Hardmoors- Roseberry Topping halfISH Marathon race report


I went into this race not knowing what to expect other than hills and for it to be hard. I certainly wasnt disappointed!
The night before had been wind and snow so i wasnt exactly convinced that we were going to get good weather. However….on arriving in Guisborough all seemed strangely calm and there wasnt even a cloud in the sky, so that was one major hurdle out the way.
However, it definetly still had a good December chill in the air.
After the mandatory kit checks and the usual registration procedures were completed, i started trying to focus on the race ahead. Taking some last minute water onboard and making sure my pack was comfortable. I made my way to the starting line and stood looking up at snow covered hills, feeling excited but also wondering what had i gotten myself into!
GO! and we’re off. The first mile or so was slow as we all fought for space up a small thin trail path and then over the first of many stiles. Then across some open fields i stupidly was thinking that maybe this race wasnt going to be all that bad. Little did i know, around the corner was a giant monstrousity of a hill covered in ankle deep sticky mud and puddles..delightful! All around me was moans and groans of us ‘not so elite’
runners trying to pull ourselves through it. I had to stop to tighten my shoes a few times as if they came off i wouldnt find it again… lesson 1 learnt.
Of course, in true runners style, through this hellish hill was a load of laughs and few choice words as all these strangers pulled together to get us all through it. Thankfully at the top of this hill was our first sense of achievement at reaching Highcliff Nab. One photo later, and i continued over the tops, above Highcliffe Farm, towards todays biggest challenge Roseberry Topping. There was a sharp descent down to the
bottom of Roseberry, something which i throughly enjoyed of course and managed to stay on my feet! Then the realisation hit me that i now had to climb over this rather large hill twice! The first ascent i did unaccompanied with only my own thoughts, which were mainly about where i was putting my feet!
The rocks were icy and it was a hands a knees job at points. But, i knew, somewhere on this hill there was some of those precious jelly babies, and that was motivation enough! Unfortunately, on reaching the summit i discovered they were, in fact, at the bottom on the other side. So, off i went, hoping for some recovery on the downhill which turned out to be difficult. Mentally exhausting, both up and down with
little physical recovery either. The discovery of the checkpoint was a brilliant boost that was well needed. Jelly babies and jaffa cakes!
Although slightly muddy and frozen they got devoured rather quickly. Picking up a last chance handful of jelly babies i U-Turned and began the steep ascent again. This time in company of some lads from york and started to chat about our running clubs and experiences. It definetly helped get back up to
the top, a few christmas carols later and there we were. I took a few minutes at the top to take in the view, have a chat with the marshals and have a few quick breathers. The weather had stayed absolutely perfect, got a gust of wind or even a cloud in the sky.
Reaching the bottom of Roseberry Topping for the final time, the next task was to get over to Captain Cooks Monument that i could see in the far distance.
By now my legs were hurting and feeling heavy but feeling happy and comfortable otherwise. The mood was lighthearted and everyone had formed into little groups all getting to know each other.
For the most part, this next section was fairly flat but still technical. The rocks were still coated in ice and there was alot of mud and water to navigate around. The section took us along the edge of Great Ayton Moor past Ayton Banks farm. After entering Ayton Banks wood there was a sharp, steep incline to the top where Captain Cooks Monument stood in all its glory. Again, a quick photo and i was off bounding down the other side just hoping for the best! Continuing through woodland and shaded trail paths i actually got a little bit of a recovery though it may have been a few miles too late.
I reached the next checkpoint where i needed to take a few minutes break and take on some goodies and get a good drink of coke down me. I started to start the steep descent down a long road with the lads from York.
We all knew within a matter of minutes we would be climbing straight back up this around the corner. Even so, the quick run down was filled with laughter with only a few ouches inbetween.
It was a long, gradual ascent up to Percy Cross Rigg. It didnt half make the legs burn! I managed to grab some jelly babies and kept my legs moving along the top but it was now obvious the pace had slowed and my legs were definetly feeling less than fresh. For the next few miles it was me and my thoughts again, through a winding open section
but with unexpected breathtaking views of Guisborough Moor. I reached Highcliff Nab again, so i knew this was the final stretch of descent back down to the finish line.
Buddied up with another lass from newcastle we made the technical, muddy descent together. As much as we just wanted to open up and fly down, we also didnt want to pick up a bad injury this close to the finish. So we took the muddy bits easy and picked up the pace again across the open fields, down into the village, and across the finish line.
And that was that. 15 miles of the toughest, most challenging race ive done yet. That said, it is right up there with the best things i have ever accomplished.
Never have i smiled from the start of the race to the finish but it was impossible not to this time. Theres no feeling like running in fells, surrounded by strangers who you somehow feel a sense of commmunity and closeness with. I learnt many things and met many people, neither of which i will forget.
Unforgetable and undeniably fun!
Catherine Rachael Vicarage

NEXC 2015 mens race report

12345435_950160411721292_87681138489495778_nI didn’t do this race last year as I didn’t think I was good enough. So I decided to go and cheer on my fellow hoops but as I was standing in a cold field I got extremely jealous of the runners, so this year I was going to do it.


The race day started off with me, Scott Garrett and Chris Watson being driven to Sedgefield by Claire Lloyd in her mothers little car. On the way to Sedgefield it started to snow and by the time we got there it was snowing quite heavy and it was freezing.

We didn’t have much time until the men’s race started so we quickly made our way to the tent to get changed for the race and put our race numbers on. Once we were all ready it was time for the men’s team photo. After a few minutes of chatting and trying to keep warm it was time to line up on the start line with over 400 men.


Just before the race was about to start the starter told us we have to do four big laps of the course. Now nobody told me it was FOUR BIG LAPS!! After listening to Keith advice about starting near the front as you can I took the big step of starting up near the front with the fast lads.


The gun went off and I was doing great, I was in the top 50 of runners for about 100 metres. After being so far up the pack I ended up where I belong at the back with the older and slower runner. (It was great for the short time it lasted) For this race all I wanted to do was to keep a good steady pace. As I was completing my first lap I could hear the support from the Saltwell ladies and the fantastic support from Naz, Andy, Peter and Dave who stood in a freezing field all day to cheer us on.

As I started my second lap I started to get lapped by the fast lads, which was fun when we had to go through the freezing massive puddle at the far end of the course. Being lapped by most of the race over my second and third lap didn’t bother me as I’ve made a few good friends from other clubs from doing cross country. The shouts of encouragement you get from the rest of the runners is great. As I started my fourth and final lap I knew I would get lapped by most of the female race doing their race.
As the fast ladies past me I could see in the corner of my eye the queen of saltwell Gemma was catching me, as she over took me with a lovely shout of “keep going Phil”.  Not long aster Gemma had passed me it was the turn of Ria Chaston who gave me a friendly smack on my bum. Then Nicola Whitman past me with a another lovely shout of well done. You have to love the saltwell ladies. As I pushed on for the finish I couldn’t feel my toes with the cold and I had no energy left for a sprint finish, my body was hurting so much I was glad to cross the finish line to cheers from Naz, Andy and Dave. Now it was time to get some warm clothes on and cheer in the Saltwell ladies. I know I’m not the best Saltwell runner but I love doing cross country and I look forward to the next fixture.




Phil Askew

Byron Bay Lighthouse Run Oct 18th 2015

When me and my boyfriend decided to book a holiday to Australia for 3 weeks I couldn’t bear the thought of not training for that long so I decided to look for races that were being held whilst we were there. There was a 10K being held in Byron Bay on the weekend we were then and the fact it is dubbed as the “prettiest 10K” we signed up straight away.


For those of you that don’t know Byron Bay, it is a beautiful area of beaches and woodland and there is a lighthouse which is the focal point of the headland. The run promised to include the beaches and the lighthouse and started at 7am to avoid the heat.

The day before we took the bikes up to the lighthouse and checked out the course – it was a huge effort as we didn’t expect the massive hill up to the lighthouse. I knew then this wasn’t going to be a PB event!


The morning of the run we got the start for just after 6am, just before sunrise and the mist was looming over the sea. Picture perfect. Fully dressed in my Hoops we lined up at the start line and the gun went and we were off. The run took us along a park path and down onto the sand. I cannot describe how beautiful it was running on the undisturbed sand at sunrise. Then it was onto the road up to the lighthouse but my legs were heavy from the sand. The effort was worth it though as there was whales migrating in the sea as we ran around the top of the headland.

Back down the hill and we were onto the second beach Tallows beach – again this was the prettiest sight of undisturbed sand just as the sun was getting some warmth behind it. Back across the sand and we made our way back to the park for the finish line.

I completed the 10K in 49minutes which isn’t my fastest but given the hill and the sand (and 3 weeks of indulgence) I was happy with my time.


I had contacted the local running club Byron Bay Runners and two of their runners are from Consett and used to run for Blackhill so I got my photo with them and swapped our vests. They even competed in our fell race this year – what a small world!


Without a doubt the prettiest run I have ever done and one I’ll never forget.






North Eastern XC Champs 2015

xcI deliberately avoided all things XC last year due to my dislike of mud, the cold and awful memories from my school days when I’d do anything to get out of it (fake notes you name it). This year however I felt like I’d be missing out on all the stories and the laughs so I bought myself a pair of spikes and signed myself up.


Saturday 12th December saw the North Eastern Champs held in Sedgefield and after a glorious morning of parkrun at Whitley Bay I headed to Gateshead to meet Ria and Charlotte. We had a chauffeur for the day in the form of Andrew Swanston – this man deserves a medal for driving us down and standing in the cold for no other reason but to cheer on the Hoops.
As we left Gateshead and hit Washington services the skies turned an awful shade of grey. The next thing we knew it was snowing and a sense of dread filled the car! There was no sign of it letting up and as we arrived in Sedgefield the setting was beautiful – just not for standing in the cold and running for 8.3km
Luckily for us the tent was already up and we found the rest of the rabble huddled together to try and keep warm. We watched the men’s race set off and found a good place to watch (visibility however was awful in the driving snow!) but it didn’t last long and we retreated to the tent to try keep warm before our race.
Mince pies were the pre-race snack thanks to Ria Knox – I’m not sure this would be recommended but we were happy with anything given the conditions.
I took my trackies off to reveal that my feet were frozen and red before we had even left the tent and I struggled to get my spikes on – I knew then this was going to be painful.
Reluctantly we took the layers off one by one and the signal went for us to assemble at the start line. Those few seconds stood lined up felt like forever. Eventually the claxon went and we were off.
The ground was churned up from the men, but half frozen from the snowfall which made it a very odd combination to try and get some rhythm. I had decided by only about a mile in that this wasn’t going to be a race to enjoy, it was purely a massive achievement to get round without ending up on my bum. There was two lovely puddles about half way around and by this point I didn’t care and ran straight through them – this was the point where there was 2 lovely marshals who cheered everyone up and I don’t know how they were that cheery given the conditions.


Three laps seemed like torture and I was on the brink of tears/dropping out for most of it but I made it round and crossing that finish line I was pleased to have ran. I think it’ll be a while before any of us race in conditions like that again – or so I hope!
Having the men cheer us on helped massively and a huge thanks to Dave Smith and Naz Bashir who again weren’t running but came along to support. Well done to all the ladies that turned out when you so easily could have been at home enjoying the festivities – you should be very proud of yourselves.


Saltwell Ladies Results – 8.3km

Position Name Time
25 Gemma Bradley 38:16:00
67 Ria Chaston 42:07:00
103 Nicola Whitman 44:28:00
146 Sandra Carlosama 46:57:00
163 Ria Knox 48:55:00
164 Jacqueline Candlish 48:58:00
181 Claire Lloyd 51:31:00
185 Charlotte Proud 51:57:00
218 Helen Mullarkey 57:02:00


The ladies team finished 15 out of 29.


RIa Chaston