April 2001

2001 Issue 2


Rights of Way in the Leeds area

The following is from an e-mail sent to me by Leeds City Council Rights-of-way Dept.:

This is good news. Some councils have been selective all the time and Leeds is now joining them. It could have been much worse - I hear that there are other councils who are still intending to keep all paths closed.

Meanwood Valley Trail Race - Sat 30th June

We decided to postpone the race with just over two weeks ago. We wrote to all 150 pre-entrants, had a recorded message on my answering machine, updated our web-site, sent information to other web-sites with race directories, had an paragraph in the Evening Post, and just hoped that the word had got around. It had, only one person turned up!

I believe that the impact of the LCC statement is that the restrictions will very soon be lifted on all of Adel Woods. Meanwood Park has remained open during this time, so I am quietly confident that our race will now take place on 30th June. Our pre-entrants have all been advised of this date. And I have already applied for the permit!

Summer Training

Part of the path round Eccup Reservoir is already open and I expect the rest to re-open shortly. However the path across the golf course and then on towards the South-west corner of the Reservoir is certain to stay closed.

We can start immediately on our summer routes, but must use Stairfoot Lane (or King Lane) and then Alwoodley Lane to make our way to and from the Res.

In this Issue















Thanks to our usual contributors, and to a few unusual ones, we have another bumper issue for you, in spite a shortage of races to be reported on. There are a few articles in the pipeline, so we could have another VSNews in the next couple of months.


The combination of new members and the rapid influx of late subscriptions following on from my Vinnie Jones threats in the last VSNews has enabled me to report that for the first time in over 10 years the paid-up club membership has broken the 100 barrier. More on page 8!

Welcome to New Members:

Of the 7 prospective members mentioned in the last VSNews we have obtained/extorted money from 3 (so far):

Beverley Connor has joined us because of our trail and cross-country experience. However soon after parting with her money the roof of her house needed to be replaced which she felt was more important than running the Yorkshire cross-country with us. And then she changed jobs, so had other things to concentrate on. With the F&M outbreak curtailing trail running, we will probably not see her till the end of the summer!

Alistair Fale also prefers off-road and trail. He joins us on a transfer from Horsforth Harriers. He is also an orienteer with Airienteers (Steve, Sara, Jerry and Madeleine also are members). His speciality is two day trail races - he has run the Karrimor twice and the Phoenix in Northumberland 4 times. Soon after joining us he ran the Rombalds Stride (see report in Fell Section).

Martin Horbury is a Keighley & Craven member who has just moved to Crossgates. He has already joined us for a couple of Sunday runs. He too prefers off-road and prior to F&M was recceing LCW leg 6 and the adjacent paths.

And since that newsletter:

Andy West was a member with us about 4 years ago - he would run with us for a few Tuesday sessions and then we wouldn't see him for a couple of months because he had been working on an oil rig. He has rejoined even though he now lives in Brighton - his first claim is Brighton & Hove AC.

Carin van Doorn, as you can guess from her name, maintains the international representation now that the Laustsens and Ingo have "gone home". Carin is Dutch, but has been in England for 13 years now. She was recommended to us by Alistair and has joined us to get some serious training before the London Marathon (it will be her first). Alistair and Carin both work at Jimmy's. I would suspect that if we analysed the census return forms from the Striders the highest percentage by "trade" would be in the medical profession.

Electronic Striders: The e-mail distribution list has now just hit 50. But using a different method of accounting such that if there are two Striders at the same address, I count 2 instead of 1, the number of Electronic Striders is now 58 - well over 50%. I am sending out mini-newsletters every 2 or 3 weeks so if you're on e-mail but not on my distribution list, e-mail me now!

"Shorts" (T-shirts and other news)

On February 20 there was a celebration and a farewell. Regarding the celebrations, your editor bought everyone (at least) one drink (that was one drink each not one to share between the lot of them) as he reached 50. On one of the largest "cards" I've seen (an A1 size sheet), Geoff had sketched your editor in action in the new Striders club colours and there was some space for comments at the bottom (I've tippexed over the rude ones). Also to celebrate was a guest appearance from Ingo who was in Leeds for a week. And we were bidding farewell to Britt the same evening as she was returning to Denmark the next day to check that Niels was keeping up his training for the London Marathon.

The Whalleys have been in the news, or to be more precise, the North Leeds Weekly Post, recently. There was a picture of John in the centre pages as being one of seven photographers who have taken 4500 pictures in the last year of life in Meanwood during the millennium year. One of John's sets of pictures was of last year's Trail Race - these photos are on our website. There will be exhibitions on 5-7 May and 1-2 July. Not to be outdone, two weeks later Carol appeared on the front page seeking sponsorship for Mencap in connection with a trek to Tibet. If you want to know more about the exhibition or sponsor Carol, ring them on 268 4331.

Reunion of early 90's wimmins team : Sonia Dear joined us a few weeks ago when we attempted to recce the Trail Route without crossing any of the Foot and Mouth signs. Sylvia and Kathy were also in the group so while Geoff, Eric, Ian, Ken and myself stopped to consider the options there were a few reminiscences. Sonia was vets winner of the first Striders G.P. in 1989 and wimmin's winner in 1990 before retiring from racing due to injury. She still runs to keep fit and keep up with her two Great Dane dogs. When we got back to the cars, who should we see out with daughter and greyhound but Yvonne Bissitt. Yvonne was the G.P. winner in 1989 and won it another twice, alternating with Kathy. And Yvonne, Kathy and Sylvia were UK ½ marathon team champions in 1984. Yvonne is also doing a bit of training - enough to attempt the Leeds ½ this year. Sonia will stick to off-road but we may have got her interested enough to attempt some trail races in the summer.

Erica e-mailed me : "I did get a place for London again but then I found out I was pregnant (due in September) so I have deferred my entry for a year. Would you put a note in the Striders News on my behalf requesting any advice for pregnant runners? I would like to run for as long as possible but there doesn't seem much information available about how long this might be and any precautions I might have to take. (on my proof copy someone has written "a bit late for precautions" - ed) If anyone has any advice, my phone number is 2756580 and my e-mail address is erica @ and I'd be very grateful for any tips"

The Munich based Strider (Ingo) has signed for (a job with) VDO (Babenhausen, near Frankfurt). He is likely to join the DJK Aschaffenburg (running club), but will continue racing for Valley Striders in international races. And his new job at VDO could hand him occasional business trips to the Midlands (of England)...

Design-a-Shirt Competition (see January VSNews)

We now have three design proposals

  1. White vest but with side panels in black and white checks (Bob Jackson)
  2. White vest with thick black wavy line across with Valley Striders lettering also wavy along the line (Bob Wilkes)
  3. White vest with two big black footprints - same design on back (Judy Wilkes)

This "competition" was due to close on April 1 but, on the basis that we have 3 more entries than I expected, will now continue until the AGM.

Lost Property: I am currently in possession of a Nike large light grey t-shirt which has a small black embroidered swoosh and a Debenhams small dark blue long-sleeved thermal. Both are in good condition. If there are no claimants they might have to be prizes at the next Handicap. Actually the thermal might be mine - I'd just better check ...

Property Audit: Sylvia happened to mention that when trying to tidy Geoff's kit one day she counted that he had 240 socks (note that she didn't say 120 pairs of socks). I can't get near that but for my entry in the Briscoe's Book of Records I'll stake a claim with 49 short-sleeve T-shirts. I mentioned this to another Strider whose name I won't publish who said "I can beat that but don't ever bring the subject up in conversation with Sue" (oops there's a clue). I've obviously found an interesting topic which can fill a few pages when there are no races to report. Feedback by post, phone or e-mail please ...

GP 2000 T-shirt: I've still one GP2000 T-shirt in white, medium size. On sale to the highest bidder, otherwise I've now got 50 T-shirts in my wardrobe.

Grand Prix 2001

The Valley Striders Grand Prix for 2001 (previously discussed as the "Champion of Champions") will cover all types of running (except track) i.e. road, cross-country, fell and trail. There are 7 categories each consisting of 4 or 5 events. The following is the first attempt at a full list. Races up to the end of June are confirmed (unless cancelled). Some alternatives were proposed in the January VSNews. If you prefer an alternative to these listed, shout now!

Key S = short road M = medium road L = long road H = handicap

X = cross country T = trail F = fell

Tue 26 Dec T Chevin ChaseSun 31 Dec H Winter Handicap 5Sun 14 Jan X W Yorks XC OtleySun 28 Jan M Brass Monkey half

Sun 4 Feb S Dewsbury 10k

Sun 8 Mar L Spen20 CANC(note 1)

Sun 25 Mar M Ackworth ½ mar

Tue 3 Apr H Spring Hcap 10k

Sun 15 Apr T Guiseley Gallop

Sun 22 Apr L London Marathon

Tue 8 May F JBloor POST(note 2)

Sun 20 May L Leeds marathon

Sun 20 May M Leeds ½ marathon

Sun 3 Jun M Thirsk 10

Sun 24 Jun T Harewood Chase

Tue 3 Jul H Summer Hcap 5¼ (3)

Tue 17 Jul F Dick Hudson fell

Sun 22 Jul M Eccup 10

Sun 29 Jul F Holme Moss 16 fellSun 29 Jul S Harrogate 10kTue 28 Aug H Autumn Hcap 10k

Sun 9 Sep F Yorkshireman trail


Tue 11 Sep F Jack Bloor (note 2)Sun 30 Sep L Nott mar CANC? (4)

Sun ?? Oct L Manchester mar (4)

Sat ?? Oct X W Yorks xcSun 21 Oct S Bradford 10k (5)Sun 28 Oct L Holmfirth 15Sun ?? Nov X W Yorks xcSun ?? Nov T Meltham Cop Hill

trail 7Sat ?? Nov X West Yorks xcSun 2 Dec S Abbey Dash 10k


  1. We need to find another race to replace this
  2. Jack Bloor fell race postponed from 8 May to 11 Sep
  3. Summer H'cap will be 5¼ miles - Southern lap of Harewood trail course
  4. One of Nottingham (30 Sep) or Manchester (7Oct?) not both
  5. Bradford 10k was September, now October (according to WYAA website)

Runners will need to run 8 races which come from at least 5 categories. There will be wimin's and age-group prizes and maybe others besides.

For those who only run road, to get your 5 categories you need to run at least one trail or fell or x-c race - the Harewood Chase seems your best bet! There will also be a special prize for 6 out of the 14 road races. For those who only run off-road, you will get 4 categories by running x-c races, fell races, trail races and the trail handicap. You will therefore need at least one road race to get your 5th.

Positions after 6 events:

4 races - Jerry 397, Bob J 387, Lisa 378, Tony H 373

3 races - Roy 295, Alan H 288, John H 282, Dick 277, Paul White 275, Bob W 270

NB the VS Grand Prix committee are currently examining Jerry's credentials i.e. whether we will count his points if he is wearing a Thames Hare & Hounds vest.

Grand Prix 2001 Results & Race Reports

Chevin Chase - See Fell Section

Xmas Handicap - See January Newsletter

West Yorks XC at Otley - See Cross Country Section

Brass Monkey ½ marathon

The Brass Monkey results on included:

32 Mick Wrench 1:19:38
44 John Willingham 1:20:50
50 Roy Flesher 1:21:43
68 Alan Hutchinson 1:23:07
167 Ian Place 1:29:46
217 Paul White 1:32:10
259 Dick Dale 1:34:08
381 Bob Wilkes 1:39:18
417 Tony Haygarth 1:40:56
576 R Brown ??? 1:49:01
577 Carmel Barker 1:49:05
578 Bernadette Clayton 1:49:06
879 Tim Towler ??? 2:10:

1089 finished

Paul White e-mailed me to say he thought the times were a bit out - he thought he had run 1:31:57 - and thought that the time belonged to someone two places back. Even so, it was his best half marathon for 5 years and the quickest of the 5 times he had run the Brass Monkey. His Abbey Dash was his quickest 10k for 4 years, and he is hoping for further improvements during the year. We will of course claim that this is all down to Tuesday training.

Dewsbury 10k

Runners World readers voted this the best 10k in England (Abbey Dash was second best). Scenic it isn't - the highlights are passing the Batley Variety Club and the Shackleton high-chair showrooms (useful to know, for later in life). In fact it's just like the Abbey Dash but without the Abbey - main road, out-and-back, slightly uphill out (and downhill back). It even used to have a little loop through a park just like the Dash but now it's just a U-turn in the main road. It runs North then South whereas the Dash runs West then East so the Dash is more likely to get a following wind on the way back - more of that later! And they've changed the start - its definitely narrower than the Dash and has a little wiggle through the shopping centre after about 200 metres - there are marshals standing with tall flags warning the runners about some concrete posts outside the shops and shouting "Bollards" - at least that's what I thought they said. It may slip a few places down the rankings next year but its still P.B. potential ... if the weather is OK. Which it wasn't. It started rainy and it finished snowy. On the outward half, we ran into the rain - so we thought. At the U-turn, 1000 expletives were issued. Straight into the swirling snow. It gave some encouragement to run faster - you'd get out of the snow quicker. Pity the poor marshals standing with blackboards indicating the kilometre marks. I was very pleased to put on the long-sleeved T-shirt straight after the race.

48 Jerry Watson(THH) 34:01

145 Roy Flesher 37:43

181 Bob Jackson 38:39

239 John Hallas 39:54

251 Tim Towler 40:16

331 Tony Haygarth 42:17

332 Paul White 42:18

385 Dale Richards 43:43

Spen 20 - Cancelled

Ackworth ½marathon

At this Striders G.P. event were there 4 spectators (Peter & Joyce, Keith Clud and Lisa's Mum), 3 first claim Striders runners and 2 second claim Striders runners.

The route was quite undulating but with no serious hills and the weather cold and damp but not particularly windy, so there was the opportunity for reasonable times.

My 1:24:51 was my fastest ½ marathon for 7½ years - since 1:22 in October 93 - that was the year the marathon was cancelled and my carbo-loading gave me a great advantage as I hurtled down the second half of the course. I tend to avoid ½ marathons but I have run one a year in the intervening years.

Lisa's 1:30:33 was a P.B. but she was disappointed as she was 68min at 10 miles and therefore lost 1½ minutes in the last 3.1 miles. Dr. Keith's diagnosis was that she had hit the wall (yes this can happen in a ½marathon), her last meal had been the previous afternoon whereas Dr. Keith recommends a high carbo meal the evening before and carbo-snacking for the two days before. She was 18th wumin.

Carin, in her first race as a Strider, ran 1:50:15 and so looks to have a good chance of sub 4 hours at London if she has managed to get the mileage in.

Nicola was just outside her P.B., running very strongly in the last two miles to finish in 1:33:14. Two years previously she had won the race in 1:32:45 - this year she was 25th. Such was the quality because (a) it was the Yorkshire championship and (b) there were so few races around. Steve Thirkell ran 1:18:58 to finish 42nd and 3rd M45.

Other Race Report - South Leeds "5" (report by Paul White)

Whilst a number of other races have been cancelled or postponed because of the "Foot and Mouth Disease" the South Leeds "5" went ahead as scheduled. In view of this it was somewhat surprising that the number of runners only increased from 339 last year to 363. Perhaps it was the bitterly cold weather and snow showers that put some people off!

With no Grand Prix points at stake, four Valley Striders braved the elements on what is a challenging two lap course (with a long steep hill to be negotiated twice) through Middleton Park, finishing on the stadium athletics track.

All four Valley Striders runners performed well: Neil Dutton finishing 40th in a very good time of 30:02; Kathy Kaiser ran well to finish in 33:13 (91st); Paul White improved his time from last year to run 34:56 (115th); and Natalie White finished strongly on her first race in Valley Striders colours for a very respectable time of 39:38 (194th). The winning time was 25:28.

Vocal support from the sidelines was very much in evidence with encouragement from Sylvia and partner Geoff (although some of his comments about the age of one particular VS runner were unrepeatable!).

Fortunately the snow held off during the race, it was a very enjoyable event.

Owd Folks' Section

Just to prove Peter Lambert's theory that the Striders is a Club of old men chasing young women (or vice versa), here's an analysis of age bands for the 105 of the 107 paid-up members at 31/3/2001














































Two Striders will be moving a box to the right in the next 3 months - Alistair Fale will be 40 in April and Alan Hutchinson 45 in July.

56 men and 20 wimmin will be interested in the following events

West Yorks Vets - Championship Events

NB The 5 road races and the fell race are "normal" races which anyone (of any age) can enter - the Vets Champs are awarded to the best vets in these races.

Sun Apr 8 1000 Wakefield 10k

Wed May 9 1930 Esholt 5k

Wed Jul 4 1930 Eldwick Fell

Sun Jul 22 1100 Road Relays at Mickletown (NB vets only)

Sun Aug 12 1100 Askern 10

Sun Sep 9 1200 Track & Field at South Leeds (NB vets only)

Sun Oct 14 1100 Bridlington ½ marathon

Sun Oct 28 1030 Holmfirth 15

West Yorks Vets - Grand Prix Events

NB These events are vets-only.

(all races approx 10k mixed terrain)

Sun Feb 11 1100 South Leeds Stadium

Sun Apr 1 1100 Halifax - cancelled

Sun May 13 1100 Heslington (York)

Tue Jun 26 1945 Starbeck (between Harrogate & Knaresborough)

Wed Jul 4 1930 Eldwick (fell race)

Wed Jul 11 1930 Ripon Cricket Club

Wed Aug 1 1930 Pudsey Leisure Centre

Sun Aug 19 1100 Bramley Fall

Sun Sep 16 1100 Honley

Sun Nov 25 1100 Esholt


International Reports

Antipodean Report from Jane Sutton

Hello again, everybody!

Well, my stay out here in New Zealand is well over half way and I must admit to feeling decidedly reluctant to return to the UK in July. We’re still enjoying ourselves immensely and I have thrown myself into quite a few sporting events since my last news piece.

In October last year you may remember that Paul and I had gained entry into the Auckland Half marathon after the race limit was extended to partly meet the demand of all the thousands of runners who wished to run over the harbour bridge for the first time in the race’s history. The race started at 6.30 am and we had to catch a ferry from the mainland to arrive at the start, so we set our alarm clocks at 4.30am and Paul picked the babysitter up at 5.15am! The queue was so long for the ferry that we ended up boarding the last one available and docking at 6.25 am in a mass panic with all the other runners. The gear tent was in complete mayhem and there was no way we could make the start on time, let alone reach the front. In the end, Paul and I started the race together, somewhere near the back, and in a stressed –up state of mind and body! I never really got into the race and finished in a disappointing time for me of 94 minutes, 4 minutes ahead of Paul, who was quite pleased with his time.

My next half marathon was in December and again I had to be up very early as it was a one way race that finished 13 miles from where it started, so I had to catch the shuttle bus at the crack of dawn. The bus was packed and a very weird looking woman sat next to me, with dyed black hair like straw, white powder over her face and ‘odd’ legs. I ran an okay race but it was set in the Waitakere hills and for the first half was all uphill, which I found very exhausting. For most of the race I was third woman until quite near the end when my weird friend from the bus passed me. I actually checked at the time to make sure this was actually a woman, but she was wearing a crop top (but funnily enough had cycling shorts on under her running ones). I finished in 4th but didn’t hang around for prize giving, as I knew only the first 3 counted. A few days later I got a phone call from the race director to tell me I had actually been 3rd as one of the ‘women’ in front of me was a man. I said straightaway that I knew who he meant and described the black straw haired woman. The race director cleared his throat and said he knew whom I meant but this was not the runner in question! Apparently a man, running unmistakably as a man, had entered as a female and then disappeared before prize giving, so that his prize would be sent on and he would remain incognito. He had done the same thing at a previous race and been found out when an official photo showed him crossing the line, clearly a man. This still left 4 women in front of me, including my ‘strange one’ but it transpired this character was in fact a transvestite, who had not altered the placings as ‘she’ had rightly entered as a male! The organiser told me I had therefore definitely come 3rd and consequently won $50, but I told him never mind the cheque, the story was priceless.

In November I took part in a cycle relay race around the largest lake here, Taupo. It’s 160km in total and I was down to bike a leg of 40km, in a team with Paul and a colleague. Many entrants were proper cyclists with amazing road bikes but I was on my bargain basement mountain bike with not even toe clips to help me. Mind you, I raced like a demon and enjoyed the whole thing so much I decided to buy a racing bike for Christmas and train for some duathlons. It was therefore with great interest that I read George’s article in the last newsletter as everything he said struck a chord with me after my first duathlon. I wasn’t able to train on my bike over Christmas as my children were on holiday and we were all busy, so I entered my first duathlon in January on the strength of my running alone. I was so nervous before the start in a way that I never feel for a straight running race. It doesn’t help that I haven’t got a clue how to maintain my bike and I have most definitely not got the knack of riding in shoes that click into the pedal (on one outing, I couldn’t get my feet out of the pedals before stopping and the whole bike keeled over with me still firmly clamped in and had Paul not been present to extract me, I would most likely still be there now).

The race consisted of a 3.5km run, a 20km bike ride (extremely hilly) and a 5km run to finish, which mercifully was largely flat. I was 2nd after the initial run but was so flustered at the first transition, I lost a placing and then cocked all my gears up on the cycle leg and felt as though my legs were going to burst. I lost more time at the second transition, as what seems perfectly simple when you’re rested becomes a tricky task when you’re knackered! I set off (finally) for the run in 4th place and had the distinct impression I was travelling on the spot, not progressing forward. After a while I eased my legs back into contention and ran fairly well, moving back up to 3rd. I’m telling you now, it’s such hard work!! It’s not like a sole running race at all. You cannot ease up for a second, particularly on the bike section as you will never make up the time on the run, so it’s like an all out sprint. Obviously I need to concentrate on cycling for a bit, but have not done so as I recently made the decision to run the Rotorua marathon at the end of April (more in a bit about that).

Recently I went back to Taupo Lake and did the same race, only this time it was a running race. Some guys did the whole 100 miles themselves (!!) and there were 2 teams of 2 women, each running 50 miles. I was running as part of my son’s teacher’s mixed hockey team and although they are all excellent hockey players, they’re not real runners so they were counting on me to do the business. I travelled down on the Friday evening with Sarah, Matt’s teacher, and we arrived finally (having run out of petrol) at 10pm at the small bungalow in which 13 of us were staying. I was assigned a bunk bed in a box room with 4 others, one of whom snored. Two of the guys were getting up at 1.30am to start the first of the 20 legs of the race! I wasn’t due to run until 2pm, over the final 2 legs but I had to be out by 6am to cheer on the rest of the team. I got 90 minutes sleep, no breakfast and a digestive system in spasm. As the race wore on I got to know more of the team members and there was a great spirit of camaraderie. Finally, having stuffed my face with all sorts of rubbish food, whilst sat in the car for 8 hours, I took over from Sarah to run the last 2 legs, totalling 14km (9 miles). Surprisingly, despite my abysmal pre race preparation and the fact I had already run 43 miles that week in marathon training I flew round the lake and was rewarded by all of my team mates, piled into two cars, cheering me on and shouting all sorts of complimentary remarks as only non-runners know how. I finished in 59 minutes which I was thrilled with, not only for myself, but for the team also. The closest thing we have in the Striders to this is the Country Way Relay I think, but the added fun here is the fact it starts in the night and all runners follow in cars to cheer their mates on, which makes for a totally unique atmosphere.

As for the Rotorua marathon, I put off making a decision for ages, as I want to better my previous best of 3.15 in London 99 and the course is hilly, so it’s not an ideal choice. In the end I decided this was an opportunity not to be missed as it’s NZ’s biggest and best marathon-only event in stunning scenery. Having decide to run, I have set about training in a serious manner and am currently managing about 50 miles with lots of long runs, mostly alone although my friend, Cat, from Sydney is also running the marathon and is aiming for a similar time to me. I am hoping very keenly to emulate the one and only Kathy Kaiser with her fantastic successes. I’ll keep you posted!

Jane (I've been getting phone calls from film producers in Hollywood making bids to buy the storyline to make it into a movie - ed)

Spring Training from Ian Place

The need to learn is a hunger factor that led me to the Spring Training Camp organised by LPG (Mike Gratton & Co) in Acotieas near Alberfera on The Algarve Portugal this year. 130 runners of all abilities accompanied me on a 7 or 10 day holiday 08th to 18th March, needless to say with Bruce Tulloh, Joe Beer, Mike Gratton in charge we were thrust immediately into a one mile time trial to ascertain our personal standard. Groups 1,2,3 the fastest then 4,5,6 the slowest. With 05.51 mile I fell into group 2. The next session Day 3 we did 8 x 400mtrs with 200mtrs recovery on the track. There was a good standard and this showed in later long runs when we clipped 10mins off our 14miler. Each day started with a 5/6 mile easy run out on the cliff tops and back on either the beach or dirt track/road. On Day 4 we did 8 x 400mtr hill reps on the Almond Blossom x-country course. Day 5 was the handicap on the same course extended to 2km and 4 laps. In the evening a Barbecue to give out the prizes (Sorry Bob I was 2mins down on the first over 50 so must try harder next time. Still he looked like 45)

We lived on a self-catering basis, but with meals costing approx £7 per head and that includes a tip and all drinks we did not need to cook in the evening. The weather was good warm during the day and cold at night. The accommodation was good and we had all the mod cons to live in comfort. With all the running and sunshine I know where I will go for my Spring Training next year!

65 in Vegas from Peter Lambert

Last year Joyce took on board the onerous task to find something different for my special birthday instead of the usual tie and braces. After much searching, by chance the answer was literally pushed through the door. Enclosed in some Northern Vets information was an advert for the Las Vegas Marathon, ½ Marathon and Friendship Run on Feb 4th - my 65th.

So began a secretive operation of mysterious letters addressed to Joyce which I was not party to, has the phantom window cleaner returned to whisk her off somewhere I thought, but no, she could not keep it secret any more and broke the news to me. Fantastic, but a couple of problems: I was starting a period of long term injury on my right ankle which is wearing out and I was waiting for an operation on my left foot due to an inflamed bunion. Against this backdrop of super fitness I adopted a training program of take it steady and enjoy it!

The ½ marathon it would be and as a little addition I persuaded Joyce to train for the 5k Friendship Run the morning before. What a laugh that turned out to be - more later.

Time marched on and on the Tuesday morning 30th January we arrived at Manchester to the first of many surprises this holiday. Standing in the queue was the familiar Jimmy Savile hairstyle of - no not Geoff Webster - but Richard Lumb and ex V.S. of many years ago. He was doing the full marathon and was disappointed he would not be giving me a run for my money. As things worked out he pulled out half way round so his disappointment was justified.

Off and into the flight the second surprise turned out to be a tour of the flight deck which Joyce had again secretly arranged. It was getting to the stage where I dare not look around in case Michael Aspel was there with his red book. The things my wife gets up to.

We had taken with us 2 ladies from Kippax Harriers, Lynn and Chris, and between all three I was kept on my toes wondering what was to come.

The Friendship Run

On Saturday 3rd Feb the 5k Friendship Run took place. Now note this:- we were up at 04:15 for a light breakfast and a walk up the Strip to arrive at race HQ which was the Venetian Hotel, a 1¼ Billion dollar complex of marble and multi attractions. At 06:00 every competitor was fitted with a microchip on their shoe, running numbers were all personalised with name, age, group, country etc - all for a 5k run.

The route which was centred around the Venetian area of the Strip was marshalled by Highway Police, State Police and a group of Hells Angels from the Harley Davidson Club. Very different.

At 06:30 the run started and the word "friendship" takes on a different format with the fast guys up front. The eventual winner did 15m 10secs (4m 53secs per mile average). Some friendship. 5th place was Hugh Jones of London Marathon fame in 16m 32 secs.

Some way down the line was the Valley Striders contingent, now the funny bit. At about 2½ miles Joyce was feeling a little jaded. About 100 yards in front was a couple we had seen on the plane coming over and the man kept looking round to see who was where when he spotted us. He said something to his wife who upped her pace only to slow down again. He started urging her to "dig in" and as we slowly reeled them in his urging became louder and louder which in turn spurred Joyce on more and more. I could hardly run for laughing and about 100 yards from the finish we went past them still with "dig in" ringing in our ears.

He would have been even more upset when he read the results showing his wife who was 51 was beaten by Joyce who is 64. Our positions were 189th and 190th out of 337 and Joyce won a special mug as 1st O/60 in a time of 30:23 - 9:47 pace.

The Marathon / ½ Marathon Course.

On the Saturday afternoon after the Friendship Run we had arranged to go on a bus tour of the course and as I was only doing the ½ marathon we thought it would be a chance to see more of the area. We were picked up at the Tropicana Hotel, 5 coaches in all and off we went. Leaving Las Vegas on Freeway 15 which is the Interstate Highway to California, eventually turning onto State Road 604 where we pulled in at the road-side.

To say its the back of beyond is an understatement. The full marathon start is on a typical American desert road, straight as far as the eye can see both ways with nothing but sand, scrubland and a few cacti. In the first 9 miles it steadily climbs 250 feet where it then drops nearly 800 feet to the finish, so it has great potential for a P.B. if you don't fall asleep with boredom. The ½ marathon route starts 13.1 miles further along the course and follows the same route to the finish. So in essence the ½ marathon is downhill by 600 feet.

Just before we left the start on our return journey everyone was given a numbered ticket for a surprise draw of 40 various items. Lucky us, I won a camera and Joyce won the prize of the day - a $55 Nike Special Issue jacket.

The journey to the finish was very disappointing especially when the finish was in a park 4 miles south of Las Vegas near the airport. In New York you run in the city, likewise London, but not here, you are kept out.

Race Day and the Big 65

This morning we are up even earlier at 03:00. Much too early for celebrating so after a light breakfast and getting ready we teamed up with Lynn and Chris and went to get a taxi - time 04:15. Lynn and I were the only runners but I thought what a strange birthday this is - I'm getting into a taxi with another woman at 04:15 and my wife is waving us off, never mind.

All competitors must use transport provided, no private cars are allowed at the start. The buses leave MGM Grand at 04:45 and as there are 3200 runners you can imagine the length of the convoy.

Arriving on site at 05:15 to a scene which is unreal. The buses park in lines with their headlight on to illuminate the area. The only problem is the portaloos - or porta-potties as they are called - are in total darkness. I found my way to the block but as its so dark you cannot find the lock never mind use it and as I stood there the door opened and a lady's hand touched me on my back. She screamed and I nearly jumped through the roof, seconds later it happened again. I thought "I know its my birthday but steady on girls".

About 05:30 dawn started to break over some hills in the distance which made life a little easier and as it was very cold we were all glad we could stay on the bus until start time.

Before we went on holiday I had made myself a cloth sign which I attached to the back of my Striders vest which stated quite clearly "Peter 65 Today". I intended milking this day for all I could! Lining up at the 06:30 start it produced the intended - choruses of "Happy Birthday", numerous handshakes and good luck messages.

No lavish start gantry just a line of mats across the road which activate the shoe chip. As I had intended to enjoy this race and not race it, I settled in about half way and steadily picked up as things progressed. There were no spectators at all for about 5 miles as the road is closed to all vehicles and it was only as we hit the outskirts of Las Vegas that we began to see anyone.

It was very poorly supported even at the finish where the crowd was about 200 who were associated with the runners. Joyce and Chris were among them. Joyce's vocal chords were on form and the large card with "Happy Birthday Peter" on it soon caught my eye as I neared the finish.

A steady run race which I completed in 1:35:28, 456th overall, and an even greater surprise to finish 1st O/65 out of 39 in my age group. Lynn, suffering from a heavy cold picked up on the flight out, did 1:52:57, 1192nd overall and 13th out of 97 W50-54.

Editor's note: In the race there were 1619 men and 1532 wimmin. Now I know why Peter chose this ½ marathon!

Back at the hotel was another surprise. Joyce and Chris after we had left for the start had set to and decorated the bedroom with banners, balloons and cards together with a birthday cake which she had brought from home.

As we had arranged to go to the prize giving in the evening, Joyce gave us strict instructions to be ready to go at 5:15. The four of us were stood outside the hotel when up rolled this white stretch limousine which was the last of the day's surprises. It was dark by this time so the driver took us on a tour of the Strip in all its glory - fantastic. What a way to end a memorable day.

The City of Las Vegas is an unbelievable place, it is Disney World for grown-ups. I think I will have bored you enough so far so will not go into details of what there is to see and do. I think Keith Cluderay - who has been there - will agree it is a unique place to visit.

During the remainder of the week we included a flight over the Grand Canyon, a cruise on Lake Mead and a visit to the Hoover Dam. The weather was about 70o every day and finally a big thank you to Joyce for arranging what turned out to be a truly memorable birthday week.

P.S. By the time you read this I will have had my bunion operation due on March 3rd. So depending on the outcome will depend on what running I do in the future.

P.P.S. In the ½ marathon they allowed some juniors to run. The first, a boy of 10, beat me by nearly 3 minutes!


Ismaning 16.8k from Ingo

You might not have heard about the TSV Ismaning, and their flavour of race distances. Last Sunday (14.01.2001) they had a nice 16.8 k race (in imperial units that's 10 Miles and 777 yards), starting from Ismaning (a small village, which by now is part of Munich).

It's quite flat, although not as flat as the Abbey Dash or Dewsbury 10k. In almost perfect conditions over seven hundred runners set off, enjoying bright sunshine, a not really gentle breeze from the east, and temperatures of comfortable minus 7 degrees C.

Amongst those the Munich-based Strider. He was going for a big bang or a big blowout, disrespecting the temperatures and the wind (at least he was wearing full long running gear!), and set off in 6:02/M. Sticking steadily to this pace up to the 5M mark he realized that he wasn't going to make it that way, and slowed down a bit. After 9 M the runners entered the open fields around Ismaning, and were completely unprotected against that cold wind from the east and the temperatures, which by now had risen to minus 6 deg C. The single Strider was suffering badly from a lack of fuel, having burnt all the reserves too early.

Surprisingly not many passed him now, the biting wind must have been taking its toll from everyone here. Your correspondent still passed the 10M mark in about 62:20 (equalling his PB), but needed almost 3 minutes for the remaining 777 yards, finishing in 65:08, and 63rd position out of a total of 728.

The lesson for the next winter race: Respect the temperatures, cover your body to protect yourself against that biting, cold wind, and don't expect to race as well as at 10 to 15 deg C! Max, George, would that be a topic for the Coaches' Columns?

Greetings to all the Striders


NB attached to the email was a pic of Ingo. He wrote: "it shows the single Strider charging up the small climb at the 5k mark, having just passed the two behind him" It did look cold!


Bath ½ Marathon from Danny Burnham

There were 3800 runners for this well organised race on a flat 2 lap course. Results included: Rob 1:19 (in 1st 100), Danny 1:51, Tina 2:35 (first competitive run). Rob and Tina are now bound for London.


Cross Country

Yorkshire cross country

Lisa finished 8th in the Yorkshire Championships at Bodington Hall on January 6th. Two of the wimin ahead of her were juniors and as the first six automatically gained a place in the Yorkshire team, she was selected to represent Yorkshire in the inter-counties at Nottingham in February. In a strong men's field, Paul achieved his highest place for many years but was left unrewarded for his 1st vet placing.


8 Lisa Wilyman 29:09

42 Kathy Kaiser 32:54

46 Liz Ball 33:27

55 Madeleine Watson 34:04

66 Sylvia Watson 35:59

56 Sara Dyer 27:45

Wimmins team 6th/15


24 Paul Briscoe 45:08

46 Jerry Watson 46:53

75 Paul Webster 49:17

124 John Hallas 55:04

126 Bob Jackson 55:37

138 Rob Liddle 57:19

141 Tony Haygarth 57:49

Mens team 14th/17

West Yorks 4th race at Otley

Valley Striders won 7 trophies/medals in the West Yorks cross-country championships !!

Our wimmin's team were lying 3rd equal with Holmfirth after 3 races - Holmfirth beat us in the race at Otley but we were both ahead of Halifax who we pushed into 4th place - so Sylvia collected the 3rd place team medals on behalf of her team of Janet, Kathy, Lisa, Madeleine, Sara and herself.

Lisa Wilyman finished 4th in the race on Sunday - her best place of the season - and this brought her up to runner-up in the Open Wimmin's category (the juniors and vets were in a different category) and an inscribed shield.

Paul Briscoe didn't even need to turn up to win the Men's Vets trophy, but he finished 1st vet to complete a whitewash and collect the winner's shield at the presentation.

Jerry Watson's placings of 2nd, 3rd and 2nd vet in his 3 races gave him the men's vets runner-up's shield.

Our men's team finished 7th in every race and 6th overall.

Congratulations to all the medal winners and thanks to everyone else who ran to make it such a good season for Striders at the cross-country.


4 Lisa Wilyman 21:24

22 Kathy Kaiser 23:11

34 Madeleine Watson 24:27

36 Janet Parkinson 24:39

42 Sylvia Watson 25:09

56 Sara Dyer 27:45

Wimmins team 4th


17 Paul Briscoe 32:58

24 Jerry Watson 33:29

32 Steve Webb 33:59

38 Paul Webster 34:27

50 Mick Wrench 35:22

92 Alan Hutchinson 39:10

101 Bob Jackson 40:33

112 Geoff Webster 42:02

126 Bob Wilkes 47:16

Mens team 7th

Northern XC at Blackburn

The wimin put in a solid performance in the Northern XC Championships. Lisa was 31st and the team of Kathy, Sylvia and Madeleine were 11th overall out of 32 teams. The men only had 5/6ths of a team but Paul Briscoe was in the first 100 and Bob J, Ian, Geoff and Bob Wilyman packed the places around the 500 mark with another 100 runners behind.


31 Lisa Wilyman 36:44

81 Kathy Kaiser 39:43

117 Sylvia Watson 41:48

139 Madeleine Watson 43:12

233 finished


89 Paul Briscoe 44:02

453 Bob Jackson 53:51

518 Ian Place 55:54

560 Geoff Webster 58:03

574 Bob Wilyman 58:47

670 finished

Intercounties XC at Nottingham

Lisa had been selected on the basis of her performance in the Yorkshire x/c at Bodington Hall. Despite an injury which she had picked up the previous week and exacerbated by running the Striders 400's the Tuesday before the race, in a field of all county runners she finished 138th out of 266.

National XC at Durham


84 Lisa Wilyman 34:07
104 Kathy Kaiser 34:50
178 Sylvia Watson 37:34
297 Sara Dyer 43:45

336 finishers
Wimmin's team
4 to count - 19th out of 37

Men's team

6 to count - 43rd out of 107


190 Paul Briscoe 42:31
334 Steve Webb 44:28
350 Paul Webster 44:41
400 Mick Wrench 45:23
648 Neil Dutton 48:46
709 Alan Hutchinson 49:37
800 Bob Jackson 50:55
1011 Tony Haygarth 55:01
1033 Geoff Webster 55:34
1183 Peter Cox 62:14
1227 finishers

14 Striders, two supporters and one dog made the journey to Durham - a similar sized representation to when the event was held in our backyard at Roundhay Park 3 years ago.

The route, half flattish around sports pitches near to the river, the other half hillier around some farmers fields had good going in most places but some of the turns became quite slippery after 5000 or so pairs of feet (there were about 3000 runners in total including the junior races and they ran 1,2 or 3 laps).

In the wimmin's race, as forecast by Steve Webb, we had one runner in each quarter of the field, and the team finished extremely averagely by being exactly half way.

The men's race had a start delayed by a minute to allow the final wumin runner across our path to the finish (she received the best cheer of the afternoon). Paul was pleased with his best ever placing although he would have liked a little more mud. Only Tony and Peter were lapped by the leading runners. Geoff ran the second lap fast to ensure he didn't get lapped by the leading runners, but then was overtaken by about 50 (including Tony) on the last lap. I was telling Peter in the car on the way that he would not be finishing last - on the way back he said that it was because the runners behind were all aged 60 or more - not true!

Also running (in Thames Hare and Hounds vest) - 265 Jerry Watson 43:33.

Full set of results was at www onrunning com. The men's results appeared at 11pm the same evening - setting me a target to beat for the Meanwood Valley Trail results!

Scottish Vets X/C Champs, Aberdeen from George Black

Having finished 3rd in last years Scottish Vets X/C Champs, with what can only be described as an embarrassingly poor performance, beaten by several minutes by the winner Brian Waldie and the runner up Ian Leggett, I decided the event would be one of this year's 3 main objectives. The other two being the British Vets ½ Marathon Champs and the British & Irish Vets International (which are both being held in Scotland).

Having been unable to do any running during May to July and only jogging 15mpw during August, a gradual build up was obviously required to the March race. I had remained active and had enjoyed cycling - and certainly not enjoyed 2 or 3 times a week weight sessions involving "quad busters" of 2.86 tons a session.

The training over the 12 weeks prior to the race - Max's measurement period - was a total of 498 miles, an average of 41mpw. The largest week was 61 and the lowest 5 due to illness. I went through my normal procedure of several weeks of aerobic runs (heart rate 70%-80%) for a maximum of 1½ hours, followed by 4 weeks of 2 hill sessions a week. The final weeks consisted of a shift of emphasis to anaerobic, lactic tolerance work involving 3 quality track sessions a week.

The week prior to the race consisted of

Sunday 63 minute jog @ 60% max heart rate (9.06 miling)

Monday Rest (weather impossible)

Tuesday 3 * 400m, on deep snow, with spikes

Wednesday 2 * 400m, on road

Thursday 1 * 400m, on road

Friday Rest

Saturday am 2 miles easy with 4 * 50m strides

Each of the 400m sessions involved a 400m warm up / down. A total of 3 miles in the 5 days before the race. I have used this "super fast" taper before my yearly target races in the past and have always had "good legs" as the cyclists say. NB Max can give full details of the rationale behind this procedure as it comes from his literature.

I had competed in the East of Scotland X/C League throughout the winter and was soundly beaten by Ian Leggett on each occasion. As Ian had finished 4th in the recent Vets International, I knew he was in racing shape. The quality of this performance is endorsed by his defeat of Bingley's Freddie Gibb amongst others. The only question seemed to be could he hold this form and stay injury-free and healthy over the winter?

Two training sessions gave me some hope. One a 10k race I completed in 38:28 on a very difficult day when the winners times were over a minute down on what was expected. The other was a cross country run in deep snow to the site of the local TV mast, get the picture!? I had remarked to Adrian Davies that it felt like the Howarth Hobble and as he is a fell runner I asked if he had heard of the event. I felt a right twit when he told me he had in fact WON it!

Perhaps more significantly, I was now 11 lbs lighter since December, which in my case equates to 22 seconds a mile quicker.

The race was due to be held on Saturday 3rd March but the very heavy snow falls and the Foot and Mouth Disease problems put the event in danger of cancellation.

The course was round Aberdeen University Playing Fields and was used for the Vets International in 1991 when reports at the time referred to the hill as the "graveyard grind". I had taken a real hammering that day and knew what to expect. There was 1 small lap and 3 large which meant the "grind" only had to be negotiated 3 times.

There was a great deal of discussion on footwear with about a 50/50 split between spikes and studs. I opted for spikes as the 177m run-in was compressed snow and rubber studs would be a disadvantage should it come down to a sprint.

Among the top runners competing at the fast end of the field were Fraser Clyne, Brian Kirkwood and defending champion Colin Donnelly.

The start was a broad section about 600m long before going into a narrow tree-lined section where only single-file running was possible in the deep snow. I decided to put my recent 400m training to good use and gamble on a fast start - backed up by a baking-soda drink (again ask Max).

I knew that Brian Waldie was in good form having won the over 60 age group at the prestigious Carnethy hill race 2 weeks earlier and would be especially keen to secure his hat-trick of wins having won the x/c title the previous 2 years. To my knowledge Ian Leggett had not raced during the previous 4 weeks so I wondered if he had been ill / injured or just resting up. He is now coached by Martin Hyman and would normally be ready on the day. If he had been having trouble then my fast start would make it a hard race all the way, test his fitness and not give him a chance to build his confidence after any fitness doubts he might have had.

After starting fast as planned, I was in the top dozen at the 600m point, I was able to relax and wait to see what happened behind me. At the end of the first lap neither Brian nor Ian had gone past and I hoped that perhaps they had not seen my "escape". However Louise and Clare indicated that they were both just a few yards behind me as we approached the "grind".

I had been waiting to see how my legs felt on the hill and was delighted the "fast taper" had worked again as they felt great. I hit the top of the hill full of running and at the bottom of the hill Louise shouted the ever welcome "You are going away". I thought back to some of my training sessions running through deep virgin snow and avoiding car/tractor tyre marks to run through the deep snow between the tracks and realised the hard work was now bearing fruit.

The remainder of the race was run with a "little under the pedal" knowing I had enough in reserve to respond to any late challenge. It is difficult not to get involved racing the people around you but my only concern was winning my age group and therefore I took great care on the descents and tricky parts even though at times I did lose places to younger vets.

At the finish I found I had beaten Ian by 1min 24secs and Brian by 2 minutes. As Ian had previously beaten me by 1¾ minutes, the reversal corresponded to my 11 lbs weight loss. I asked Ian about his build up to the race but to his credit he made no excuses although I still have lingering doubts whether all had been well with his preparation.

At the sharp end, Colin Donnelly retained his title from Fraser Clyne in a time of 37:11 several minutes slower than normal for the track.

My time of 44:23 was 56 seconds behind Dave Fairweather who had won the over 55 age group at this year's Vets International which gives me some hope for the rest of the year if I can avoid accidents/injuries as in the previous 4 years.

I have always judged a race by the status of the previous winners. I therefore felt a deep sense of satisfaction knowing the pedigree of my age group winners in previous championships. As I now reach the "active pensioner" stage of my running. It also enabled me to complete the age group double of current holder of the Scottish over 60 Marathon and Cross-Country titles which I never achieved in my younger faster days.

Ach weel! As Max says, the competition thins out as you get older so I guess the trick is to outlive the opposition.

Note My 11 lbs weight loss - I just ate less fat and drank less beer (which could well apply to a few of my Striders Teammates).

Coach's Column - Comment

As an aside to the ongoing debate between Max and Paul, Grete Waitz in her book "On the Run" writes on pages 27/28:

"Studies show that the metabolic rate of increase is directly related to the INTENSITY of the exercise. Resistance (weight) training and intensive (interval) training produce higher increases for longer sustained periods of time, as compared to say, walking or light jogging. You will have elevated your Resting Metabolic Rate with activities such as walking, but only for a few minutes to a few hours. In comparison, weight training can elevate R.M.R. up to 15 hours after the workout. The same can be had with interval training."

So Paul's "gut reaction" on the afterburn has Grete's support.

Spiders News

Reports From The Fells from Ron Uphill (a.k.a S.Webb)

Not a lot for your correspondent to report on this occasion as the fell running and orienteering calendar has been a victim of the foot and mouth crisis. However in order to satisfy your thirst for off road news I have a few details of past events.

Rivock Edge Fell Race 26.11.2000

Where was everybody? Granted it was the day after the arduous West Yorks XC at Bradford but I hoped for a better turn out than the grand total of…….one. This is a really good route on the north face of Ilkley Moor with no nasty descents. I tackled the race in the style of John Whalley and gave the entire field a head start of 3 mins 45 secs. So it was very lonely to begin with and I then had to do a great deal of overtaking, ending up 29th. I repeated this trick at the Chevin Chase, but it was much harder to make progress through the field in the crowded lanes at the start and I was hampered until we reached Danefield.

Nine Standards Rigg 1.1.2001

This is always a good way to start the year. This time there was a buzz of excitement at the start as perennial winner Gavin Bland had not made the trip from Borrowdale. Your captain decided to put VS on the map and soon took the lead on the road section. Up on the fells there was a fair amount of snow and a lot of ice but I ploughed on (literally ploughing through unexpectedly deep snowdrifts) and reached the summit with a tidy lead. Unfortunately two runners came past on the descent but third place in 61.17 and only 23 secs down on the winner was a result to kick off the year. Sara had a steady run to be third lady in 93.56, a remarkable 61 mins ahead of the fourth and final lady.

Chevin Chase from Bob

As mentioned in January's VSNews, Paul was 1st vet and Lisa 3rd wumin. The fancy dress runners included "A Duck" who finished 4th and 4 Santa Clausettes from Horsforth Harriers including Nicola. There is also a Striders connection with the race winner - Tim Crossland (of Shaftsbury & Barnet H) is Natalie White's partner.

6 Paul Briscoe 42:25

15 Jerry Watson(THH) 44:22

52 Steve Webb 47:56

85 Lisa Wilyman 49:55

105 John Hallas 50:38

106 Tony Sardo(P&B) 50:40

116 Chris Kaye 51:01

143 Ken Kaiser(HH) 52:09

151 Tony Haygarth 52:21

183 Alistair Fale(HH) 53:34

202 David Cusack 54:14

251 Steve O'Callaghan 55:44

271 Eric Cusack 56:18

278 Dick Dale 56:28

350 Bob Wilkes 58:50

357 Madeleine Watson 59:00

359 Martin Cockerham 59:00

526 Sara Dyer 63:50

603 Nicola Wilde (HH) 65:58

659 Simeon Perry 68:19

807 ran

Bob & Kathy watched

Harrogate Ringway Relay from Bob

This event started with some Nidd Valley Road Runners looking for something to do the first Sunday in January 12 years ago. At the time the Harrogate Ringway footpath was not officially fully connected - but now there is a guide pamphlet and is well signposted with wooden finger posts around the route. I'd spotted the results a couple of years ago in the Wetherby News - there were about 20 teams from clubs round the Harrogate area, so when there was a little paragraph in the paper last December I enquired about it.

The route is 20-21 miles and split into 5 legs. Runners run singly not in pairs like the LCW. Wimmin run the first leg and there must be at least one V40 and one V45. The race literature said: "Why? To have fun, to do something different with a crowd of similar lunatics, to do a run as a club instead of fifty desperate individuals, to drink in a different pub, to raise money for the Bilton Conservation Group". Seemed OK to me.

Six weeks later we had three teams ready to run - Valley Striders "X", "Y" and "Z". In each of the "X" and "Y" teams we had 2 couples. The "X" team were Watson-Webster, Dyer-Webb and their gooseberry was Kathy Kaiser. The "Y" team were Allaway-Parkinson, Watson-Watson and their gooseberry was John Hallas (a late sub for Bob J who was non-running captain). The "Z" team were Lisa, Ian, Steve O, Keith and Mick Wrench). I say ready to run, but 7 had run in the Yorkshire X-C the previous day, 2 had run the Scarborough Rock marathon the previous day, and one had been to his brother-in-law's 40th birthday the previous night.

Other clubs competing were Harrogate Harriers (6 teams), Nidd Valley (5), Otley (3), Ripon (3), Burn Valley (1), Ilkley (1) - a total of 22 teams.

I won't go into the leg-by-leg details but I will mention 2 highlights - Doug had an enjoyable run on leg one being the only man on the start line (we'd saved our two wimmin runners in team "Y" for legs 2 and 3). And I attempted to emulate Geoff's gorse bush exploits mentioned in a previous V.S. News - having recce'd the whole route all but a one-mile piece where I'd run the wrong side of a stream, I found myself navigating for John on that same section and although on the correct side of the stream found a path through brambles rather than the main path. I still had the scars 2 months later.

Final results: 1st Harrogate Hares 2:15:40, 6th VS "Z" 2:35:00, 9th VS "X" 2:38:14, 14th VS "Y" 2:43:16, last team were 3:10:09.

When the footpaths reopen in the area, I can recommend the whole route as a long Sunday run. Best place to start is the Otley Road at Harlow Carr Gardens - this is the start of leg 4. This means that Knaresborough becomes the half-way point - stop for drinks and watch the ducks. Then in the second half, for those who are flagging, if necessary, there are two opportunities for short-cuts to reduce the distance to 18 miles rather than 20½, and also on the last section there are shops with food and drink for that final boost.

Rombalds Stride - Race Reports

We're now so short of fell races that when there is a race we get 2 reports of the same race!

From Ron Uphill

Nice to see several Spiders here, little did we know it would be our last chance for some time to run on Ilkley Moor, Baildon Moor and the Chevin. Results were:

Steve Webb 8th 3.15

Alan Hutchinson 24th 3.25

Geoff Webster 53rd 3.47

Ian Place 59th 3.52

Alistair Fale 63rd 3.54

Eric Cusack 82nd 4.10

Liz Ball 83rd 4.14

Madeline Watson 99th 4.25

I hope I’ve not missed anybody. It was very slippery underfoot but Hutch is beginning to enjoy these long trail/fell outings. For the first couple of hours Steve thought he was going to win easily, as indeed did everybody else in the leading pack. But for the last hour and a quarter he thought he was going to die. Good to see Eric getting some form back and some fierce competition between Liz and Madeline.

From Geoff - Rombald's Stride - 23 miles and plenty of mud

Eight Spiders set out in the first and possibly the last fell run of 2001. Steve Webo was first Spider back to Guiseley for his pie, finishing in 8th place in around 3hr 10min. He was disappointed with this because he was in second place until he got the bonk (fell runners terminology for hitting the wall - ed) on Otley Chevin. He will have to eat more malt extract. Alan Hutch got back in under 3½ hours and said he enjoyed the bogs on Ilkley Moor so much that he is not doing the London Marathon this year because it is too easy! At 3hr 50m G.W. (almost-fit old bloke) finished a few minutes ahead of Ian Place (having an easy peasy training run). Alistair was next but running in plain-clothes! Liz was next in around 4hr 15min just about an hour slower than her best time (less fit than G.W.!) She was closely followed by Eric (zero fit) and Madeleine W. (trying to get fit). Madeleine is now keen to do more of these long off-road events. The run must have done Eric good because he's gone off to foreign parts to do a marathon.

Airedale Triple Double Trail Challenge

Sun Apr 1 1030 Baildon Boundary Way half marathon - CANCELLED

Sun Apr 15 1100 Guiseley Gallop 10k-ish

Sat Jun 30 1030 STRIDERS Meanwood Valley Trail Race - Marshals required

Striders are ineligible for the last race as they have to marshal

Fell Championship Events 2001 from Geoff

Due to the big feet and mouths of Paul Webo and Ingo, this year's Championship has been put on hold until the government catches the culprits. Ingo has fled back to Europe but the government has put Pudsey into an exclusion zone. A bonfire is being prepared - all Spiders are invited - bring your own fireworks.

The Bunny Run races at Keighley are still ON, but are now on Thursdays (5/12/19/26 April), not Tuesdays, with revised location at Cliffe Castle, off Skipton Road, Keighley - registration at St. Anne's Social Centre, 7pm start for each race - enter on day.

The Guiseley Gallop is also still ON and also takes place over an amended route. This is mainly in Nunroyd Park, but if the distance is short it will have an extra loop round the organiser's garden, up his bedroom steps, out of the bathroom window, over his garage roof and on the road to the finish. Little does Geoff know what we've planned as a contingency route for the Trail Race - start in Roundhay Park, pass near St Edmunds Church, everyone must pick up a bottle from G.W.'s back step and take it to the bottle bank at Tesco's, finish back at Roundhay Park - ed.

Apart from these, all other off-road races in the near future seem to be cancelled. Fell runners desperate for somewhere to run are reported to be fleeing the country for other hilly parts of the world to get some relief for their addiction. (Paula Radcliffe went to Ostend for a weekend and had a jog round the local racecourse while she was there).

Others unable to get out of the country could be seen running in the hilly road race organised by Dr Barnardo's in Middleton Park. These runners were so desperate to run up hills that they were willing to pay £7 to enter a 5 mile race - yes more than £1 a mile.

This is a great chance for V.S. to make a killing because the Trail Race having been postponed until June 30th could be the first off road race staged in the North of England for 4 months. Hundreds, nay thousands of deprived fell runners could descend on Old Leos to enter on the day. I think that an entry fee of £20 would not be asking too much. So that's 3000 x £20 ...

Bunny Runs from Steve W

For those who crave a fix of fell terrain the future is rather bleak. But the Bunny Run races will be going ahead at a different venue, Cliffe Castle in Keighley. It remains to be seen if Dave Woodhead can replicate the experience of the mud climb on the regular Harden Moor course. In the meantime if anybody knows of a good off road training venue then please let me know – the knees don’t like all the pavements!

Steve O's accident..... is in this section because he fell off his bike. He landed on his shoulders and head, breaking his collarbone head and doing no damage to his head (a good advertisement for his crash helmet). His bones are mending well - after only four weeks he is now back running (but not cycling). But he is a little slower due to the medicinal beer he has had to drink to speed his recovery!

Grand Prix 2001 (Jon 01756-700820 or Tim or Gary)

Tue Apr 3 1845 Spring Handicap 10k

Sun Apr 15 1100 Guiseley Gallop

Sun Apr 22 London Marathon

Tue May 8 Jack Bloor Fell NOW POSTPONED TO SEPT 11

Sun May 20 1000 Leeds Full and Half Marathon (closing date April 20)

Sun Jun 3 1400 Thirsk 10

For further races see page 5

Other Road Races - plan your diary

The following were taken from the official list of races issued by the West Yorks AA. Some do not have permits so the dates are provisional

Apr 8th Wakefield 10k, 29th Rothwell 10k

May 9th/23rd/30th John Carr 5k series Esholt, 16th Otley 10, 20th Leeds M & ½

Jun 6th Roberttown 7, 10th Ilkley 10k, 14th Full Bronte, 17 th Stainland 7

20th Ackworth 10k, 24th Harewood Chase

Jul 8th Pudsey 10k, 20th-22nd Eccup 3-day

Aug 8th Hyde Park 5k, 15th Mileta 10,

Sep 9th Netherthong 10k, 23rd Kirkstall 10k, 23rd Templenewsam 10k

Oct 7th Horsforth 10k, 21st Batley 10k, 21st Bradford 10k, 28th Holmfirth 15

Nov 18th Roundhay 5

Dec 2nd Abbey Dash 10k, 23rd Denby Dale 6, 30th Hot Toddy @Todmorden

Other races (not in West Yorks)

Apr 29th Sheffield M&½M, May 6th Tadcaster 10 (Sunday!), Sep 16th Great North Run