Race Rundown: Kieran Maxwell Memorial Open 3000m, 7th April 2019

“…its not about you joggers who go round and round and round

I always used to be more daunted by a 3,000m on the track than a road half marathon. Theres nowhere to hide on the track you can feel exposed, with all of your athletic shortcomings on display for anyone to see and judge. I also used to find the experience oddly claustrophobic. Hmm, Im not really giving track and field the big sellhere am I?

The truth is that I am a convert, but the above paragraph is my attempt to avoid being that most annoying type of person the atheist turned holier than thou evangelist, or the reverse for that matter. So now that I have got that out of the way, I will unashamedly eulogise about running on the track!

Its a great experience and whats more, it has helped me improve my performances on the road. The discipline of getting into a rhythm and consistent pace on the track can have a significant impact elsewhere. In 2018, after running distances from 1,500m to 10,000m on the track during the summer, I managed to set new PBs at both 5K and 10K on the road, having struggled to get close to my previous bests for several years. A coincidence? Of course not.

Were really fortunate that there is a well-established calendar of track and field events in the North East, and I particularly recommend the NYSD series over the summer, which this year will all be held at Middlesbrough Sports Village. You can register in advance, but you can also enter on the night, and they are extremely welcoming events that give anyone the opportunity to have a go at track and field without feeling like theyre in the crucible of competition. Thats not to say that the meetings are not competitive, just that the focus is as much on participation as it is on performance, and in that environment, its much less daunting. Last year, as well as racing on the track, I had a go at long jump, triple jump, discus, shot and high jump (think less Fosbury Flopand more Lines Lateral Leap’ – note the crucial problem with the latter!).

Another great aspect of the NYSD series is that its open to people of all ages. Track and field is a vital element of any young athletes development, so I have been trying to get my oldest son Ciaran along to as many meetings as possible its a bonus that I can participate too. The traditional outdoor season curtain raiser used to be the Anne Marie Readshaw event at Shildon, but that no longer takes place and in the last two years, the baton has been passed to the Kieran Maxwell Memorial Open, held in memory of an inspirational young man who I was fortunate enough to meet on a couple of occasions. Like the NYSD events, anyone could take part, though all registration was in advance and the event filled up quite quickly.

Ciaran and I both tackled the 3,000m, which was held in a single heat that attracted a mixed field of junior and senior men, and one lady. As I lined up, I realised that some pretty speedy young men had decided that this would be a great opener for their seasons. I was already reconciled to being towards the back of the field, but identified my own battles with a couple of the other vets, with Ciaran, and versus my time of 10:35 from the same event in 2018.

For those who dont know, the Linesy sub-text to all of this is the countdown to the (inevitable) moment when Ciaran (who will turn 16 in July) gets officially faster than his old man. Hes been getting very close in recent months, but hasnt quite managed that at 5K or other longer distances. In the immediate lead up to Sundays race, I predicted to a few folk that this could be the moment, but I was determined that Ciaran would have to work hard for it.

Back to the race. We set off and I kept close order with Ciaranfor about 200m. Then he scampered off up the track with a group and I was detached. I ran most of the race in splendid isolation, some way behind Ciaran and several young whippersnappers, but ahead of a few of the other older runners. My hope was that Ciaran had gone off far too fast and that I would gradually make ground on him. It didnt happen and while seven and a half laps can feel like a long way, its not really, so theres not a great deal of time to claw back a significant gap. The overall winner of the race was New Marskes Dean Newton (in a rapid time of 8:52), who I am relieved to admit was the only person who lapped me. I crossed the line in 10:24, 11 seconds faster than at the same event last year (but a little behind my PB of 10:16). I don’t think that I could have gone any quicker on the day.

As for Ciaran, well he was a minute faster than last year, finishing in 9:58, so not only did he comfortably beat me, but he also blitzed my PB. I call that pretty definitive. I am genuinely delighted for him (really!). Im also glad that hes had to work hard to get ahead of me in the Lines pecking order at one distance, because thats how it should be, and I will now redouble my efforts to stay ahead of him at other distances. ?

Finally, once again, I highly recommend that junior and senior Harriers have a go at track and field. Its fun, competitive, accessible, and can definitely help you improve in other aspects of your athletics. You can find full details of the NYSD series here and theres also a well established series for veterans called the North East Masters full details here. If you really want to challenge yourself (and put yourself out there), theres also the NECAA North East Track and Field Championships on 11th and 12th May see details here.

The results from this years Kieran Maxwell Memorial Open can be found at www.kieranmaxwellopen.co.uk.

Thanks to Karen Harland (Dean Newtons mum) for the photos.

Chris Lines.


Race Rundown: Lancaster Mother’s Day 10k, 30th March 2019

Mother’s Day 10k is part of the Lancaster Race Series and has been a firm favourite in Lancaster for many years. This race attracts many runners from Lancaster and Morecambe but also runners from as far afield as Surrey. Surprisingly, this race is totally flat which is a novelty for Lancaster as there are hills everywhere especially at parkrun.

Starting at the George & Dragon Pub, Lancaster Quay and heading towards Morecambe; this route is a simple out and back course on the cycle paths next to the River Lune. Due to the flat elevation, it is ideal for a fast time.

So, the start time was nearing, and I was getting my usual pre-race nerves, there was a short walk to the start (5 minutes) and then the race began. My first mile was very fast due to starting quite close to the front and this led to a new mile PB for me of 7:39. However, me being me, I decided that I could keep this pace going for the whole race!! As many of you know, I always set off a lot faster than I should. The run followed the cycle path and crossed the Lune Millennium Bridge which was lovely.

The halfway and turn around point was close, and my watch clocked 5k at 24:37 which was also a PB. However, after the halfway point, I started to flag! Luckily, one of my best friends (Alice) managed to catch me up and we both decided to stick with each other and help each other finish. As the race progressed, we both realised that sub 50 minutes for the 10k was achievable. Around 8km we decided we could do it. We went over the bridge for the final time and I knew it was going to be very close, but we could do it.

My final time was 49:56 which was a PB and I was very emotional on the line. Both Alice and I managed it which I didn’t think would be possible this early in the season. This is probably only one of the only times I have been emotional on a finish line. We were handed our medal, chocolate and water, then the celebrations began!

This was my first race in the Lancaster Race Series, and I would 100% recommend this particular race to anyone as it was well organised with a variety of prizes including a slow cooker and waffle maker (useful for students)!

Race Results: https://www.runbritainrankings.com/results/results.aspx?meetingid=284723

By Georgina Letts

Race Rundown: Stockton Winter Trail series 2018 – 2019

I only started running 5km at Sedgefield Parkrun last August and liked the idea of trying different 5kms.

I had been taking part in the junior series for quite a few years which was 2km but they stopped doing the junior races this season.

The series took place between October – March. There were six races in total, two at Tess Barrage, and one each at Cowpen Bewley, Preston Park, Wynyard Woods and Ropner Park. I did all of them apart from Preston Park (which was a shame as this was the one where they gave out selection boxes!). Each of the venues was completely different. Tees Barrage was pretty flat, Cowpen Bewley was the other extreme and has a big hill and is always very muddy! I enjoyed Wynyard as I liked running through the woods but there was a section where you have to run up a lot of steps….I ran up them but a lot of people were walking up them! Ropner Park was the last one of the series and was more like a more parkrun as all on path instead of trail. Although it was a nice lap of the park I didn’t really enjoy doing the same lap 3 times.

This series was mostly adults but I did enjoy doing it. It was well organised and everyone was really friendly to me and adults often came up to me after the race to shake my hand and say well done….even the ones who were trying to beat me at the finish. One man said he was pleased he had overtaken me only for me to sprint past him at the finish! I would recommend this series to other juniors as this year I think there was only me and David Edwards taking part.

By Thomas Rowe

Editor’s note. Thomas is extremely modest about his running, as evidenced by his excellent results, such as here at Ropner: https://events.stockton.gov.uk/media/1997/ropner-park-results-2019.pdf

Race Rundown: Kielder Dark Skies Marathon, 23rd March 2019

2019 Trail Outlaws Dark Skies Marathon is one big loop around the stunning Kielder reservoir. The course is mainly on gravel paths with plenty of ups and downs that last the whole loop. The only flat bit I can remember is the dam. The forecast was promising, and we had our fingers crossed for the Aurora Borealis making an appearance. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be so no light show on the night, but the conditions were perfect for running so I won’t grumble.

Ray was kind enough to drive again and we had some company this time from fellow Harrier Lisa Darby and Catriona Miller Frampton. The journey went well apart form no coffee stop and Ray getting the start time muddled up with Sunday’s race, so we arrived 1 hour late! I was very stressed… Luckily though we allowed enough time and made it to registration in time. To be fair to Ray I should have paid attention to the start time myself instead of letting him sort it all out… I had my usual several trips to the loo, sorted my bag out and headed to the start. I chatted with a few friends and Garry Scott did the race brief. There was a bit of controversy the day before with some runners ditching kit. I know it’s a safe, well marked trail and it’s not the longest of events and the weather was okay, but why go against the rules? They got disqualified so hopefully it won’t happen again.

I was treating this run as a long hard training run. My training plan said to do some miles at my goal marathon pace, but the bulk of it easy. Kielder is lumpy, so I don’t think I did anything at goal marathon pace, but plenty of the miles were run at marathon effort. Also, the easy never felt that easy… Saying that, I ran the following week as normal so overall, I gauged the effort right.

The race started at a quick pace and the runner who eventually won the race was out of sight very early on. I could see 2nd, 3rd and 4th for about 5 miles, but 2nd and 3rd vanished after that too. I did manage to catch 4th up, but he caught me back when I stopped for the loo. I was really surprised to be so near the front with this being a training run and it was hard not getting wrapped up in the event. I just kept telling myself I’m training for London, I’m training for London!

Even though it was quite lonely running I found the miles passed easy. It’s a lovely trail with lots to see and some great sculptures on route so my mind was constantly occupied. Also, when the sun went down you could see the headtorches from the other runners. I never get bored of sights like this and I never get bored with being outside too.

I opted for the high-tech nutrition approach of 12 month out of date mountain fuel and half a bag of jelly babies. I’m still sticking to the mindset of we don’t need all the expensive nutrition that we consume before, during and after a run. I’ll run important races with gels, but everything else comes from whatever is kicking around in the cupboards. Luckily for me, out of date mountain fuel goes down and more importantly stays down.

I found it easier running in the dark. I couldn’t see the hills and I had no concept of how long was left to go before we reached the top of a climb. This just allowed you to run completely in the moment. I always kept a check on my heart rate. This kept me from slacking off and pushing too hard.

Getting to the dam was brilliant and it felt like I was on the home straight after that. It was great to see this checkpoint as I approached in the dark. I didn’t stop at any checkpoint, but it’s always a welcome sight and a boost so I’m really grateful for these people giving up their evening. I imagine quite a few of them gave up Friday, Saturday and Sunday!! Big shout out to Graham Darby for giving up most of his Saturday so we could run around the reservoir.

I did slow down quite a bit after the dam, but my heart rate was consistent, so I was happy to just go with the flow. On reflection it was a lonely run for me, but I never felt bored or the need to reduce my effort. I wished for a headlight to appear in the distance to give me something to aim for, I wished for the finish to come sooner too, but these are all natural when the race is in its final stages. I can’t get enough of running around our capital, but as soon as I see Big Ben, I’m begging for the finish line. Well, eventually the finish line did appear, and it was like running into a Christmas grotto. Loads of lights lighting up the route made for a lovely finish. More smiling and helpful marshals and a great medal.

I spent the last 2 hours thinking about the food I’d ordered so I quickly thanked everyone, found my bag and tucked into a big plate of chilli! It was canny, but the Victoria sponge cake was amazing. Perfect with a cuppa!

The room soon filled up with runners and before I knew it, Lisa Darby, Catriona and Ray finished. It looked like pretty much everyone had an enjoyable evening. Ray loved it so much he went back the next day for more hills. Would I go back again? Yes, 100%. I loved the route, atmosphere and I had a great run so why not. I came 4th in the end and 1st V40 male. I was over the moon with my award and it sits pride of place on my fire place at home.

Trail Outlaws put on slick events and everything seemed to run like clockwork. I have marshalled for them before, so I have seen it from the other side of the fence too and they really know what they are doing.

I’d do this race again without hesitation. I could even have my arm twisted to do all three of them!

Thanks again to Ray for driving. It’s my turn to drive this weekend as we head to Manchester for what will be hopefully marathon number 91.

I’m trying to reach my 100th marathon this year and hopefully I’ll raise a few quid along the way. I have been blown away with people’s generosity. If you would like to support me then pop over to Virgin Money Giving and give what you can.


By Gary Thwaites.




Results: https://darkskiesrun.com/dark-skies-kielder-results-2019.php



Race Rundown: Thirsk 10M Road Race, Sunday 17th March 2019

This was the first Harrier Grand Prix event of the season that I have attended and a good number of Harriers turned out to run the ‘fast flat course’ in North Yorkshire. My definition of flat appears to differ to that of race organisers – yes, it wasn’t hilly, but not what I would call flat. The race HQ was at Thirsk Racecourse and seemed to be well organised. There was plenty of parking and I didn’t have to queue for the loo – woo hoo!

It was a bright but windy day, the first few miles into a strong headwind and the later ones were wind assisted (which I needed). With over a thousand race entries, the start made for a crowded affair. It took a few miles to really get going, but it was a pleasant sight to see a long line of multi-coloured runners snaking along the country lanes. The course contained an out and back section, which seemed to last forever. I was relieved when I was finally on the main road heading back to the racecourse, blissfully unaware that Pete King was slowly reeling me in. The finish area was awash with yellow t-shirts from the event, but I didn’t hang round for long – that wind was cold!

I entered this race wistfully hoping for a PB, which didn’t happen. I really struggled during the run and was pleased when it was over. I later had to abandon my shopping plans and curl up on the living room floor with stomach cramps and sickness, not how I normally spend race days.

Some good results from the Harriers, particularly Clair Walker and her doppelganger.


by Tracy Henderson

Race Rundown: Hardmoors 55 (50) – March 16th 2019

Time to stop doubting, and start believing!

This could be a long read, so grab a coffee or tea and make yourself comfortable. This year the race was shortened slightly to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of The Cleveland Way and 10th Anniversary of the running of this event.

The route of the run went from North to South, Guisborough to Helmsley via Roseberry Topping (up and over it twice!) This proved to make this race extremely difficult due to the direction of the run. Whilst the run was as long as it was difficult, the biggest factor was the weather. This proved to be the undoing of a lot of combatants; I don’t use this word lightly, because it was a battle out there between the elements and sheer willpower. During this Race Rundown, I will attempt to, not just describe the miles I crossed, but to try and convey what was going on inside my head at the time.

Friday night before the race, full of hope and optimism, I packed my race gear, a lot of essential kit to carry on an ultra. I packed two drop bags, with extra gels and Haribo for Drop 1 at Kildale, and ham and pickle sarnies and pork pies for Drop 2 at Osmotherley. All set, good to go, early night then race day! No matter what race it is, I love race day, the excitement of what’s about to unfold, the uncertainty of how it will go, the buzz of anticipation from all the runners, its palpable.

It was raining on the morning, but did not dampen anybody’s spirits, well, not yet anyway. The race was under way 15 minutes late, after registration and everyone had to have a tracker taped to their race vest.

The first couple of miles were uphill, no surprise there, and across to the Tees Link, which was a vertical mud-bath climb straight to Highcliff Nab. This was relentless, but weather wise, shielded from the wind was not too bad. Once we got to the top and a few hundred yards later the wind came into its own just as Roseberry Topping came into view, in all its rugged splendour. Runners were already streaming down one side of Roseberry and on to Captain Cook’s Monument before I even made the first climb over it. Once up and over, we turned around and did it again then on our merry way. The wind was horrific, almost catching people off balance, this was set in for the day. After 5 miles the first of the retirements were logged.

Between mile 5 and 10, I was not in a good place. The sheer difficulty of the climb with wind, and rain combined got me thinking about the next 40 miles. My legs were stiff, knees with a niggle I have had on and off for a long time, Kildale seemed an easy decision to call it a day! Gutted!

On the approach to Kildale I started running a little more freely, maybe it wasn’t gonna end here after all. I was of course soaking wet, but not cold, benefits of carrying a few extra pounds I suppose. My inner Andy told me, get inside, hot drink, grab your dropbag and go. The problem with staying too long in warm indoor checkpoints is the fact that it’s warm and indoors!! So I decided to have a go to the next check point, up and over Bloworth Crossing to Clay Bank. It was 10 miles. I had arrived at Kildale 45 minutes ahead of cut off, so to have a go and carry on was my decision, based on the fact that if I ran every now and again my legs and knees loosened up and felt better. Off we go.

10 miles crossing Bloworth I started thinking about the next big cut off point at Osmotherley, which was a further 10 miles away and included the 3 Sisters. I had until 6.00pm to do another 20 miles. There was a small group of us traversing Bloworth together, not a lot of conversation, driving rain coming at you sideways and wind gusting up to 45mph took all of our concentration. We leap-frogged each other (not literally tho! Lol! ) on that 10 mile stretch. Each time a faster person went past, words of encouragement were given…” nice one, keep it up” … “ well done, looking strong” and other short words of motivation. The runner would then stop and walk a while, others picked up the proverbial baton and it was their turn to stretch their legs….This went on for what seemed like an eternity, but in reality, 3 hours. Bloworth is bleak on a Summer day, never mind on a day like this. But all I could think of was making Clay Bank and evaluate my mind and body as to carrying on or calling it a day.

Approaching Clay Bank the 3 Sisters loomed in the distance, looking bleak and menacing. Its only 3 hills, up an over, up and over and you’ve guessed it, up and over again. I have done this section probably a dozen times, and to be fair, its one of my favourite places. Once I dropped into Clay Bank my mind was more or less made up to carry on. A lot of bodies called it a day at that point, not wanting to go any further. And who could blame them, 20 miles of being battered has taken its toll. Inner Andy told me “its not gonna end here is it? C’mon ya big Jessie, fill your bottles grab some Jaffa cakes and go!!” I would not have forgiven myself if I didn’t at least climb the next stage to Lordstones. In hindsight, Inner Andy would have being right. I had to carry on. At our amazing club at Sedgefield, I seem to have a name for liking the hills and doing reasonably well at them for a big lad. I’m not the quickest or strongest on the flat but you just have to embrace the hills, grit your teeth and grind them out. So basically I carried on, with Inner Andy and The Harriers in my mind, Wainstones 3 Sisters were smashed and dedicated to our Club & members.

I could always stop at Lordstones Café, if I was in no shape to carry on further, call my wife to collect my body from there, while I could have had a nice pint of Guinness. Mmm more internal dialogue.

To reach Osmotherley from Lordstones I had 8 miles and 2 and a half hours to cut off at 6.00pm. I was by now moving slowly so it was going to be tight on time. I discounted stopping at Lordstones and carried on. My reasoning being, Osmotherley is easier to get to for my wife and more importantly I had pork pies there! And waiting about, for an hour in wet clothes would not have being fun. So while I was still mobile, albeit wet but not cold I went onwards.

Friends of mine caught me up on the run in to Osmotherley, it was a nice distraction to chat and have a bit of banter with them, they eventually pushed on after a few miles to try and beat cut off time. I was moving slower. I knew my race was over. I made peace with Inner Andy, had an epiphany 4 miles out from Osmotherley, and looked back on the previous 9 hours and realised what I have just done in the bleakest of conditions. I was pleased with myself for giving it a proper go, no regrets, 30 miles in the bag and lots of memories.

I made the call to my wife to meet me in the village hall. I was not upset by this, or even subdued like I was at the first attempt and being timed out 3 years ago. It was the correct decision. Whilst I was wet all day, I was never cold. But as daylight faded, the temperature dropped, so for me to carry on would not have ended well. My friends missed cut off by 6 minutes, I was disappointed for them. I trundled in at 6.24pm happy in the knowledge I had given it a proper go, my wife was already there 10 minutes before me. So the day ended with coffee and pork pies, warm dry clothes and a bag of chips from around the corner. The last half mile all I could smell was fish and chips!! And they were lovely!!

Lessons learned today were, some kit worked better than others, but only a small portion of runners managed to stay dry. All sorts of big name jackets eventually failed the weather test we had, quite a few, me included were soaked after the first 3 hours. The weather made this an extremely unpredictable and difficult race for an unsupported runner like myself and many others. But the race is designed that way, to be run in one go by oneself. Even supported runners dropped out. Some guys on the race said it was the worst conditions they have encounted, and a few of them ran last year when The Beast from the East hit the race.

Will I run this next year? Of course I will, it’s one of my favourite races in the calendar.

My run by the numbers, I do love a good bit of data:

Distance – 30.5 miles

Ascent – 8855 ft – 5 hrs 27mins of climbing

Descent – 8688 ft – 4 hrs 34mins

Heart rate average for 10 hours – 132bpm

& 2 pork pies

A couple of items of kit I had are note worthy of a mention:

Runderware anti-blister, double layered ankle sock – feet were wet all day, but no chaffing or blisters and very comfortable. Feet were as good as when I started, NO HOBBIT FEET HERE!

Lanacane anti-chafing cream – one application all day, no issues at all, nuff said!

Base layer, Under Armour Cold Gear – I may have been wet because of the extreme conditions but I was never cold.

Suunto Ambit 3 Peak – Battery life amazing, only used 37% in over 10 hours of use, and I was wearing a bluetooth chest heart-rate strap.

Thank you for reading my race rundown, at the time of writing, the full set of race results have yet to be published but will appear on the Hardmoors website. The winner did finish in 8 hrs 19 mins.


Andrew Corfield.

Race Rundown: RunFit Hartlepool 5k Trail Race 10th March 2019

Tommy Cooper summed me up well when he lamented “I used to be indecisive but now I am not quite sure”. The RunFit Hartlepool 5k Trail pre-race literature stating “Entries close at 9.30am on the day of the race” was both blessing and curse.

Unable to decide between the above race or 10 miles of Big Stu’s 8am fields of mud I decided to let my body clock decide my fate. A 7.48am awakening meant my decision was all but made for me; a trip to the motherland was in store.

As always, I left home in plenty of time, only to be scuppered by a journey that was blighted by more red lights than Roxanne’s.

09.29 – I’m in – runner 821, a number somewhat high given the 104 entrants.

U naccustomed to arriving so early, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself, so, given my aching limbs from yesterday’s lope to Cowpen Bewley, coupled with the somewhat sub-Saharan temperatures of the north east coastline an all too rare warm-up was on the cards.

As 10am beckoned, we left our shelter of the village hall in varying degrees of undress; a last minute decision to deglove from me.


A start to match the organiser’s humble persona: unfussy; understated, unlike his RunFit posse’s hoodies with their lurid, Stabilo Boss-esque tangerine hue.

I underestimated the cold today and struggled to run with this load to warm. The North Sea air wicked heat away faster than my body could replace it. It wasn’t a pleasant coldness but it was the kind that made you try to run faster and brace your head against the wind. No matter how warm the blood in your veins, your face got frozen just the same.

“Where are my gloves? Anything for one of those hoodies!” Puddles galore. Cold water seeps into my shoes, stealing the heat from my soles just as fast as the wind steals from my face. For this short blast up Butts Lane, the icy wind and the freezing puddles are my nemesis. Suddenly, good news; the uphill stretch is over. Surely it’s all downhill from here. For now, at least, it is.

I’m one of three out front. Down Dolly Lane, a fast stretch – more folly, insane. As the veritable ‘coaster ends, we rise again toward Nesbitt Hall. The cold now forgotten as my lungs scream like an asthmatic fish out of water. Sod the gloves, “inhaler please, marshal!” The good news… three has become two.

Hall hill complete. A sharp right into a field. Stuart’s Sunday sessions should stand me in good stead. Another right-hander and it’s onto the steep descent of Nesbitt Dene. Underfoot it’s more slippery than a well-known Ceddesfeld politician covered in Iraqi oil. More good news comes from the shoes. My ‘trails’ bite the ground like a puppy’s incisors. My opponents road shoes cannot cope. As we cross Bellows Burn, finally, daylight. The hapless Hartlepool Harrier hindered. Hope.

An unfamiliar position. I’m about as used to winning as Theresa May in a Common’s Brexit vote.

More up. Steep steps, we egress, back to Butts. Keep going. KEEP GOING!

Home stretch, down to the ‘Old Monk’s’ finish funnel. Time to open up. Time to replace last year’s silver with gold. KEEP GOING!!!


It tastes so sweet. The post-race cocktail of Lucozade, digestives and jelly babies was followed by a soupçon of umami from the oven-warmed pies. Quite a spread.

It is, however, “not the quantity of the meat, but the cheerfulness of the guests, which makes the feast”. Joyous faces abound in the Hart Village Hall, all revelling in their own small victory against a spiky little course.

I say “little”, but at 5.9km it’s rather a long ‘5k’!

This race was a metrological and meteorological disaster, but in Andrew Lilley, RunFit Hartlepool have a true leader, a man on a mission, a man with a plan to improve the mental and physical health of his orange army through running and other sporting activities. Whilst his tape measure may have failed him, his organisational and inspirational skills are second to none.

I love RunFit’s events; I think you will too.

By David Bentley

Race Results


You can enter one or all of their future Trail Races Here ? ? ?

10k 26/05/19


Half Marathon 29/09/19


10k 27/10/19


Race Rundown: Dentdale 14, 9th March 2019

Much like me in Dent, my race report is coming in a little later than I had hoped.

It started off as a very windy day as Tracy and I got ready to make the journey over to Dent in Cumbria. For those who don’t know Dent, it is a little village in Dentdale valley just west of the Pennines.  The race itself is all on road and is a figure eight style route with Dent in the centre, with a choice of 14 mile or 8 mile races.  On this occasion I had entered the 14 mile race and Tracy the 8 mile.

As we travelled over, the weather looked grim with lots of snow on the hills, but luckily as we got into the valley the snow eased off and was replaced with wind and rain.

By the time the race started the weather wasn’t too bad, but the course was very wet.

The race raises money for the local school and has a very community feel to it, which I personally really like. You are made to feel very welcome and at the finish you are served afternoon tea in the school hall.

It’s a hilly course, which the elevation profile above shows (the 14 mile route is the 8 mile route plus an additional 6). My pace overlay shows the location of two of the water stations!


71 of 283, 1:52:48 Chip Time


96 of 189, 1:09:12 Chip Time


Full Results:



Unlike previous years, no other Sedgefield Harriers made the journey over.


Whilst slower than previous years I was happy with my run and Tracy was happy with hers too, which made the post-race beer in the local enjoyable!


By Steve Foreman

Race Rundown: North East Harrier League Cross Country, Alnwick Castle, Saturday March 2nd 2019

The final cross country race of the season and the moment of truth for the Senior Men’s team. A strong performance and favourable result and we might just avoid relegation to Division 3.

My race day preparation was as meticulous as ever, the long drive to Alnwick required an early start to allow time to acclimatise to the race environment. At 1.35pm I arrived at Alnwick Gardens and used the opportunity to race from there to the Harriers Tent in time for my race 15 minutes later as my warm up! Nothing like getting the adrenaline pumping! I opted to wear trail shoes, not because the course was dry with a gravel/hardcore twist but because I forget to pack my spikes!

Harriers converged as close to the start line to gain an advantage, especially over our challengers for Division 2 status – Low Fell & Saltwell.

Facing the impressive Alnwick Castle, the gun signalled the start of an undulating 10 km course, sweeping down along the banks of the River Aln before climbing the pasture and startling the grazing sheep. Then the route meandered towards the canopy of the woodland trails before descending down a steep grass hill peppered with natural obstacles of mole hills and large tufts of grass before passing by the large gathering of vocal supporters at the Start/Finish section.

Only 2 more laps of the same to go!!

Mark Raine made a strong start leading the Harriers charge. I had him in my sights for about 700 metres before my focus shifted to a Saltwell Harrier running alongside me. We traded positions temporarily before he got bored and ran ahead. The challenges of the undulating course took a slight toll on me during the 2nd lap. A minor stitch began to emerge, not sure if this was due to the 2 Mars bars I consumed en-route to Alnwick! Mind over matter was the order of the day; there was job to be done and our status in Division 2 to maintain.

I tried to use the course to my running advantage, gazelle-like running on the downward trails; trying to regulate my breathing on the flat sections and having enough energy to push strongly on the uphill climbs. The roar of the crowd was continually a source of welcome encouragement and motivation also, especially when I could hear my name shouted out. My only concern was that my eager Labrador, Luna, would break free from the control of my partner Lisa and get a better PB than me or go for a swim in the river!

Further words of encouragement were offered by David Bentley, David Walker and Chris Lines as they glided past me as if mounted on Harry Potter’s firebolt brooms. In order to conserve my energy I think I offered each of them a breathless grunt!

The final run through the forest and decent towards the finish line focused my mind on those ahead of me and how I could overtake them while ensuring I didn’t twist my ankle on the undulating ground.

Into the home straight and I had a Saltwell Harrier within my sights but with a decent advantage on me. Game on! He weaved right and my opportunity to gain ground on him was cut off by other runners. I ran to the left, undercutting those ahead of me and having just enough energy to sprint to the finish line just ahead of the Saltwell Harrier and Ray Carmichael who was galloping closely in behind me.

The end of another Cross Country season and sadly despite all the fantastic efforts of the senior men’s team since last September, relegation to Division 3 was confirmed even before our team tent was taken down!

Onwards and hopefully upwards for next season. For any Harriers who have not yet experienced Cross Country running, I would encourage you to give it go, you will be pleasantly surprised by the camaraderie it generates. The locations are varied in their terrain and scenery with a wealth of running challenges presented, the support from spectators and marshals is fantastic and this season the weather has been surprisingly warm so hopefully normal wintry conditions will be prevail for 2019/2020.

By Declan Munnelly


Race Rundown: Leazes Park Winter Wonder, Sunday 3rd February 2019

Sunday 3rd February 2019 …… North East Marathon Club Winter Wonder at Leazes Park, Newcastle…..#“Training run in mind”….. The day started fairly early as I was picking up fellow Harriers Justin Cox and Gary Thwaites on the way …. Alarm went off around 6.10 am, up and ready…. Quick breakfast, porridge with blueberries, Mmm , and a nice coffee… A good start for a marathon run ???? (So they say).

To start…. it was minus eight outside! A quick clean of the windows and headed off, heating on and seats warming up, perfect…. The roads weren’t great but made good time picking the boys up and got there right on time as we didn’t want to be hanging about on a morning that was….. COLD !!! We parked the car and had a little walk to the park, talking about the usual stuff… what was ahead and what runs we’ve been doing, aches and pains, and of course, when you go with Gary, food !!!!! Got to the park and registered and met the other runners taking part.

T he Marathon Club has a very laid back feel and very friendly which is great, no pressure, just enjoyment. The course looked very icy in places but with our sensible heads on it was runnable. At the briefing there was a presentation of a 100 Marathon vest for Helen Schofield, which is some achievement – Well done Helen. After all the safety talk and being told it wasn’t a race or PB weather we were off, bang on 9am!!!!

Nice and slow for the first few laps just to see where the feet needed to be heading around the park. It would take sixteen laps if you were to run the full distance…. 26.2, or you could run more, as you had six hours. The park was lovely to run around, it had a few hills but these added to the enjoyment…..1.6 miles per lap, which I found was great to forget about the mileage and just count the laps ……But as I said, no pressure with these winter wonders, one can run as far as one would like – a lot use them as great training runs, myself included. My plan was to run eighteen miles…. After three laps I had to stop for a gentleman stop….. but I won’t go in to that!!! Getting back to it was fine but I didn’t want to leave the warmth of the building…..

After a while I got carried away (I blame the blueberries…..) Feeling good at eighteen miles I pushed on, another three miles or two laps. Still feeling ok, I thought why not just run the full distance…… The course started getting better as the day went on and the sun came out. Seeing other runners along the way giving each other encouraging words helped the laps disappear. Justin Cox out in front looking good with Gary Thwaites pushing on in third place, great stuff, and Ben Swales running great too. You do meet a lot of new people along the way at all these events and over the years at other events too. Nice seeing people again.

So back to the run. All good. I mainly ran by myself for most of it at a nice steady safe pace. I did tag onto Melanie Horan, the marathon club secretary and had a little chat…. til she pulled away up the hills going on to completing her 94th marathon!!!!!! With only two laps to go, legs feeling heavy !!! I had my number taken for the records – four laps – which gave me a little scare as they had missed a lap. But my watch came to the rescue with the mileage on show “phew”?…. This is when I spotted Mr Justin Cox at the cafe with a big cup of coffee!!!! ‘Go on Ray only two laps to go !!!!!!!’ Cheers …… COXY. Then Gary shouted ‘I’ve got you some chocolate cake !!!!’ Nice one…. Gazza. With that running through my head I pushed on with only one more lap to go !!!

Well as I said, all was great, when I saw Melanie ahead and pushed to catch her up … And I did til I hit the bottom of the hill for the last time and BANG!!!!! Left leg cramped up big time!!! Felt sorry for myself thinking I should have stuck to my training plan miles??? After a little stretch, I power walked up the hill… which sometimes is just as quick..???? At the top a gentleman shouted ‘Don’t push it there’s always another race to WIN!!!’ Win, I thought ?? I’m just training…. I’m sure he was just encouraging me…. I set off again, a nice downhill section which helped the tired old legs… once back at it only a little way to go, felt great to complete the distance which I didn’t think I would be doing that morning.

Had a nice warmly welcome in by all…… and after receiving my medal and socks, crisps and chocolate bar, things looked up … it was in the bag …. Jackpot: 26.67 miles. Plus this was my first official marathon as a new member to the marathon club. Then Gary passed the chocolate cake to me… magic, just what I needed… BUT a coffee would have been nice too Justin Cox ?! Well done Gary on completing your 88th marathon, they’re starting to rack up now….. Nice seeing Peter and Debbie King having a walk around the park too. Thanks for the pics.

The “true” heroes of the day were all the volunteers and marshals for standing in those cold conditions. These events wouldn’t happen if we didn’t have volunteers… Thanks again. Once warmed up we watched a few in…. We made our way back to the car…… As promised while driving up, as “ALL” good athletes, we carb’d back up at the Golden Arches !!!!!!… ( #McDonald’s) …. A steady drive back, dropping the boys off and wished them well . I then headed back to a nice hot bath which was made ready by my understanding wife of a runner ???? .

After a lovely bath and little stretch it was time to carb back up “full time” with this !!! (Parmo!) It will take another marathon or two to burn this off !!!!!

To me these run events have helped put the miles in while training for other marathons etc , which helps when needing to find long runs in the winter months. If anybody’s looking at moving the miles up, they are great and a good price too. Have a look on their website…. http://northeastmarathonclub.co.uk

A great day had by all, thanks everybody…… See you all at the next event.

“Ray out …..”

By Ray Carmichael

Results: http://www.northeastmarathonclub.co.uk/winter-wonder-runs.php

Event photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/wxpoyNGh3hQ7imrD9