May 092019

I have to say that this is my least favourite of all the relays in the North East club calendar – I much preferred the old location on the paths by Segedunum. So I wasn’t looking forward to it when we left the house to venture out into rush hour traffic in heavy rain with the car’s thermometer showing a not-very-May-like 7°.

However by the time we got to the meeting place in Cobalt Business Park, the rain had relented a bit and there was already a good group of Claremonters assembled – most like me wondering “why do we do this?”. I think we do it for the camaraderie, team spirit, laughs and cake (but mainly the cake!). With a good turnout from Claremont, all of these elements were there to help us forget about the weather and have a good evening’s racing.

There was a particularly good turnout from the ladies with 6 female teams far outnumbering the 2 teams of men. And it was the ladies who were, as ever, the most impressive with a 14th placed finish for Catherine Young, Serpil Bulut and Hannah Mainprize. Indeed, they were the fastest Claremont team on the night with Catherine and Hannah being the 2nd and 3rd fastest Sky Blues of any gender – only our super speedy Spaniard, Daniel Mourenza, posted a faster time.

There was a good battle between the other 5 ladies teams, who all finished in a cluster. The “winners” of this battle were Nina Jentl, Violeta Tsenova and Gill Milne – largely to an excellent run from Violeta who was making her competitive debut for the club and posted the 3rd fastest time for a Claremont lady on the night.

It was also a close battle between the two mens’ teams with the lead changing hands on each leg, but Alasdair Wilson Craw took Kenny McCormick on the last leg to claim the prize for himself, Daniel and Dave Kear.

PositionLeg 1TimeLeg 2TimeLeg 3TimeTeam Time
14Catherine Young12:04Serpil Bulut14:58Hannah Mainprize12:1639:18
42Nina Jentl14:46Violeta Tsenova13:55Gill Milne17:0345:44
47Julija Simpson
15:51Nina Jensen14:46Julie Dumpleton16:3247:06
49Hazel Juggins15:54Tara McCully14:47Ay Okpokam16:4647:27
51Sarah Bowen14:45Alice Vialard16:14Mary Martin16:5547:54
53Kat Truong15:29Marie Slack16:45Cath Robson17:0949:23
62Daniel Mourenza11:41Dave Kear16:54Alasdair Wilson Craw14:1442:49
64Tom Tinsley12:29Howard MacLennan13:29Ken McCormick17:2243:20

I think David Lydall was first to spot the excellent co-ordination and synchronisation of the “Nina Jens”!

Thanks to Serpil, Howard and myself for the photos – now on Flickr via the link below:

 May 9, 2019  Posted by at 5:12 pm Race Reports, Results No Responses »
May 042019

Newcastle parkrun

As well as the results below, our temporary member, Phillip Grimmer came 4th in an impressive time of 17:45 on an unseasonably cold and windy day.

18:56 Daniel Mourenza
19:42  Roberto Marzo
20:17  Tom Tinsley
20:32  Sarah Kerr
21:59  Mungai Wairia
24:13  Nina Jentl
24:20  Clare McKitterick
24:23  Brian Hegarty
24:50  David Devennie (aka Darth Vader)
25:15  Dave Kear
27:16  Chris Carr
27:22  Alice Vialard
27:30  Alex Anslow
28:36  Tara Hipwood

Prudhoe Riverside parkrun

20:49  Chris Jones

Whitley Bay parkrun

23:17  Chris Gillie
26:56  Daisy Martin (27 min pacer)

Gateshead parkrun

21:32  Paul Robinson

Scunthorpe parkrun

22:58  Maddie Day

Rising Sun parkrun

22:21  Alasdair Wilson Craw
22:33  Luke Woodend

 May 4, 2019  Posted by at 7:38 pm General No Responses »
May 032019

There was a strong Claremont representation at this year’s Masters Relays in Bedewell Park, Jarrow. In the first race, the 4 ladies teams were supplemented by our male over 65 team with 3 more teams fielded in the men only race.

On a cool but dry night, there were some good performances and a bit of inter-team rivalry to keep interest levels high – indeed Howard MacLennan’s incredible sprint finish to try top catch the equally determined Dave Wotton was one of the highlights of the night.

Our older teams did very well – the over 55 ladies team of Hazel, Gill and Cath were 1st in their category and the gadgies team of Alasdair, Dave K and Kenny came second in their age group – and I am sure that we would have won the prize for noisiest supporter category if it existed!

PositionCategoryLeg 1TimeLeg 2TimeLeg 3TimeTeam
Race 1
18 F35-44 Sarah Bowen14:12Ay Okpokam16:07Serpil Bulut13:4944:08
22F35-44Nina Jensen13:57Alice Vialard15:55Julie Cross14:5744:49
29M65+Alasdair Wilson Craw13:39Dave Kear15:55Ken McCormick16:3346:07
32F55-64Hazel Juggins15:04Gill Milne16:27Cath Robson16:3848:09
34F45-54Marie Slack15:59Julie Dumpleton16:01Mary Martin16:2648:26
Race 2
48M55-64Tom Tinsley11:40David Lydall12:58Richard Slack13:4038:18
55M35-44Luke Woodend13:19Gordon MacFadyen13:45Dave Wotton14:2441:28
56M45-54Alan Dunning14:30Jamie Harding13:52Howard MacLennan13:0741:29

Thanks to Howard, Gill, Serpil, Alice and everyone else who took some of the photos (click to view Flickr album):

 May 3, 2019  Posted by at 2:21 pm Photos, Race Reports No Responses »
May 022019

Richard Slack was lucky enough to win the ballot for the Claremont place in this year’s London Marathon. I think it is fair to say that he did us proud and he has sent the following report:

London Marathon 28 April 2019

To begin, I am so grateful and felt very privileged to be drawn for the Claremont club place in this iconic event. This also meant that both Marie and myself would run the London marathon in 2019 as Marie had been successful in the public ballot.

Whilst pretty chuffed to have a place, I really wanted to do my best for myself and also the club, so as from December I followed a good training regime. As part of this, I got used to a bi-weekly Friday run from Durham back to Gosforth (18 miles or more depending on route and quayside extension) as well as doing the North East Marathon Club Ashington Woods lapped marathon. This helped ensure, but no means guarantee, that I would be somewhat prepared for the physical and mental hell of the final four to six miles on race day.

Marie and I travelled down to London on the Friday and went to the Expo to sort out numbers. Saturday was a quiet day with a gentle loosener parkrun at Finsbury Park. Saturday night lacked the normal wine fuelled carb loading for me restricted to a just a gentle glass of red wine, purely to calm the nerves. Sunday morning dawned cloudy and cool – fantastic for the race – and not the oven of the prior year. Up early and off to Blackheath for the Blue start getting there around an hour beforehand. All really well signed and marshaled with an atmosphere of mild trepidation with nervous smiles abounding. Come 10.28 I set off proudly in my Claremont Sky Blue, with Marie following around 10.45 as part of the zoned wave start. Roberto had told me about the crowds – he was right – throughout the route the support is unbelievable with massive walls of noise at key points especially at The Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge which sounded like Newcastle winning the league (except that of course will never happen!).

I can say, that the first 20 to 22 miles I really enjoyed and ran a good tempo keeping to around 26 to 27 minute parkrun pace. My strategy to get under four hours. Whilst all my training had largely been on my own, running with a crowd, as we all know, really kept me going and helped maintain the pace. The drinks and gel stations were always a welcome sight coming pretty regularly through the entire course, topped up with peanuts and bananas. The one unknown was running on a sticky road surface after the Lucozade drinks! The crowds continued to be immense through the return leg in Canary Wharf heading at long last for the Embankment at around 22 miles. Still feeling pretty ok at this point, but knew that my legs were beginning to occasionally cramp. Then on 23 miles I felt my left hamstring really tightening up followed by the inevitable big cramp. There I was with a time of under 4 hours well in sight, stood by a bridge with a marshall asking if I needed the St John’s tent. No way! I gave my hamstring a bit of a telling off (polite reporting phrasing), relaxed, took a few little steps and much to my delight carried on at a manageable pace for the final three miles without further incident.

I can’t really remember much about those final 3 miles running by the Thames and round towards Parliament and Buckingham Palace – it was all a bit of a blur by then, however, the finish in sight after the final turn was just sheer pleasure and relief. No sprint finish, just keep on running in the spirit of my whole run strategy. Delighted with a time of 3 hours 48 minutes, well inside my goal, but more importantly that I had massively enjoyed the whole experience and felt really proud in my Sky Blue Claremont standing at the finish area.

Marie too had a great day and run with a time of 4 hours 56 minutes as well as the other Claremonters lucky enough to savour the London Marathon run in cool conditions. Well done to Catherine, Jonathan, Mungai and Marga.

Post race recovery, not mentioned in many running magazines or training plans followed and had been in my mind for some time in the latter part of the race. A bottle of champagne, pork pie with nice blue cheese (and water admittedly). All set up for a curry with Marie in London to end the day off. Sure that could catch on with the elites one day!

Four of our six happy marathon runners

The inevitable Mungai selfie!

 May 2, 2019  Posted by at 2:51 pm Race Reports No Responses »
Apr 292019

Well done to Janet Palmer on winning the Spring handicap by a mile and to Julija Simpson, the winner of the Spring knockout trophy.

A beautiful, sunny evening on the Town Moor with very little wind made for excellent running conditions. Numbers were down on recent events with only 32 competitors – though a number of members did have the excuse of having run the London Marathon the day before! There was a new obstacle to negotiate this year as stile into the woods has been replaced by a tall, metal fence with just a narrow gap to get through. There had been some debate as to whether it was too narrow and we should change the course, but we decided to give a go. Happily everybody got through unscathed.

In the race, Janet Palmer took full advantage of some (unintentionally) generous handicapping and romped home well clear of Violeta Tsenova in second place. Violeta, running her first Claremont handicap, was herself well clear of another debutant, Nina Jentl in third. This followed an excellent parkrun where Violeta had knocked about 90 seconds of her PB – it was lucky for her that the handicaps had been set before that performance!

Kat Truong also ran well to finish 4th and then it was very close from 5th to 30th with only 44 seconds separating the 26 runners.

Fastest on the night was our super speedy German, Philipp Grimmer in an excellent time of 18:13. It is a shame Philipp is only a temporary resident in Newcastle and he will have returned home before the next handicap. Next fastest was Daniel Mourenza in 19:06 followed by myself (Tom Tinsley) in 20:20. Fastest lady on the night was Sarah Kerr in 20:40, followed by Violeta (22:57) and Nina Jentl (23:41).

The Spring Cup Final was contested between Julija Simpson, David Lydall and Hazel Juggins, with Richard Slack sitting it out with the feeble excuse of having run a marathon the day before! Julija came in 5 seconds ahead of Hazel with David 3rd.
Julija will have a chance to defend her title in the summer when the other finalists will be Ben Wetherall, Jamie Harding and Michael Teasdale.

It should be noted that some people have questioned their times, so Bill is going to download again and check them all. Watch this space!

Full results are here.

Photos courtesy of Gill, Mungai and myself are on our Flickr feed here:

 April 29, 2019  Posted by at 8:23 pm Club Handicap, Results No Responses »
Apr 282019

Some great running from the Claremont contingent in London today:

2:56:32   Jonathan Gilroy
3:11:35   Catherine Young
3:47:59   Richard Slack
3:49:20   Mungai Wairia
4:56:32   Marie Slack
5:32:35   Marga Burke-Lowe

 April 28, 2019  Posted by at 2:14 pm Results No Responses »
Apr 282019

Finsbury parkrun

28:40 Marie Slack
28:41 Richard Slack

Newcastle parkrun

19:17 Roberto Marzo
19:29 Tom Tinsley
22:15 Gordon MacFadyen
22:48 David Devennie
23:45 Violeta Tsenova (PB)
23:55 Nina Jentl
23:59 Brian Hegarty
24:21 Alan Dunning
25:36 Julija Simpson
26:56 Kat Truong
27:30 Gill Milne
28:52 Susannah Orr

Whitley Bay parkrun

22:39 Chris Gillie
25:36 Daisy Martin

Gateshead parkrun

21:09 Heather Steel
21:49 David Lydall
25:20 Paul Robinson

Riverside parkrun

24:36 Dave Wotton

Rising Sun parkrun

22:25 Alasdair Wilson Craw

 April 28, 2019  Posted by at 11:46 am Results No Responses »
Apr 222019

Good Friday Relays


Tom Tinsley (13:16), Roberto Marzo (12:53), Paul Robinson (13:06), Michael Teasdale (15:57) total 55:12
David Lydall (14:13), Paul Hughes (13:23), Dave Wotton (16:21), Richard Slack (15:05) total 59:02
Mungai Wairia (15:15), Kenny McCormick (18:42), Jamie Harding (14:51), David Devennie (15:53) total 1:04:41


Sarah Kerr (13:35), Heather Steel (14:11), Catherine Young (13:08) total 40:54
Clare McKitterick (15:54), Julie Cross (16:56), Nina Jensen (15:54) total 48:44
Tara McCully (16:27), Julija Simpson (17:00), Nina Jentl (16:50) total 50:17
Ay Okpokam (17:46), Hazel Juggins (17:36), Marie Slack (18:25) total 53:47

Dave Lydall reports –

The Good Friday relays were held on warm day this year, a marked improvement on last year, when it hailed.   The day began with a course enveloped with fog but as the morning wore on it became warmer and sunnier.  

It’s a good course for spectating and there were many cheering us on. According to the organizers there was a record turnout this year.  To keep the runners on their toes a new handover process had been put in place this year.  As often seems to be the case the winning female team from Morpeth Harriers, were led out by Laura Weightman, who finished way ahead of the field and showed us all how it should be done.

It seemed to be a good day for running and most of us revisiting the course were a little quicker this year than last.  Claremont had four female and three male teams, in some cases drawing on last minute substitutions.    Claremont’s quickest senior team, Sarah, Heather and Catherine were 8th fastest senior team.  The other Claremont female teams all ran well, whether seasoned relay racers or running a relay race for the first time.  The Claremont senior male team, led out by the most senior, Tom, along with Roberto, Paul and Michael were our quickest.  The other veteran teams finished a little later.

Thanks to the generosity of many there plenty of cakes, scones, fudge and Italian pastries to reward the runners.  All in all, a very enjoyable start to the long weekend.

North Tyneside 10k

43:48     Heather Steel
44:29     Roberto Marzo
46:41     Luke Woodend
47:02     Richard Slack
49:11     Chris Gillie
50:46     Clare McKitterick
56:31     Daisy Martin
56:14     Marie Slack
60:31     Janet Palmer
61:16     Chris Carr

 April 22, 2019  Posted by at 3:28 pm Results No Responses »
Apr 212019

Newcastle parkrun

18:45     Roberto Marzo
19:53     Sarah Kerr   PB
22:22     Gordon Macfadyen
22:30     Richard Slack
23:35     David Devennie
23:41     Clare McKitterick
24:24     Serpil Bulut
24:34     Brian Hegarty
25:03     Nina Jentl
25:15     Violeta Tsenova

Tamar Trails parkrun

22:43     Madeleine Day

Durham parkrun

26:10     Dave Wotton

Gateshead parkrun

20:03     Sumanth Nayak

Stewart parkrun, Middlesbrough

18:25     Jason Hall

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea parkrun

24:18     Chris Gillie
25:56     Daisy Martin

Tyne Green parkrun

19:43     Paul Hughes
20:18     Chris Jones

 April 21, 2019  Posted by at 12:07 pm Results No Responses »
Apr 162019

The Slacks have been on their travels again and, as usual, getting some running in!  Here is Richard’s report:

Regular readers may recall overseas running ventures by Richard and Marie around Easter time. This year, it was a short trip to Ireland and the Connemarathon festival in Connemara – West Coast of Ireland, an hours drive West of Galway. This is actually an annual walking holiday for us and some friends but the weather intervened in its own way!
The weather forecast for the weekend was pretty poor, nigh on abysmal with rain and wind of biblical proportions promised for the Sunday. That meant that walking on the high mountains was pretty much a definite no – especially so after Richard was nearly being blown over on the Mamturks ridge on the Saturday walking with another group from the hotel! So what to do instead with this pretty poor weather outlook. Options were to bag the day and drink guinness (other brands also available) or sign up for some running. Well, every year since we have been going, Marie and I were aware of the Connemarathon festival which comprises a half, full or ultra (39 miles) events on the Sunday. We duly signed up for some final pre-London training with Marie entering the full and myself the half, with appropriate carb loading and drinks for me on the Saturday evening to fully prepare for the weather deluge.
The marathon route (10.30am start) is 3 sides of a square running initially North (wind behind) past Lough Inagh and the 12 Bens or Pins (Mountain range) for around 7 miles. The route turns to face due East  (past the church on the hill where you can ‘stop and pray’) and down towards Leenane Town (more of a village really) at the end of Killary Fjord – that is where the Half (12 noon start) started from. From there both the full and half head due South-East for the final 13 miles – and joy of joys straight into the howling wind from the South East! However, only a limited amount of rain (miles 1 to 4 on the half or around 10 to 14 on the full) although pretty cold at only around 4 degrees. This final 13 miles is a real roller coaster with the first 2 miles and miles 9 to 11 real uphill battles with intermittent ups and downs in the middle section. 
In all around 600 hardy (mad) souls did the full and 1,200 did the half. The shared route for the final 13 miles was on a totally closed road through beautiful mountain scenery and ample provision of water stations and also toilets – although some had blown over – but at least no runners inside!
Great after run party in Peacocks motel with jigging and beers to an Irish fiddle band as well as good provision of hot soups. 
What better way to spend a rainy windy day!
It is a great event and one to add to our list of overseas locations – although not a capital this year!

Richard (Half) 1.51.37 (214th out of 1122 finishers).

Marie (Full) 5.17.48

 April 16, 2019  Posted by at 9:15 pm Race Reports, Results No Responses »