Sent: 02 December 2009 09:35
Subject: V S Update - Valley win at Thirsk, XC this weekend and 2010, U&R sale, London marathon entries, Xmas meal, Fell reports


Valley now lead 3-1


We usually start a V S Update with forthcoming races, how to book your pie and peas etc but for a change let’s start with the Abbey Valley Challenge Cup at Thirsk.


We’d won the first two encounters in 2008 but at Snake Lane this February we were well beaten and Abbey were holding the cup.  Could we make it 3-1 or could Abbey pull back to 2-all?


It was looking as though it would be close going into the race – Abbey had 44 entries and we had 47.  On the day we a lot of no-shows and only a few entries on the day.  Abbey started with 34 runners and we had only 33.


It was close!  But with Gwil and Rob leading the way, 12 Striders in the first Abbey-Valley runners and some great running by the other 21 Striders (Sara, our last finisher, claimed 6 Abbey scalps), we eased to victory 3595 to 3105.


Thank you to everyone who was not put off by the weather in Leeds and represented the Striders.  It was also near-ideal running conditions and many of you were also rewarded with PB’s – well done!


Race results and report at the end of this email.


Cross country this weekend (5/6 December)


Peco XC on Saturday 5 December from Horsforth Hall Park see


Good men’s team needed to boost our challenge to retain our league runners-up league position (we were “only” 5th in the first race).


Good women’s team needed to boost our chances of promotion (we were 3rd in the first race and I don’t know how many teams will be promoted)


Directions: By car, from Leeds city centre, take the A58 and continue on to the A65 past Kirkstall Abbey. Turn right at the next roundabout onto Broadway (Leeds Outer Ring Road) and left at the traffic lights on to Fink Hill. Take your first left on to Hall lane. The park is on your left hand side.

Registration: The race HQ will be in the cricket pavilion in Horsforth Hall Park. Registration will be from 9.15am – 9.45am for juniors, 10.00 – 10.45am for seniors.

Car Parking: Car parking spaces are very limited: please car share if possible. Car parking is available on Fink Hill, or in the park near the restaurant off Hall Lane. Otherwise, you can park on Hall Lane, but please do so considerately.


West Yorkshire XC on Sunday 6 December from Nunroyd Park Guiseley   Women at 13:45, men at 14:15.  This is the final race in the series.


Good men’s and women’s teams needed to be placed reasonably well in the leaguesNB you must be pre-entered - check at


IMPORTANT! Good men’s and women’s teams are needed to WIN the John E Smith Challenge Cup


Cross country 2010 entries (some races closing soon)


Some of the closing dates are now imminent so let Drew know in the next few days – email to book your place.

  • Sat 9 Jan - Yorks XC at Wakefield, c/d 11 December  – 5 Striders entered so far
  • Sat 23 Jan - Northern XC at Witton Park, Blackburn, c/d 11 December – 1 Strider entered so far
  • Sat 6 Feb - Yorks Vetc XC at Sheffield  – 3 Striders entered so far
  • Sat 27 Feb – English National XC at Leeds (2010 VSGP), c/d 4 January  – 25 Striders entered so far!!!


Check whether you have been entered at


Up and Running Sales (3 days only)


20% off all merchandise at both Leeds shops.


Leeds Headingley (West Park) shop open till 7pm on Wednesday 2 and Thursday 3 December.


Leeds Central shop open till 7.30pm on Thursday 3 and Friday 4 December.


Note that you won’t get your 10% club discount as well.


London marathon entries (reply by 24 December)


We have received our allocation of 3 places for the London Marathon.


All Striders are eligible to apply for these places, but preference will be given to those who (a) were rejected from the “normal” ballot in May (b) joined the club before 01/01/2009.


Please email if you want to be included in our ballot (please mention whether you got a rejection slip).


Note that the draw will be made at the Xmas Handicap on 27 December and your entry will need to be posted the first week of January.


Xmas Meal and Presentation Night – Friday 18 December


Book at  Please mention if you want the vegetarian choices.  Reply by Tuesday 15 December.


Also send a cheque for £9.50, payable to Valley Striders, to Paul White, 17 Whinmoor Court, Leeds, LS14 1NX


Steve Webb’s Fell Running Report from the Annual General Meeting


‘Fell Championship: new scoring system introduced as an experiment this year following some very interesting debate.  Scores based on speed relative to the race winner with adjustments for race category.  40 years on from NASA’s triumphant Apollo 11 mission I can reveal that calculating the scores in the fell championship actually requires more computing power than was used to land Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon.


‘The top three in the championship were Anthony Fryer, Matt Allen and Mick Loftus.  Sara wins the ladies championship as she was the only lady to complete a full quota of races.  Well done to them all.  This year twelve Striders completed a full quota of races.


‘We shall review the scoring system and see whether any changes need to be incorporated for 2010.  If you have any views on this topic then please let us know.


‘Race winner:  one of the championship events was the Wharfedale Off Road Marathon and Panos was the outright winner of the race – really good to see that.  This shows that road speed can transfer to the fells, even if you have to stop 100 times to climb over stiles.


Calderdale Way: 2 teams completed successfully.  The A team was 29th, our best finish since 2003.  Next event is Sunday 13 December, last chance to put your name forward, let Anthony know if you would like to run.  With our strongest team out there is a chance of a top 20 finish.


‘FRA Relays:  For only the second time ever we entered a team at the British Fell Running Relays.  The event was last Sunday in Western Cumbria and held in challenging conditions with mist enveloping the hills.  Now what do Bingley Harriers A team, P&B A team, and Mercia Fell Runners have in common?  Well they were all beaten by Valley Striders.  We also beat Carnethy, K&C, Wharfedale Harriers and we absolutely hammered Abbey!  This was a really good event and I’d like to thank Simon (leg 1), and Eirik and Matt (leg 2) who got us off to a really good start.  Anthony ran with me on the navigation leg and we moved up 21 places in the mist, and handed over to Aled, who pulled up 7 places on leg 4 to bring us into an excellent 35th place out of 149 starters.


‘Cumbrian Races:  It was good to see that we had several representatives in the Sedbergh Hills A Long race which was in the fell championship.  Well done to all of them.  We also sent some ambassadors including Steve Dixon, Matt, Eirik and of course Anthony into the heart of Lakeland to run the likes of the Borrowdale Race and Wasdale and Langdale.  Lakeland really is a superb place to run, and not just for the challenge of the competition and the magnificent scenery.  It is also a must for devotees of television crime drama CSI Ambleside (that’s this years mention for Half Man half Biscuit).


‘Media Star:  In my report last year I pointed out Eirik’s appearance on the front cover of The Fellrunner.  This year we have a new model, and fittingly it is our fellrunning guru, mascot, and general source of inspiration Geoff.  Here he is captured in his native habitat as his alter-ego Usain Webster.


‘English Champs:  Last year I said that we hoped to get some representation in the English Championship races.  This didn’t work out at all well.  Basically it was impossible to get into the races because they all filled up months in advance – I call it Brass Monkey Syndrome.  I found this very frustrating as one of the attractions of fell running for me has been the low key enter on the day nature of many of the races.  But then I do seem to have a psychological problem with entering months in advance…….


‘Finally best of luck to our entrants in the OMM this weekend.  It’s mid-Wales so surely it can’t rain this year, or can it?’


Other AGM reports can be found at


Report from FRA Relays by Anthony Fryer


The Valley Striders managed for the second time in their history to field a team for the FRA relays. Hopefully the start of a few more regular appearances in these type of events.


My only experience of a fell relays previously is the Calderdale way. This is far better than that! Firstly all runners start and finish in the same spot, this means less time shivering on a windswept barren hillside waiting for the previous runner. Also the team runs were more mixed, with a pairs, two solo runs and a pairs navigation leg.


The event was being held west of Ennerdale, so as far away as possible whilst staying in England for our club and I have to admit mid-week I was thinking maybe I shouldn’t have pushed for us to get entry as I really wasn’t that fussed about driving 6 hours round trip for the race. The night before I had a bit of a ring round and made sure that everyone was set. I started picking people up at 6am for the long drive north west. It was cold and dark and very quiet apart from two cats fighting.


Soon everyone picked up and we were up the A1 and then across the A66 to arrive nice and early for leg 1. As I was leg 3 there was plenty of time for bacon sandwiches and cups of tea. Although it wasn’t long before Simon our leg 1 runner was coming in after a great run. We were top half! They handed over to our pairs runner of Matt and Eirik. The clag was starting to drop and we knew that Eirik could get lost in his own home despite claims that he can navigate. I was hoping he was right as they were handing over to us.


Any worries were totally unfounded as before long they were running into the change over field and time for the navigation leg. I was partnered with Steve Webb, a fast runner and keen orienteer and our fell captain. This meant that a) I had to keep up and b) as I was concentrating on keeping up my nav work was going to be limited to occasionally double checking nav whilst I gasped for air behind him. So with the first two teams managing the route well, the pressure was on arguably two of the better navigators to get round this leg without any mishaps.


First checkpoint we overshot slightly, but only by about 10m and soon got it, checkpoint 2 was no problem, 3 again no real problem although a bit of route choice of round or up and over made it interesting. We went for an up and over as we figured in the clag the safest option was the option to take.


3 to 4 was a long leg over some difficult terrain. We eventually reached a fenceline and spent a minute trying to work out where we were. Teams were running all over the place, left, right up the hill down the hill. We managed to resist the urge to follow and took a bearing of the fence to work out where we were and we were soon off again, slightly overshooting the right turn we maybe lost another minute but still were running at a fair pace. 4 to 5 was a short leg but the weather and clag was not great. A slight dip down the wrong side of a gulley but a clamber across and we hit the checkpoint. 5 to 6 easy life, long trod contouring the side of the hill. Quite a steep hill and you were just looking down into the murkiness. Not knowing what was beneath. We were meant to be in forestation but none were to be seen, were they below us?


The last checkpoint was dibbed then it was downhill all the way. After being dragged round by my faster partner it was time for me to do the dragging, literally jumping down the first descent and flying past about 3 or 4 teams on the way I was flying. Slowing down for partner, before flying down the next hill. Seems I am better going downhill, where he is better on flat and uphill. Shame the only really good descent was right at the end. Although that meant running into the final field I was ahead of him in front of all the spectators. This looked good but probably is quite deceiving about the whole run. Thankfully it was also caught on camera me leading the way on the way in.


Despite our few little errors on the navigation, we had managed to claw back nearly 20 places up to around mid 40’s


Handing over to Aled Greenhalgh for the final leg we had nearly done it! We just needed one last good leg and Aled didn’t disappoint. He went flying round, took some great lines that he reccied that morning once we had arrived and before we knew it was storming into the final field with a great sprint on! He also took another number of places, moving us even higher up the table.


Team results, we were 35th out of nearly 150 teams. A great result that we are very happy with.


For more of Anthony’s blogs, see


Thirsk 10 / Abbey-Valley Challenge


First, the results.  Just to confuse you, we have gun position and chip time.


Several Striders set PBs, and a record number of EIGHT Performance Certificates were earned on the basis of this race.  Many Striders have run 5k and 10k races but it is a condition of the Performance Certificates that the 5 races must include 3 different distances.  Most notable was Steve Webb on 2 counts – it was a grade 7 (only exceeded by Lou, Tracey and Vicky) and it had taken over 2 years to achieve (probably because he only runs 2 road races a year).  I’ll update the Performance Page on the website at the weekend


 Gun                                   Chip

 Pos  Name                   Club      Time    Abbey Valley

  27  Gwil Thomas            Val     00:56:54         150.0

  28  Rob De'Giovanni        Val     00:57:00         148.5

  30  Andy May               Abb     00:57:07  147.0      

  36  Dan Fisher             Val     00:57:53         145.5

  42  Duncan Clark           Abb     00:58:23  143.9      

  71  Kevin McMullan         Val     00:59:58         142.4

  76  Steve Webb             Val     01:00:08         140.9

  79  Kevin Drew             Abb     01:00:17  139.4       

  89  Jeremy Ladyman         Val     01:00:57         137.9

  95  Jim Clay               Val     01:01:19         136.4

  97  Vicky Whitehead        Val     01:01:25         134.8

 131  Ian Rosser             Val     01:02:16         133.3

 139  Ian Sanderson          Val     01:02:35         131.8

 129  Graham Needham         Val     01:03:12         130.3

 141  Dan Murray             Val     01:03:36         128.8

 157  Andrew Webster         Abb     01:04:22  127.3      

 155  Ian Kitching           Abb     01:04:26  125.8      

 172  Matthew Allen          Val     01:04:30         124.2

 190  Richard Foster         Abb     01:06:04  122.7      

 199  Allison Skillicorn     Abb     01:06:28  121.2      

 206  Nick Barnes            Val     01:06:39         119.7

 210  Alistair Smyth         Val     01:07:00         118.2

 228  John Halliwell         Abb     01:07:40  116.7      

 282  Mark Hetherington      Abb     01:08:08  115.2      

 252  Tom Button             Val     01:08:10         113.6

 253  Kate Bell              Abb     01:08:44  112.1      

 288  Dominic Nurse          Abb     01:09:32  110.6      

 295  Liz Wood               Val     01:10:02         109.1

 310  David Bass             Val     01:10:18         107.6

 304  John Batchelor         Val     01:10:21         106.1

 316  Sharon Williams        Abb     01:10:40  104.5      

 343  Tim Towler             Val     01:11:09         103.0

 334  Lucy Partridge         Abb     01:11:18  101.5      

 346  Sharon Woodruff        Abb     01:11:47  100.0      

 356  Bob Jackson            Val     01:11:59          98.5

 453  Keith Brewster         Val     01:13:43          97.0

 412  David Nahal            Abb     01:14:01   95.5      

 425  Sue Sunderland         Val     01:14:04          93.9

 467  John Wallace           Val     01:14:31          92.4

 430  Andrew Davidson        Abb     01:14:32   90.9      

 484  Paul Sanderson         Val     01:15:15          89.4

 537  David Rayson           Abb     01:15:40   87.9      

 550  Martin Browne          Abb     01:16:47   86.4      

 523  Michael Tinker         Val     01:17:19          84.8

 534  Chloe Hudson           Val     01:17:55          83.3

 567  Jane Hallam            Abb     01:18:53   81.8      

 576  Peter Khoo             Abb     01:19:08   80.3      

 583  Bev Mottley            Abb     01:19:26   78.8      

 615  Lisa Hulme-Vickerstaff Abb     01:20:45   77.3      

 650  Sue Speak              Abb     01:22:22   75.8      

 680  Geoffrey Webster       Val     01:22:43          74.2

 686  Phil Hammond           Abb     01:23:17   72.7      

 702  Jasmine Salih          Abb     01:23:47   71.2      

 745  Dinesh Kaulgud         Val     01:24:44          69.7

 726  Gail Tombs             Abb     01:25:58   68.2      

 777  Paul Greene            Abb     01:26:33   66.7      

 776  Paul Holloway          Val     01:26:34          65.2

 781  Sally Wright           Val     01:27:23          63.6

 772  Carole Towler          Val     01:27:24          62.1

 815  Kevin Hughes           Abb     01:28:15   60.6      

 806  Sara Goward            Val     01:28:25          59.1

 840  Catherine Ladd         Abb     01:30:50   57.6      

 880  Alastair White         Abb     01:32:46   56.1      

 881  Lynne Taylor           Abb     01:32:50   54.5      

 893  Geoffery Hall          Abb     01:33:05   53.0      

 896  Avril Illingworth      Abb     01:33:39   51.5      

 912  Fran Robson            Abb     01:36:24   50.0      

                                                ----   ----

                                                3105   3595    

Race Report from Bob


It had been pouring with rain in Leeds all Saturday night and driving through Collingham on Sunday morning there was water across the full width of the road in a couple of places.  How many Striders would be as mad as me to turn out in such weather?  More to the point, were the Abbey Runners as mad as me?


Up the A1(M) and past Boroughbridge the rain started to ease off slightly.  Onto the A168 towards Thirsk it was just a drizzle.  Into the car park it had stopped.  I was early because I wanted to check with the race organizers that I could get a copy of the results on my USB pen drive.  There were two people doing the race results – John Schofield from UK Results who I knew well and a guy from Sports Systems who’d done the results at Wakefield 10k last year.  So no problem on that front, but I did wonder why both of them were there.  I did ask the $64,000 question about the chip timing – “was there going to be a mat at the start?”.  There was!  I’d been at chip-timed races before where there had only been a mat at the finish – this was for lazy organizers – but with mats at start and finish it was not so critical to get a good start position (unless you wanted to win a prize).  Mark Hetherington and I had previously agreed that we’d use chip time for calculating the Abbey Valley scores.


So then I just had a coffee and sat and chatted to Striders and other runners that I knew.


The start was at 11:00 and we’d been told to assemble at the front of the grandstand 15 minutes before to be walked across the racecourse to the start in the small lane behind the racecourse.  10:40 and people started assembling.  10:50 and there was no movement.  10:55 and it started drizzling.  Those of us without bin-liners moved to the back of the grandstand to get some cover.  11:05 and the gate was opened for us to cross the race course.


4 minutes walk, we were there and we could see the marshal on the start line who was saying “get a move on we want to start the race”.  We had to walk another 100 yards to join the race in the 80 minuite zone.  Another marshal said “keep warm, you’ve another 3 minutes to wait”.  I squeezed up towards the 70 minute zone.  Then the space in the 60 minute zone seemed to open up.  We walked forwards and then … we were across the mats.  The race had started!!!  I was about a third of the way from the front.  There must have been a couple of hundred still crossing the racecourse as we set off.


Maybe this was a planned rolling start like the Abbey Dash.  It didn’t roll for long as very soon we got to a bit of road with big puddles either side and only a third of the tarmac showing.  Most of us squeezed onto the tarmac to keep our shoes dry, the others ran through the water. We need not have bothered to keep dry.  100 yards later the water was across the full width of the road and 2 inches deep at the shallowest point.  Shoes and socks were wet.  There were a couple more occasions in the first mile where the road was totally under water.  But then the road started to very gently rise and it was relatively dry thereafter. 


It had also stopped drizzling.  Very little wind.  Just a few gentle undulations on the route.  Some good times were going to be recorded!


Matt Allen came by me in the first mile but I didn’t see any other Striders in the first half of the race and I only caught one Abbey Runner.


I was still going well but first Tom Button came past me (“been trying to get past you for 2 miles he said”), then Mark Hetherington (must have been stuck at the back), then David Bass at about 7 miles (“on for 70 minutes” I said to him).


Then we turned left into the section where we would go up a lane for ¾ mile, turn and come back down on the other side.  Half a dozen leaders had already exited this section and only had 1½ miles to go.  A couple of hundred yards up the lane and the first 2 Striders were coming down – Gwil and, just a few paces behind, Rob.  I didn’t notice Andy May from Abbey just behind Rob, but a few seconds later I saw Dan Fisher, followed by Duncan Clark from Abbey.  Then Kevin and Steve, one more Abbey and then the next runners were all Striders. 


Just before the turn, Liz Wood was coming the other way.  Without her physio/massage for the last 5 weeks I wouldn’t have been on the start line at all. 


Just before the turn I overtook a woman wheezing very loudly.  I shouted at the marshals at the turn to look for this woman.  Sylvia was watching just after the turn.  I said “there’s Sharon Gayter behind and she doesn’t sound well”.  Sylvia told me later that Sharon collapsed in front of her and they called a medic to her – fortunately she recovered quickly.  Sharon was on a short race that day. Recently she ran in a 7-day race and runs 24-hour races as training.


Lots more Striders as I returned down the loop.  And quite a lot of Abbeys too.  Out of the loop and 1½ miles to go.  My lack of training was catching up with me and I was slowing a bit.  I’d failed to start my watch on the start line but started it at 1 mile and had been averaging 7 minute miles up to mile 8, but mile 9 was a slow one.  I needed to run 72:01 to get my 5th grade 6 performance and a certificate.  All I could do now was keep going the best that I could.  Tim Towler came past me at 9½ at a minute-a-mile faster than me.  I hoped he’d been taking it easy rather than me coming to a standstill.  Sharp turn into the finish and the clock said 72:1x (the last digit was corrupt).


Through the finish, someone snipped off the chip, and then into the queue for the T-shirts.  This was slower than the queue for the start.  I think one of the women was personally measuring all the runners for their size.  Another guy came down the queue with a great handful of large T-shirts and this halved the queue in a matter of seconds!


I went back out onto the road and waited with Tim to cheer Carole in.  Just behind Carole in the loop I’d seen Paul Holloway, and new members Sally Wright and Sara Goward, and sure enough, they all quickly appeared, all crossing the line in under 90 minutes.  For Paul it was a PB and for Sally and Sara it was the furthest they’d ever raced. And Abbey-Valley points too!


I got changed and went back to the bar for the presentations.  Results were up and my chip time was 71:59.  I wasn’t bothered about the Abbey Valley any more (I was really).


I chatted to Peter Johnson from Roundhay (I’ve been trying to recruit him for 5 years or more and in desperation he went and joined Scarborough AC to avoid me).  I asked him whether he fancied coming down on a Tuesday and joining second claim.  He’d come first M60 in a time of 60:45.  I’m giving up running!


I chatted to Vicky and she picked up the 7th place ladies prize.  There were no other Striders there – they were drying off and/or in the pub.  I chatted to Duncan Clark and 3 of the Abbey ladies.  Duncan didn’t hear his name called out so I pushed him to the front to pick up 1st M45.  Then they did the ladies team prize and Abbey had second prize – a crisp fiver each.


Prize giving had finished but Mark from Sports Systems was still keying in late entries. He copied the results (as they were) to my USB stick and I went off to the centre of Thirsk to the Three Tuns as agreed.


Once I’d fixed the bug in my Spreadsheet my (unofficial) results were saying that Valley had beaten Abbey by about 500 points.  Then we found Panos in the results at 1 hour 24 mins.  Must have been a problem with the chips.  Then we found a couple more Striders who also hadn’t run.  It was getting closer.  But Mark also found some Abbey names that he thought hadn’t run and I identified at least one Strider who’d run but wasn’t in the results.  It appeared that the late entries all weren’t what they seemed to be.


A revised set of results appeared on the Monday, and on Tuesday Graham Needham told me what had happened to him.  He’d been at the front of the late entries queue at 10:45 when they’d announced that they’d run out of chips.  Someone made a quick decision that those who’d said that they’d collect on the day and hadn’t arrived yet wouldn’t turn up so their chips were reallocated to the late entries.  But the Sports Systems guy hadn’t keyed in this information at the time I got my copy on USB.  That explained Panos’s PW (Personal Worst) and the missing Striders.