Fountains Abbey Park Run
I took part in the first 'parkrun' at Fountains Abbey on Saturday morning. It was fantastic to run in the grounds of a World Heritage Site. It is a two lap course and takes you right past the Abbey itself and through the beautiful water gardens and past the lake.
I have never been to a parkrun before so wasn't sure what to expect. I arrived early which was a good job as there were over 370 runners, plus some spectators. The start (9am) was delayed by 15 minutes to allow everyone time to park and walk to the start. The start of the 5km run is right by Huby Tower and a few minutes' walk from the car park and toilets etc. It was a bit cold waiting at the start, but the volunteer marshals were very helpful. There were lots of people of all ages taking part as well as a few with dogs and others pushing buggies. Everyone seemed to have a really enjoyable run. At the finish you have to wait to get your entry scanned so that it records your times and people were saying how well organised it was and what a special place it was to run. There is a link below to some photos which don't do the grounds justice as the weather was a bit overcast. There is a photo of me but as I forgot to take my Swaledale vest you won't be able to spot me! (soem great photos of the race though)
Once you have registered at the parkrun website and printed out your barcode you can go as often as you like for free. Fountains Abbey is such a great place to visit and the café is open after the run for anyone that wants refreshments.
There is a run every Saturday starting at 9am and as the weather improves it will be even more of a special place to run. I shall certainly be going again (maybe not every week) and trying to improve on my time.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 05 March 2014 19:57)
High Cup Nick / Black Combe
The fell running season is up and running with races in consecutive weekends. Mike Keavney and I travelled over to Dufton for the High Cup Nick race on the 22nd February (and to continue the annual Keavney/Coldwell battle for fell supremacy). There was a big turn-out and after 9.5 miles of racing Mike was first Swaledale Runner home - by 11 seconds! We both finished in the top half with times of 1.29.30 and 1.29.41 respectively. Picture is courtesy of Racing Snakes.
On Saturday 1st March I was back home in West Cumbria for the Black Combe Fell Race, covering 8 miles and a gruelling 3300 feet of ascent. This was my sixth attempt and despite perfect weather (although heavy underfoot) I was 4 minutes off my best time, finishing 110th from 187 starters. This race really is tough, with a brutal second climb - it's a race that still makes me genuinely nervous! Having said that I'm sure I'll be back again next year for more torture!
Last Updated (Tuesday, 04 March 2014 18:21)
Half marathon PB and PW
I recently competed in back to back half marathons on following Sundays. They were pretty different in location, route, weather and time taken!
On Sunday 9th February I ran the Liversedge Half Marathon in West Yorkshire. This is quite a hilly route and on the day was 'blessed' with gale force winds and heavy rain. The torrential, horizontal rain I'd awoken to thankfully stopped before the race got underway, but it was still very damp and blustery all the way round. At just past the half-way point, at the top of the steepest hill, the course ran past a friend's house. It was great to see and hear about 10 supporters cheering me on at this point when I was flagging after the climb.
The last mile in particular was tough, a gentle uphill into a headwind, it felt like I was running through treacle! This was a well organised race over a varied route, definitely one I'd do again. I finished 1:28:06, 4th in age category and 40th overall. This was a PB time for me by about 90 seconds, so I was pleased given the conditions.
The following Wednesday I flew out to join Ros and Neil in on the Costa Blanca near Benidorm. I had been looking forward to this for ages: sunshine, trail running in Spain and a race as well. On the Thursday we went for a long run on one of their local trails, as part of Ros and Neil's training for the 65km (3,850m ascent!!) La Perimetral Trail race at the end of March.
Neil and I completed a 30km route with several large hills and some very harsh terrain underfoot. I struggled with just how rough it was, everything was sharp, spiky and out to hurt you, especially the plants! The scenery was breath-taking though, it was hard to believe we were only a short distance from Benidorm. Ros and Amanda (a local friend) completed a 35km route with (allegedly) fewer hills but more importantly a stop at a bar. I definitely picked the wrong running companion that day!
Soon Sunday came around and the race I'd travelled to Spain for, the 21km Granadella Trail race. Take a look at the races website to enjoy some of the stunning views on offer. The sea views are part of the route. Around 800 runners took part and Neil advised that a fast start was required as the course soon went onto singletrack. He wasn't kidding, at the gun everyone around me bolted for the horizon. After only 2km I was struggling to hang onto Neil and had to let him go, that was the last I saw of him until the finish!
Last Updated (Tuesday, 04 March 2014 17:39)
Muddy Boots 10K 2014
Not just the 'boots' got muddy at Sunday's event hosted by Ripon Runners! Did they know how much rain would precede the race to avoid a mis-description?! However, the sun came out for the start and with the accompanying blue skies it was a great little run around the outskirts of Ripon, some good tarmac paths and of course a splodge across the fields. Around the 2km mark, there was a narrow bridge which meant a bit of polite queuing and patience for the majority whilst we crossed in single file, but other than that, plenty of space to run. Personally, it was great to be out in a race again and would love to run this route again and stage my own 'Clean Boots 10k' in the summer. (Actually, mud doesn't taste that bad).
Results for our club runners were as follows: John Hunter M55-64 01:02:27; Alison Johnstone F45-54 01:04:00; Grace Gilpin F45-54 01:04:02; Julia Spittle F55-64 01:06:25; Chris Sayer F45-54 01:06:53; Jenny Fenwick F35-44 01:11:10; Corrina Russell F35-44 01:27:24; Niall Cheyne M35-44 01:29:42.
Broughton Wood Wobble
Grace and I arrived at Clay Bank Car Park, registered and joined the other (rather fast looking) competitors at the start line ready for the Broughton Wood Wobble (8.5km/430m climb). The route followed a path through the woods on a gentle incline. After about 1 mile it dropped steeply downhill to CP1 where we turned around on ourselves for a few hundred metres and then on up to the top of Broughton Plantation Hill via some really steep steps. Suddenly we thought Hudswell steps seemed quite civilised in comparison as Grace and I struggled to reach the top of each individual step! ( I suppose we are the smaller members of the club!)
CP2 to CP4 joined the stone path up to the top of Broughton Bank and back down the other side, after which we turned left across some fields which turned into a farm track to CP5 and then left again back up to the top and down the other side of Broughton Bank,then returning to Broughton Wood again to CP6. On reaching the edge of the wood we turned right, running continuosly upwards until reaching the top of White Hill which sits just under The Wainstones. Finally we made a downward dash to the finish line where we had started. I recommend the race: it's well organised, a nice distance, not too steep, fun, with plenty of wobbles and plenty of mud!
We were nearly last! Ione 67.30 and Grace 68.50.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 05 February 2014 20:00)
More than half the club members have asked me for access to the forum, but this leaves quite a few people who have never seen it. You don't necessarily have to post any messages yourself, but there is often extra information on there which you won't find on the main site. Among other things there is currently information about training sessions, races coming soon and some London Marathon news. Don't miss out: e-mail Liz if you are a paid-up member and want a password.
Last Updated (Friday, 10 January 2014 18:56)
Tour de Hell(vellyn)
On Saturday 21st December I took part in the Tour de Helvellyn, a 38 mile ultramarathon in the Lake District.
I drove over on Friday evening, the drive over the A66 was bad enough, with high wind and torrential rain. I found the village hall in Askham, which was to be the start of the event and my accommodation for the evening.
I was up at 6am for breakfast and to check my kit one more time. We were all issued with electronic 'dibbers' which you placed in a box at each checkpoint to record your time.
The start of the event was slightly different, in that you could choose to start at any point between 7 and 9 am.
At 7:15 I headed out into the dark and followed some other runners over a fairly featureless moor heading in the direction of Howtown and the first checkpoint. Then it was off towards Patterdale and the second checkpoint, via a steep climb over Boredale Hause. The wind was blowing quite strongly but there was no rain, which arrived when I reached Patterdale.
Last Updated (Monday, 06 January 2014 22:43)
Haweswater half marathon 2014
First no race reports come in, then three come all at once!
Congratulations to runners who took part in the Haweswater half marathon. Thanks to Andy Broadley for these photos.and to Grace Gilpin, Andrew Fletcher and Chris Sayer for the reports!
This was a new experience for me but luckily I travelled to the race with Jackie, John and Robbie, who all knew the ropes so it made it much easier ( and calmer! ). We also were able to prepare by basing ourselves in a friend of Johns' home very close to the start - tea all round, of course!
Despite the weather, wind and rain, the race was well organised and the undulating but beautiful course was one that I will do again. Even with the cold wind it was an enjoyable run - seeing runners on the way back when I was still somewhere between 6 - 8 miles was a little perturbing but felt good when I was on the way back and could see others still on the run out! Other runners were all friendly but still competitive, which gave me the strength to push to the end and not let some runners pass which usually seems to happen to me!
The only gripe I have is those who ignored the rule not to wear MP3 players. As we were on a small lane I found this irresponsible and dangerous. There were quite a few vehicles and bikes on the same road but the race seemed to work with this quite comfortably, other runners calling out warnings.
Passing the finish to collect your mug and get it filled with tea was great but for me the bliss was being able to get dry and change into dry clothes in a bathroom rather than a tiny port-a-loo!
Next year I hope the weather will be nicer but I will still do it whatever, I fear!
Last Updated (Wednesday, 05 March 2014 19:51)
Club championship 2014
The results are now up after the first two races: see Club Championship above.
Park Run and Buttermere 34K
Darlington Park Runs are growing each week. On Saturday 8th February there were over 200 runners in South Park. I didnt have my quickest run (20.35) but I was 20th overall and 3rd woman. The next day I travelled over to Keswick to run the 37th Buttermere 34K hilly road run. A few of us travelled over last year to do this race, but this year I was on my own. Numbers were down on last year's entries as the weather this year really wasn't pleasant at all. The registration venue was at the Keswick Cricket Pavillion. The race is very cheap to enter, £6 pounds. The route is marked out with yellow way markers and there are drink stations every 5K. From the cricket pavillion you walk into the town centre as the race starts from the Moot Hall at 11am. The race goes along the road (which isn't closed off to traffic) to Borrowdale. Apparently it's the wettest place in the country, although recently this might be contested. Runners then have to make their way up the Honister pass. Last year one runner told me that her car couldn't even make it up in first gear! I did enjoy the run down the other side to Buttermere. The course goes up the Newlands Pass before taking in a few small villages and returning to Keswick and the finish back at the Cricket Pavillion. In the last 10K I managed to shake off a few people I had been having a tussle with during the whole race. My time this year was about seven minutes slower due to bad weather and high winds etc. I did however get to the finish just under the 3 hour mark in 2hrs.59min, (2 minutes behind the winning girl). I was 2nd woman overall, just like last year, consistent if nothing else. If you are doing a Spring marathon it's a good training run and well worth travelling to. No official results yet.
Brass Monkey 2014
I didn't know what I really expected when I entered the Brass Monkey Half Marathon. All I knew about it was that it was highly sought after, it was a flat course and the chances of it being either freezing cold, wet or snowed off were highly likely. This year it was the wet option!
The start was on the road just outside York racecourse with signs for sub 1.30, 2.00 and 2.45hrs placed at intervals within the racecourse car park. As it happened these pens were never filled. I had dutifully stood around the 2hr mark, as I was determined not to go off too fast as I usually do, to then realise only a few people were taking any notice of these and there seemed to be room for everyone quite near the road. I expected it to be far busier than it was, both for queuing for toilets and at the start.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 21 January 2014 16:56)
Old Monks Race
On Sunday I travelled up to Hart Village near Hartlepool to take part in the Old Monks Race. This wasn't a race I'd heard of, but I picked up an entry form at another race so I thought I'd give it a go. It's normally 5.5 miles but ice meant the start had to be moved forward approximately half a mile. It turned out to be a lovely race. Not fast as it is mainly off road and undulating with a couple of really muddy climbs and stiles but well organised and great marshalls. Another bonus was that it was only £6.00 to enter. I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to stretch their legs after Christmas somewhere new. There were only 2 of us representing Swaledale. Stuart Hardcastle finished in 44.10 whilst I finished in 50.19.
Loftus Poultry Run and Captain Cook's Fell Run
On Sunday 22nd December John Lynch and I travelled to Loftus to do the famous Poultry Run, which has been going for an impressive 30 years. The festive 8 mile hilly multi-terrain race was won this year by Russ Best from New Marske Harriers in 42.32. The first lady home was Kirsty Best from Middlesbrough AC in 49.03. Conditions were muddy underfoot on the off-road sections but on the fast downhill return road part of the course you could make up for any lost time. I finished in 57.57, 14th woman overall and 3rd vet 45, John Lynch in 65.12 (well under his anticipated time for a first attempt), Ione Dowson was the third representative from the club in a time of 69.18.
On the 1st January I travelled over to Great Ayton to run the Captain Cook's fell race. A bumper number of runners (263) ran in wet, windy and muddy conditions over the 5m route. Its a circular course and takes in Captain Cook's Monument. First man home was Jim Bulman from New Marske Harriers in a swift time of 33.09, first lady and a very impressive 9th overall was the incredibly young Bronwen Owen from Scarborough AC in 35.58. I finished the race in 44.13, 8th woman and 3rd vet 45.
Last Updated (Friday, 03 January 2014 15:37)
- Nine Standards fell run
- Recent races
- Newcastle racecourse marathon
- Ditton Turkey Run
- Structured training
- Tour of Pendle
- Wensleydale Wedge 2013
- Goathland Trail Marathon
- Ravenstonedale 10K 2013
- Welfare Officer wanted
- Dunnerdale Fell Race?
- In brief
- Shaun Lee Johnstone 10
- Great South Run
- Richmond Castle 10K prize winners
- Coniston 14
- Round Ripon Ultra 2013
- Round Ripon Ultra 2013
- Snape 10K 2013
- Kirkstall Abbey 7
- Yorkshire 10K
- Autumn navigation challenge
- Great North Run 2013
- Another club record
- Roseberry Topping Fell Run