Ravenscar half marathon 8th May 2016

The miles went: 558,622,620,649,644,630,627,920,1004,844,747,804,738.

The first lady was Rhona Haslam in 01:44:06 71 and the race was won by Richard Pattinson in 01:26:27 22.

I managed 8th position in 1:38.

The course record was achieved last year in 1:25 so you can see it’s not a fast PB course.

The Race is billed as a
13.1 mile challenging off road half marathon, Starting from Ravenscar Village Hall situated 700 feet above sea level, overlooking Robin Hood’s Bay in the North York Moors National Park and midway between Whitby and Scarborough, the route then gently descends the beautiful coastal path along the dramatic sea cliffs, with panoramic views down the coast line towards Scarborough, on reaching Petard point its through Staintondale via open fields, woodland and the disused railway line until you reach Cloughton Wyke, then its back to Ravenscar all the way on the coastal footpath via the via the picturesque roller coastal of Hayburn Wyke (that’s a nice way of saying a killer of a down and uphill section that will make your legs and lungs burn). Then back to Ravenscar for those stunning sea cliff views (though you will still be sweating from the last bit and hoping for the sea wind not to blow).

1 Robert Goodrum

I wasn’t really fit to run a half marathon but a few friends wanted to do it, the weather was fine – so why not? I didn’t look up the route or past times and arrived just in time although I was at the back when the start went off, probably not ideal. Any way you can see how the miles went so I managed to get a few places early on. To win this race you need to do a fast first mile as once you reach the cliff tops it’s very difficult to get past anyone.

2 Mr Artist

TBH veterans who have done Hardmooors100 or 50 will know this course as I think this forms the last part. I can’t imagine doing this Ultra, this half was enough for me. This course is an out and back. The first bit is easier. Though I haven’t done much running along cliff tops, fun but fairly dangerous! You wouldn’t have liked a strong wind here. Stunning views of rolling mist, though you might say spectacular as it was quite ghostly. Apparently it’s the town that never was.

The route was well marked lots of lovely, friendly motivational marshals and water – sorely needed on day like this. I stopped at every station and had a cup. You certainly don’t want to get dizzy dehydration spells along cliff tops do you?

The race was organised by Scarborough Mountain rescue and all funds went to this very worthy service – much better than a useless medal or another t-shirt.

Not sure how high altitude affects your running but my breathing was heavy as if I had already ran a marathon after only a couple of miles. At about 3 miles you cross a stream. I was running with this lad(Kevin) for quite a bit I think 9-10 miles. As you can see not much room to get past people.

3Chris Reaction Photography

It was the first either of us had tried this half though he said to keep some for the second half; as it was harder according to his mate.

As you can see from the mile splits at 8 miles on the disused railway there was a huge sunken staircase some safe? looking bridges, all great fun. Then when you thought that was it. Another set of stairs, which totally wiped you out. Thankfully at Petard point there was a lovely marshall with W A T E R aaahh.
You couldn’t get a nicer cup of water. Got sunburnt in the vest but first bit of sunshine of the year so can’t complain.

There were a few more uphill roads to the finish. Really enjoyed this, though very heavy on the knees all them bloody stairs. Highly recommended unless you are marathon/ Ultra/ Tri training for a big event as the uneven ground could cause injury.

Thanks very much for fantastic organisation Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain rescue team also gave us plenty of juice, water and flapjacks while we tried to recover.

On the roads there and back i’ve never seen so many sausages it was like going to the butchers – viscera all over the place.

St Cuthberts Ultra July 2015


The race was won by Ross Christie in 11.08.23. for the men and former TBH first lady was Emma Wright. Emma also had a double celebration with a proposal from partner Ryan Hogben. Many congratulations to them on both accounts.

Out of I think nearly 70 only a small field of 47 intrepid runners made it to the start. My time was 15:43:30 joint 16th position but 12 people DNF. Full results here http://www.trailoutlaws.com/results.html
We stayed in Melrose about a 1.5 hour drive from Newcastle. Although the finish was not in the town centre it was only a small 15 minute walk away. What could be easier after running 62 miles we thought? Unsure of the area we planned to get there a day earlier to so we could catch the early 530 bus and find the finish in a befuddled 62 mile state. The finish was Darnick(Dalek) village hall.
This was my first Ultra. Usually runners do marathons then if they are so inclined attempt a slightly longer 30 mile or 40 but not me. No straight in with 62.5. I know 15.45 hours on your feet is not much if you consider other TBH mightier efforts. Then it pales into complete insignificance when you look at the amazing Scott Jurek completing the Appalachian Trail Speed Record in 46 days 8 hours completing a staggering 47 miles a day. He did have sticks though.
My shoe was Inov8 290 excellent grip for mountain descent but flexible and light enough to run on roads when necessary with good support so hopefully the ankles would hold up.
Rest of gear was Aldi rucksack, shorts, merino wool socks to help the poor toes and Ronhill long sleeve shirt. I wanted to run in a vest because it was lovely weather the bag would have shredded my shoulders and neck so I adjusted the bag tight so it wouldn’t slip then just rolled up my sleeves and applied lots of sun cream.
My training plan was to loosely follow the infamous Pfitzinger Advanced Easy marathon plan with some advice from Ultra guru JH to run back to back long runs on Saturday and Sunday I chose the hilly Gibside.
Though my lack of longer runs hit me at mile 38 with the longest I covered being 22 miles. You can follow me on Strava if you are that interested. My training would have been good for 50 miles it was just the mental challenge of the last 10 miles that I would really struggle with.
The expensive mandatory(suicide) kit list being a head torch, waterproofs, map, compass, hat or buff, gloves, energy bars, 500 ml water and bivouac bag. The race has the fantastic organisation of Trail Outlaws a company of genuine runners Tim Bateson and Flip Owen not in it for the money. Kit was checked in a pub the night before you also got your number and laminated checkpoint list as they would have limited time at Lindisfarne with the tide times to consider.
Billed as a 100K race from the iconic Holy Island off the Northumberland coast, to the small town of Melrose in the heart of the Scottish Borders. Ran entirely on well-packed, even trails and a few minor roads, it’s a race that has it all: sweeping coastal views, rolling hills nothing major  compared to fell races and wooded sections, as well as an adoring fan base of Highland cattle and wild goats cheering you on from the sidelines. The total amount of ascent on the run is 2,490 metres/8,169 feet and the total amount of descent is 2,399 metres/7,870 feet.
The bus stopped off at Wooler to get and register a few people(Thanks volunteers Pauline) Give people the chance to ‘get ready’ for the race. Then onto Lindisfarne where we would have one more chance to get ready before the start of the race from St Cuthbert’s cross. However Dan and I took too long to get ready and everyone was gone by the time we came out of the toilets. Pretty good start with nobody in sight 
The beautiful morning conditions.

Conditions looked promising with the expected gloom of hilly areas but sunshine burst through thankfully not too hot about 19 degrees. So off we went it was sublime to meet up with David Anderson, Paul Samat, Ryan Hogben and Emma Wright. Call it coincidence or just weird that we last met in 2013 doing a race together having no idea they would be there too. One of the joys of running.

With the journey being over a longer period and the number of people being fewer the time spent together you can definitely experience more of a community feeling.
Most people will opt to just walk up anything resembling a hill giving you time to eat, talk and save some energy. In fact one guy said he wanted to try it without any training and finished in just under 20 hours. Although he did say he wouldn’t recommend it and he had a good base of fitness. You can’t run for the entire distance so the legs hold out if you keep walking and stay mentally focused.
The first part from Lindisfarne to Wooler was of course the easiest, the causeway smooth tarmac road running to gently ease us into the race. Think the winner set off at 7 min mile pace after warming up around the car park though I wanted to start at about 9 min mile pace and walk up hills to keep the lactate demon build up at bay. After a nights rain some of the course was waterlogged which you found out after running through a huge bog and clambering over twigs and fences.

The first time I got lost, not being the best with map reading I relied on the waymarks to guide me round but more often on other people who had done the reconnaissance (reccie) runs. However a lot hadn’t and we all followed each other the wrong way several times.
My Garmin only lasts 8 hours but I reckon I covered close to about 67 miles overall. Lesson learnt learn to run with a map or do the reccies. There was a hill to get up to Wooler with many people coming down the other way with dogs kind enough to let us pass.
woolerhillThe view from Wooler first hill
Fantastic support from fellow parkrunners Phillip, Lynne and Lis who offered to be my crew and bring many provisions and help with my shoes and soaked through socks. You realise although you put all the miles in if it wasn’t for the volunteers, organisers and supporters you just couldn’t do it.

WoolerarrivalStill smiling after 18.5 miles easy Photo K Holmes
After stopping for a potato salad and a resupply of Nakd/ Cliff bars at the cafe it was up the hill and on through Wooler.
This part of the course Wooler to Morebattle is around 21 miles and is far more challenging than the first section of the Way. This section is a remote rural area which passes from England to Scotland with some fabulous views along the way. It includes Wideopen Hill the 1207 ft the highest point and the halfway stage between Lindisfarne and Melrose. There were many styles to climb over just what the quads required after running 30 miles. Welcome to the 20 minute milewideopenhill
Beautiful part of the world with spectacular views. My current pace had me in the middle of the ladies battle for top honours. Exciting place to be 😉 I took a few more wrong turns as there are plenty of waymarks but a bit of rain can make the greenary shoot up and obscure the signs. They can also be misleading. Extra miles please. Lucky Ryan and Emma (thanks again) had done the leg work and knew where they were going. I would have been lost many more times no doubt. We pushed on through halfway meeting some of 46 milers Roland Peacock and Lee Stafford another tremendous boost. We all were struggling with the hills though at the end of it another famous supporter appeared when I thought it was one of the locals Colin and his family cheering us on near the end of this section. I was so in the zone I didn’t realise it was him until I got a good look 😉
Maxwell Church was 6.5 miles from the end but it was the longest 6.5 miles ever and felt like 20. I chugged down about 2 litres of water with salts and felt a bit sick the checkpoint before so I only got a bit of water here. Good to meet Paul from North Shields on to the final stage through Eildon Hills.
This final stretch was the toughest of my running career so far as darkness had fallen it was after 10 so the head torch came out but I just ran with it in my hand following Chris through the forest dodging incoming bats. The ground was dangerous with tree roots and big stones to trip over. You couldn’t lose concentration for a moment but you also find your feet only lift up so far. The mind wanted to stop. Time to use some meditation to keep going.
It didn’t help not getting enough water at the last check point even though I drank 2 cups and filled another 500ml bottle. Thanks again to Chris for quenching my thirst when I panicked.
After we reached the top of Eidlon Hills Chris done a downhill charge. I tried to keep up but found it difficult slipping and tripping nearly going over the void. We all just wanted to get finished so tried to speed up knowing the end was in sight still not easy with a final set of slippery wooden stairs to go down.
After the final descent I was amazed I could run at 7 min miles on the roads but seemed to still have enough in the legs and I soon caught up Chris who had done a fantastic pace down the mountain and got away from me for a bit. It is true we were relieved to reach Dalek Hall at 1145.
Brilliant medal and hi-vis orange t-shirt booty. Which I am sure you will see soon see.

3060 Robin Hood Marathon 2013


16 weeks of Advanced marathon training was going great (the 18 week program up to 55 Miles) finishing with the Jelly T race, where I finished in 5936 for 10 miles.

Next was the Great north run where I picked up a nasty toe injury with the loss of a nail(I know nothing unusual there) but the skin on the end of the toe was also a funny blue colour and painful to run on.

Unfortunately this was the end of my marathon training, even though I was already in the tapering phase; there were still two weeks left. So the plan was to rest until the day before the marathon and try out Braunestone parkrun.

A beautiful park with ducks sees you go around 2 laps, though I took it easy to see how I would feel with my gammy toe finishing in 21 mins. Seemed to go alright, it was great to be back running again,  felt tired but that’s normal after a 5K 

We travelled in absolute luxury thanks to P and K in a Jaguar XJ, setting off early from Leicester as there were a lot of road works and road closures, arriving in good time like organised professionals, something like myself 😉

I always wanted a ride in a Jag, it has a fantastic on-board computer to help navigate us to the race, even though P knew the way, as he had taken us in 2008. Oh and the sound system? Van Halen was pounding. If I had the money I would buy one of these cars but then again when we got there, parked just up from us on the sports ground, was Deb parked in a cabriolet Austin Martin, I hung around for her but sadly I must have missed her, oh well, whatever, nevermind.

So it was great to finally notice Ryan Hogben and Emma Wright who must have been waving quite a while before I eventually noticed them, so TBH had the magic 3 in the race. It really cheered me up to be running with others from the club a few hundred miles from home, thanks.

I did have a race plan using the Running free website http://www.runningfreeonline.com/Tools/Racing_Splits to run ultra-negative, to aim for 2:50, working in KM; as it’s a shorter distance and mathematically less room for error, kind of like Mo does, slow at first then run when you have to but after my injury, it just all went out, I thought just run and see how you feel, missing 2 weeks I knew there would be trouble but how bad would it effect me?

I started with my trademark bottle, having worked out that after an hour I lose 2lbs; so 1 and a half times that, with the power of maths makes 3 pounds which roughly equals an 800 and 600 ml SIS bottle but that’s on a normal day, this is the middle of the country where it’s still summer 😉 can you guess what happened?

Well the start was of the pulse variety or wave if you want to call it that, so faster colours should start first, as other people have commented I often start where I am not supposed to but when there is clearly unfit people in front of you, you realise that enforcing these things should be done.

Starting in the same place as in 08 but a different route entirely, I have to say not as good, though for the half people have said it made it faster but running through housing estates towards tobacco factories and Boots for the second half is hardly inspiring, what were they thinking, oh I know they need reminding how much they are hurting for running this long?

Most of the race I was running on my lonesome which didn’t really help then things started going wrong. I missed my SIS water bottle at 11 miles and the water stations didn’t seem to be where they said they were in the race information … I had run OK until 17 miles but a bit too fast, especially on a hot day, the 3 hour flag bearer went past me with a squad of about 15 people, shouting encouragement for me to keep up, I did for a couple of miles but with the heat I was flagging.

The route scenery improved running around a lake but straight into a powerful headwind. Every mile got progressively worse but there was great support from the local people, someone noticed the vest and shouted “Howere the lads” 

At mile 22 my hamstring tightened up and I had to walk for 5 minutes, it was agonising as it was about 245, thinking if only I could run a fast parkrun I would be finished. Thankfully after a little rest I was able to run again but only at about 8 minute miles, the last stretch over the bridge was just what I fancied going uphill.  The last stretch going back on yourself through the trees to the start line was awful(Bruno Mars: Treasure)

Robinhood5editBut finishing in the stadium was relief with all the supporters cheering you on. I stirred them up and showboated for a bit instantly forgetting the pain until someone shouted “there is someone behind you”   at the finish line there were the cheerleaders, a group that had worked as hard as the runners cheering everyone on, oh and people on stilts but I was pleased I was done.

Well organised but they seemed to have only a dozen songs, guess it gets expensive?(Daft Punk: Get lucky, Katy Perry: Hot & Cold, and a couple of 80’s turnips.) All endings were beginnings as I started and finished to Daft Punk.

I wanted to do a sub 3 hours or at least qualify for VLM in good for age; for me that would be sub 305 but looking at the positives it was a course PB since it was a new course! but you know from 08 to finish in 347 to 308, position 36 out 918 is not too bad but ultimately I’d like to shake your hand disappointment, looks like you win again but this time might be the last.

2012: A Year of PB

Whitley Bay. Churchill Playing Fields Track.

Whitley Bay. Churchill Playing Fields Track.

January kicked off with the Run for Bob,a charity fun run at Whitley Bay promenade, a scenic route around the front with mixed terrain, mainly road then trail around the river? or is it the sea then ending on a track. Really enjoyed the route though the wind was a bit wild, still a good run. I remember someone had made some delicious potatoe and spinach samosas or something afterwards – a real treat.

Next was the Brass Monkey half marathon in York, I achieved my HM PB of 1,28 enjoyed the run, conditions were very windy but no rain. It was good

Brass monkey half marathon York

seeing so many people I knew from Newcastle parkrun,seventy odd mile away but it turned out my club colours are the same as Hartlepool so I was regularly  implored come on Hartlepool!Mileage total was 79.

February the mileage was the worst for the year at 70, every month usually running the fantastic Newcastle parkrun the only real race I done was the lunchtime Saltwell Park 5K Handicap race. This was 4 races at the park over the month, think it was a Wednesday, quite a tough course with 2 laps around the park, this means 2 uphill climbs each time from what I remember it really tested you! having to start behind a lot of people, although some really good runners started behind you but soon overtook you, the conditions were cold of course as it was February. Very well organised by George Routledge and his merry crew, enjoyed meeting up with new people and some from parkrun of course.

March Think it was the beginning of March I started my training for the Marathon of the North after Robert kindly gave me a copy of Advanced Marathoning this was the catalyst for something good … This month saw a new 5K PB at the great Newcastle parkrun of 1828.The mileage totalled 150 with the 6 day week training schedule.

April Mostly marathon training again following the 12 week plan but another PB at Newcastle parkrun 1807, so pleased and stayed injury free. Mileage increased to 170, probably my highest.

May Marathon of the North the big one all the hard training paid off with an astonishing PB of 3hrs 6mins, beating my 2007 Robin hood marathon PB by 45 minutes, a great run not entirely flat but mainly through a park and along Seaburn coast, seeing a lot of the locals from parkrun, a really enjoyable day.After the big race, it was feet up for a few days and recovery training for 5 weeks but I do seem to have lost some fitness, though I admit injury free, which was the focus, happy about that anyway.
The end of the month it was time for the Pier to Pier 6.91 Mile coastal run from South Shields to Seaburn. I love the scenery here, past Marsden rock and running on the sand, thankfully the weather was much better than last year when the wind was of hurricane proportions .This resulted in another PB for this race 4429 compared to last year’s 5050.

June The famous Blaydon race, there is only the weather to talk about here, which started off nice walking to town, waiting at the big market at the back (for some reason) the rain erupted, nearly as bad the 2007 Edinburgh marathon, but not quite! It was still a PB(3805) for me as the last time I ran it in 2010 my Achilles snapped after just the first Kilometre(1hr 15).Mileage decreased with just recovery runs to the lowest at 55 miles, this seems a good plan though less training in the summer, although I love running in sunny weather so there again …

July The Great North 10K I was in a right state for this one, too much drink, really enjoyed the course though, around the Quayside then finishing on the track at Gateshead stadium a lovely finish but would of been a lot better sober. Again after many times trying I couldn’t get a GNR place, so Julys mileage was 100 I was getting back in to training for the next marathon.

August No races, except parkrun, which isn’t a race but some really high mileage, in fact the most ever, ever ever! 285 following the killer AM plan, next step up as I am training for Kielder – a tough undulating course.


September 2012 Great Westmorland Fell race Cumbria

September 2012 Great Westmorland Fell race Cumbria

My first fell race, after parkrun of course 🙂 not a good idea when you have put all that marathon training in to risk injury sliding down a hill but(cliché alert) you live and learn. Really enjoyed the race though, the drive to Cumbria but what a race! climbing over the sheep gates at the top of mountains, just when you think it can’t get any worse then more and more gates, although I did enjoy. Another high mileage month 230 whoo hoo, though training was taking its toll.

October Kielder marathon such another brilliant day thoroughly enjoyed it, such magnificent beauty, brilliant conditions, meeting up with the other David Anderson from my club VCAC and the others from parkrun then a postrun pint. Not a PB but only 3 minutes later than MOTN position 20 J and this course is known to be a tough one, I went the wrong way at one point only a slight deviation but no other race gives you this much pleasure for 3 hours, all the training paying off the adrenalin firing into your system, the endorphins, the serotonin or whatever, what a buzz, highly recommended. This month’s mileage was back down to 105 with recovery training.

November We made the pilgrimage to Meca – The Bushy parkrun, where it all began. A long journey on the bus with no sleep and very stiff legs afterwards. The run was amazing though, so many people – over a thousand, lovely scenery West? London and the hospitable welcome we all received from everyone involved, Thank you.
The Norman Woodcock race 3 laps around Gosforth horse racecourse, Another PB for this distance – 5 Miles 2915, beating last years’ time by 3 minutes 27 secs. Mileage for this month was 110.

December First XC, again after parkrun, at Bedewell opposite Monkton stadium enjoyed getting clarted up to the eyeballs but didn’t know I had been spiked until the next day, not a bad time for my first one, not sure how the handicap system works if my time should be slower but seems good at 3617. Enjoyed the race, as I like negotiating the mud but would have enjoyed a hill a bit more. My first attempt at a Fetch meet up came too soon after the previous days racing to do a fast mile on the track but it was great fun and nice to meet up with the parkrun regulars and some new Fetch people. I felt ill and the next day I was in bed with that dreaded lurky.
Another parkrun special, my first ever run on Christmas day, something like a 136 people turned out, it was strange but great to see everyone and run.
Finally the last parkrun of the year, another 5K PB, well sort of – I equalled 1807 but the course was extended, think it was 40M after I got that time earlier in the year, so I am claiming this 🙂
Low mileage at 92 completes the month.

So in Summary total mileage 1536 – the most I have ever ran.  New PBS at 5K, 5M, 7M, half and full marathons but most of all I enjoyed running it really has kept me out of trouble, thanks for all the people that make it possible volunteers organisers runners and you for reading.

Have a happy New Year, peace and love for the new Year xxx