Revised Fell Series 2015

The format is the same as last year. Men to complete 4 races – short, medium & long plus another. Best position to count. Women to do 4 races – two short and two medium. The long races don’t count in the womens series. However, if they feel they have the experience to do them they can enter. Lowest points wins. i.e 1 point for first Saltwell to finish.


Date Race & weblink Distance Country Region Pre Entry
Sun 08/03/15 Brough Law AS England Northumberland / Durham
Sat 11/04/15 Coledale Horseshoe AM England Lake District £6.00 pre entry or £10.00 on the day
Mon 04/05/15 Natural Ability AS England Northumberland / Durham A new local race
Sun07/06/15 Yetholm AM Scotland Borders
Sat 14/06/14 Roman Wall Show BS England North Pennines
Thu 9/07/15 Beacon Hill BS England Northumberland / Durham
Sat 02/08/14 Borrowdale AL England Lake District Yes after 31st May
Sun 16/08/15 Sedbergh Hills AL England York. Dales
Sat 10/10/15 Langdale Horseshoe AL England Lake District Yes by 3rd October
Sun 13/12/15 Simonside Cairns BM England Northumberland / Durham

Wrekenton XC Race Report

marshallsIdeal race preparation tips:

  1. Stand around for 3 hours in freezing cold conditions
  2. Drink lots of coffee beforehand to try and keep warm and then leave it till the first race has started before deciding that you need to go to the toilet but are unable to because you are unable to leave your marshalling point
  3. Leave it till the last minute to leave said marshalling point, giving the smallest amount of time possible to warm up and stretch before the race begins

So the last XC race of the season is finally upon us, and it was our own on the windswept fields and pit heap at Wrekenton. This was the first cross country race I ran when I joined the club (on the same day) and I remember that day getting a shock as to how hard cross country running can be. Many XC races later and the course never gets any easier, although despite the rain the previous day the course was pretty dry with early inspections reporting only a few boggy patches and Paul promising that it wouldn’t be as bad as Bedewell.
I was also marshalling (hence points above), so after being briefed we all made our way out to take our positions on the course for the juniors and ladies races.
The ladies slow pack set off first with a good throng of Saltwell runners amongst them, and then the medium 2 mins later with Sarah in it.
Nicola put in a great performance on her XC debut to finish first Saltwell and narrowly miss getting into the medium pack by a few seconds. Sarah took 2nd place with Susan closely following her for 3rd.
Then it was time for the mens race.
As the slow pack set off I took my place on the start line with Jim & Graeme and waited the 2 and a half minutes before we were allowed to set off in pursuit.
The course is pretty much uphill straight away – gradually for the first 100m or so, then a short steep incline leading to a more steady climb up towards the back of the pit heap. There’s then another steep but short climb to the top. There are some fantastic views from up here – you can see all the way to the coast, the Cheviots, the Pennines where our fell race is held and even the North York Moors on a clear day.
You can also see the St Johns Ambulance Crew, strategically placed to assist anyone going into cardiac arrest due to their efforts to reach the top of the hill..
Local legend has it that the pile of bricks on the top of the hill is the remains of a Roman Fort dating back thousands of years. Unfortunately though as Steve Rochelle pointed out it’s simply part of the landscaping of the area erected by the council as 40 or so years ago the area was a massive pit heap and covered in the remains of the long gone mining that took place here.
I was seriously in the red at this point, but I knew there was easier running ahead where I would be able to recover and I pushed on to the other side of the hill. This is a very fast section and nice to run down, although you have to be careful not to run into the back of other runners, especially on the 2nd and 3rd laps as it’s also quite narrow.
Onto the flat section out to the tall trees and I started catching the tail runners, gradually going past them and then turning to come back over the field towards the hill again. This section was a little muddy, but no-where near as bad as it was last year when I pulled my calf muscle here and had to withdraw, the only time I’ve not been able to finish a race.
Thankfully that didn’t happen this time, and I turned back to negotiate the other side of the hill. This side isn’t so steep, but goes on for a little longer. It’s a great section of the course though as there’s a massive throng of spectators lining the sides of the path and cheering you on. It’s definitely the best atmosphere of any of the XC races – as well as cheering there are whistles, cowbells and even someone with a a drum – the noise is deafening.
As soon as the top of the hill is reached it’s time to come back down again on a nice descent back down to the old railway line and then a hairpin turn back to the start for a second lap.
For me it’s around this point that I know if I’m going to have a good race or not. I felt terrible after the first lap at Bedewell and really struggled to get round the course that day but today I felt really strong.
It was a bit more congested now which made it more difficult to get past people, but another good thing about the course is that it’s pretty wide most of the way round and no real bottlenecks where you get stuck behind people like Shibdon Pond (not on the calendar this year).
Another great thing about the course is all the support from all the marshals and fellow Saltwellians which really helps too – big shout out to all of you!
Onto the third lap and I could see Scott ahead of me who was obviously running well. We exchanged a few words as I went past, and also passed Fred on the way up to the back of the pit heap again. I still felt pretty good at this point and thought that I might have a chance of getting into the fast pack which was one of my targets for the season. I knew there were still 2 Saltwell vests in front of me – Iain and new lad Dave Scribbins. I wasn’t sure if I’d catch Dave, but coming round the tall trees I spotted Iain and went past him on cowbell hill. Fantastic run by him, definitely the most improved runner this season.
I was absolutely knackered coming down off the hill for the final time and then Keith words popped into my head from a training session we did up here a while back. “When you’re coming down here for the final time, look at who’s in front of you and try and pick a few of them off. You’re going to be tired, but remember they are too and the person behind you is also going to be trying to get past you”
As I ran along the tracks I could hear people shouting for other runners behind me but I was determined no one was going to get past me now. I went past a few more people and finally turned into the finishing straight. There were a couple of runners ahead of me but they were running well and had a too big gap for me to close. Then I felt someone on my shoulder putting in an effort to get past me. I responded and managed to hold them off but there was still quite a distance to go to the finish line and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to last that long.
In these situations though there isn’t really much time to think about anything and I did the only thing I could – ran as fast as my legs would carry me and just managed to pip him to the line.
So I ended up in 56th place, 16 seconds behind Dave who I subsequently learnt had to stop to reacquaint himself with one of his shoes in the early part of the race so great race by him, and promotion to the medium pack for next season.
I missed out on the fast pack my 7 seconds, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it means I drop down to the slow pack next year and get to run with the masses again.
I have to say I’ve really enjoyed the XC season this year. I’ve done all the NEHL races apart from Cramlington as I was running York Marathon the next day, Sherman Cup, the North Easterns and the Nationals. The Ladies have done really and finished in 16th place in the 2nd Division. Unfortunately the men’s team has been relegated to the third, but there’s been some fantastic performances throughout the year and a real team spirit so I’m sure we can all look forward to promotion next year!!
Happy running everyone!


Saltwell Harriers Internal Club Races

Yacht Handicap – 3 Miles (3.1miles/5km actually)

This race was founded on an open handicapping system that allocates each runner a handicap (time allowance) based on their potential speed, estimated from their past performances and in comparison to other Saltwell runners. The runner with the greatest time allowance starts first and the one with the least allowance starts last.
If predictions were fulfilled, all runners would finish together. However, no-one can predict exactly how runners will perform on the day, so that has yet to happen and there is always scope for surprises.
The first race featuring this type of handicap took place on Wednesday 17th December 1890 over the longer 6.7 miles Chowdene course. About 30 runners took part and it was won by Charles Lyall, who was cheered into the finish by two or three hundred spectators. Those were the days when there were no TVs and other distractions to detract people from the lure of real sporting activities.
The first Saltwell Harriers “race” over 3 miles was the very first weekly training run on Wednesday 1st October 1890. It featured a two-pack handicap system with the slow pack setting off 2 minutes ahead of the fast pack. However, the first record of the Saltwell Harriers 3 Miles Club Championship was on Monday 11th July 1892, won by H.C. Calvert in 16mins 21secs. The oldest full record of positions for the 3 mile Yacht Handicap is for 1988, when Bob Waugh won the handicap and David Robertson was the fastest runner in 15m 30s.


Anniversary Shield and Junior Championship – 4 Miles (about 4.1 miles actually?)

Based on a sealed handicap system, all runners start together. The Anniversary Shield is awarded to the winner of the handicap. The Junior Championship originally went to the fastest runner in the race with the proviso that they could not compete for the title in future years. Since the mid-1980s, former winners have participated in the competition, some finishing first, even though they cannot be awarded the title again. This now means that the Junior Champion is the fastest runner never to have won the race before.

The earliest record of this race is for 1913, when S. S. Stephenson won the race and with it the Junior Championship.


Saltwell Harriers Senior Championship

The first Senior Championship, in 1892, was a 3 mile race. The race is now ran over the 10K Chowdene course but there is evidence that, in some years of the early decades of its history, the race was held over the shorter distance of one mile. Runners start together and the winner is awarded the Senior Championship. This award can be and has been on many occasions won more than once by the same runner. The Club rules provide for a miniature trophy to be given to anyone winning the Senior Championship three times.


Athletes achieving that feat are as follows:

R W Hill                     1894, 1895 and 1896

F Melville                  1905, 1906 and 1907

W Irving                    1910, 1911 and 1912

F Milligan                  1920, 1921 and 1922

Davy Mole                1923, 1924 and 1925

J McShane                1926, 1927 and 1928

Jack Potts                 1930, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938 and 1939

R T Brown                 1948, 1949 and 1950

M Atkinson              1952, 1953, 1954 and 1955

John Anderson        1957, 1958, 1959, 1961 and1962

John Hillen               1960, 1963, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1974 and 1975

Dave Kelly                1976, 1977 and 1978

Kevin Forster           1979, 1981 and 1982

David Robertson    1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1996

Fred Smith*             1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007

Jim Thompson*      2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014

* Results not available for 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2011

St James’ Mile

Originally held in St James Park, Newcastle, the race disappeared from the Club series for a number of years before it was resurrected in the 1990s and held on various one mile road and track venues.

The earliest record of this race is for 1926, when it was won by T.R. McNaught. Daniel Henderson won it in 1995 in 4m 41s. Since then it has been a regular event in the Club’s annual series of internal races. Fred Smith has featured prominently in most of these races along with, in the last decade, Jim Thompson.

Joanne Howell had three successive victories in the women’s race in 2004, 5 and 6.


How to Run the Perfect Race

Dent1No wait! Don’t go.


I can see my mistake now with that title. It makes this look like one of those articles which is about to tell you that you are an inadequate runner because you haven’t been living on a steady diet of Yasso 800’s in training, your shoes cost less than 145 pounds and you don’t wake up each morning and pop a plethora of the most scientific supplements. This isn’t one of those articles. It’s much easier than that that to enter the perfect race….it’s just a case of finding it and I’ve done that for you already.


The perfect race doesn’t begin on a Sunday morning at 9am. Yes it’s expensive to close roads but it’s worth it and a race that can be over more than two hours before the nearest pub to the finish line opens is not a good race. In fact morning races in general can be a problem.  It’s alright recommending a big of bowl of porridge as your pre-race breakfast but if you’ve got to be up at 5am to allow it to pass through your body and avoid that swerve off road after a couple of miles then it makes mornings a bit of a hazard. No the perfect race starts at a reasonable time and if that’s the afternoon then so much the better. If it’s a Saturday then even better, that gives you a day of smug satisfaction and recovery before going into work or maybe it sets you up for the perfect Saturday night.


The perfect race doesn’t come with a t-shirt you don’t want. They are great souvenirs for your first race, your best race or to show that you can afford to go to Budapest just for a 10k but if you run as many races as me they just become really crap dusters. They add five pounds to your entry fee and when they can be as bad as the recent Great North Run ones then it’s really just an outrageous rip off.


The perfect race doesn’t cost more than twenty pound. In fact a pound a mile is about right. Okay, maybe that’s being a bit tight fisted but you know what I mean. Avoid anything with words ‘Great Run’ in front of it; instead look for the ones with adverts that look like someone gave their kid some extra pocket money to design. Corporations don’t have your best wishes at hearts, a small running club with a hardcore of willing volunteers probably does.


The perfect race isn’t run around an industrial estate, it avoids loops and circuits, it has a bit of scenery that you can look at because you’re not having to stare at the ground all the time to see what you are running on. It isn’t anywhere too familiar and it isn’t too flat or too hilly. It has a bit of everything.


The perfect race doesn’t finish miles from civilization as having sacrificed a lot to get fit, the only time you really and truly deserve a beer and some food is when you have run the perfect race. You want to savor that perfect feeling of having accomplished something in the company of others.


Well ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Dentdale Run. A 14.1 mile road race through the village of Dent located in the Yorkshire Dales near the border with Cumbria which this year took place on Saturday 14th March.


Dent is in a valley on the Yorks / Cumbria border and you run a figure of 8 route going out of the village, back in, out again and back in. Its on road but is a challenging route with lots of undulations and a couple of nasty hills in the last mile. Its run to raise funds for the local primary school and instead of a t-shirt or medal you get a cup of tea, a sandwich and a couple of cakes.


It finishes at the play park just past the swings and if you dont slow down quick enough as you pass the finish line then you will find yourself running into The George and Dragon Pub and Brewery – a treasure. Its a great pub, does very good food and produces six very good beers of their own. Stick to The Golden Fleece at 3.7% straight after the race but build up to the T’owd Tup at 6% if you’re feeling any pain later on. If its a bit busy there’s in there then try The Sun Inn all of 50 yards up the road. The timings just right go catch a bit of beer, 6 nations rugby and conversation with the runners who came this year up from Essex and down from Dumfries.


In 2014 we had a perfect spring (almost early summer) day for the race and I had very fond memories of a great run. This year was a lot chillier and I felt every one of the ups and downs of the course. It felt like the hardest race I’ve run in a long time and I was cursing as I passed the finish line. However by the time you’ve stuffed your face on cake its hard to stay grumpy. Its such a picturesque little spot and everyone is so happy to see you running that 10 minutes after finishing I was already reconsidering my thoughts about never doing that bloody race again. It’s a reminder that you run to accomplish something, see somewhere and revel in the good feeling you get from a race.



If you like the sound of this then consider The Edinburgh to North Berwick 20 Mile. Get an early train up, its a 10 minute ride to race HQ then just follow the water all the way to beach at North Berwick. A good pint at The Sportsmans Arms next to the station then back to Rose Street for a couple before the train home. A brilliant day out.


Phil Young


Brough Law Fell Race

brough_lawResults from Brough Law fell race, our first race in the Fell Series.


Iain Armstrong and Hilary Shaw take an early lead in the 2015 Saltwell Fell series at Brough Law. Keith Wood tried but couldn’t quite match Iain’s pace but managed to just keep ahead of the fully clothed Phil James. Rachael Liddle was second Saltwell lady.


The next race in the series Causey Pike Cumbria 28.3.15.






Alnwick XC Race Report



This is a beautiful course in the backdrop of Alnwick Castle. The course was pretty dry which made for fast running. There was a fantastic turnout for both the men and women including people doing x-country for the first time. I have to say that the recent new members have been so positive for the club with their enthusiasm and talent. Many of the “golden oldies” also ran including Morcambe and Wise themselves – aka Harra and Jamesy! Harra announced that he was fighting fit, had no injuries whatsoever and was going to trounce everyone after which he started to do some stretches on the floor of the tent to help his “stiff back”.


There were some fantastic performances from the women in their race and then it was the men’s turn. I had been suffering from a nasty chest infection but felt a bit better so thought would give things a go. On the starting line and the big shout of “hooooopppps” went up which was met with looks of fear and bewilderment from the other runners.


Off we went and I had decided to run the first mile fast to test my fitness. Fortunately I felt pretty comfortable and followed Fred with Dave Horsfall and Scott alongside me. Hiruy and Nathanael were disappearing into the distance and both ended up within the top 30-fantastic performances! On the second lap Fred started to pull away slightly whilst Dave and I pulled slightly away from Scott. I was really enjoying the course and felt I was running well.


Onto the final lap and Dave and I started to reel Fred in until I finally managed to get past him and was able to get a little gap. At this point I was unsure whether Dave had come through as well. Onto the final stretch and I was pretty knackered now but tried to push extra hard to maintain the gap. Luckily it was just large enough and I finished in 43:24. Behind, Fred had just managed to hold off Dave and Scott wasn’t far behind them.


I was really pleased with my run especially as I was unsure if I had recovered from the chest infection. A big shout out to the women for their shouts of encouragement! Hopefully this course will remain on the calendar. For members who have not done x-country yet I would encourage them to give it a go and to sample the fantastic team spirit on the day. The next x-country is our very own at Wrekenton and is a course with a bit of everything!


Iain Armstrong


Member Profile – Charlotte Proud

cpI started running around 2 to 3 years ago and was a complete beginner, (Although I had previously completed the Junior Great North Run in 2004 and 2007). I gradually went from being able to run down the street until I could run a mile and then built it up from there. Running has always been in my family which I guess has helped, as my older brother has completed many races including the London Marathon and the Madrid Marathon.
Not many people know, (as I guess you can’t really tell!) but I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta also known as Brittle Bone Disease. This is a rare genetic condition that basically means that I am prone to fractures more easily than others. People often ask me, can I not just drink more milk, if only it was as easy as this! I think it is estimated to affect around 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 50,000 people. The only way that you can tell, is that the whites (sclerae) of my eyes are a pale blue/grey rather than white.
Although I have the mild form, I have had around 40-50 fractures although no one knows the exact number, as I have a high pain threshold from being used to having fractures. I started running after having to accept that Football wasn’t really the sport for me, after someone slide tackled me (badly!) when I was 14 and I ended up with a dislocated ankle and a crushed fibula and tibia.
I have always been a sporty person and with my interest in running increasing, a friend suggested that I join Saltwell Harriers although I wasn’t really sure at all that I was good enough to join a club. I remember feeling really nervous, although I already knew Keith and Fred. My first session that I went along to was the bleep test at Gateshead Leisure Centre, I really enjoyed it, and I’ve been a member of the club ever since.
Club sessions are great, as everyone is really friendly and it keeps you motivated especially on cold, dark nights. I like the variety of club sessions such as hill training, tempo runs, speeds sessions as well as club races. Saltwell has definitely been the right club for me to join, as everyone always looks out and supports each other. I tried cross country for the first time in 2013 and bought my very first set of spikes. I have found that it is something that I really enjoy the challenge of and the atmosphere/support is always great.
Running has massively helped with my condition in terms of bone density and building up strength, so far I’ve only tripped over once whilst out running and fractured a small bone in my hand, although I still ran all the way back home and to just be on the safe side I completely avoid running in the snow/icy conditions.
Running with Saltwell has given me a great boost in confidence in what I can do and achieve (For example, I am 23 and have already completed 3 half marathons with 2 more planned in 2015). I am excited as to what this year will bring in terms of training and completing different events. Recently at the weekend I completed the Haweswater Half Marathon in 2hrs 18 mins which is a new personal best (knocking 6 minutes off my previous HM time and around 26 minutes in total since my first HM in 2012). I have entered many races this year including the North Tyneside 10k, Leeds Half Marathon, Blaydon Race, Bridges of the Tyne 5 mile Race and the Great North Run and hope to improve even further.

National Cross Country Report

Venue – Parliament Hills, Hampstead, London

Weather: chilly, slight breeze, clear.

Course: thick sticky deep mud.
The women’s race was off first and was 8K. Watching the race it was apparent the mud was very hard work for all competitors, both at the front of the field and at the back. There were 6 runners from the club all of whom finished, while the team finished 90th out of 93 teams.
The men’s race started while the women’s race was finishing. There was the usual Parliament Hills start, up the hill then a bottleneck at the right turn at the top and where most “runners” slow to a walk. This year though the course for senior men was two laps not three. I don’t know whether this was easier or not because my race lasted about 600m before my hamstring went into spasm. Discretion being the best part of valour I decided to retire and was reduced to being a spectator but I still ended up splattered in mud from passing runners.
Again the going looked tough; few runners seemed to be able to get any rhythm to their running at all. I watched the elite finish, even they seemed to be exhausted and rumours that the Brownlee brothers were running proved to be exactly that – rumours.
18 men started the race with 17 finishers.
The 6 man team finished 110th out of 145.
The 9 man team finished 63rd out of 74.
For full results click on this link:
We set off in the coach to the hotel in Swiss Cottage. However, the coach driver decided to follow a minibus down some residential streets to avoid traffic backlog. The minibus darted off down a side street and got stuck the coach driver realised that at twice the size his vehicle had no chance down there, so he drove straight on up a one way street. Blocked by oncoming traffic he reversed. After much clever manoeuvring we ended up going the original way we would have gone without the short cut.
We headed off to a Pizza restaurant to eat after which we walked towards Camden. Most people popped into the Swiss Cottage for a quick drink where we bumped into Chester-le-street Harriers. After a long walk somebody spotted a pub down a side street The Hawley Arms so in we went a stayed there for the rest of the evening. A trendy Camden music pub playing eighties music it was allegedly the local for Amy Winehouse.


I nipped out to find a cash machine and on my return discovered that Saltwell had taken over a huge table in the corner of the pub and everybody was getting very merry. Towards the end of the evening some members of the club decided to indulge in a bit of table dancing and the bouncers were in like a flash, last orders and time were called. The pub was cleared and splinter groups formed.


Some went in search of taxis others wandered off to other bars or walked back to the hotel. A group of us briefly ended up in the only place that would let us in which was a Brazilian bar then we started walking home. A bus pulled up and we climbed aboard, the driver informed us he couldn’t collect cash anymore (Boris Jonson’s name was mentioned) and that we needed Oyster cards. Cash is too expensive to collect apparently. To his credit he didn’t kick us off so we got a free ride back to the vicinity of the hotel where we bumped into on splinter group going off in search of a kebab.
Richard Townsend