January 2004

2004 Issue 1

Section 2

Trail, Cross Country,

& Fell (&Triathlon)


Relay Reports & Results

Bradford Millennium Way (June 2003)

Danefield Relay (from Steve Webb)

Leeds Country Way (August 2003)

Calderdale Way (December 2003)

Harrogate Ringway Relay (January 2004)

Triathlon News

The Windsor Triathlon, 15th July 2003 (Bill Murphy)

Gullane Beach Triathlon, 23 Aug 2003 (Bill Murphy)

Gatorade Half Ironman UK, Sherborne, 31 Aug 2003 (Bill Murphy)

Cross Country

International Cross country

British & Irish Masters Cross Country

Yorkshire Vets Cross Country (from Jane Sutton)


Fell, Trail and Off-road Reports

Race Reports (from Steve Webb)

KIMM 2003 (from Mick Loftus)

Bob Jackson 60th Birthday Run - 29 July

Race Reports (from Geoff Webster)

Fell Championship 2003 Final Positions

Annemi's e-mails from South America

Fell Championship Events 2004

Section 2 - Trail, Fell & Cross-Country

For you newer Striders, the above is not a misprint. Several years ago, in the race results section of the Daily Telegraph, amongst the fell race results was listed "Sylvia Watson, Valley Spiders". And it seemed an appropriate name for a fell running club being as the sport requires keeping as many parts of the body touching the ground as possible.

This is the second section of January 2004 Valley Striders News as my stapler will not cope with 13 sheets of A4, nor will they fold properly to go in an envelope.

Having a second page 1 in this Newsletter means I can have a second front page advertisement for the Meanwood Valley Trail Race. With the addition of, for the very first year, a junior race, we will need even more to help. Even if you can only spare an hour on Saturday 27 March, we'll find a job for you. If you are free for 2 hours or more, that would help even more.

We have a record club entry of 15 men and 16 wimmin for the English National Cross-Country Championships on Saturday 21 February in Templenewsam Park, Leeds. If you're not running, please come along and support us, it's a great event for runners and spectators. If you are running (a) have you paid your 3 to Paul or Sylvia? (b) are you available from early that morning to help mark out the course (you get preferential parking and food provided)?

In this Spiders section of the Newsletter, we have reports from 5 relay races in which we have had a total of 112 runners (no-one ran all 5!). Apart from the "Bunny Run Relays" in April, this is the full set in which we normally compete. If you didn't run any in 2003, take a look at the reports, decide which you fancy and get your name down early to Geoff, Paul, Bob, Sylvia, Tracey or Lisa. We already have three runners who have booked their legs for the Leeds Country Way!

Finally, planning even further ahead, the Harewood 10 mile Trail race is booked for October 10th.

Relay Reports & Results

Bradford Millennium Way (June 2003)

We reported the overall positions in the last VS News, here are the details

"Mixed" 1. Steve Webb / Lisa Wilyman 1:27:52 ( 9 ) 1:27:52 ( 9 )

2. Bob Jackson / Vicky Chapman 1:23:25 ( 3 ) 2:51:17 ( 5 )

3. Mick Wrench / Dawn Morley 1:15:00 ( 9 ) 4:06:17 ( 7 )

4 Geoff Webster / Janet Parkinson 1:24:05 (11) 5:30:22 ( 5 )

5 Tim Towler / Tracey Morris 1:26:57 ( 6 ) 6:57:19 ( 6 )

"Men" 1. Mark Bean / Nick Brown 1:36:27 (13) 1:36:27 (13)

(with 3W) 2. Andy Sumner / Sophie Hetherington 1:36:31 (15) 3:12:58 (15)

3. Eric Cusack / David Cusack 1:12:40 ( 7 ) 4:25:38 (12)

4. Sylvia Watson / Kay Mason 1:40:25 (18) 6:06:03 (14)

5. Peter Lambert / Steve O'Callaghan 1:43:23 (17) 7:49:26 (13)

Winners Keighley & Craven 6:13:02

23rd / last Pudsey Pacers ladies 9:11:43

The first leg pairs would have been 5 minutes faster if they hadn't stopped off at a car boot sale driving back to the start having left a car at the finish. As it was, Nick's Subaru following Bob's navigation by mobile phone from race HQ set a RAC Rally record on the back lanes around Bingley.

Bob and Tim were both relieved that their partners did not know their leg routes, otherwise long pieces of elastic would have been required to keep in touch.

As is usual for Valley Striders relays, again we brought in a guest runner, this time Otley AC's navigation specialist Andy Sumner. (This is a serious compliment - we took him round the route the week before and not a step wrong on the day).

Best result for the team described in the results as "Men" but having runners called Sophie, Sylvia and Kay, was the Cusack family with 7th fastest time on leg 3. This was a mainly downhill leg, David had gone further downhill than necessary and no-one was standing downwind of him at the finish.

It's a great route (I'll remind you again that it is in the Bradford metropolitan boundary but goes nowhere near Bradford), usually good conditions because it's in the middle of June, even worth a try for confirmed road runners, so how about a few recce runs early in the new year and maybe get 3 teams for Sunday 13 June 2004.

Danefield Relay (from Steve Webb)

An unfortunate clash with the Hyde Park 5k bend running challenge but we still managed to field two teams in this popular event. The opening leg is frenetic but we had a reliable lead off runner in Mick Wrench; he ran a well-paced lap and made up ground in the latter half of the course to put the men's team in 8th place. Steve cut through the field to move up to 4th overall and the pressure was then on Andrew to hang onto this position. Thankfully Andrew managed this in convincing style and we duly finished behind Otley, a very fast Abbey Runners combo and P&B.

We also fielded a ladies team comprising Sara, Carol and Sylvia. Unfortunately the Fellandale website does not contain any results for this event, so we can only speculate on the finish position achieved by our heroines. In the absence of evidence to the contrary we shall speculate that they were 5th!

Geoff was appointed VS ambassador and ran in a Bingley / Calder Valley / VS combination.

Leeds Country Way (August 2003)

Overall results

1st Knavesmire Harriers 7:06:22
2nd Valley Striders A 7:10:29
3rd Horsforth Harriers A 7:11:17
7th (1st vets) Wakefield Harriers 7:33:03
13th (2nd vets) Valley Striders 8:17:41
14th (1st ladies) Horsforth H. 8:18:06
16th (2nd ladies) Valley Striders 8:28:17
20th (only club with 4 teams) VS 8:51:48
34th Baildon Runners ladies 11:23:54

NB 35 teams started but York Acorn were disqualified for only having one finisher on the 4th leg.

Results for each team for each leg were as follows. The first time is the time for the leg, followed by the position on that leg, followed by the cumulative time, followed by the cumulative position (i.e. the race position at the end of the leg).

"A" 1. Mick Loftus / Mick Wrench 79:18 ( 6 ) 1:19:18 ( 6 )

2. Drew Taylor / Mike O'Callaghan 76:44 ( 4 ) 2:36:02 ( 4 )

3. Roy Flesher / Tim Towler 73:21 ( 7 ) 3:49:23 ( 5 )

4. Gary Shipley / Jerry Watson 77:21 ( 4 ) 5:06:44 ( 3 )

5. Andrew Cutts / Mark Bean 67:35 ( 3 ) 6:14:19 ( 2 )

6. Nick Brown / Simon Vallance 56:10 ( 4 ) 7:10:29 ( 2 )

Vets 1. Eric Cusack / Martin Horbury 88:36 (15) 1:28:36 (15)

2. Ian Place / Mick Tinker 84:45 (16) 2:53:21 (14)

3. Dick Dale / Steve O'Callaghan 85:27 (19) 4:18:48 (15)

4. Bob Jackson / George Little 85:16 (15) 5:44:04 (13)

5. Carole Schofield / Mary Egan 83:58 (16) 7:08:02 (14)

6. Paul Furness / Sylvia Watson 69:39 (15) 8:17:41 (13)

Ladies 1. Tracey Morris / Vicky Chapman 77:09 ( 4 ) 1:17:09 ( 4 )

2. Dawn Morley / Jackie Buxton 99:20 (26) 2:56:29 (15)

3. Janet Parkinson / Kathy Kaiser 83:08 (14) 4:19:37 (16)

4. Lisa Wilyman / Sophie Hetherington 91:06 (17) 5:50:43 (16)

5. Bernadette Clayton / Carmel Barker 84:48 (19) 7:15:31 (16)

6. Hayley Palmer / Laura Clark 72:46 (20) 8:28:17 (16)

"D" 1. David Cusack / Eric Green 93:14 (22) 1:33:14 (22)

2. Paul Hilton / Rob Liddle 84:40 (15) 2:57:54 (16)

3. Jim Towers / Keith Cluderay 79:10 (11) 4:17:04 (14)

4. Sam Harris / Simon Burnett 101:36 (26) 5:58:40 (17)

5. Kay Mason / Natalie White 88:19 (25) 7:26:59 (17)

6. Debbi Wagman / Lyn Eden 84:49 (32) 8:51:48 (20)

Note the good Striders packing at the end of leg 3 where our teams were in 14th, 15th and 16th places!

Start training for next year by running cross country and/or some of the trail races and/or relays this winter.

And if you want to win one of the fastest leg trophies - this is what you would have had to have done this year

1. men 71:57 ladies 77:09 (Tracey & Vicky, course record)

2. men 67:54 ladies 95:22

3. men 65:44 ladies 83:08 (Kathy & Janet)

4. men 72:35 ladies 82:09

5. men 64:20 ladies 84:10 (see note below)

6. men 55:09 ladies 65:09

NB I spotted that Carole and Mary (running for our vets team) ran 12 seconds faster on leg 5 than the Horsforth team and raised this as a query with the organisers. They turned down my appeal - so just a moral victory, I'm afraid!

Calderdale Way (December 2003)

The A team finished in a creditable 23rd position while the B (mixed) team was 90th out of the 97 teams that started and 94 that finished.

However the B teams lost several runners in the weeks leading up to the event and had to rely on several last minute stand-ins and changes

Special mention must be made of Lyn Eden and Jim Towers of Nidd Valley (2nd claim V.S.) who were last minute additions to the team. Jim ran the 4th leg with Ian P (also a last minute replacement) whose memory of the route failed (he hadn't done it for several years). This meant Ian and Jim had nearly an extra hour wandering around Wadsworth Moor.

Martin Horbury gets a special mention because he volunteered to show Dawn Morley the 1st leg route the Sunday before the race. However, his effort was in vain because Dawn caught flu and had to withdraw. This means that Mary Egan gets a special mention for stepping in to do the first leg with Sam. Unfortunately we forgot to warn Mary not to wear her best road racers; the route had plenty of stones and mud - say no more.

Sara also stepped in to run the 3rd leg with Lyn and gets her special mention because she had run a 20 mile trail race the day before.

A special Euro mention goes to Ingo Zoller for travelling the furthest to represent the Striders - he arranged a holiday in England to coincide with the Race.

The B team wasn't completed until 11p.m. the night before the race (at one point Sam volunteered to run legs 1 and 3) so special mention must be made of Paul Furness who didn't run but spent some exhausting hours phoning around the V.S. membership.

"A" 1. Andrew Cutts / Rob Bumstead 1:27:03 (40) 1:20:03 (40)

2. Geoff Webster / Paul Hunter 1:22:00 (53) 2:49:03 (46)

3. Brian Hanley / Keith Cluderay 0:42:48 (26) 3:31:51 (37)

4. Steve Webb / Mick Wrench 1:18:18 (25) 4:50:09 (27)

5. Ingo Zoller / Martin Horbury 1:01:52 (24) 5:52:01 (28)

6. Drew Taylor / Mike O'Callaghan 1:20:32 ( 7 ) 7:12:33 (23)

Mixed 1. Sam Harris / Mary Egan 1:58:05 (88) 1:58:05 (88)

2. Sylvia Watson / Lily Wong 1:35:02 (86) 3:33:07 (88)

3. Sara Dyer / Lyn Eden 1:14:01 (92) 4:47:08 (91)

4. Ian Place / Jim Towers 2:29:50 (94) 7:16:58 (91)

5. Eric Green / Mick Tinker 1:16:46 (65) 8:33:44 (91)

6. Steve O'Callaghan / Neil Dutton 1:41:22 (55) 10:15:06 (90)

And what we needed to have done:

Winners Pudsey & Bramley 6:05:51 (1st)

1st vets Clayton-le-Moors 6:30:17 (5th overall)

1st mixed Ilkley Harriers 7:13:41 (24th overall)

1st wimmin - Clayton-le-Moors 7:52:42 (42nd overall)

Last - Stainland Lions mixed 11:23:38 (94th)

Harrogate Ringway Relay (January 2004)

There were 31 teams on the start line - 5 from Striders, 5 from Harrogate, 4 from the host club Nidd Valley, 4 from Otley, 3 from Ilkley, 3 from Ripon, 1 from Claro Orienteers, and 6 teams of mixed descent.

The route is 201/2 miles round Harrogate (that was a surprise to you wasn't it) and the race is run as 5 legs, each run solo. There must be a woman on the 1st leg and there must be at least one over-40 and at least one over-45 elsewhere in the team.

Selected Results

1 Harrogate Whisky Galore 02:09:05

2 Otley Cheetahs 02:15:46

3 Velocity Striders 02:17:56

13 Valiant Striders 02:45:49

15 Valium Striders 02:47:13

16 Vitamin Striders 02:50:13

19 Valerie Striders 02:53:53

31 Ripon Doug's Dashers 03:13:16

The Velocity Striders was our "A" team, Sam Harris off first, then Tim Crossland, Andrew Cutts (V40), John Hallas (V45) and Steve Webb(V40). Sam finished 3rd behind two good Harrogate ladies, Tim took the lead, Andrew hung on but his lead was reduced to a few seconds, John lost one place (to Ben Grant, Yorks M55 x-c champion) and Steve was overtaken by Ian Fisher. The Velocity cause was not helped by the fact that three had run the Yorkshire cross-country and one had run a fell race the previous day.

The Valiant, Valium and Vitamin teams were "seeded" to finish approximately the same time and lo, it came to pass as it was prophesied. None of these teams had any problem satisfying the one V40 and one V45 condition, there was only one under 45 in the 12 men for these 3 teams. The Valium Striders (Debbi Wagman, Peter Lambert, Ken Kaiser, Geoff Webster and Bob Jackson) had an average age 55 and the Vitamin Striders (Mary Egan, Alan Hutchinson, Dick Dale, Tony Haygarth and Eric Green) an average age 49. Thus it was not surprising that the youngsters (?!) Cath Benson, Paul White, David Cusack, Steve O'Callaghan and Mick Tinker just got in first of the trio.

The Valerie Striders (Kay Mason, Natalie Crossland/White, Kathy Kaiser, Sylvia Watson and Janet Parkinson) were the only all-wimmin's team and were only a few minutes behind the other 3 Striders teams. (NB they also complied with the V40 and V45 but I'm not saying who).

One Strider did finish 2nd - Howard Jeffrey who is 2nd claim for us ran the 2nd leg for Otley "Cheetahs" as their O-45 runner. And Andy Sumner (the photographer), in his bright new red and green kit was in Ilkley Harriers' "Panthers" team which finished 28th.

Special mention must be made of Dick and Janet who got off (separate) sickbeds; Ken who was in racing action for the first time in 6 months; Alan, Tony, Mick and Eric whose first HRR it was and who successfully recce'd their legs; the organisers from Nidd Valley who put on a great event, and the weather which was warm(ish), still and dry.

It's on my list of New Year's resolutions to take a group round the whole route in the summer. Remind me around June!

Triathlon News

The Windsor Triathlon, 15th July 2003 (Bill Murphy)

"Statement from Windsor: We, Elizabeth, by Gods Grace etc etc. require that these, our diverse subjects get on your bicycles and pedal for all you are worth for 40 km, and subsequent to this indulge in an athletic running race of 10 km length, all of this after you have leapt into Our river, the Thames, and swam for 1500m."

Aussie Traithlete: Did she just tell us to take a run and jump in the river?

UK Triathlete: Nah, I think she just told us to get on our bikes!!

For a change I am able to report that the morning broke sunny and clear, and as seems to be the norm in triathlon, we were all up to see it. It was a glorious day; hot and sunny, a real day for lazing on the River Thames (not swimming in it), and it was still only 5:30am. However, the run up to the Windsor Triathlon was more than the event itself. It was in fact a two day affair, three days if you include the drive down the M1. The said drive was a bit of a nightmare due to four accidents and a lot of people with rubber necks.

Deciding to indulge myself for the weekend, I opted to stay in the official race hotel, the Copthorne in Windsor. Courtesy of being the wrong side of the M4, it was in fact in Slough, however, when has the truth got in the way of a good story, or in fact, a good bit of advertising? There were many triathletes using this hotel and they were offering a package for the race, and ultimately, everyone thought it was a good deal. The hotel even put breakfast on from 4:30am on race day - now that is real support! The benefit of having so many athletes, including such international stars as Tim Don is that you get to rub shoulders with the rich and famous (well, given the amount of money around in triathlon the famous anyway). This was literally the case as Andrew Johns tried to clamber into the already full Jacuzzi in the hotel. This was already pretty full of skinny lads and lassies (and the token fat git i.e. me!) talking about PBs. It also meant that you frequently ran into friends and fellow competitors, including one of Bob Jackson's work colleagues: a spookily small world.

The reason for this race being a two day affair was because registration was on the Saturday. A wise move, as there was some 2000 people competing (of which over 1900 finished). Registration was in alphabetic order and Murphy, being slap-bang in the middle of the alphabet, meant I registered at about mid-day. A lazy morning in bed was called for, and after a seven hour drive to get to Windsor the day before, desperately needed. Registration was painless, information was given (as was a race T-shirt, so I did think about going home at this point), the bike and helmet were racked and I headed off to do the tourist bit around Windsor, having a very pleasant afternoon and a good lunch. I noted that the Union Flag was flying from the Castle, not the Royal Arms, Her Majesty was not at home.

Race day dawned bright and clear (yawn...another bog standard phrase from race reports) and I set off from the hotel. My departure was somewhat delayed by the fact that I got a puncture while my bike was stored in the secure storage area. Clearly sabotage by another competitor was suspected (obviously someone who had never seen me race before, anyone who had would have realised that it was a fairly pointless activity). I parked in Windsor School who were charging 5 for two days parking (proceeds going towards the School Sports facilities, so even here a good cause was being served) and I set off wetsuit, running shoes and sun block in hand. I found myself next to another Leeds & Bradford Triathlete in transition, and I was beginning to wonder if I was being stalked by Bob Jackson's spies... More detailed investigation revealed that this one did not know the esteemed Valley Strider and that stalking by proxy, could be ruled out.

The race started with the sprint distance events at 06:00 (750m swim, 30 km bike, 5 km run) and set off in waves until the Olympic distance elite men at 09:00. My wave departed at the positively civilised time of 07:30. Normally being up and about by this time, even on a Sunday morning, this came as no shock. There was however several people looking like they thought that 7:30am on a Sunday was something that happened to other people.

The Thames was actually quite warm (this was the second time I have swam in the Thames and on both occasions it has been warm). The horn sounded, and we were off. The frantic surge over to the north bank of the river was to try and get out of the current. The swim course was simple; you swam up river to the second (i.e. not the first) marker (c. 800 m) and then back down river (c. 700 m). The first marker was the turnaround point for the sprint distance race. Keep this in mind, I will come back to this point later. The marker buoys were about 10 foot high and bright yellow - only an idiot would miss them (or possibly a professional triathlete...) Having passed the first buoy (and not headed back to the start) I rolled over on my back to remove a seemingly large quantity of water from my goggles only to have another competitor walk past me. The river was in fact seriously shallow at this point, standing up I realised that the water was only about chest deep and I surged back into the water - much to the consternation of 3 mute swans which watched proceedings with apparent disinterest.

On turning round at the second (yes, for the 12 disqualified athletes in the Elite/Professional wave, that was second) buoy I headed for the start, the sun was still low and this proved a problem to navigation but I eventually emerged from the river some 34 minutes after the start. Slow as ever (I would have been quicker wading up the river), but at least I didn't get DQ-ed (Oops, do I appear to be taking the mickey out of Andrews Johns, Tim Don and the other professionals??? I think so!) I dashed into transition, took time to put on some sun-block (I have burnt the back of my neck cycling before) and off I went on the bike. A friend from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Triathlon Association was just ahead of me, so with some significant effort, I overtook him on the bike in the first 500m and metaphorically at least, didn't look back.

The bike course was flat by Yorkshire standards. There were a few long climbs, but not of any significant steepness, so relatively straightforward. Given that cycling is probably my strongest discipline in triathlon, I overtook a number of people who were better swimmers. However, I was surprised to see a group of triathletes from the wave behind me pass me as a group. This may just be my bruised ego in need of an excuse, but 4 guys all wearing the same club kit, all cycling within 5 m of each other, sounds like drafting to me. That said, as I dropped behind them I consoled myself with two facts, the first being that I wasn't cheating, the second was they would probably still have caught me, and at least I now had an excuse! I then entered what turned out to be my own personal battle with "Rob O" (as his Tri suit proclaimed him - I presumed it was his and not borrow from a mate!) from Brighton Tri Club. We exchanged places about 6 times over the 40 km, and actually got to the point of holding a short, albeit rather fragmented, conversation. In the last 10 km of the bike section a more worrying issue arose. This stemmed from the interaction of two cycling events. The first being the Windsor Tri, the second being a family charity bike ride. This led to some mayhem as family groups spread all over the road, were being overtaken by triathletes, with normal car traffic still going in both directions. This led to some excitement, occasional frustration and the odd hot word about parents exercising some degree of control over their kids who were weaving about the road in a chaotic manner. These two groups of cyclists were almost mutually exclusive: the first group going twice as fast as the second, and the latter involving the numerous kids who snaked all over the road like...well, a great snakey thing. Ultimately, I drifted into transition (a few seconds ahead of "Rob O"), and racked my bike in a time of, according to my bike computer, 1:12 after taking it off the rack at the start. I was off on the run, feeling good. Chasing 'Rob O' (who I never did catch) who exited transition ahead of me.

The run was three 'laps'. It was closer to a cross shape, so the term 'lap' seems somewhat inappropriate (what was appropriate, was the shape, as the heat was beginning to crucify many athletes). The Olympic (i.e. full) distance competitors did all the legs and the 'sprint' distance competitors did 3 of the 4. The whole circuit was done 3 times. There was one hill (at the Castle) but otherwise it was flat, although there were quite a few obstacles to be negotiated (twists, turns, bollards, corgis etc). Time flew by, and before I knew it I was on the last lap, having passed a large number of my fellow competitors, including some from the preceding wave. The sun was out, it was warm, I was passing lots of people, I was obviously running well...Not! Given that I had been passing so many triathletes I hadn't looked at my watch. Had I done so I would have seen that the reason I was feeling good was that I was running a 10km race, at a speed somewhat slower than my marathon pace! With about 1.5km left to go, it was too late to do much about it, apart from pick up the pace and finish in style - and smile at the Action Photos camera-man as I passed.

Once over the line I was met by the normal array of people who stripped me of timing chip, coloured bands that you were given to count run laps and anything else they could get there hands on. I was handed a bottle of water (very welcome given the heat) and a Boost Guarana Chocolate Bar (even more welcome, and given the heat, almost as fluid). The final time was 2:36 including transitions, and an alarmingly slow, 45 minute run. A mixed race: a PB on the bike and a PW (personal worst) on the run.

All that was left at this point was to pick up the bike. I took a moment listen briefly to the bewilderment of the race commentator about how Andrew Johns has swam 1500m in under 10 minutes. A chap from the Percy Pongo (i.e. the Army) Triathlon Association suggested that he either had an outboard motor fitted or has missed part of the course - and as there was no sign of a propeller as he got onto the bike, it didn't take rocket science to figure that one out... Back to the hotel, where they had arranged late checkouts for the competitors, giving time for a shower and a cuppa, and then back in the car and off to Oxford for lunch with a friend. A fine weekend.

I would say that having done a fair number of triathlons now, this was one of the best organised events I have ever been to. As much as some of them tried, you couldn't blame the organisers for the Elite wave's apparent inability to count to 2. The whole process was painless from start to finish (well apart from the fairly obvious pain of actually doing the race I suppose). The event was largely made by the weather, which was fantastic. A good advert for triathlon and a reminder of what it can be like when the UK's rather unpredictable climate actually reveals the sun. As I approached Leeds I came off the M1, I pondered this situation, and wondered about the weather in Durham, and whether the Prince Bishops Triathlon would be as much fun in two weeks time.

Next time, a report from the Palatinate of Durham. What will the great North-South divide hold? Cold water and hilly bike courses - guaranteed!

Gullane Beach Triathlon, 23 Aug 2003 (Bill Murphy)

"Hoots Mon, where's me Kilt?" Exclaimed Mark Roberts as we crossed the border. This rampaging bit of Scot-o-phobia earned him a rather stony stare from Murphy. This was the epitome of stoniness. If stoniness had a heart, it was to be seen there. In short, if looks could maim, Roberts would have been racing in a basket. I had already made it clear to my colleagues from Leeds and Bradford Tri club that a crowd going to Edinburgh from the north of England, by tradition, was expected to set fire to the town. Proceed to burn Lothian and capture Stirling and Edinburgh Castles, leaving an insulting note at Holyrood Palace. I did warn them that the traditional response to this was to rampage through the north of England driving Haggis south and sheep north. Louise Meyer, being from Jersey and therefore from the Scottish perspective being a virtual ally (by being virtually French) treated all of this with some concern. I suggested that I might settle for rampaging through Mark's garden and setting fire to his house, he seemed less concerned about this than he was over the loss of sheep...

However, I digress I have a race report to write, and such things do not write themselves. Our plans for the Gullane Beach Triathlon were expansive. It was a multi-day affair: 4 athletes in two cars staying in the home of Mr & Mrs Arnott and Heather Kidd. This was an outstanding piece of generosity that made our activities in Edinburgh much more relaxed. Not only did they provide us with extensive and generous hospitality, Arnott insisted on acting as an ad-hoc taxi service to get us to shows in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I will take this opportunity to thank him in public - not that he will ever read this of course.

Having driven from Leeds to Edinburgh on 21 August. I was immediately confronted with an enthusiastic Arnott wanting to go for a quick dip in the North Sea. Much to my further distress, Mark was equally enthusiastic so we departed for Gullane Beach for a dip in the sea. To my pleasant surprise the water was in fact quite warm, to my unpleasant surprise the wind was whipping up four foot waves. However, with some splashing about in the water (which is as good as my swimming ever gets) when I even managed to generate some forward, as opposed to downwards, motion I actually began to feel the tension of the long drive draining out of me. I felt relaxed, I felt cool, that coolness was slowly spreading from my left leg outwards...yes, I had managed to put a hole in my wet suit! I should have taken this as an indication of what was to come.

We did not stay long on the water, we adjourned for some fish and chips and to await the remaining two travelers to the Kidd household: Louise and Sandra Kelso, who arrived dutifully just after we had polished off the last bit of fish.

Louise and Sandra shared a room, as did Mark and I. Night one passed peacefully.

We arose in the morning to head out for a gentle cycle to loosen up the legs after sitting in the car for much of the previous day. Out the door, turn right, left onto the seafront and go forwards at 22 mph because of the strength of the wind. We cycled somewhat further than we planed, partly because none of us wanted to turn around and get it as a head wind. Realizing that we would have to do it eventually, we thought we had best go in with. Back to the Kidd household, changed and into town for the Festival and race registration.

We caught a comedy show called the "Return of the Jingleberries". At one point the cast exhorted us all to wave our nuts in the air. These being Brazil Nuts previously handed out by a member of the cast. It was suggested that the nasty accident that followed was the result of some serious misunderstanding. I will leave this one to your imagination...

Registration also turned out to be a bit of a comedy: the bike shop in question was underneath an alternative therapy store. The end result was that we walked past it twice. We eventually registered, collected a rather useful race hold-all as a momento and went to dinner at a fine Italian Ristorante called De Niro's. This turned out to be my only PB for the weekend: i.e. I went into a bike shop and didn't spend 50.

Post festival, post registration, post dinner, and so an early night. This one did not pass so peacefully. I was frequently disturbed by the passing train/ passing jet/ minor earthquake, all of which could have been mistaken for Mark's snoring. I carefully considered my options: I could 1. Wake him up; 2. Gently open his mouth to facilitate flow of air; 3. Stuff his wetsuit down his throat - those of you who know me will have realised what course of action I decided on... Mark had suggested that it would take a bald headed maniac with a claymore and a kilt to stop him sleeping well that night, well, one out of three isn't bad.

Race morning dawned 'bright and clear' (surprised????) and we adjourned for breakfast as the race didn't start until the civilized hour of 10am. This gave us ample time to get our kit together, mark to locate his wetsuit and for all five of us (Arnott was also racing - in the Vintage category) to get to Gullane. It was warm, sunny, mid-morning a light breeze was blowing and life looked good. We had the time to catch up with other competitors and get changed at a leisurely pace after racking the bikes. A Piper then escorted us to the beach (some 50-60 m below transition). We were sorted into two waves and we pondered the calm waters ahead of us before the starting horn blew. This level of tranquility couldn't possibly last and it didn't.

As the horn below about 250 people surged for the water. As there was approximately 50 m of shallow water before the sea was deep enough to swim in, there was a bizzare demonstration of run-hop-skip type motions as people dived for the (almost non-existent) surf. This was great stuff. A small melee ensued with Murphy making up for his lack of swimming ability with sheer vindictiveness and brutality (given the part of Glasgow I grew up in, I am more acquainted with those dubious talents than I am with water - and no, I don't mean that I didn't wash!). The swim was a two lap affair in a triangle and at the end of the first lap you had to emerge from the water, run around the Cross of St. Andrew and then back into the water. I presume this was for the entertainment of spectators as it led to the same hop-skip-swim motion as previously described. Of course by this time there was no melee - I was too far behind to be involved in that Anglo-Scottish punch up.

Emerging from the water at the end of the second lap, and the end of 38 minutes or so I passed the Piper again, considering exactly where I should advise him to stick his pipes, and ran up the hill to Transition. This was actually a bit of a shock because this was quite a climb and it took some time to get up to the bike (all of this was in the 38 mins swim - I'm not THAT slow!). I jumped on the bike - confident now that as I didn't drown I would finish.

The bike course was a loop, and within that loop there was a second loop. It made sense when you were there. In the big loop, the first 5 miles or so was virtually all climbing. In perhaps the only flat bit of that section of the course I had the misfortune to his a small piece of debris on the road while chasing down the competitor in front. This led to a few wobbles as it bounced upwards and hit the rear derailleur - a scary moment, but head down I passed my first opponent and began what turned out to be a long, climb.

Approximately 15 miles into the big loop competitors had to turn off the big loop onto the inner loop. This brought cyclists back onto the main course about 5 miles further back to make up a total distance of about 26 miles. Having negotiated downhill sections and some pretty bad road surfaces I was on the inner loop when the aforementioned piece of wood made its presence felt again. I changed gear, and came out of the saddle to climb a short rise and was greeted with a cracking and wrenching noise as the rear derailleur fell apart. The flywheels flew into the spokes of the wheel and impacted on the dropouts of the frame. The bike came to a shuddering, and rather swift halt and in a masterpiece of never to be repeated balance, Murphy managed to remain upright until I got my feet out of the peddles. The derailleur was in pieces and a number of spokes were broken or badly bent. To put it technically: the wheel was buggered with 8 miles still to cycle: end of race for yours truly. My only consolation at this stage was that I was only 50 m from a race marshal who organized someone to come and collect me. While I was standing on the side of the road, I was passed by Arnott, Louise and Sandra (not necessarily in that order), so at least I was able to give some moral support to friends.

On returning to transition with the bike I was able to watch people out on the run with feelings of growing frustration. At this point I decided to pack the bike away and enjoy, what was by now, the rather hot sunshine. The run appeared to involve a certain amount of steep climbs - deep inside I breathed a sigh of relief that I had been spared that one, especially given the temperature, but not to a point where it overcame the frustration of travelling 200 miles to record my first ever DNF.

Edinburgh Tri club had arranged showers and sandwiches at Gullane Fire Station. I ate, socialized with other competitors but couldn't really bring myself to go and look at the results as the two blanks next to my name where the bike and run times should have been would have just added to my feelings of vexation. The repairs to the bike were to run to 98 in the end.

And so, the hard bit over, we caught another show at the festival and hit the town that evening for a few pints and a not-very-deserved-curry (at least I didn't feel I deserved it). Sunday saw us visit another two shows, while Sandra left for Leeds. Louise, Mark and I stayed until Monday. This allowed us to see another couple of shows and generally soak up the Festival atmosphere. We packed the car, in a rather hungover manner, and returned to Leeds, stopping for a cracking good lunch en route.

Of the five mentioned competitors Louise and Sandra were pleased with their results; Arnott won his age group, Mark had a collision during the swim that seriously broke his rhythm and I didn't finish. Other Leeds and Bradford Triathletes returned varying degrees of success. This is an absolutely cracking good race. I recommend it highly and am stubbornly determined to do it again next year. If I have to take a pair of running shoes on the bike course in order to ensure that I have the wherewithal to cross the finish line, even if it means turning the course into very long run, then so be it. What did I take away from Edinburgh: stubborn determination, a reminder of exactly where my wetsuit rubbed and the realization that sometimes it's just not your day.

And so, from to Scotland onto Dorset and Sherborne Castle for Half Ironman UK.

Gatorade Half Ironman UK, Sherborne, 31 Aug 2003 (Bill Murphy)

And so, from Edinburgh to Sherborne in Dorset, via Portsmouth for repairs to the bike. It had been a few days since I had looked at the bike: I was still feeling sorry for myself, and not talking to it (when you end up that far at the back of race pack, you have to talk to something...). As normal I set out early and arrived in Portsmouth at about 10am. I handed the bike over to Rock 'n' Road Cycles and there was much sucking of teeth along with comments like "It's the parts you see" and "They don't make things like they used to". You doubtless get the picture. The proprietor, Jim Huggins, had left a nice new, very shinny Dura Ace rear derailleur out for me, a definite improvement on the previous article - also 20 more expensive, but Jim alas, knows me too well and realised that a typical triathlete techno-whennie like myself would be unable to refuse.

On the following day, Friday, I went for a gentle run and a swim to ease myself into the weekend before picking up the bike. This was the plan - a large spanner appeared however as the weather was so bad the 'gentle 10 miles' became a frantic tempo-pace dash just in an attempt to keep warm. Rain lashed Portsmouth sea front, waves crashed over the breakwater and I began to have a horrid sense of déjà vu regarding Half Ironman UK and its so far 100% record of dismal weather. I glanced through the waves and was sure I for a moment I caught a glimpse of Noah's Ark from the previous year.

However, on the drive to Sherborne the rain went off, the sun came out and all appeared to be improving and as I sat in the traffic jams in Salisbury, I even managed to open the sun roof. Things were looking up. After living on the south coast for 8 years, I should have avoided Salisbury like the plague as it took me almost as long to travel from Portsmouth to Sherborne (c. 120km) as it did to get to Portsmouth from Leeds the previous day (c. 400km). However, this was actually to be strangely prophetic.

Arriving at Sherborne, I registered, collected my accommodation information and wandered around the race expo, where I exposed Mr Visa to a further battering after the brutality of the bike shop, thereby adding to the UK's growing Debt Mountain. I went to the pasta party: and then a crowd of us went for some proper food.

Sherborne town had arranged something called a "home stay" scheme. In effect local people let rooms in their houses to athletes. In my case I was staying in Lewiston School as were about another 150 or so competitors. I hesitate to refer to myself as an 'athlete' or a 'competitor' as I am about as athletic as a tub of lard (or Dorset cream tea to use a more appropriate analogy) and as able to compete effectively as I am able to fly. I exclude from the latter analogy the use of aircraft, freefall, parachutes and just plain bouncing - although the final one of these I am actually not bad at. The accommodation was good: en suite B&B for three nights had come to 56. The school catering staff even got up in time to serve breakfast at 4:30am on race day. This was surely above and beyond the call of duty: especially since we as a group were tetchy, nervous and on edge

Having spent Friday in the car I was glad to chill out on Friday night in front of the TV in one of the school's common rooms where I met quite a few other competitors including my Leeds and Bradford club-mate: Paul Freeman. Other familiar faces turned out to be Ian Kenvyn and Vincent Peel. We also discovered a few professional triathletes: Jess Harrison and Peter Swaine also staying in the School. This all made for a good atmosphere and probably one of the best bits of race accommodation I have experienced. A good night's sleep followed.

On Saturday morning, I decided to test out the bike before checking it into transition later in the day. All bikes had to be racked on Saturday: helmets were checked and all the change kit such as running shoes etc was handed to the Ironman support team referred to as the Ironcrew. A vague mist sat on the horizon as I left on the bike and I thought that arm warmers might be a pointless additional weight, but on balance I took them. I'm glad I did. I descended into the mist around Sherborne, and in the mile or so I was in it I became so cold that I was unable to change gears. My fingers were numb, my toes were numb and I was vaguely hoping I would lose sensation in my nose. I only cycled c. 10 miles or so, but on returning to the school I went for a hot bath to thaw out my frozen bits (No, not those bits!!). By the time I emerged the sun had burnt off the mist and it had returned to glorious sunshine - there was much optimism amongst everyone for a good day on Sunday.

The bike was racked, the race briefing heard and three of us: Vince (who I mentioned earlier), Charlie (a triathlete from Glasgow who Vince knew from Ironman Lanzarote) and I set out in the car to look over the bike course.

The course for both bike and run was a two-lap affair. Nowhere on the bike course was flat - the hills were not very steep, but it was certainly undulating. There was a steep descent (done twice) on which we all thought that 40-50mph would be easily achievable. The run course was also undulating. Mental notes were made of tight bends, gravel and short hard climb sections and then we went into Sherborne for some food. We then proceeded to demonstrate that we could eat all the pies. As I lay with a book that evening a thunderstorm broke overhead, and I thought of the financial consequences of a single bolt of lightning hitting transition: I shuddered, there were some very pricey bikes there.

Race day dawned bright and clear (at least it did at the school which was on top of a hill). I had breakfast at 4:30 am as I spontaneously awoke at about 4am. Final checks made, breakfast consumed, Charlie (who had no car) and I set out for Sherborne Castle - the start point of the race. The Castle entrance being only one road was jammed solid with c. 1500 triathletes and spectators trying to get in. There was a 2 mile queue of traffic and people were beginning to panic. To be honest, I was somewhat more relaxed for two reasons: firstly, the traffic jam occupied the first 2 miles of the bike course, and secondly, the mist that I had frozen in the previous morning was again sitting over Sherborne. If anyone had ever seen the film of the James Herbert book, The Fog, they would get the picture. The analogy was complete as you could also see strange, shuffling objects lurching zombie like from foot to foot as the more nervous athletes abandoned their cars to their supporters and ran/walked/shuffled the remaining distance, clad in wetsuits, to the start line. Eventually those who had stayed in their cars (with heaters and fog lights on) triumphed, entered the Castle and parked. The only thing left to do was check the bike had not been turned into a small pool of re-solidified titanium by a lightning strike, or more likely, my tyres were not flat.

Still the fog hung over the Castle grounds like a great hanging thing. Shrouding everything in grey occasional muffled cries heard as unfortunate competitors or spectators managed to find the lake in a kind of wet, splashing manner.

By the time I had arrived the race start had already been postponed until 7:30. The fog was in fact so thick on the lake that visibility was no better than 10m. The idea of letting 1500, almost invisible people loose in the water filled the race officials with justifiable dread at the potential litigation. The appointed hour came and went and the race start was delayed until 8am - which also, came and went. At 8:20ish the horn eventually sounded, and we were off.

The swim was a mass start. There were 1500 people in an area perhaps 100m by 50m broad (as opposed to deep, and I suspect even at this stage there were people exploring the base of the water column). The frantic high-energy start would have made the Dungeness B reactor look tame, and the heart of a volcano look only mildly threatening. I pondered whether it was too late to return to the car in search of a pair of boxing gloves, which would have been slightly more helpful than goggles at this stage of proceedings. The last dregs of the mist having cleared - and taken with it a few wailing spectators - the sun was up and the day was glorious and this meant that we could see ... absolutely nothing. The race pack was swimming directly into the sun, which at low angles meant that the initial melee quickly became more a picture of confusion, and then collective co-operation as people tried to find the marker buoys setting out the course. Occasional cries of "this way..." were not however, terribly helpful. After the Windsor Debacle, no-one was terribly keen on following the "Elite" wave however. After the turn around point was found the sense of collective wellbeing and co-operation evaporated and the general punch up resumed. I eventually managed to find some clear water where I could swim my own personal zigzag route to the end of the course, in my own inimitable (not that anyone would want to imitate it) fashion. I emerged from the water in 41 minutes, in 1150th place - I like round numbers (being a fairly round person). I swayed through transition skipped out the multiple change tactic of the previous year and departed on the bike for a swift 56 miles.

The sight of blood doesn't bother me normally (well its normally only the sight of my blood that bothers me) but to see the first dose of the day within 20 m of the castle gate was a surprise, because that was how far it was to the first crash. This did not bode well for the day on bikes. It was in fact, the first of several accidents. I saw four different ambulances travelling under blue lights while I was on the bike course, all of which were responding to accidents. As I indicated the bike course was undulating and for the first 17 miles there was one steep climb and several smaller challenges. After mile 17 there was about 4-5 miles worth of climbing and then a long, rather windy descent before you began the second loop of the two lap course. It was on this descent where most of the accidents happened. The road had sufficient corners that you could not see more than about 50m, and if you are doing 50 mph downhill, you do not have the stopping distance to deal with surprises ahead. There were two falls on the road, and at least one case were cyclists were unable to avoid these hapless athletes on the road, and merely added to the pile up. I'm a pretty cautious individual on steep downhills - some might say, a complete wimp in fact, but the knowledge of some of the things that had happened on the first circuit made me feel vaguely justified.

A mere 3 hours and 6 minutes after departing the castle ground I was returning having gained a considerable number of places. The only time I was passed was on the steep downhills, and I invariably caught up on the flat. I was feeling vaguely smug that I hadn't managed to break the bike and that even I, would find it difficult to break a pair of running shoes, wouldn't I?????

So, bike deposited, shoes on, I set of on the run. Grabbed some water and found the first mile of the run apparently quite long. At the end of the first mile there was a climb which, despite not being Llanberis in its severity, was sufficiently steep to reduce many fitter and less weighty men than me to walking, and quite a lot of people to crippling cramp. I had already diced with that opponent in the water and escaped unscathed. However, this was a hard climb - think Tuesday night hill work at Eccup and you have the picture, and I couldn't escape the feeling of horror that I would have to do it again.

At this stage in fact I was seriously wishing for the return of the fog. During the morning it had become progressively hotter and by this stage the main thought in my mind was getting to the drinks station at the top of the hill. This presented you with a dizzying array of choices from water, Gatordate™ or Pepsi Max™ and Bananas, powerbars and energy gels (with or without caffeine). Some serious time was lost as runners slowed down to try and listen to what was being said. In at least one case this almost led to disaster as some poor chap from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Elite Tri Association clearly found the thinking - running issue too hard and fell over only to be trampled by a small horde going for the water table. I am sure the Army Triathlete made a detour just to make sure he too could stand on the poor bugger's head!

The benefit of the long (well about half a mile) hard climb was a nice swift descent into the river valley, and having already learned that geology has a role in running, I realised that a valley normally had two sides and that this meant 'up' would still be the order of the day: and up we went. We reached the top of the valley and turned around and went back to the Castle and the finish line - there to either finish, or in my case, be directed around the finish line to do the second loop. The first 6.5 miles was over in c. 45 minutes but the price was low blood sugar and dehydration. Resolving to pay more attention to drinks stations on the second lap, off I went. The second lap was no better than the first - despite my scientific training telling me that plate tectonics was not making the hills higher in southern England, it felt that way. Up went the course and up went the temperature. The only thing that was dropping was my blood sugar and state of hydration. Taking on water whenever I could, I blundered around the remaining 6.5 miles in about 49 minutes; crossing the line in 1:34ish for a grand total of 5:22. I almost trampled the Action Photos cameraman while heading for drinks (which is probably why there is no finish photograph for me). I then had a final fight on my hands as I fought off the Rotarians who divested me of my Championchip and thrust a T-shirt and medal into my grubby (Gatorade covered) hands. I lay down in the sunshine and stretched - for quite some time.

Actually, almost everyone faced one final challenge. We all parked in dense fog. This meant that 1500 of us had no real idea where we parked our cars. Half Ironman UK left the greatest challenge to last. A shower, some dinner and a few pints awaited.

This was a great race. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as did everyone I spoke to. I found it one of the most enjoyable events I had attended. Perhaps I am just beginning to recognise more triathletes and therefore finding more people to talk to, but there was a genuine holiday atmosphere. The local people were much more welcoming to us than they were in N. Wales and the accommodation in the School was a great opportunity to mix with other triathletes. Doubtless the World Triathlon Corporation will learn from the traffic jams and look at possible alternatives next year. There is the suggestion that this will be a full Ironman distance race next year, and if so I hope they will lengthen the bike course rather than make it four loops of the same route. Given the accidents this year, I can only think that this route, especially the steep descent will change - skidding along the tarmac on your arms, as one poor lass did, is never going to be pleasant. I spoke to her the following day - she told me she was more annoyed about not finishing, than in pain from her injuries - something I can sympathise with.

Penultimate race over: only the Nottingham marathon remains before some well deserved R & R.

Coming soon to a Newsletter near you: Robin Hood Marathon III - the Final Insult (report is on page 26 of Section 1 of this VS News)

Cross Country

West Yorkshire League The first three races of the 2003/4 season are reported in Section 1 of this VS News as they were 2003 Grand Prix races.

Yorkshire Championships - Guiseley on 3 January 2004 - Sam Harris ran a well-judged race to finish 12th. Sam still does not "count" for the Striders, so our scorers were Kathy (60th), Dawn (61st) and Sylvia (66th). This gave us 14th place out of 14 but this was a lot better than the men who only had half a team, many wimping out or saving themselves for the Harrogate Ringway the next day. Tim Crossland was our star in 10th place. John Hallas and Geoff Webster finished in the second half of the field.

International Cross country

American Report from Ruth Anderson

Ruth has recently moved from California to Eugene, Oregon (also home of Nike!). She e-mailed in November:

Hi Bob, I do enjoy reading your news of the Striders and all the great events they are able to run. I still miss the Bay Area with nearly as many opportunities to compete, but Eugene, OR and near surrounding area doesn't have very many road or XC events. It really is a Track and Field oriented "Capital".

However I did get to run two XC races this past weekend, both only 5K for the women, who were almost only collegiate runners. I was dead last in both events, but enjoyed getting out in the fields and trails, even if not very "challenging " courses. My loss of real training is still haunting me, as my 36 mins to finish shows. I will be going to Greensboro, North Carolina for the USATF Convention Dec.3-7, with the 10K National Masters XC event the 7th.

We look forward to your next report, Ruth!

Welsh Report from Running Fitness February 2004

For once, V S News has been "scooped" by one of the National magazines. Now that I've given them the credit, I hope they won't mind me copying a bit. This is from a report on the "British and Irish Masters Cross-Country International" held in Cardiff in Nov 2003.

The formidable talent of Ann Keenan-Buckley had Irish eyes smiling as she scored her sixth consecutive Masters' International victory. Although her victory was in seconds rather than the usual minutes, she still appeared to have enough in hand to fend off anything the opposition had to offer

After a repeat of Keenan-Buckley's usual tactic, hit the front and go away, the duo of Wales' Tracey-Anne Morris and England's Kathy Bailey pulled clear of the rest of the field. Stride by stride the determined style of Keenan-Buckley saw her edge away and although closed down by Morris in the final stages she had sufficient in her account to come home 80 metres ahead as Bailey finished a clear third.

Yorkshire Vets Cross Country (from Jane Sutton)

Yes, I have resurfaced from the depths of the Peak District with the date of 21st February stuck in my mind (the x country nationals). Geoff and Sylvia rang to see if I wanted to run and I figured this was a good way to get back into training. I didn't do much running last year and don't want to go even further to seed in 2004, so thought I should get myself down to Graves Park for the Vets Championship to remind myself what I'd been missing...mmm, it all soon came back to mind - do I really want to puff my way round 5km of muddy hills wearing shoes that only fit people with feet as narrow as lolly sticks?

I went primarily to support Serena from Horsforth Harriers but was delighted to see the Striders cutting a dash on the slopes. Bob J, Bob W, Sylvia and Geoff were there so I had plenty of targets to shout encouragement at. It looked like a fairly straightforward route with a lot of open bits and a couple of nasty long drags uphill.

All the Striders and Serena set off together but they were soon spread out along the course so I ran like crazy from one point to the next yelling at each one for as long as I could reach them before turning my attention to the next one to come along. I think I ran 5k myself and had a sore throat by the end of it as well but it was great to watch and definitely made me wish I'd done it.

Serena ran well and clinched 3rd place in her vets category. Sylvia cruised round like the pro she is and finished 2nd vet overall in her category, beating a lot of "young chicks" as I put it. Bob J seemed to start steady and by the end was overtaking people with a vengeance, probably because he had me bawling at him and just wanted to finish. Geoff also seemed to take it easy at first, but finished so strongly I missed his finish! Bob W ran steadily the whole way and copped for the most yelling from me poor chap, since I only had him to focus on by the end.

I stayed afterwards to see Serena and Sylvia presented with their trophies and also to witness Sylvia eat 2 Fuse bars in as many minutes. Good on ya Sylvia !!


Holiday in Spain at Steve and Jane O'Callaghan's house in Nerja, Costa Del Sol. Air conditioned. Sleeps 6. 15 mins walk from town centre and beach. For further details contact Steve on 267-7779 or

Holiday in Northumberland at Riverdale Hall Hotel as recommended by Eric and Margaret Cusack. This is at Bellingham which is a quiet country village but central for all Northumberland's tourist attractions. You are invited to join them and other Striders for the weekend of 27/28/29 February. Or book a different weekend if you want a Strider-free zone. For details and/or a brochure contact Eric on 01943 878154 or

Fell, Trail and Off-road Reports

Race Reports (from Steve Webb)

Badger Stone Relay - Ilkley Moor

There was limited publicity for this event and Steve and Sara were the only Striders to attend. Undaunted they teamed up with Dutch man-mountain and Airienteer Henk Van Rossum and competed enthusiastically under the team name of "Terry Kelly Fan Club". Sadly this team did for fell running what the "Joan Collins Fan Club" did for sophisticated entertainment, and did not threaten the podium.

Cow and Calf to Dick Hudsons Fell Race

This was a variation of last year's inaugural Dick Hudson fell race. The halfway point was still Dick Hudson's Pub above Eldwick but the start was relocated to Cow and Calf quarry.

About 40 keen runners lined up at the start, which was delayed slightly to allow Geoff to take his trousers off. There was free route choice to the only checkpoint and back, but of course the large footpath used by the Bradford Millennium Way was the obvious route to take. The only problem was finding the best way onto it through the heather and bracken! Steve was 3rd overall and 1st Vet and he was followed home by Rob, Andrew, Geoff, Sara and Sylvia. Most of our representatives ran well enough to win prizes of a liquid or fashionable nature.

Wharfedale TTT

This is an excellent series of three races in three days staged by Bingley Harriers and described in a previous edition of VS News. The event is based on Kettlewell, location for much of the "Calendar Girls" film. Friday night was the feared uphill-only 3 mile road race and Steve had the perfect start to the series. He caught the early leader on the hairpin bend at Park Rash (the road is so steep here that the tarmac looks like a lava flow) and then gradually pulled away for victory in an unrelenting uphill grind. The winning time was the slowest in the history of the event, but in his defence it was the second fastest ever by a Vet. Andrew and Sara also made the climb from base camp to the Col du Coverdale. The representatives from Cambridge Harriers appeared a little shocked by the terrain; rather different from the fens.

Saturday was the 12.5 mile fell race. Steve accidentally inherited the lead soon after the start when the path turned steeply uphill. He decided to push on hard and proceeded to blow the field away - by the summit of Great Whernside it was obvious that he would win easily. Unfortunately............!! Looking back the only plausible explanation for the disaster en route to control 5 is some form of alien abduction. Certain victory turned into 8th place, and after suffering his own route finding wobble Andrew swept past on the final descent to take a useful 7th place. Meanwhile Sara was engaged in a titanic battle with the over enthusiastic sweepers.

Sunday was the very short fell race of 1.5 miles. In this there is no room for error in pace judgement: too fast and you soon burn out on the climb up scree and rock steps, too slow and the race is over before you can adjust. Our gallant trio survived this final trial; Steve running hard for 2nd place behind a fresh runner.

In this series teams of three must include a Vet and a Female. Steve was overall series winner and Sara was overall Ladies winner. Our backup was from "Captain Maxim" himself so the Valley Striders duly took the team award ahead of Bingley, and it's not often you can say that

KIMM 2003 (from Mick Loftus)

Mick Wrench and I decided to have a crack at the Karrimor International Mountain Marathon this year. Mick completed the C course last year, this time we decided to go for the B course. I had never entered the event before...

We travelled up to Scotland on the Friday night all loaded with the kit. The first hurdle in the KIMM is the wallet bashing prior to starting. You can enter with whatever gear you can cobble together as long as it covers the kit list but to have any realistic chance of getting round, never mind doing well then some light weight gear is a necessity.

Appropriately kitted out we lined up at the start line half way up a hill near Langholm in the Scottish borders. The KIMM includes various classes but in principle it is a large orienteering event with an over-night stop and self-sufficiency thrown in. The B class was 28Km as the crow flies and 1000m of ascent each day. We would be going a good bit further than this.

We soon got the first control checked and then began our first introduction to the tussock grass which was to be our companion for the next couple of days. At this point I managed to trip over a broken fence post and cut my leg. It oozed blood impressively for a while but as there was little else to do we pressed on. After the first 3 out of 8 controls had been visited, the enormity of what we had undertaken started to become clear. The route, highlighted in purple stretched away to the other end of the map and then performed a gratuitous loop. We had now been out for between 2 and 3 hours.

We had settled into a remorseless trudge uphill and jog down. Our rucksacks didn't feel too bad. Obviously we would rather not have had them but under the circumstances the discomfort was bearable. The navigation was not proving to be too difficult, at least not in the clear visibility we were experiencing.

By the 5th control it would be fair to say that I was pretty tired but I felt positive. Completing the KIMM was a bit of an ambition so I was trying to maintain a good attitude, which really translated into staring at my feet concentrating on moving each foot forward. We realised on closer inspection that the last few controls had been set by a sadist. We had to climb and descend repeatedly. The terrain was wild open country with few paths which made the going very slow.

We had expected to finish in around 6 hours but completed the day's course in 7.5 hours. We felt good about our performance, with only minor navigational issues but we couldn't have gone much quicker. I was immensely relieved to finish but too tired for any celebrations. I had put my all into this day and really could not imagine doing it again the next day.

As we picked a camping spot the rain came down. It poured and soaked us through. By the time we had put the tent up and collected water from the stream I was really cold. Wearing dry clothes, including a fleece it took at least 30 minutes to warm up inside my 3 season down sleeping bag. Our food consisted of a disappointing slurry of noodles and cereal bars. The high point for me was the instant custard and dried fruit, over 500kcal in one bowl! The new gas bottle we were using was mysteriously running low.

After dark we could see streams of head torches coming down from the hill, clearly on our course. I would have hated to have been still out there at that time. After the cut-off time of 8pm the day's results were posted. We had come 20th. I was delighted but I knew that repeating it would be extremely difficult. We retired for the night straight after the results. It was a cold night.

We were awoken at 6am by the sound of bagpipes. Unzipping the tent revealed a clear morning, the ground white with frost. Breakfast was a cold squalid affair, with luke-warm cup-a-soup and cereal bars. The worst moment was putting on the previous day's wet clothes and trainers in sub-zero temperatures. I didn't want to get my precious dry things wet. My rucksack was stuck to the ground with frost.

We had heard that the second day's course would be shortened to a 'bad weather course' even though the conditions were perfect. An acknowledgement that it had been too tough on day one, many teams had been disqualified, several not finishing the course and spending the night camping in the hills.

Starting day two I felt pretty rough and stiff but I hoped for a shorter day and the weather was perfect. Although the weather stayed good my hopes for a short day were unfounded. Even the bad weather course in perfect conditions took us 7 hours.

We may have taken some bad navigation decisions but we made no errors on our chosen routes. We simply moved a lot slower on day two. I managed to cut my other leg to even things up a bit and Mick cut his hand. Thus tired, dirty and bloody we finished.

It wasn't until the next day that the achievement really sunk in. The results were posted on the website later to show; out of 220 starters on our course only 108 finished, we came 37th. I reckon we covered around 40 miles in total. I think lack of water, food and fell-specific training probably took its toll on day two. I am certain that in bad weather we would not have completed the course but I don't think that many others would have either.

Still, now I've got the kit it'd be a shame not to try again in 2004!

Bob Jackson 60th Birthday Run - 29 July Report by Bob Jackson, aged 521/2.

When I saw this race listed on John Schofield's website, I just had to find out more. It was a 4 mile mixed terrain race around Cowm Reservoir, Whitworth. Where's Whitworth? You come off the M62 at Milnrow, go round Rochdale and head for the hills. I'd heard about running Jacksons in this area as I have a friend who writes the newsletter for Horwich Harriers and there was always R Jackson appearing in the results. This R (Robert) turned out to be Jackson junior; Bob was a Salford Harrier and fell specialist 20 years or so ago.

The race was organised by Andy O'Sullivan. I'd spotted his name as organiser of several races on John Schofield's website, he turned out to be the equivalent of Allan Greenwood or Dave Woodhead on the far side of the Pennines, organising small, mainly off-road races nearly every week, in his case, from a variety of pubs in the Rochdale area.

I paid my money and chose my spot prize (yes, before the race!). I could have had a Wilmslow 1/2 marathon T shirt for 2001 (the year the race was cancelled), but I went for a Lucozade bottle. I was early and jogged a lap of the reservoir (about a mile). When I got back, I saw a friendly face - V.S. 2nd-claimer and W70 multiple world record holder Lou Gilchrist who had come just 5 miles from home. There were a few more I recognised, amongst them Chris and Kath Drake from Spen/Halifax.

Andy introduced us to Bob Jackson (60) and he started the race. We ran half a lap of the reservoir and then onto a grassy path. Next was an old cart track - this had two lines of stone slabs for the cart and a grassy gap in the middle for the horse. The race was on the only day in July that it rained. The slabs were slippery and the grass was ... slippery. It was uphill so each pace you hoped you got some grip. This went on for about 400 yards and then it was the same downhill. Fortunately instead of grass in the middle, it was stony and possible to get some grip. A lad of about 14 went past me on the downhill!

The cart track turned into a tarmac track and the tarmac track turned into a tarmac road through a housing estate. Multi-terrain it said and tarmac is multi and terrain. I passed the 14-year old as we went on a steady uphill through the housing estate. We were then back to the reservoir and a full lap, part tarmac, part gravel (just like Eccup). We finished by running across the dam.

I got a polite clap as I came in, but I noticed that nearly everyone else was being mentioned by name. It was only when the results came out that I realised that I'd beaten Andy O'Sullivan by 4 places and the race commentary (by Andy) could not start until he had crossed the finishing line.

1 Rob Jackson (Horw) 22.35

13 Steve Jackson (Horw) 27.21

22 Bob Jackson (Vall) 29.01

56 Lou Gilchrist 34.41

Race Reports (from Geoff Webster)

Round Hill (8 miles round Timble Moor)

The most notable part of this race was the thunderstorm before the start which caused all the runners to take shelter in the registration tent/gazebo. But the sides were made of mesh and the near horizontal rain came through the holes in the mesh as spray. Andrew was first back from the summit of Round Hill with Rob B only a minute behind. Bob J, Martin H and Bob W followed some way behind. Sylvia had an easy run over the course because she had already cycled to the start. GW aggravated a knee injury and had a nice walk back from the far end of the course. Eric G paid his subs and ran in Bob J's spare Striders vest, only to turn his ankle after 2 miles. He also walked back, exchanging Harrogate 10k race stories and training tips with Ian Fisher who was marshalling for the host club Otley AC.

Sylvia adds: GW and I cycled from home to the race in vest and shorts (remember the long hot days of summer?) In Otley the weather suddenly changed, the wind got up and there was a hail storm. By the time I finished the race all the grub and hot drinks had gone. Thanks to Rob and Martin who lent GW and I dry clothes to cycle home in!

Burley Bridge Hike (21 miles trail)

Mick the Wrench had one of his going days when he covered this tough trail run in 2h39, a course record. He has achieved his ambition of gaining automatic selection for all VS long distance trail and fell teams in 2004. Steve Webb was in the leading group at the top of Ilkley Moor but was dropped on the downhill and finished in 2h42. Drew also ran well to finish in around 2h46, also inside the previous record.

Alan did some creative route-finding and ran a good part of the canal section on the moor-side B road which is pretty hilly. Although this was probably harder than the canal towpath he still has to appear before the V S Fell Race Committee to explain his eccentric behaviour. Mick L took a wrong turn on Burley Moor and finished in 3h10. Meanwhile GW arrived at the 12 Apostle Stones on Ilkley Moor and boldly plunged into the swirling mist. Twelve minutes later he arrived back at the Apostles. This allowed Bob J to pass GW without either of them seeing each other. Bob got back to base in 3h22 having guided a Bulgarian runner through the second half of the race.

Eric G was spotted by Sara heading off in the wrong direction after leaving the Micklethwaite checkpoint. Alas he didn't hear her shouting "Cum bak Errrric!" so she arrived back at the race HQ 3 minutes ahead of the intrepid explorer.

Next year everyone should have learned how to navigate the wilderness of Rombalds Moor. Either that or book a place on a Bob J guided tour.

Stop Press

Sylvia won her first race for some time when she came first in the multi-terrain 7 mile Coley Canter at Shelf near Halifax in late December.

Fell Championship 2003 Final Positions

Andrew managed to run enough races to build up a massive lead over Steve without exhausting himself; since the end of the V.S. Fell Championship he has continued running as many races as possible. In fact he is responsible for most of the footpath erosion in the Pennines during 2003. However, he has promised to put matters right by carrying several tons of stone flags on his back in his next race at Top Withens, which he will lay in the path so that GW will not get his feet mucky.

Andrew Cutts 780
Steve Webb 547
Rob Bumstead 341
Sara Dyer 326
Geoff Webster 323
Mick Loftus 300
Mick Wrench 250
Bob Jackson 246
Drew Taylor 147
Sylvia Watson 147
Nick Brown 112
Bob Wilkes 93
Eric Green 83
Tim Towler 73
Laura Brook 72
Terry Bean 68
Neil Dutton 63
Annemi Van Zyl 60
Paul Briscoe 59
Simon Vallance 54
Eric Cusack 52
Rob Liddle 51
Alan Hutchinson 50
Martin Horbury 49
Kathy Kaiser 48
Ken Kaiser 46
Bill Murphy 45
Ian Place 44
Dave Milner 42
John Whalley 40
Daniel Cutts 34
Harry Bates 34
Kay Mason 33
Debbi Wagman 30

Annemi's e-mails from South America

From October onwards, we have received e-mails every 2 or 3 weeks from Annemi, each one from a different country. Starting in Sao Paulo (Brazil), she flew via Colombia to Ecuador. From there, via bus and train, her route (so far) has taken her through Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Patagonia (the Southern tip of South America), and back to Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires. We have had vivid descriptions of geology (the deepest canyon in the world and the driest desert), architecture, antiquities (the Nazca lines and the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu), scenery, animals, people, clothing, temperatures (tropical to sub-zero), food and wine. If you want to read more, let me know and I will forward you the full set (or print copies).

18 October 2003 - Ecuador

Hallo Everyone!!

Sao Paulo was BIG, HUGE !!! 17 million people live there and it is only skyscrapers as far as the eye can see!!!!

Bolivia, unfortunately, still seemed like a "no go" area, with the protests and violence actually increasing. So, we had the choice of taking a bus through the north of Argentina, north of Chilli, etc, etc, all the way up to Ecuador, or, we took a flight, via Bogota in Colombia to Quito. This will mean that we can possibly get to Bolivia, and actually visit it, in another month or so.

So, we are in Otavalo, a village very high in the mountains, with a very well known Saturday market. It is absolutely amazing to see all these colours, people in traditional dress, dead chickens, pig heads, you name it, it will be here somewhere. And the panpipe music that you find in all the main European cities actually sound great as it plays from all the corners of town! The crafts are more than beautiful, the colours overpowering!!!!! It is easy to work my way swiftly through the stack of films that I brought along!!!



27 October 2003 - After Otovalo

Hallo Everyone!!!

We have covered many many miles since I last send you a mail, and I think I am kind of clean again!!!

From the colourful market in Otovalo we went further north, and spend a couple of nights in Cotacachi, at 3000m above sea level. We went for a 6 hour hike around an extinct volcano, there is a condor pair breading there, but we only saw beautiful flowers, not any fancy or big birds!! The vegetation reminded us a lot of the Cape fynbos, ericas, etc.

We left Cotachaci and crossed the equator (very very dry), passed Quito and went to Banos. A town at the bottom of the active volcano Tungurahua. This volcano has been threatening to explode since 1999, and is very "active" again at the moment, lots of dark fumes coming out of it!! I convinced Kosi to climb a very high mountain with me, he hated me for the following 2 days!!!! The views from the top was great! Banos is on it's way to the Amazon, so it is very humid and it rains fairly often, for a few hours only, then it is baking hot again! But it is beautiful and green, very lush vegetation, with orchids that grows wild!!! And there are Impatiens everywhere!!

We stayed in a stunning little place outside Ban0s, Pequeno Paradiso (Little Paradise), with a Swiss couple that has been living in Ecuador for 8 years and has travelled the world. Though they would still like to travel Africa.

From here we took a bus, past Volcano Chimbarosa (6310m and not active, covered with snow) to Riobamba. We boarded a train here, 6 hours through great desert-like landscape. With us sitting on the roof of the train, as that is where all tourist would like to sit, apparently. There was no other place to sit. The spectacular part of the ride was to drop over 1000m in height over a distance of 11 km!!!!! = Nariz del Diablo (Devil's nose)

The train ride was followed by a bus-ride of 6 hours and another of 6 hours, when we had to wait 6 hours for the following bus of 9 hours, which took us over the border to Peru, and another 14 hour bus took us to Lima and another 4 hour bus brought us to Ica. This is a town on the coast of Peru, and the whole coast is a very very dry desert. They get about 30 minutes rain every 2 years!!!!!!! We are staying at a small town, Huacachina, around a oasis, surrounded by very high sand-dunes. This area is well known for a sweet white wine that they make (Tejas). Once the banks has opened, and we have some soles, we would like to see if we can visit some of the wine-farms.

The next stop from here will be Nasca, with their well known Nasca lines and the highest sand dune in the world!

Thanks for the news of our rugby team losing against England, and I thought I would miss the whole world cup!!!!

lots of love


Mari, begin leer solank Spaans!!!! Pieter sal n DIY kurses moet loop!!! En julle sal moet kook, ek kan skoonmaak!!!!! Ek sal uitkyk vir verdere groot serpe, die pakplek raak net n probleem!!!

27 October 2003 - Bolivia

Bolivia has a new president and it seems as if all the riots has died down overnight, so we will be going!!!

2 November 2003 20:12

Hallo Everyone!

The flight over the Nazca lines in a 5 seater plane was interesting, but a very nauseating experience! Nazca itself is a dusty, grey town, with a few fairly interesting museums. (we had 8 hours to kill before we could catch another bus!)

An overnight bus brought us to Arequipa, the second biggest city in Peru, at 2300m above sea level. It is definitely the most beautiful city we have been to so far, the architecture is stunning, although many of the very old buildings has been destroyed by earthquakes. (there was a procession in the big city square this morning and we had to stand to attention to the president of Peru!)

Close to Arequipa is the Colca Canyon. They think it is the deepest canyon in the world, some say twice as deep as the Grand Canyon! We took a 7am, very bumpy bus for 4 hours over a gravel road, to Yanque, a tiny, mud building town, were we stayed for a night. (this bumpy road reaches the height of 4700m, we stopped in the freezing cold for a moment and it started to snow!! And very weird looking Alpacas can be seen everywhere along the road) There are hot springs 20 minutes walk outside town, so we nursed our sore bums and backs! There were a total of 4 of us in the pool! By 4pm it was freezing cold! The next morning we took the 5am bus, packed by locals that time of the morning, the rest had to get onto the roof!!!! After about 2 hours, on a further bumpy, gravel road, we got off at the deepest spot in the canyon, where they said you could spot condors ---- hard to believe when a bus drops you next to the road at 7am in the morning! But 2 and a half hours later, 5 magnificent condors made their appearance!!! (the condors uses the early morning thermals to gain height before they go off hunting) They are huge, one of the birds made an extra turn right in front of our eyes, as if posing for the hundreds of tourist cameras that turned up between 8 and 9 am! (Walter, I do not have an idea what the wingspan is and my Spanish is not good enough, yet, to find out)

We walk for 3 hours to the next dusty town of Cabanaconde (3200m) for a cold shower! By 4pm it was freezing again!

After Ecuador, were nearly the majority of people was wearing traditional dress, Peru was very "normal" when it comes to dressing up. But the people in the Colca Canyon, especially the women, wears the most amazing traditional clothes. It is 2 or 3 skirts over each other, in colours of pink, blue, green, or white, and the older women wears black. Each one of these skirts are then embroidered around the bottom in the finest embroidery. With that they wear a long-sleeved shirt, the cuffs embroidered, with a tight fitting, sleeveless jacket, embroidered !! And to round the picture off, they wear a wide rim hat, embroidered inside and out! If this sounds a little too elaborate, believe me, all those colours give beautiful colour to an area were the vegetation is mostly grey/brown soil and rock (a special charm in itself!)

We arrived back in Arequipa late last night and is enjoying a lazy Sunday of sightseeing and sitting in the sun. We are taking another bus tonight that will bring us to Cusco tomorrow, so we will cross the Andes sometime tonight!

Thank you very much for all your mails, it is good to hear what is happening at "home"



25 Nov 2003 - Wonders of the Inca, Amasone, madness of Bolivia, news from Argentina

Hallo Everyone!

While the rest of Argentina are sleeping (siesta from 1pm till at least 5pm!!!!) I am testing my patience at one of various VERY slow internet cafes.

Starting in Peru, a few weeks ago. We based ourselves in Cusco. A city where you can find all the comforts of any modern city, but way too busy, even in low season. To try and explain Muchu Picchu and the hundreds of other Inca ruins is virtually impossible. In an area prone to earthquakes, the structures of the Inca are still standing. Big parts of Cusco itself is built on the foundation of Inca ruins! Between the height of 3360 and 4700m, it is no easy task to move too quickly and it gets freezing cold at night!

From Cusco we flew to Puerto Maldonado, Amasone, but still far from virgin forest, which basically means you try to breath in a hot oven, are surrounded by huge trees, but all the animals that you see are monkeys or birds very high up in trees. It was still an amazing experience, and people live and survive in that constant heat and high humidity (about twice as bad as Stellenbosch in January!) We stayed in a beautiful lodge with 15 bungalows, way to comfortable in comparison to most of the our accommodation in Peru!

Next stop was Lake Titicaca, a beautifull turquoise stretch of water, 4000m above sea-level! We went further to the North of Boliovia from here, stayed in a town called Sorata. If you have enough crampons and warm gear with you, you can climb the Cordilla Real, a part of the Andes range with more than 600 peaks above 5000meters! The town of Sorata is surrounded by snow-covered peaks, whilst it is incredibly hot in town!

From Sorata we went south, through LaPaz to Potosi and further south to the horribly ugly town of Uyuni. In Potosi we sampled very good wine and desert wine, grown on an estate 4000m above sea-level == very sweet and fruity!

Uyuni is the start of the amazing Salar de Uyuni, about 12000m2 of salt lake, between 4000 and 5000m above sea-level. (white as far as the eye can see!) The salty roads the you follow through the salt pans is a very comfortable welcome, after most travel in Bolivia was done over very bad gravel roads (covered in more than one layer of dust!!!!!)

We spend one day in San Pedro de Atacama, north-east Chile.( where we watched the exciting world cup rugby final, and I will leave my comments there!) Instead of driving through the Atacama desert straight to Santiago de Chilli (the Atacama desert is the driest desert on earth, in Calama, just north of where we was, it has NEVER ever rained!!!!!) we came east into Argentina to a town called Salta. At present we are just south of Salta in Cafayate, one of the wine growing areas of Argentina. Argentina came as a very great welcome! Paved pavements, green squares and you can order proper wine with your meals. A paradise for meat eaters! But, vegetarian options are still heaps more than you will find outside big cities in South Africa!! We even had very potent wine flavoured ice cream for lunch!!!!



PS. Bob, thank you for the VS updates! You all seems way too fit and fast!!!!!

11 Dec 2003 - Patagonia

Hallo Everyone

I do not really know where to start when I want to describe the wonders of this part of the world! (we "came across" an American somewhere in Ecuador that described Ecuador, in a very load brawl as "what an amazing country?!!!!!", I think even he will be speechless in Patagonia!)

We flew to Ushuaia and the sight from the air was beautiful!!! Where the snow stops the forest starts and the forest ends on the shores of the bay. Ushuaia itself was not too very cold, but we had the great idea to cycle to the Torres del Paine NP (land of fire), and the wind chill factor made it a very cold, but very very beautiful day.

Puerto Natales, on the Chilean side is a very ugly, and cold town, but that gives you access to the Terre del Fuego NP. Unfortunately we do not have a week at this stage to go for proper hikes, but we managed to see a fair bit of the park and some very impressive glaciers!.

At the moment we are in EL Calafate and just came back from a trip to the Upsala and Spagazzini and a few smaller glaciers. (there are 156 glaciers in this Glacier National Park, of which 13 are really big) Yesterday we went to see the Moreno glacier. And we are still not "iced out"!!!! I think if you were born in South Africa and grew up in the heat of Citrusdal, snow and ice would always have an attraction, glaciers are just the "bonus to it all"!!! The Moreno glacier is up to 60 meter high, standing about 500m away from it when some of the front brakes off is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen, and heard!

Argentina, the wine is still amazing, Kosi says it is definitely the best steaks he has ever had, and even vegetarians don't go hungry!

17 Dec 2003 - Xmas Wishes


I know you have the yearly Xmas meal on Friday night, so just sending my apologies. Pity I will miss Steve's speech of the year and all the congratulations.

We are in a (relatively big for Patagonia ) town in Patagonia, on the South West side of Chile. Tomorrow afternoon we are taking a boat from the port, Puerto Chacabuco, to reach the San Rafael Glacier on Friday, and return to this windy town on Saturday. That is as close as we will get to a white Xmas this year, as we plan to be in a hot and humid Buenos Aires on the 25th.

Love to everyone, best wishes for 2004. Hope to see you somewhere in Feb. I really hope to be back in trainers sometime in the new year!




Equipment for Fell Races

Note that for many races the following equipment is mandatory (it must be worn or carried)

  1. Windproof whole body cover
  2. Other body cover appropriate for the weather conditions
  3. Map and compass suitable for navigating the course
  4. Whistle
  5. Emergency food (long races)

And wear your race number (not someone else's)

Fell Championship Events 2004

Events to beginning of July