Snowdonia Trail Marathon and Half Marathon 2017

A good contingent of striders made the trip to Llanberis for the Snowdonia Trail Marathon and Half-marathon on 23rd July 2017.

The Marathon started at 9:00am, half an hour before the Half Marathon to spread the runners out a little. Leaving Llanberis, the route climbed out onto a bridleway before splitting off for a fast descent through grass and some marshy areas. Earlier runners had a little advantage of not queuing as long on stiles for as long as later runners. The route then carried on to a more technical rocky area through wooded areas next to a lake and camping areas. In places here, it was already a scramble (clamber up/down rocks), and this was a gentle insight to some of the ascent of the mountain. Later on runners had the pleasure of the nature reserves before a slab step climb up to Pen-y-Pass. This was the start of the real climbing and runners started looking more fatigued. Runners with hands on hips, stretching off and taking a breather was becoming more common. Luckily the last oasis of orange slices, water and snacks was at the car park to revitalise runners before the real climb began. For those who haven’t gone up Snowdon from Pen-y-Pass, it climbs up steeply with the odd flat technical section with a mixture of scrambling, rocky running and slabs to climb. Over exert here and you can lose speed on the descent due to cramps and massive fatigue. Once at the top, the fun begins if the quads can handle it. A cobbly quick-footed descent takes you down at a fair gradient parallel to the railway. Clive Kent and Katie Hateley used this section to their advantage to gain tens of places in the standings, with Katie finishing 6th in the V40 category and 14th lady overall. Once more a very steep quad burning descent on the road takes you into Llanberis for the eventual run into the field with high-fives to the waiting crowd and a super atmosphere. Clive and Katie were followed in by Mick Atton, Paul Geeson, John Houghton and a very happy Brian Walkling (complete with trademark double wave).

Double Wave
Double Wave

The half-marathon started 30 minutes after the marathon and climbed steadily out of Llanberis to the south, soon leaving the town on a good trail. After a nice muddy descent the routes split, with the half picking up the Snowdon Ranger path that climbs up the south side of the mountain, steeply in places, to reach the junction with the Llanberis path at about 6 miles. The clouds lifted just in time to get a view from the top, with stunning effect, before the delights of the downhill commenced. Once back in Llanberis, and within sight of the finish, the half-marathon has a sting in the tail – a flight of stairs to the top of the quarry in Padarn country park.

The climb is rewarded by great views of the town and lakes back across towards Snowdon and there are some slippery sections in the woods. The final run in is more straightforward and there was good support as we crossed the finish line and collected our t-shirts, medals and a welcome range of snacks and drinks. Luke Eggleston was first home in the half-marathon, finishing in 21st place. He was followed by Mike Bryan, Louise Houghton, Dan Howley and Sarah Lawrence. Celia Bown, Kaye and Carl Mead and Jenny Kent all finished together. Matt White, coming back from injury, completed the first 10 miles. Simon Bottrill unfortunately fell on the descent and had to walk back in.

[Clive and Jenny]

First Name Surname Gender Position Category Category Position Gun Time Overall Position Chip Time Chip Position
Clive Kent 70 MOPEN 40 05:24:30 81 05:23:18 79
Katie Hateley 14 F40-44 6 05:27:57 86 05:26:44 85
Michael Atton 81 M45-49 9 05:31:36 96 05:30:24 94
Paul Geeson 88 M50-54 7 05:34:10 104 05:32:55 102
John Houghton 182 M50-54 16 06:10:27 221 06:09:14 220
Brian Walkling 437 M45-49 83 08:02:03 584 08:00:43 583
Half marathon
Luke Eggleston 32 MOPEN 21 02:26:42 36 02:26:41 36
Mike Bryan 101 MOPEN 57 02:52:35 119 02:52:07 120
Louise Houghton 73 F45-49 14 03:30:24 297 03:29:42 297
Daniel Howley 264 MOPEN 125 03:51:01 374 03:50:20 374
Sarah Lawrence 111 FOPEN 51 03:51:02 375 03:50:21 375
Celia Bown 167 F40-44 29 04:29:55 463 04:29:15 466
Jenny Kent 168 FOPEN 78 04:29:56 465 04:29:14 465
Kaye Mead 169 F50-54 20 04:29:56 466 04:29:15 467

Watermead Challenge

This year’s Watermead Challenge took place on a cooler, damp Tuesday evening during a lull in the heatwave.  With the great conditions and virtually flat course around the lakes at Watermead Park, this had PB potential written all over it.

The times for the 5 mile race were as follows: Alan Thompson 30:15 (PB and 11th place), Will Goodbourn (Liz’s son) 30:54, Andy Nicholls 32:02 (PB), Ross Jackson 36:10, Seb Walker 36:29 (Ray and Vanessa’s son), Rebecca Forrester 37:35, David Hall 39:25, Ray Walker 40:24 and Vanessa Walker 45:27.
[Andy N]

Caistor “Sting in the Tail” 10k

On Sunday 2nd July I took part in the annual “Sting in the Tail” 10k race in Caistor, North Lincolnshire, which is about 70 miles north on the A46 from here. I spent my school days in Caistor, so it’s good to get back occasionally and repeat some of my steps from yesteryear around some of the old school running routes.

Caistor 10k


The event is hosted by Caistor Running Club, and the organisation is first class, with ample parking at the school, spacious registration base at the Town Hall, a market place bustling with pre and post race activities, and a well marshalled race with lots of prizes on offer. There are almost 500 runners of all abilities, many in fancy dress around this year’s Mardis Gras theme, with plenty of whistles being blown on the way round.

The course is one of the more varied 10k routes, comprising a very fast downhill road start down from the town’s Georgian market square. It then levels off for about 3 miles, including a pleasant off road stretch on a track through some woods, which offered some welcome relief from the sun. Once out of the woods, the gradual climb back towards the town begins, which after the 8k point becomes quite brutal, with a couple of very sharp climbs which provide the sting to the tail of this race, up to the finishing line in the market square.

I was pleased with my own time of 40.22, which was almost 5 minutes less than I managed in 2016, and was enough to secure 20th place overall. Congratulations to the winner, local Nick Martin of Caistor Running Club, who with a time of 32.52 broke the course record and netted himself a cash prize of £200!

At the end of the race you receive a very good quality running vest, and there is a barbecue and bar conveniently located just after the finishing line. All in all a very good experience and great value at only £12 for club runners. Certainly a race I’d recommend bookmarking to any Striders who’d like to try this event – there’ll be a couple of spaces in my car next year!


Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon 2017

Jenny Kent and Liz Heaton completed the Wansfell class in the Saunders for the first time this year, finishing at 1.30pm on a sunny Sunday afternoon after 11.5 hours of running/walking/scrambling around the Loweswater Fells over two days.
The start on Saturday morning was allocated a week before the event at 08:38am, meaning a 6am start from the Premier Inn in Cockermouth where they’d stayed the night before. After registration at assembly (a field with a marquee in it), there was a 50 minute walk to the start on the north shore of Ennerdale Water. The clouds had lifted from the summits by this point and it was looking like a lovely day. The first day involved finding 9 controls spread over a 10.9km course (straight line distance). No GPS devices were allowed, so armed with only a map, compass and disposable camera and carrying everything we needed for an overnight camp we set off for a big adventure.
After finding the first control on a knoll above the lake, there was a steep climb to the second, very satisfyingly located at the trig point of Great Borne (Herdus). We then followed the ridge to White Pike, before dropping down to another cairn and then through a bog to Gale Fell. It was rough going coming off there, with rocks, heather and bilberry bushes on a steep slope – the berries were tasty but really had to work hard to stay upright and felt like a very long leg by the time we got to the next control (well-hidden at the source of a stream). A steep downhill bracken slide involved more falling over than staying upright but we quickly got down to the path around Crummock Water and a nice spur overlooking the lake. The final leg of the day followed the path northwards into the woods and then along a fence to a gate, which was only 100m from the finish and our overnight camp – almost 7 hours after we started.
It was drizzling as we entered the woods, after staying dry and clear all day. We put our tent up quickly, after a bit of a fight in wet and windy conditions got the stove lit and tea and meals heated up, then changed into dry clothes and huddled in the tent for a couple of hours. About 7.30pm the sun came up and everyone emerged from their tents for a drink and chat, which was lovely.
We slept surprisingly well in the super-light sleeping bags on a thin layer of radiator insulation, only waking up cold once. The loud-hailer squealed at 6am and we put our wet running gear back on (pretty disgusting), went to the loo and collected the control descriptions for the day, then made tea and porridge. It started raining again so we got back into the tent to mark up the maps and look at route options and pack our bags (very cosy!). There was a flood of people heading to the start at about 7.50am, we took our time packing up and ended up starting at 08.30am.
A river crossing within 50m of the start meant that it didn’t really matter that nothing had dried out overnight! We had a relatively gentle climb up to Little Dodd to start, followed by loads of contouring (on sore feet) round the side of Blake Fell to the summit cairn of Carling Knott. Lots of skylarks here, including one that shot up from just in front of me. We dropped down to a re-entrant and then around the side of a valley and up to a cairn at the top of Sharp Knott. There was a good, if a little narrow and rocky, path on the side of a steep valley which led round towards the next control, after climbing a fence and descending steeply to a sheepfold in the valley – a lovely spot full of foxgloves. Although I was eating a cheese sandwich, after we climbed out of the valley I was running on empty and needed jelly babies and a cereal bar. I followed Liz for the next 20 minutes or so and then got some energy just in time for a steep climb through a forestry commission plantation up onto the summit of (some hill or other). I’ve never been happier to see a cairn as it was all downhill from here, with two more controls and then a run into the finish – we even managed a little sprint and were all smiles as we crossed the line after 4.75 hours.
After downloading, we enjoyed the prize-giving and then enjoyed the wonderful hot food, tea and cake supplied, sat in a field and basked in the satisfaction of getting back in one piece and still being great friends!


Day 1: 14.8km (straight line), 18.4km (running line), time 06:49:59 – ending in 59th place
Day 2: 10.9km (straight line), 13.1 km (running line), time 04:41:35 – ending in 58th place out of 71 starters
Thanks to Chris Heaton for the photos at the finish.
Jenny Kent

Scafell Pike Trail Marathon 27 miles 1800mt of ascent (6000ft). 9th July 2017

7 of us signed up for the Scafell Pike Marathon after Si sowed the initial seed, in our normal race decision making environment- The Pub!
The Scafell Pike Trail Marathon started at Derwent Water at the Lingholm Estate. From here the route follows the shores of Derwent water & continues to the first climb of the day which involves climbing past Castle Crag.
A steep climb from Seathwaite leads to Styhead Tarn & Styhead Pass (1,601′). The next section involves the ascent of the infamous Corridor Route. This is a testing rocky trail that makes a spectacular rising traverse across some of the most rugged yet spectacular rock scenery in England. The route crosses a number of deep ravines, climbing up a series of rock slabs & paths, eventually leading up to the summit of Scafell Pike.
At an elevation of 3,209′ Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England. From the summit the route descends to Broad Crag before continuing it’s high level traverse past Broad Crag & Ill Crag leading down towards Esk Hause. Located at 2,490′ this is the highest pass in the Lake District. The descent  was certainly challenging under foot as it is boulders, not just rocky and it took some balance skills to be able to descend it on foot and not on backsides. Luckily the weather was dry.
A testing final ascent from Rosthwaite lead the route up to Watendlath Beck with the final ascent back toward Derwent Water.
In conclusion the Scafell Pike Trail Marathon was a fantastic race with beautiful scenery and very challenging terrain, oh and a great couple of nights away in The Lakes with friends.
The finishing times were-
Katie Hateley 06:01:25 2nd FV40, Chris (    Michael) Atton 06:14:48, Paul Geeson 06:15:12, Simon Bottrill 06:53:17, John Houghton 06:53:17, Dan Valencia 07:59:33, Paul Desborough 08:34:22

South Downs Way 100

One Stilton Strider took a long journey to the South Coast on June 10th, competing in the South Downs Way 100 – a nonstop 100 mile footrace from Winchester to Eastbourne.

After 100 miles of trails and 12,000 feet of ascent, starting at 6am and having run all day and seen the sun both set and rise again, the race culminates in a couple of miles through the streets of Eastbourne and one final lap of the athletics track. With the setting of England’s newest National Park over a sunny June weekend and the great organisation and support of Centurion Running and 130 fantastic volunteers, Richard Gray completed the race in 123rd position in 25 hours and 33 minutes.

Richard was raising money for Mind, the mental health charity, and donations can be made via

The Holme Pierrepont Heritage Grand Prix – A Fantastic Four Race Series

The Holme Pierrepont Heritage Grand Prix is a series of four races over varying distances, run over the space of ten days.

This year, the race schedule was as follows:

June 27th            Rushcliffe 4 mile

June 29th            Holme Pierrepont 10k

July 4th                Embankment 5k

July 6th                Colwick Racecourse 5 mile


A small contingent of Striders – Ben Pickard, Laura Pickard, Daniel Moult, Nick Pryke and Neil Jaggard entered the full series, with Vanessa Walker just entering the Colwick Racecourse 5 mile as a standalone race.

The weather for each event could not have been more different. On June 27th, a cool, overcast evening greeted 431 runners at Rushcliffe Country Park. Striders positions and times were as follows: Ben Pickard (135th/28:45), Neil Jaggard (170th/29:50), Nick Pryke (203th/30:56), Laura Pickard (314th/36:05) and Daniel Moult (325th/36:37).

An unseasonably wet evening confronted runners at Holme Pierrepont Country Park for the longest race of the series – a 10k which took in almost a full circuit of the lake before heading out into surrounding roads, before returning to the lake to take in another half circuit. The race attracted 449 competitors and Striders positions and times were as follows: Ben Pickard (163rd/45:46), Neil Jaggard (187th/46:52), Nick Pryke (257th/50:24), Laura Pickard (357th/57:46) and Daniel Moult (382nd/59:44).

Warm evening sunshine was the order of the day for the third race of the series – the Embankment 5k – a very flat riverside course that saw a number of PBs broken in a field of 481 with over 100 people finishing in under 20 minutes. Striders positions and times were as follows: Ben Pickard (202nd/22:11), Neil Jaggard (213th/22:36), Nick Pryke (260th/23:38), Daniel Moult (369th/27:08) and Laura Pickard (372nd/27:15).

The final race of the series was run on a remarkably sultry evening at Colwick Racecourse. The course utilised the inner service road of the racecourse as well as the neighbouring country park. 409 runners completed the race, and Striders positions and times were as follows: Ben Pickard (153rd/37:54), Neil Jaggard (169th/38:44), Nick Pryke (239th/42:42), Vanessa Walker (290th/45:46) Laura Pickard (292nd/45:57) and Daniel Moult (322nd/48:18).

The final Grand Prix results were as follows:

1st overall: Michael Coltherd                      1 hour 30 minutes 46 seconds

2nd overall: Ben Livesey                                1 hour 33 minutes 51 seconds

3rd overall: Marlon Dunkley                        1 hour 40 minutes 42 seconds

First lady: Katie Lomas (18th overall)        1 hours 50 minutes exactly

Striders finishing positions:

Ben Pickard (104th/2.14.36), Neil Jaggard (119th/2.18.02), Nick Pryke (154th/2.27.40), Laura Pickard (214th/2.47.03) and Daniel Moult (228th/2.51.47). 286 runners completed the full Grand Prix.

All competitors deemed the Grand Prix a success in terms of organisation and would thoroughly recommend to all Striders looking for a challenging but enjoyable midsummer series.

‘Toughest LRRL Road race’ – Hungarton 7

A large group of Stilton Striders made the trip for the latest round of the Leicester Road Running League summer series; the Hungarton 7.

The popular race is widely regarded as one of the toughest road races in Leicestershire, made more difficult by the warm, muggy conditions. First back for the Melton club among a field of more than 570 was Luke Eggleston in an excellent 47th place in 44min 50secs. Darren Glover (47.14) was next back in 79th, just two places and three seconds ahead of Alan Thompson. Natalie Teece was 84th and seventh in a high quality women’s field in 47.27. Other Striders times: Ian Drage 47.26, Clive Kent 50.18, Ian Howe 53.29, Julie Bass 53.47, Michelle Farlow 55.06, Vicki Lowe 55.27, John Houghton 55.30, Daniel Howley 56.27, Abi Arnott 58.26, Louise Houghton 58.27, Mike Brighty 59.29, Sharon Eshelby 59.35, Helen Plant 1hr 01min 37secs, Kirsty Black 1.02.15, Ray Walker 1.06.03, Helen Metcalfe 1.06.05, Vanessa Walker 1.06.39, Jenny Kent 1.16.23.

Beacon 24 – A 24hr hill fest!

A small group of Striders took advantage of this low key 24 hour event at Beacon Hill for a bit of distance training.   After some dodgy pizza (gin?) the night before, Debs Wilson called it a day after 2 very Hilly laps, Jon W 4 laps and Andy Nicholls 5 laps and all home in time for tea, leaving the diehards to carry on for a further 17 hours.

More Striders needed next year – do one lap, run as a team or run yourself into the ground all for £20 with a friendly atmosphere for a good cause.