the sea. The trail then heads back down through the woods, throw in a couple of boggy patches and another field and then on to the finish and the amazing wood fired pizza.

Both runs started under Covid safe rules in waves and having switched from wave 5 to wave 1 so Rosie and I could make a hasty getaway at the end (and nothing to do with getting our pizza before the queues started) I had the unexpected issue of being out at the front after the first mile – something I have never experienced before and probably never will again, so with no one to chase or follow it was an unusual ‘race’ for me and I was just trying to make sure I didn’t get lost and that none of the super fast runners from the next waves caught me. My time was 42.01 and I had to be pleased with that given those pesky hills and lone run. Note to self – don’t switch waves next time…..

A huge well done to the other Harriers who also ran – there were some truly impressive times!

Excellent 4th place overall for Mark


So I’ve got the race bug and I’ve even signed up for a few more Muddy Roads events although I am also keen to find a flatter race or two! And now Rosie has convinced me to join the Harriers, she now thinks she can convince me to train for an ultra…… but I think she first needs to join me in a few triathlons – that’s only fair isn’t it?!

By Claire Lee

Pictures credit: Karen Harland

Thanks Vicky, two more great events