Subject:                          V S Weekly Update - Barbecue, LCW, Dates, Canal caution, Jura report


Sent: 06 July 2012 13:35

Striders 30th Anniversary Barbecue – Tuesday 24 July


Just as the Queen has two birthdays, so does Valley Striders.  23 July 1982 was the date of the founding of Valley Striders at Mick Dewhirst’s house on Woodhouse Ridge (click .  And 10 December 1982 was the date of our affiliation with England Athletics (or whatever it was called at the time).


We’ll celebrate the first of our 30th birthdays with our Summer Handicap (7pm from Eccup Res, a just-over-5 mile circular route as far as Emmerdale village), also a Junior 1 mile race at 6:30pm, followed by a barbecue back at Leo’s clubhouse.


As usual, you need to book in advance for the barbecue.  Email our usual address by Sunday 22 July 10pm, just saying whether you want veggie or carnivore.  Cost is £6


If you are likely to come but aren’t 100% sure, then please book anyway, you have until Sunday 22 July to cancel (at no cost).


Tosh Akhtar has just given me some videos from 1992 of the Cardinal Heenan 10k (2½ laps up Stonegate Road) and the Valley Striders 10k in Roundhay Park.  Hopefully these will look OK on the big screen at Leos.


We also have a large number of photos on the website from 1997 to 2009 and a folder of newspaper cuttings from 1982 to 1992.  Is there anyone who would to create a “slide show” from these?  Can I tempt you to step forward with the offer of 2 free barbecue meals?  Please!


Leeds Country Way – Sunday 2 September


This is a 60 mile route, run in pairs, so each pair runs 10 miles.  Last year we had 5 teams of 12 runners!   Can we get 6 teams this year?  Maybe one from Kathy’s 6pm group and one from Holly’s 7pm group?!


Email if you’d like to run.  You can check you are on the list – there is a link on the “home page” of the V S website.  Please email as soon as you can saying whether you are

·         Definite (barring injury)

·         Probable

·         Possible

·         Unavailable

Proposed teams are “A”, Ladies, Vets (over 40), “D”, “H” (Holly’s group), “K” (Kathy’s group).


Caution: The route uses country footpaths.  It is irregularly signposted and not marshaled.  It is strongly advised that you do (at least) one recce run a week or so before the race so you know the route.  It is not sufficient to rely on your partner to know the route (they might get  injured the week before the race and you’d have to navigate with your new partner) 


Please email as soon as possible.  Organising 5 teams / 60 runners last year involved a huge amount of work (thanks John), so 6 teams will be even harder.  We need to get some provisional teams created as soon as possible.




Sun 8 July – Run For All 10k in Leeds – who’s running?  Also as the results are not likely to show club names, please send me your results.


Tue 10 July – Kathy’s group at 6pm, Holly’s group at 7pm, both at Leos.  Club session 7pm at Leeds Met track


Fri 13 July – Washburn Valley Relay – teams of 3 – make up your own teams


Sun 15 July – Eccup 10 mile – V S Grand Prix – also junior races (3 different distances depending on age) .  Can anyone help at the finish by handing out Harewood Trail entry forms?


Sun 15 July – Holme Moss Fell Race – V S Fell Championship


Tue 17 July – Kathy’s group at 6pm, Holly’s group at 7pm, Club session 7pm, all at Leos


Sat 21 July – Ingleborough Fell Race – V S Fell Championship


Sun 22 July – Pudsey 10k – V S Grand Prix – also junior races  (2 different distances depending on age) .  Can anyone help at the finish by handing out Harewood Trail entry forms?


Tue 24 July – VS 30th anniversary – see above


Wed 25 July – Golden Acre Relay - teams of 3 – make up your own teams – details will be on . Can anyone help at the finish by handing out Harewood Trail entry forms?


Sun 9 Sep – Yorkshire Vets relays at Saltaire


Caution re running alone particularly on the canal


I received this message from a couple of my contacts at other clubs:


“There were two attempted rape incidents the weekend of 16/17 June along the canal in the city centre. In both cases the victims were female joggers, one near Clarence Dock and the other near to Sky Lounge/The Hop. One of these attacks was at 4.00 pm on Sunday afternoon in broad daylight. The culprit/s have not been caught.  It would therefore be advisable until further notice to not go running in those areas and not to run alone at all.”

VS Vets Race update


Apologies to Jeni Sword-Williams and Rich Clough who I omitted from last week’s list of marshals. Jeni was at the end of the lap turning the leaders to the finish and sending the lapped runners for a second lap and I was standing with her for 15 minutes.  Rich was part of “my” team when I set out the marshals on the Northern section.  Maybe I need to go for a memory test.


Also to mention that Andy Stoneman took a short video and uploaded it to Facebook.


When we were asking for marshals we were looking for 25 based on last year, this was a serious under-estimate, on the day there were 42 Striders involved.  So not surprising that there were only a few Striders free to run and perhaps optimistic in my last email to suggest we could get 50 runners next year.  30 maybe?!


Jura: More than Just a Fell Race - report from Steve Dixon


Jura has been on my wish list ever since I walked on the Arran hills decades ago.  The distant Paps of Jura made a stunning back drop to the walking and when I discovered that there was a fell race over these peaks I was determined to be back and to do the race.  


It was thanks to a posting earlier this year by Alun Davies on the forum that triggered a forgotten determination to do this race.  He made it sound all too easy to get there and back in a long weekend.   Why hadn’t I done it before now?


I was not the only one hooked on the challenge of the Jura Race.


Amanda Seims, Sarah Smith and Andreas Mayer all got places in the race to be held in the last weekend of May and we soon started planning routes and modes of transport.  Alun, having started the ball rolling, had to pull out due to ongoing knee issues (what did he know that we four didn’t?).  This was the Jura Posse.


Sarah was the driving force behind getting to Jura using pedal power!    We all eventually adopted that method although with different routes and timings.


Waterproofs, midge repellent and thermals were at the top of my packing list.   Sunglasses and sun cream a lot lower down!


Sarah started her Island Odyssey early by cycling across Arran in typical weather – Rain!   Sarah has her own blog on that adventure:

It’s an inspiring blog for anyone toying with the idea of cycle touring, particularly up in Scotland.


Andreas set off soon after and cycled in from the south across the Scottish southern uplands from the English border.


I travelled north early on the Monday morning with Amanda, with our bikes stowed in the back of the car to catch the first ferry out of Ardrossan bound for Arran.


The weather forecast was, untypically, very good with sunshine and increasing warmth in the week leading up to the race and throughout the race weekend.   


And so a  warm and sunny Lochranza campsite on Arran was our meeting place with Andreas but not before an afternoon run along the coast and a hill climb back over to the camp site.   The next day saw us mountain climbing and swimming in a mountain tarn before travelling onwards by two ferries and a cycle ride across the Mull of Kintyre to end up on Islay - having arrived too late to get the ferry across to Jura.   The hardships of having to camp in the garden of the loch side hotel and local bar!


We got the early Wednesday morning ferry across to Jura with just a short hilly ride around the coast to arrive at the Jura Hotel in Craighouse and the camping field between it and the sea.   Sarah had already taken possession of a prime position on the field for our Valley Strider encampment before hordes of other runners arrived later in the week.  


We quickly got the tents up and in glorious sunshine and set off on our bikes to cycle further north along the coast road to commence our reccie of the race route.    Graham the race organiser warned us to not to attempt to run the whole race route as we would not recover in time for the Saturday.   We took this advice and missed out the first 3 peaks and concentrated on the 3 paps.   It was hot and humid and the terrain was unforgiving - pathless through tussocks, bogs or steep scree slopes.    On one occasion descending the 2nd pap we stumbled on a path that was actually runnable! - but it took us off route!


Having said all that, the unique setting was magnificent and not another soul in sight all day.


We managed to get back to the Jura Hotel for 9.30 – far later than we thought but just in time to order food in the hotel whilst we showered.  


My confidence in getting round the whole route within the cut off times was low and struggled to convince myself it would be better on race day.   Sarah, with limited running this year due to a string of injuries, decided that those cut offs may have been a bit  beyond her and valiantly volunteered to man checkpoint 7 on the 7th and final peak. Probably the most onerous of the marshalling points having to carry lots of water up from the road to quench the thirst of the hundreds of runners making it there.


The reccie done we allocated Thursday and Friday as ‘rest days’ and Amanda had arranged our accommodation in an exclusive loch side estate cottage in the northern half of the island.    All that was required was to pack our overnight bags and cycle to the road access point and have a stroll across to ‘Coruib’ on the shore of Loch Tarbert.    The cycle ride was along a 15 mile stretch of very beautiful but very hilly coastal road and the stroll was over pathless terrain across the grain of the island involving lots more climbing and route finding than anticipated.   It was infested with ticks (thankfully most were attracted to Andreas) and, more worryingly, with adders.   We counted what we innocently thought were 4 grass snakes on this walk.  We found out later grass snakes don’t exist on Jura.   The distinctive diamond patterning on all 4 snakes we saw was that of the adder.   Glad we didn’t know that at the time.


Coruib was eventually located and it was a real gem!   The loch side setting was indescribably stunning with mountain views and its own beach with shallow crystal clear water warmed by the sun!   Coruib itself was midway through renovation by the Mountain Bothy Association and they were doing a magnificent job with it.   It was well equipped with cooking pots and even had a well stocked library (for those rare rainy days)!


Next morning the sun was still shining brightly and tempting though it was to linger and swim some more we said our goodbyes to this beautiful location.  We took an alternative coastal route back to the road and our bikes hoping it would be easier then yesterday’s trek.   It wasn’t and we were relieved to be reunited with our wheels.


Craighouse had been transformed during our short absence.   Our tents were surrounded by a multitude of tents of all shapes colours and sizes.   Immediately next to our encampment was a large Wetherby Runners encampment with their own ‘flag’ fluttering below the White Rose flag.   We were a small patch of Yorkshire in a foreign land.   Our neighbours on the other side were from Dark Peak.


An early start for everyone meant that the buzzing campsite became deathly quiet soon after 11pm but was soon buzzing again the next morning with pre race activities and preparations.


A notice pinned to the door of the Distillery building, acting as race HQ and registration, detailed the weather forecast: ‘Scorchio, Scorchio, Scorchio!’


The three of us found ourselves at the back of the pack at the start and ran the first part of the race together a little bit slower than we would have liked as overtaking opportunities were limited up to the first peak.   From there we were able to run more freely and start to move through the field to some extent.   Andreas with more success and he soon become a distant figure. These first 3 Pips are the warm up act for the main act the 3 Paps.    They would in their own right make an acceptable medium category fell race in the lakes and once on the ridges between these peaks the running was exhilarating.   However the long and steep technical descent to the foot of the first Pap is a reality check.   This is where the challenge begins.   The main positive at this point was that we were well within the cut off times.


I’m not sure, given the clear conditions we had, whether it was helpful to reccie these three beasts as we knew what was to confront us.   Innocence may not have  been bliss but it may have lessened the mental torture of the unrelenting climbs and the ankle breaking descents.   There was very little let up until I stopped at the foot of the last Pap to empty the half ton of rocks in my shoes.   Amanda amazingly ran on without the need to empty.   I think she explained later it was a ploy of Joss Naylor to let the grit ‘bed in’.   I didn’t see Amanda again until the finish!    The last peak looked a doddle after what we’d run over and that was where we would find Sarah manning CP 7 and provide us with a drink mix Andreas had prepared to see us through to the end.   I thought the race was done and dusted.   Not so as the climb was hot, slow, hard and never ending and the drink was so salty I couldn’t keep it down.   The run down to the road was my low point and was frustrated to see runners overtake me and disappear  into the distance.  The reward on finally reaching the road was a supply of undiluted water and my road shoes for the final 3 miles along the coast to the finish.  With little breeze and the rising heat it was not an easy jog to the finish.


A fantastic race and all three of us were well happy with our times and place in the field. 

    1st Rob Jebb (Bingley)    3 hrs 17 mins

 107th Andreas Mayer         5 hrs 20 mins

  120th Amanda Seims          5 hrs 32 mins

  133rd Stephen Dixon         5 hrs 41 mins

  191 finished out of the 208 starters


We were all very saddened to hear after finishing that John Dare a long time supporter of the race suffered a fatal cardiac arrest whilst climbing up to marshal Checkpoint 4.


The magic of Jura though has taken hold of me and definitely want to do the race again.   Not sure we will ever be as fortunate with the weather but the end of May does appear to have a reasonable record for good weather in these parts.


There is an interesting report from the race organiser for those considering the race for next year