3 Dark Skies! (& this weeks senior training)

TRAINING:  Tue: 2 x 5 mins + 2 x 4 mins all with 1 min recovery) at ONE Est. Thurs: 2 x Lemington Bank: Meet at the bottom of Union Hall Road.

Elswick’s Chris Hull has completed a notable run event achievement. At the weekend Chris completed the Kielder Dark Skies Triple: A 14 mile, a 26 mile and a 10 mile run event. Congratulations to Chris and the team

(Kielder was awarded gold tier Dark Sky Park status by the International Dark Skies association in December 2013, making it the perfect venue for the ultimate starlit running challenge).

Pictured below, Simon Lynch, left, centre Chris Hull, right Leanne Hymers and not forgetting front & centre mascot Elsie!

Full results can be found here > Results 2019



Be a volunteer at the World Transplant Games


Hello Team Elswick. The committee received correspondence from Gateshead Council who are co-hosting the 2019 World Transplant Games. They are to be held from 17th to 24th August.

The organisers would welcome any support offered. There are many roles to choose from and its certain your particular skills would help deliver a successful games (if you do apply make sure they know you are a member of Elswick Harriers Running Club).

Make a difference, give something back, be part of a global event, right on your doorstep 🙂

You can apply individually for volunteer roles from the website link here > Volunteer Roles 



2019 Club Championship & The ‘Mad March Mare’

Hello Team Elswick. Just a reminder that the first race of the 2019 Club Championship takes place THIS SATURDAY AT EXHIBITION PARK: NEWCASTLE’S 5 km Park Run. Free to enter and an excellent to introduction for ALL Club Members into the Championship fold. Points and bonus points are on offer, so a lot to aim for 🙂 If you have not already registered, please visit www.parkrun.org.uk

Lets see a grand turnout for the run. 

Please find enclosed Debbs Wilmot’s Mad March Mare event report > MAD MARCH MARE 2019

Judith Nutt – Snake Lane 10 Miler

Elswick’s Jude Nutt (right) and Ex-Elswick Yam Thiru (left)

Not everyone will know Jude Nutt as she is not able to come to training during the week. She has been a member of the club since her childhood; she enjoyed much success as a youngster and continues to compete at a very high level. Now 41, Jude churns out sub 40 minute 10K times and sub 1 hour 25 half marathon times. She is also known to win some extremely competitive races such as the Redcar Half Marathon. As well has her solo success she is a great contributor to our cross country team, running superbly from the fast pack and achieving finishes in the top 10%, which means she will retain her fast pack status into 2019/20.

Jude scribed a report of her Snake Lane 10 mile race which unfortunately got lost in cyber space. However, it has been recovered and is presented to you below. Sorry for the belatedness.

Snake Lane 10 mile race, 24 February 2019, Pocklington, near York

The day started at 0530 as the alarm went off, and I’m sure like everyone else with early morning race starts, the first thought is ‘Why am I doing this?’. Not to worry – this is what I had been training for and I’d best just get on with it. Porridge eaten, kit on, and creeping out the house for 0600, hopefully without having woken anyone else up! Slight diversion for a stop in Newcastle to meet up with a great friend and former Elswick harrier Yam Thiru, and we were on the way.

The fog all the way down the A19 didn’t seem to disperse and was still there as we headed out of York for the final stretch to Pocklington. Discussions turned to whether we would race in gloves. Car park found – gloves decided on, we headed for the rugby club. The route from the car park took us past the finish line and past the church, which you can see for ages on your final run in to the finish and it never seems to get any closer.

Once at the rugby club it was time to join the queues for the loos and my standard pre-race sick feeling. Heading out for a warm up we were met by bright sunshine and no fog – a quick turnaround to put gloves away. How the weather had changed in 45 minutes! Then before we knew it we were being called for the 10-minute walk to the start. Once there, race plans discussed meeting point established we went our separate ways. We have both done the race several times so knew what to expect, however thankfully this year there was no wind as there was in 2017 when the last 5 miles was all into the wind.

The weather was certainly in our favour this year – and no gloves was definitely the right decision! Right, we were off. As we passed the first mile mark I asked those around me roughly what pace we were – I don’t tend to wear a watch when racing as I find it becomes a distraction! Pace wasn’t bad, so settled into my running. The miles clicked by, then I found myself looking at all the squashed frogs on the road and wondering whether they were squashed by vehicles or whether it was runners who had squashed them…………can anyone see that I was having my bad patch and not really concentrating! Right – mind refocussed, main road joined, two and a bit miles left to go. Then the final pull up just before the nine mile mark. Then the church tower – and as mentioned earlier it didn’t seem to come any closer. Then just before the final tight bend I heard the clock strike the hour. I had the silly thought then that I might be finishing very close to the hour – hopes raised, I tried to pick my pace up for the final 100m, but I’m sure I just huffed and puffed a bit louder. Then through the finish line and a quick look at the clock gave me a rough finishing time.

The water at the end was gratefully received and drank pretty quick. A collection of my goody bag, with a snake lane t-shirt, then back onto the course to cheer Yam into the finish. Heading back to the rugby club for a warm down, cups of tea and cake we both reflected over our races and snake lane races in previous years. I couldn’t help thinking that in previous years I would be sitting with a pint and cake – and now the last thing I fancied was a pint – must be my age! Prize collected, and the fastest 10 mile that I’d ran since 2008 in the bag – we headed home. Great race organisation and a good course does make this race one of my favourites having ran it in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2017. A well deserved easy week this week, then back to training for my next 10 miler in April.

Jude Nutt

Modest as ever, Jude failed to mention her finishing time and position. I can report that she finished in 1:02:58, second woman and first V40 woman. We are very much looking forward to seeing Jude run at the Good Friday Relays – give her a cheer.


RED-S – Presentation by Dr Alan Currie, Monday 18 March 2019

An audience of around 30 Elswick Harriers met at Newburn Leisure Centre to listen to Dr Alan Currie, Consultant Psychiatrist at Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Trust speaking about Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport.  Put simply, RED-S is all about the simple equation representing the calories we feed our bodies which must equal the energy we burn in exercise.

Once a competing runner himself, Dr Currie developed an area of expertise in the topic of diet in sport and how diet can impact performance in a positive and negative way.

He identified that there is spectrum of diet ranging from normal, and healthy up to severe eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa at the opposite end.  In the middle sits an athlete’s diet.  It must be extremely healthy and in very keen athletes, it is controlled in order to keep body mass to a minimum.  There is a fine line to be taken with this kind of diet.  Weight loss can lead to an improvement in performance, but only for the short term.  Performance will deteriorate if weight loss goes a step too far with fatigue setting in and  the potential for an eating disorder to materialise.

Given that runners performing at a high level commonly have a very lean body shape, it is very difficult to detect the existence of an eating disorder on the basis of a visual observation.  Coaches must be alert to this and support their athletes to eat the right diet with sufficient carbs and fats to sustain regular and intensive training.

Women are at greater risk of developing RED-S and/or eating disorders, but there are increasing numbers of men showing themselves to be at risk in sports like running and cycling.  Those in their teenage years are the most susceptible when bodies are changing rapidly and youngsters are driven by a desire to perform well and to have a lean body shape.   Coaches and parents play a vital role in ensuring that junior athletes understand the importance of maintaining a diet that is sufficient to sustain their energy through their training and competing.

An article in the March 2019 edition of Athletics Weekly focused on the risks of RED-S on female athletes and also highlighted a useful website for information on the RED-S topic.  The article is attached below>

Scan 20 Mar 2019 at 12_17

Dr Currie has supplied some documents which he is happy for us to share and are attached below.  He has indicated that the reading list is a little out of date, but Jane Griffin’s book on nutrition is a very good read.  There is the UK Sport Guidance from 2007 and a paper on RED-S if anyone fancies having a go – it’s a big read.

Eating_Disorders_In_Sport (1) Reading list Mountjoy – IOC Consensus RED-S

Reading list

Mountjoy – IOC Consensus RED-S

Many thanks go to Dr Alan Currie for giving up his time to speak to us.  Thanks to Kim and Harry Matthews for initiating the idea of the talk and getting in touch with Dr Currie; and to Derek Nelson for organising the refreshments which were paid for by England Athletics.


A Grand Evening: The Club’s annual presentation evening.

Kindly note: My thanks to Michelle for scribing a report, by my PC for some unfathomable reason has converted the words into an un-readable format, so here (belatedly) are some words from Graham.

Photos to follow. Thank you to Jonny Lowes for being Mr. Photograph Man 🙂

The Club’s presentation evening took place on Saturday evening at Blaydon Rugby Club House. 170 tickets were sold and it appeared to just that with a full house present, so thank you to everyone who came along and made the evening a thoroughly enjoyable one.

The evening commenced with the Junior awards, it had been a fine 12 months for Junior Team Elswick. There were many excellent performances throughout the year, from the junior athletes: the boys & girls, across all age groups in local & regional competition. In particular if I may say so, Poppy Wilde taking a superb 1st place in her age group category, by winning every single NEHL race 🙂 Charley Lee was a very worth recipient of the Kevin Stephenson award.

Club Chairman, Harry Matthews was then invited to the stage to handover the awards.

Next followed the Senior, Vet Club Championship and NEHL awards. A rather excited (though slightly nervous!) and sweaty Graham 🙂 started the proceedings by saying a number of Thank you’s: To the coaching staff, Club members, to Steve Robertson, to 2018’s (and 2019’s) committee members for all their work during the previous 12 months and to the presentation team for bringing the evening together. Graham thanked Frank Watson for his historical archive trawl! and to Rob Wilson for a ‘very fitting nomination’!

So to the awards (in summary):

The winner of the Senior Women’s Club Championship was Catherine Lowes. The Senior Men’s winner was Scott Brady. Lindsey Grant took the ladies V40 title and Andrew Ball took the new V40 Newcastle Brown Ale trophy (it is rather heavy!). Rob Lambert took the V50 title and Melissa Bateson took the ladies V50 title. Peter Sloan took the V60 title and Irene Henderson took the ladies V60 title. Congratulations to all 1st 2nd and 3rd placed athletes.

The NEHL 1st 2nd and 3rd place winners took to the stage with Joe Higgins, Amy Fuller, Paul Robinson and Melissa Bateson taking Gold medals home (apologies for the missing medal set – They are now on order 🙂 ).

Two faux pas, by good old ‘G’ on the microphone, brought out a raucous chuckle from Team Elswick 🙂 All good honest fun!

Andrea Banner, Ladies Captain made a speech, with a particular note of appreciation to all of the athletes who contributed to cross country competition. This was especially noticed at the competitive Sherman Cup / Davison Shield meeting, where a collective effort saw the Ladies Team take a superb silver medal.

The special awards followed. Two new awards. For the most improved female and male beginner Athletes. These inaugural awards went to Kay Thompson and Jim Ross. Excellent!

Shaun Connelly received the Fred Stephenson Trophy (most improved Male Club Athlete).

Amy Fuller was a thoroughly deserving recipient of the Ladies Fred Stephenson Trophy.

Jan Heslop ‘brought the house down’ 🙂 A huge round of applause from Team Elswick, as Jan received the Ladies Quantum Award (for outstanding services to the Club). In a ‘double act‘ Ken Heslop received the Male Quantum Award.

More special awards and recognition followed: Firstly, Ian Leighton to the stage: Ian appeared a little overwhelmed (if I may say so 🙂 ) as he received from guest of honour Bill McGuirk, a scroll of appreciation for his significant contributions and assistance to Elswick Harriers over many years ( I think a tear was shed?). Congratulations to Ian 🙂

Elswick’s Richard Houghton could not attend the evening, but he was to be awarded (the following day) an inscribed silver salver for becoming the first Elswick athlete to attain Abbott World Marathon Major Status. Richard also medalled in the NEHL and Club Championship competitions. Well done Richard.

A surprised (but hopefully delighted) Bill McGuirk received from the Club, a silver salver for his dedication to North East Athletics for over six decades (and for his personal assistance in helping our Club, successfully host our own Club Events).

In addition, Bill was given a voucher for a restaurant meal at his beloved St .James’s Park for himself and his wife Pauline. Bill made an impromptu speech and a very warm round of applause followed.

We saved, I believe the best till last: Life honorary membership to a 40 year member of our fine Club, the wonderful Mary Avery.

The first lady in the club’s 130 year history. Mary was cheered to the stage as she received from Harry, a silver salver, in recognition of becoming a honorary life member.

Mary had had a fine running career and continues to run with her fellow peer group. Mary also received a bouquet of flowers and a voucher to spend on her good-self 🙂 A final round of applause, brought the proceedings to a close.

Harry thanked a now just ‘damp Graham’ 🙂 for his endeavours. A buffet and Beckleberry’s ice cream followed. Mike Banner made a sterling job with the picture quiz (A few oooh’s and aaah’s as the answers were revealed 🙂 Cath Lowes table won with 25 out of 25!

The raffle rounded off a grand Club evening.

Cheers, Graham.


  • The club’s presentation evening takes place:
  • THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 16th at Blaydon Rugby Club House.
  • Address: Crow Trees Ground, Hexham Road, Swalwell. NE16 3BN.
  • 175 tickets sold – Grand Stuff Indeed. Marvellous!
  • There is a full itinerary: Junior, Senior, Vet awards, Club Championship, NEHL awards.
  • The Club’s special awards.
  • Guest of Honour is Bill McGuirk.
  • We hope to start proceedings from around 8.15 pm onwards.
  • Raffle, Quiz, Hog Roast, Beckleberry’s Ice Cream await. 
  • It will be a grand occasion, See you all there 🙂 

One for the Juniors & One for the Vets.

Hello Team Elswick: Two items for your attention: The first round of the 2019 Spring Track Relays are a couple of weeks away. Please find enclosed details of the NOTAN event > Flyer & Track Relays Rules 2019

For Club athletes aged between 50 and 65 there is an opportunity from Newcastle University to participate in a study to research the ‘influence of protein supplements on recovery after excercise’.

Details can be found here University Study Invite 2019

Tokyo Marathon Report. Sunday 3rd March 2019.

Elswick’s Harriers Richard Houghton and Scott Brady took to the streets of Toyko on 3rd March 2019 to race the Marathon. Both athletes looking for personal bests. Both athletes going for ‘Abbot World Marathon Status’ (completing the six marathon major courses in London, Boston, Chicago, New York, Berlin and Toyko). For Richard, he would become the first Elswick Athlete to achieve this milestone. Scott is on schedule in 2020 to complete the ‘sixth star’. Two Reports by Richard. The one below and the other is at the bottom of the report, which summarises Richards running career to date and the quest for the six stars. Enjoy the read, Cheers, GB.

There is so much I could write about our stay in Tokyo, it’s hard to know where to start but anyway let’s start here. The Japanese culture is incredible, as soon as we arrived we were struck by how tidy, clean, safe and efficient it was – the people were kind and helpful and made our journey and stay extremely easy and pleasant. Even the expo was efficient – any of you who have been to expo’s know they are normally quite manic and chaotic, yet although the Tokyo one was busy, it was ordered, calm and logical, with runners going in one entrance, families in another and a general sense of community and friendship going throughout the whole thing – it was pouring with rain on expo day and the expo was being held in a series of marquees due to the upcoming Olympics, so local people were sharing umbrellas with us and wishing us well on our way.

The expo itself had stages to move through i.e. wristband, number collection, shirt collection, Abbott world marathon majors stand (which I had to visit to have a special sticker placed upon my number so that I could receive my 6 star medal at the end of the race). In my excitement I missed this stand on my first attempt at the expo, so had to follow the river of people to the end of the expo and go back through to find it and get my all-important sticker (which subsequently ruined my Elswick vest on race day).

We managed then to enjoy the shops within the expo and see the various stands, while spending a small fortune on race merchandise, much to Carolyn’s delight!

In between expo day and race day, I carried on with my training plan of runs and stretches, mainly training along the beautiful Sumida River and getting used to the weather (which was extremely variable) and running conditions. The family and I made the most of sightseeing and taking in all Tokyo had to offer, whilst resting my legs as much as possible.

Race day came I felt I was in the best shape of my life – I was confident no matter what the gods threw at me I was in for a good day. In typical marathon style, I was up early at 05:30 am stretching and eating my obligatory porridge breakfast. I then left to get the metro to the start which was easy and stress free. I managed to get out of the huge station at Shinjuku easily, thanks to the signs and a trial run a few days before and got to my gate (Gate 3) just as the rain started, despite my phone telling me the rain wouldn’t start until 11:00. The start gates were all under cover, so I stayed dry and warm, which was a welcome change after the horrendous conditions in Boston last year.

Once I moved out to the main start areas, I spotted Andrew Alderson who runs for Blaydon so we chatted for a while and then Scott spotted us and came to join us, so we were able to start the race together which was an unexpected bonus.

As the start gun went off, Scott and I stayed together for the first few miles, which was great, although as always the first few miles are frustrating due to congestion – there was a sea of ponchos all around us of both runners and spectators and the rain didn’t seem to affect the mood or excitement of the day. I was slightly colder than I would have liked at the start due to the rain, but I stayed positive knowing I would warm up as the distance passed, and used previous experience of this to keep me going. I always work in kilometres in a race, so focussed on trying to do 4min Kilometres and started ticking the 42k course off in my head. The pace felt comfortable and was in line with the 18 week training plan I had completed and the constant maths kept me focussed and thinking. In addition, my wife and kids, along with Scott’s wife and kids had met up and I was able to spot them a number of times throughout the course, for cheers and morale boosting shouts. All these things kept me in the game for reaching the finish line in what was my aim of 2:50. Furthermore, as I had my Abbott sticker on my back, I got extra cheers from people who recognised the challenge I was competing.

The only slightly frustrating thing is that the race course was longer than the distance, so often my watch showed progress when the course signs didn’t and as there was no blue line to follow I knew I just had to keep going.

There were a number of cut backs on the course, where I was able to get good support and see Andrew or Scott as they passed me on their stage of the course, offering each other encouragement and support to keep things going. I kept my tactic of running KM’s in 4 minutes and continued to try to maintain this even at the infamous 20 mile wall, by which point the hamstrings and quads began to struggle. The last 6 miles were as tough as ever in a marathon and the focus became about keeping one foot in front of the other and focussing on positive thoughts – I knew at this stage I wouldn’t break 2:50 but was still on target for sub 2:55.

During the last 2km, I started to seize up, but the focus on that 6 star medal, and completing the challenge kept me going. As I came round the final corner, at the Imperial Palace and could see the finish in the distance the relief his and I knew I was going to make it. I crossed the line in 2:53:05 average 4:02 a km running a total of 26.54 miles.


What made it even more special was as I was taking in the reality of finishing, I turned to look for Scott who I knew couldn’t be far away and managed to find him and come out through the finish area together – given how much me have trained together over the years, it was brilliant to have him with me on that fine stage as I went to receive my 6 star medal.

After I received the medal and Scott and I made our way out of the finish zone, the typical post-race coldness hit and Scott and I made our way out to meet our wives and kids in the charity zone, where we were met with a warm room, lots of hugs and some well needed refreshments.

In line with our normal tradition, The Brady clan joined us as the Hard Rock Café for tea. Conversation soon turned to Scott earning his 6 star medal which will be in New York and after the Tokyo marathon we both know have good for age qualifying times for 2020 so I will look forward to accompanying him on his final marathon in the challenge. However, before we can even think of that, there is the small matter of the London marathon on 28th April 2019!

How it all began…….. > Richards Marathon Career