Track & Field: Penultimate!

Thank you to Cath Lowes for the report: The third fixture of the Track & Field composite team @ Churchill Playing Fields, Whitley Bay took place on Sunday 14th July and the sun was shining. Amy Fuller competed in Long jump, hammer, 1500m (first place 5.05 strong run from the off) and 4x400m relay. 

Jonny Lowes back in the vest(somehow the vest had shrank in the wash!) 🤷🏻‍♀️🙈 competed in hammer and shot. Mary Lisle shot, javelin (with a 5 meter pb) and 4x100m relay.

Steven Naylor debut and looking good in the Elswick vest throwing javelin. Robyn Naylor won her heat in the 400m B race, soon signed up for high jump in the adrenalin rush, just made it to her 200m race, javelin and 4x100m 

Ben Hall took one for the team with a busy day competing in 400m, 400m hurdles, long jump, triple jump, high jump, both 4x400m and 4x100m relays. Nice one Bennyboy! 

Scott Brady also looking strong got himself a pb at the 1500m. Catherine Lowes – Tried hammer for the points, 3000m win and a 4x100m relay. Last fixture is Saturday 10th August @ Monkton Stadium!


GB says: Ironman? Nah….. You need Triathlon X. Race report by Elswick’s Mark Turnbull. This was my 3rd go at Tri X: -2017 blazing hot day 16 hrs 46, 20th -was a “is this even possible” event.

-2018 wet/windy/cold 15 hrs 24 (shortened course) 24th after an hour’s bath in T2 to defrost J – was a miserable event but felt like unfinished business as I was really hampered by the weather.

-2019 blazing hot again 15 hrs 12 (lengthened course) 7th – gave it a proper go. I entered TriX 2019 off the back of a decent result at Ironman Barcelona in October with the aim of building on that fitness following the same season plan as per the last couple of years – get running fit for VLM April then move onto the bike for a couple of months of long hilly rides. All went well and I arrived at the start line feeling confident of a good result, target being top 10 and 1st V50.

TriX is an extreme iron distance event with numbers limited where you get to see the whole Lake District in a day – it’s a proper adventure! 2.4 mile swim in Windermere, 112 mile cycle following the infamous Fred Whitton route with a couple of even harder bits and then a 27 mile ‘run’ to the top of Scafell Pike and back, easy. Part of the challenge is to actually finish within the 20 hour cut off and many don’t – out of 150 entrants, 80 started and only 50 finished. The event starts at 4:30 am to give everyone the best chance of finishing in daylight so the alarm was set for 3am for porridge, racking the bike and last minute preparations.

The swim was calm and warm for Windermere, 19.9 degrees after a week or two of sunshine, so I had the best iron distance swim I’ve had at 1:12, solid midfield and I got out feeling good thinking right let’s nail the rest, pick off as many in front as possible.

Onto the bike and no warm up, the route goes through Ambleside and straight up the Struggle, the 1st of 6 passes and countless other big climbs, 2 miles of up to 25% climbing to warm up on. The trick to coping with the really steep bits is having the gears so you don’t need to redline too much, I was using a 34/36 combo, a few teeth extra over last time but it definitely helps.

The miles and the hills ticked by, passing better swimmers all day without any major dramas and without any lengthy stops. Part of the strategy learnt from experience was to really maximise the free time gains by nailing transitions and minimising feed stops.

I got to Hardknott (33% at the steepest!) where most people get off and walk and got up in a fairly decent time passing a few pushing their bikes up. Walking up any of the steep bits can cost you up to 20 minutes, much better to take a man up pill and push some watts up to the top, rest on the way down.

So over the big climbs: the Struggle, Dockray, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Fangs Brow, Cold Fell, Hardknott and then should have been Wrynose and Hawkshead then back to base. However Just before the last really steep climb of Wrynose we were re-routed following a diversion on a back way to Coniston adding about 5 miles and an extra couple of thousand feet of climbing. Amongst myself and the riders around me there was plenty of huffing, complaining and heads falling at this stage until we learnt the reason was that a poor lady had lost her life on Wrynose pass during another event on that day – a coast to coast sportif – puts things in perspective, maybe not such a bad route.

I’ve no idea what happened to her except that she had a crash, but some of these descents can be really dangerous, especially if something goes wrong or breaks. On the steep ones my arms were aching from braking so much. This was the low point of the race though for me and probably everyone else – pretty tired of cycling and a few extra unplanned miles and hills.

Still arriving in T2 was a relief and no bath required this year, bonus! Quick shoe change, gulp down a recovery shake, pick up my backpack (essential fell running gear required for this run) and get running. I was still feeling good, asking what position I was in, about 20th I think and started strong, 1st mile 7:45, great, still passing people now and then. 

The marathon to Scafell Pike summit and back is not like a normal marathon. You’re already tired at the start and it gets hillier and harder and the forced slow down begins early on. The first 6 miles to the Dungeon Ghyl aren’t too bad, a few hills on the way, but from then on it’s rough steep and rocky, plenty of walking and hopping over rock fields. Scafell is pretty cruel with a few false summits but the view from the top is incredible – you can virtually see coast to coast. No time for sightseeing though I got to the top, touched the cairn and headed straight off down again.

I had a good idea of where I was and who I was racing at that stage, I was in 7th at the top having passed a few guys on the way up including a couple I recognised as in the same age group. The plan was get to the top as fast as possible and the descent should be slightly easier. Because it’s an out and back route I knew who I’d passed and I’d seen who was ahead who all looked pretty strong, so hold on for 7th was the plan. Halfway back down however I got passed by a guy I’d passed on the way up – he was a lot better going downhill, my legs just wouldn’t go any faster. Once off the mountain the run back to the finish went by pretty well, I picked up the litre of coke I’d left in my bag at the Dungeon Ghyl feed station and got through it in the last 6 miles (just like Ironman!) passing another guy who was walking near the end.

The relief of getting over the finish line at long tough events like this is immense and arriving back at the stadium finish to grandstands of applause (about 20 people in a car park) to get my medal with a few mumbles of “well done lad” was the icing on the cake. It’s not quite Ironman but the experience and sense of achievement is just as amazing. So 2.4 mile swim, 116 mile bike with 13000 feet of climbing and 27 mile run with 5000 feet of climbing, 7th overall and 2nd V50 in 15 hours 12 minutes. Turned out the guy that passed me was a V50, had a 54 minute swim and finished 6 minutes ahead, so I made up 14 minutes but it wasn’t enough. Official times:

1:14 swim (don’t know where they got the extra 2 minutes from)

7:46 bike

6:05 run

Plus 3 minutes each for T1 and T2.

Job done, happy with that, I couldn’t have done any more (just need to swim faster). What next – well they also ran a TriX Extreme this year (more hills, in fact just hills the whole way) with 20 entrants and only one finisher (mainly due to the weather) – maybe next year.

Juniors Report – a Grand Finale to our NEYDL season 2019

26 junior athletes competed in the final NEYDL athletics meeting in Whitley Bay yesterday.

The juniors covered events ranging from hurdles, 100m, 200m, 300m, 800m and 1500m with some very strong performances including several wins and PB’s and a fastest 800m by an U13 girl in the northeast this year – Poppy Old (2.26)

We had several debut performances including 4 new U13 boys with some of them running a very memorable 1500m in the monsoon rain!

Field events saw our juniors trying out shot put, long jump, javelin and discus.

Finally, the u13 girls and u17 girls finished off an enjoyable day with the 4x100m relay.

The combined South Shields/Elswick juniors finished a respectable 4th on the day.

An incredibly wet end to the athletics season. #teamelswick

Report from Claire Tumia, Juniors Coach.

PS – special thanks to parents for their help, commentator Ken and Claire for organising our team.

Summer 5K handicap race

This Tuesday’s senior training session took the form of a 5k handicap race, kindly organised by our head coach Tom Hanson.  In advance of the race, runners submitted their names so that Tom could allocate handicap start times.  For those unfamiliar with handicap races, essentially everyone’s start time is based upon their estimated finish time.  Slowest runners set off first with all other runners setting off in accordance with their estimated times with a view to all competitors completing the 5k distance very close together.

As Tom observes the senior runners training week in, week out, he is pretty accurate at providing the correct handicap start times to achieve a very close finish, meaning anyone from the slowest to the fastest runner has a good chance of winning.  On this occasion, Tracy finished in first place, followed by Peter Jobson and Peter Taylor.  

It was a lovely sunny evening, albeit a bit windy on the return leg, so conditions were pleasant.  The race began along the riverside path adjacent to One North East business park, following the course of the river, then exiting the business park towards B&Q, with a sharp double back at the end of the pedestrian path, retracing the course back to the start at the “crescent” of trees, where a race funnel awaited.  

For those unfamiliar with our internal timed runs, you can be assured that the course is well marked and/or marshalled.  Hi viz arrows pointed the way along the course, Jonny Lowes was present at the half way point (bollards opposite B&Q) to shout out times and general encouragement.  Ian assisted Tom with recording finish times and Christine Lee did a grand job recording each runner’s number as they entered the finishing funnel.  There was a good range of runners amongst the 26 attendees as you will see from the list of finishing times and positions below.  

Keep an eye out for the next internal timed race event, which is likely to be on 27 August, the only date that will fit with the busy calendar of races.  It will be another handicap race, this time the 6 mile river route.  So for those of you who missed out on competing in our June River Run because you were marshalling or helping in some other capacity, here’s your chance to have a go at this race route.  

Many thanks to Tom for the organisation of this handicap race and to Ian, Christine and Jonny for their assistance in supporting the runners and recording the results.  Another great team effort.

Elswick Summer 5k Results



Sunderland 5k report 110719

The Sunderland 5k always attracts a very strong field of runners across the 2 races and it certainly did again on a hot, humid Thursday 11th July.

I certainly think that first mile can be the maker or breaker of your race, go off to fast you then find it difficult to get into a rhythm for the remainder of the run, especially with that slight head wind going out towards the lake. However putting that aside it’s a super-fast course with good support around the finishing area which you can hear on your approach to that area of the course which certainly encourages everyone to go that little bit faster.

Yes it’s a club championship event for us but it’s superb to see so many Elswick Harriers attend this event which could potentially put some off due to the strength of runners around them. Credit to everyone who turned up and had ago, races need runners!

The V50 men head of first with the ladies in which saw Guy Bracken of North Shields Poly cruise to victory in 16.18. Our own Mark Turnbull run 18:10 finishing 8th. This was an amazing time after completing the TriX on June 29th 2019 which incorporated a swim of 4,121yd followed by sitting on the saddle for 115.78 miles and then just a mere marathon to finish. Mike Russell 21st 19:14. Mark Mcnally finished in 35th with a time of 21:06, this is incredible for a guy that’s in his 70s, if I’m running times like that when I’m his age I will be more than happy. To see him and Club Chairman Harry Matthews who is also V70 whom finished 48th crossing the line in 23:25 is very inspiring for us younger ones. Robert Lambert who flew in especially from Spain ran 21:31 finishing just behind Mark in 37th. 40th Richard Hudson 21.57. Our little legs Stevie Curry came 50th in 24:02 with Aiden Cairns on his Birthday ran a respectable 26:27 crossing the line in 60th position.

The Ladies race was won by Charlotte Penfold of North Shields Poly in 17:40. Amy Fuller was the first Elswick Harrier home in 19:05, 24th Catherine Lowes 20:39, Robyn Naylor who bagged a 21:14 pb came 30th, 35th Arabella Pearce 21:44, 38th Suzanne Stephenson 22:03, 56th Melissa Bateson 24:08, 79th Claire Gilfillan 26:26, 83rd Deborah Wilmot 27:18, 94th Laura Clegg who has been struggling with plantar fasciitis recently 28:55,

Looking at the men’s race which was won by Sam Hancox of Morpeth Harriers in 15:02. Elswicks Andrew Ball was gutted on the night not to break 17 mins as he finished 55th with a time of 17:15, however he had just been on holiday and still managed to knock a huge chunk off last years’ time, I’m sure he won’t have to wait for too long. Scott Brady was returning to his normal strength over 5k as he ran 17:57 finishing 71st. The ever consistent Steve Robertson came in 74th narrowly missing out on sub 18 as he ran 18:05. Richard Houghton 85th 18:19. Crossing the line in 102nd was Jonathan Rewcastle who ran a pb of 18:54, stunning run Jonathan well done you must have been those new trainers. Ben Hall is certainly becoming stronger week by week as he finished in 126th with a time of 20:16 in which he was aiming for around 20mins. 111th Chris Pearce 19:16 strong run, 119th Carl Marshall 19:30, 124th Lee Coulson 19:54, 135th Daniel Nettle 20:49, 138th Michael Clegg 21.07, 155th John Ryan 24:15.

The run of the night for the Elswick men came from Andrew Bell who rarely runs with a watch decided to wear one that particular evening, much to his delight he ran a pb of 16.43 coming in 42nd that just shows you the strength of the field.

Challenge Roth. Sunday 7th July 2019.

After 4 years away from full distance Triathlon Iain and I were tentatively ready for another go at a full distance event:

2019 Challenge Roth. The Challenge word is the brand that is similar to the well-known Ironman brand BUT Challenge Roth has its own entity within the Challenge group. It is a family run organisation. Say hello the the family pooch Hugo!

Roth is a village in South West Germany. The word Roth can also be pronounced ‘wrote’. Time once again to: swim 3.8km bike 180km run 42.2km = 226kms or 140.6 miles. The event was not without controversy. Want to know more? Then read on: My report does contain unpleasant words!

Thursday 4th July: Leaving the North East a short hop down to Heathrow T5 and a connecting flight to Munich. We were greeted by a friendly bunch of reps from Tri Travel Australia, who asked us if we wouldn’t mind slumming it for 150km in a Mercedes transporter van to take us the Ramada Hotel in Nuremberg: Of course not, not a bother. The crack was good with Aussie Adam! A check in and a nice meal at Va Bene’s Italian (it is alcohol free beer!) just a stroll away rounded off the travel day. Continue reading Challenge Roth. Sunday 7th July 2019.

Senior training for the weeks ahead. Important.

Note from the coaching team: please read and take note team Elswick. Thank you. Tom Hanson is taking names now for the scheduled 5 km handicap. If you place your name on Facebook, still inform Tom.

9 July Tuesday  30 mins of mile reps based from the seat at the start of the track.

11 July Thursday is circuits followed by 400/800/1200/800/400 on the field.

16/July  5 km Handicap starting at the crescent.

18 July  Two sets of 4 x 800 m: With 1 min rest between 400’s and 4 min recovery between sets.

23 July   3 x station bank or 6 x Half way.

25 July  Circuits  followed by 5 x 3 mins with 1 min recovery on field.

30th Club 5 km based at the centre: ( Runners can try on new shoes! (adidas have been invited down to the club and members can look to try out new trainers).


Senior Training This week

Tuesday: Walbottle Bank 23 min loop. Coaches Steve R & Tom H won’t be in attendance: Elswick’s Lee Ager will be deputising.

Thursday: By the leisure centre: Warm up around Blayney Row.

Then: 4 x 2 min, 5 x short hills, 1 x 1 mile on the grass track.