Northbrook Results

For a complete listing visit the Results Index

July 2021

Calfman Triathlon 10k – 31 July 10K

  Paul Robbins 0:50:48
  Spencer Davies 0:54:38
  Mark Parker 0:53:15
  Team Northbrook* 1:07:47

* Tracey Cox, Claudie Combelas & Kelly Parker

Six Northbrookers and supporters headed down to Emberton Country Park for a very early start, with three in the individual competition and a women’s relay team. The anticipation had been building for this all week with the rivals noting each others strengths and weaknesses. It was all in good humour, and the weather stayed dry.

Paul started us off and we all knew that he would be out of reach immediately. Mark and I were due to start 5 mins behind him and Tracey for the women’s team 5 mins behind us. We It got through the usual bunfight in the swim which meant we could just concentrate on our races. The course was a little twisty but after being chased by a few paddle boarders Tracey and Mark got themselves back on track.

Bike next and I knew I had to push here to keep a charging Mark and Claudie behind me. Mark and Claudie almost started together and as such had the added benefit of working together. I managed to hold them off.

Then back into transition for the run. Paul was about 5k clear at this point but I was still expecting to see Mark charging for me and if Claudie could have released Kelly ahead of him then it could have been a very interesting run. It was hilly and very muddy as the local farmer had decided to plough his fields, but it was only 10k and manageable. As I finished the 1st lap Paul was finishing overall as 1st in his age category. There was still no sign of the others so I could just push on, slowly passing people on the skating rink of mud.

I was glad to finish and take a breather as I listened to Paul’s heroics, then Mark’s stories of glory before a charging Kelly grabbed the rest of her team to run them in as 1st in their classification.

Really good to be back out with great company. Well done all – Spencer

EMGP Rugby 6 Mile – 28 July 6M

  Charles Jones 0:46:38

My best pace for ages. A small field but excellent running conditions.

Thunder Run 2021 – 24-25 July 10K

The event 2 years in the making and more personnel changes than I could shake a stick at led to the teams being unstable until 11am on the Saturday morning. Oh the bliss of knowing we had stable teams for at least an hour (the first time in 2 months I could be stress free).

Friday morning came around and the advance team (yes this takes a team) of 5 cars from 2 different directions and sneaking runners from the fields descended. An hour beforehand we met up in our secret location to drop the 2 girls for their covert mission, the cars relocating to their crawl points. With 10 mins to go, my rolling roadblock started. 2 miles at 6mph meant the van took the whole of the road, we crawled but we weren’t the only ones. The queue of at least 25 vehicles behind were on the same plan. This was torturous. With 5 mins to go Mark’s rolling roadblock from the opposite direction started, caravan in the middle of the road, Jamie just in front.

As the tannoys from the site announced the public’s arrival on site the pace picked up. A caravan leapt out of the queued car park almost wiping out Chris. The girls sprinted out of the grass armed with their stakes gunning for our agreed ideal pitches. Chris was 3rd car on site, Jon almost glued to his bumper as was I, the two of them racing across the fields to “the pitch”. Suddenly the van hit 6 mph again to block the avenues. Jamie appeared, Chris spotted the marshalls advancing on the girls and pushed his white charger to the rescue. This was it, free for all. All the car doors opened and armed with stakes we began. We needed a lot of space but so did others. They were staking fast but Jon, Tracey, Mark, Kelly, Emma, Chris and Claudie were faster. I was trying to keep people out as we taped for our life. 3 minutes later and we could stop and breathe. A car in the corner of each area and half a mannequin thrown in pitchside. We had done it. Staked and taped our space was determined. And what a job, what an achievement, what a team.

As we setup the tents, gazebos and shelters the rest of the Northbrook Thunder runners started to arrive. The partying began. The kids’ pyjama race had the next generation of Northbrookers out there showing us adults how to run. With our own improvised race briefing in the evening, we let our neighbours know that the 38 Northbrook runners and almost as many support crew with us could party as hard as we hoped our running might on the following day. 9am Saturday morning and Sarah, our only representative in the 10K event set off, I don’t think she expected the encouragement she was about to receive. But she did a great job, Northbrook sunburst, bursting with pride.

After team photos and briefing we nervously made our way down to the start. Jamie in a pink flamingo outfit lapping up the attention. The start as always was fast and furious. Matt lead the flamingo, our soloist and Mark in the bunfight to the the 1st climb. As they reappeared closing in on 3k we gave them all the encouragement they come to love and expect from us. Legs 2 started to prepare and panic, it was hot, it was humid but our teams had started so we must roll. Handover had been thought about, it was not the usual scrum, but the heat was horrendous. In the forests, the air was slightly cooler, still and dry, but breathing was an issue. This was a course we would all get familiar with over the next 24 hours.

This year we had newbies, we had some carrying knocks, some experienced, some nervous and two completely spare teams due to an avalanche of drop outs. These spare teams gave an opportunity for various team members to boost their lap count if they wanted to. As the team cycles started, the heat and humiditity were taking their effect. In addition the ground was like rutted concrete covered in a deceiving layer of grass, then you had the exposed tree roots. These caught out many of us. The injury updates were beginning, Matt struggling with his knee pushed through everything on his poles, David could not go again, the swelling on his knee meant he was reduced to trackside with an analgesia of cider so he could encourage. Graeme, Kelly, Matt and Kevin all being caught out by tree roots, Daren caught offguard dodging someone on their phone tore a calf that was just being nursed back to health. As the night came around, the tree roots grew, but it was still hot and humid. the teams were still rolling we were all beginning to watch the leaderboards.

At daybreak, waves of exhausted and broken Northbrookers reappeared to start encouraging every step. The extra push we needed with less than 1 km to go was what we all needed. My 3rd leg had broken on his lap 3. As I came in from my 4th lap I was greeted by Jamie not Sam, tired, exhausted running out of fuel and fluids, I shed as much of the clothes as I could to Jamie and went out again. Double headers are horrible, the only way to get round them is a strategy, anything uphill had to be walked, but I was out of energy, no food of fluids till 5k meant the longest 5k in my head everywhere. It was the best water ever, and the pitstop 2k later was like a sweet shop, I ate it all desperate for fuel. Then Matt came Nordic skiing past me like he was not touching the floor. That’s it, one more drink and let’s try to keep with Matt, the company meant the last part of the lap was a lot better. Matt was finished, the sight of Tom stood waiting for me almost bought tears to my eyes as I passed the slapband over and collapsed to the floor.

When I got back to the tents, the state of my team meant an exit stategy was needed, we had 4 of us and just under 5 hours, 1 lap each and I had to go again. By this time the women’s team were consistently rolling in 4th and our Flash team were looking for 5th. Mark’s team was 1 lap ahead and holding it over us. The 2 larger teams, though reduced on numbers were still smiling and strategizing the same. But it was still hot and humid. Tracey was on the glory leg for Thunder, and Claudie on the glory leg for the women had Caroline with her. I was the glory leg for ours (rehydrating on Budweiser seemed like the best solution) with Mark with me and now Pete for Flash who was nursing a sore knee meant we 3 amigos were going to laugh and talk our run/walk round the last lap, Pete Marshall bringing in cloud. The last hillock was horrendous, tight legs and team mates watching and waiting for the run in. But what glory the teams took, each one with a flag, the Northbrook colours down the finish straight 6 times whole teams on the run in, even those who struggled from lap 1 hobbled their way to the finish line.
We had done it, Northbrook came and conquered. We were everywhere (Spa Striders made a song about us). We were the biggest contingent, the most talked about, we had the best support and the loudest voices. Everyone was cheered and encouraged.

Northbrook rocked TR24. What next? 2022? Equinox? 12 Shades? – Spencer


Northbrook Lightning
Women’s team of 5
4th in small team cat
22 laps in 24h 03m 35s

Lap Time
1 Lisa Bragg 00:56:30
2 Claudie Combelas 01:05:32
3 Caroline Parkinson 01:08:45
4 Elle Townsend 00:58:15
5 Sara Pick 01:00:26
6 Lisa Bragg 00:55:25
7 Claudie Combelas 01:06:35
8 Caroline Parkinson 01:10:36
9 Elle Townsend 00:58:41
10 Sara Pick 01:03:12
11 Lisa Bragg 01:01:10
12 Claudie Combelas 01:08:19
13 Caroline Parkinson 01:20:51
14 Elle Townsend 01:15:09
15 Sara Pick 01:09:33
16 Lisa Bragg 01:00:54
17 Claudie Combelas 01:07:01
18 Caroline Parkinson 01:18:40
19 Elle Townsend 01:01:54
20 Sara Pick 01:07:05
21 Lisa Bragg 00:59:11
22 Claudie Combelas 01:09:51

Northbrook Flash
Men’s team of 5
5th in small team cat
27 laps in 24h 22m 09s

1 Matt Hathrell 00:48:06
2 Rory Anderson 00:44:57
3 Richard Bruce 00:47:31
4 Pete Stafford 00:47:27
5 Paul Robbins 00:49:12
6 Matt Hathrell 01:07:51
7 Rory Anderson 00:46:19
8 Richard Bruce 00:46:54
9 Pete Stafford 00:47:20
10 Paul Robbins 00:49:45
11 Matt Hathrell 01:07:45
12 Rory Anderson 00:47:36
13 Richard Bruce 00:56:57
14 Pete Stafford 00:51:50
15 Paul Robbins 00:53:46
16 Matt Hathrell 01:06:27
17 Rory Anderson 00:49:18
18 Richard Bruce 00:57:00
19 Pete Stafford 00:52:19
20 Paul Robbins 00:53:37
21 Matt Hathrell 01:09:03
22 Rory Anderson 00:47:15
23 Richard Bruce 00:58:54
24 Pete Stafford 00:50:21
25 Paul Robbins 00:56:12
26 Rory Anderson 00:51:40
27 Pete Stafford 01:16:47

Northbrook Typhoons
Men’s team of 5
10th in small team cat
24 laps in 23h 59m 36s

1 Mark Parker 00:52:35
2 Duncan Flash Gordon 00:53:08
3 Sean Duffy 00:52:33
4 Francis Mason 00:57:14
5 Craig Slyde 00:51:30
6 Mark Parker 00:52:59
7 Duncan Flash Gordon 01:01:13
8 Sean Duffy 00:53:17
9 Francis Mason 00:58:31
10 Craig Slyde 00:51:04
11 Mark Parker 00:54:30
12 Duncan Flash Gordon 01:01:17
13 Sean Duffy 01:04:51
14 Francis Mason 01:04:08
15 Craig Slyde 00:53:44
16 Mark Parker 01:04:19
17 Duncan Flash Gordon 01:11:55
18 Sean Duffy 01:04:40
19 Francis Mason 01:03:50
20 Craig Slyde 00:58:44
21 Mark Parker 01:09:41
22 Duncan Flash Gordon 01:15:47
23 Sean Duffy 01:02:53
24 Francis Mason 01:05:13

Northbrook Storm
Men’s team of 5
15th in small team cat
23 laps in 24h 22m 06s

Lap Time
1 Jamie Gould 00:51:47
2 Spencer Davies 00:54:14
3 Sam Haskell 00:52:15
4 Tom Miller 00:54:25
5 Richard Gould 01:03:38
6 Jamie Gould 00:58:40
7 Spencer Davies 00:55:47
8 Sam Haskell 00:51:15
9 Tom Miller 00:56:01
10 Richard Gould 01:07:55
11 Jamie Gould 01:13:29
12 Spencer Davies 01:01:08
13 Sam Haskell 01:02:11
14 Tom Miller 01:00:55
15 Richard Gould 01:25:41
16 Jamie Gould 01:12:13
17 Spencer Davies 01:02:19
18 Spencer Davies 01:17:07
19 Tom Miller 00:57:07
20 Richard Gould 01:25:28
21 Jamie Gould 00:59:21
22 Tom Miller 00:58:23
23 Spencer Davies 01:20:47

Northbrook Cloud
Mixed team of 6-8
58th in large team cat
22 laps in 24h 44m 43s

1 Emma Vardy 01:01:56
2 Catherine Shepherd 01:22:22
3 Kevin Coughlan 01:01:16
4 Jonathon Vardy 00:51:17
5 Adrian Lowe 00:56:00
6 Tim Hughes 01:04:49
7 David Giles 01:14:36
8 Pete Marshall 01:04:20
9 Emma Vardy 01:04:56
10 Catherine Shepherd 01:24:36
11 Kevin Coughlan 01:07:54
12 Jonathon Vardy 00:52:33
13 Adrian Lowe 01:01:32
14 Tim Hughes 01:11:04
15 Pete Marshall 01:08:32
16 Emma Vardy 01:09:55
17 Catherine Shepherd 01:51:12
18 Kevin Coughlan 01:02:45
19 Jonathon Vardy 00:52:32
20 Adrian Lowe 01:03:48
21 Tim Hughes 01:09:10
22 Pete Marshall 01:07:38

Northbrook Thunder
Mixed team of 6-8
123rd in large team cat
17 laps in 23h 52m 00s

1 Graeme Brannen 01:23:29
2 Kelly Parker 01:13:51
3 Chris Archer 01:24:22
4 Tracey Cox 01:20:01
5 Danny Murphy 01:00:49
6 Verity Crichton 01:34:09
7 Daren Timbrell 01:27:54
8 Graeme Brannen 01:25:58
9 Kelly Parker 01:16:38
10 Chris Archer 01:25:01
11 Tracey Cox 01:31:47
12 Danny Murphy 01:25:23
13 Kelly Parker 01:23:43
14 Graeme Brannen 01:29:55
15 Verity Crichton 01:38:53
16 Chris Archer 01:26:02
17 Tracey Cox 01:24:05

Northbrook Bolt
3 laps in 3h 16m 29s

1 David Giles 01:06:08
2 Tommy Dempsey 00:53:34
3 Mark Parker 01:16:47


Northbrook Whirlwind
2 laps in 2h 33m 19s

1 Pete Marshall 01:23:28
2 Caroline Parkinson 01:09:51


Thunder Run 10k

  Sarah Duffy 01:00:41

KP Northbrook
15th in mixed pairs cat
10 laps in 19h 09m 13s

1 Paul Stead 01:05:56
2 Katy Davies 01:08:41
3 Paul Stead 01:03:08
4 Katy Davies 01:13:36
5 Paul Stead 01:18:27
6 Katy Davies 01:16:09
7 Katy Davies 01:23:36
8 Paul Stead 01:45:03
9 Katy Davies 02:20:03
10 Katy Davies 06:34:34*

*includes sleep time and walk to finish

Northbrook Lone Wolf
30th in men’s solo cat
10 laps in 17h 08m 55s

1 Damien Dear 00:51:47
2 Damien Dear 00:54:58
3 Damien Dear 01:01:41
4 Damien Dear 01:12:52
5 Damien Dear 01:10:06
6 Damien Dear 01:09:43
7 Damien Dear 01:31:11
8 Damien Dear 01:30:13
9 Damien Dear 01:28:08
10 Damien Dear 06:18:16*

*includes sleep time and walk to finish

Bedworth Park 5k – 25 July 5K

  Lee Newark 0:24:23

EMGP Corby 5 – 21 July 5M

  Charles Jones 0:40:40

Very hot and humid for this hilly 5-miler, and I was the sole Northbrooker.

Gato Sports Summer 10k Race 3 – 21 July 10K

14 Victoria Boyle 0:48:09 3rd female
15 Spencer Davies 0:48:51  
16 Lisa Bragg 0:49:13  
17 Elle Townsend 0:49:36 series 3rd female
26 Tim Hughes 0:53:14  
30 David Tittle 0:54:39  
36 Caroline Parkinson 0:57:28  
41 Claudie Combelas 1:00:01  
43 Pete Marshall 1:01:07  
53 Becky Barber 1:07:02  
66 Graeme Brannen 1:14:18  
67 Tracey Williams 1:14:19  
72 Chris Archer 1:16:40  
78 Jane Stephens 1:20:37  

14 Northbrookers headed to Ryton Pools for the last in the summer 10K race series. It was hot and the dust hung in the air mixed with the heat haze. With very little cover from the beating sun this was never going to be fast. It was going to be a matter of survival and finishing.

As Tori led us off and our ability gaps appeared, the sun causing the sweat to blind us and dehydrate quickly. I managed to keep Tori in sight but being chased by the giggling Elle and Lisa (how do they manage to laugh and run in that heat) on lap 1 meant that after the turn around we got to support fellow Northbrookers. Our cheer squad of 2 were a welcome sight every time, though it did mean we had the small middle hill to ascend every time.

By the end, we had been drained of energy, some flat out on the grass, others drenching themselves in water and bottle after bottle being consumed. Not pleasant at all, but good to see it all over with for the series.

Thanks Chris for the tip off. You say winter? – Spencer

Coventry Chase the Sun 10k – 21 July 10K

2 Dan Stevens 0:38:53

Draycote Water Twilight 10k – 21 July 10K

9 Martin Winch 0:43:04 3rd MV40
13 Sean Duffy o:44:01  
15 Tommy Dempsey 0:44:51  
24 Peter Kirkhope 0:48:44  
50 Julie Liggett 0:61:14  
53 Jo Arden 1:01:32 1st FV50
57 Joanne Richards 1:03:56  

Draycote Water Twilight 5k – 21 July 5K

1 Mark Baker 0:21:24

It’s not very often that I win a race, and come home as 1st MV50, so I was delighted to hear the results. I ran the same race last month, finishing 4th in a faster time. However, this race was held in extremely hot conditions and there was only a small field.

I am running shorter races at the moment, to prepare for a Coventry track 5km next month featuring the Civil Service championships.

Wild Boar Trail Triathlon 21 Half-Marathon run leg, Chepstow – 20 July HM

  Spencer Davies 2:09:27

Compton Verney Half-Marathon – 18 July HM

  Lee Newark 2:29:26

Piggy Plod 10k – 18 July 10K

  Kelly Parker 7:07:46

Cider Frolic Trail – 17 July OTH

  Mark Parker 7:07:46 30.28 miles

Mayhill Massacre – 17 July OTH

  Paul Robbins 1:49:36
  Spencer Davies 1:58:56
  Claudie Combelas 2:02:35
  Matthew Hathrell 2:04:58
  Tracey Cox 2:24:56

17th July was a very warm day, with what’s normally a winter race the prospect of climbing the Mayhill in the beating sun did not bode well. 5 of us trekked down there. The race instructions were a little sketchy, although we finally found the registration/parking.

It turned out that the race organiser had decided to run 3 events on the same day. The 9.5 mile massacre, a 15 mile Mayhem version and a forest warrior race. What became very evident was that the courses shared a lot of the same routes, but the signage was for only one event at a time. After the race started the Mayhem version was cancelled due to the heat (race started at 11am due to the forest warrior event) and the cancellation was supposed to be notified via the water stations. The route up Mayhill to the plain at the top was different from normal, but it was still hot.


Paul and Matt passed me early as I was wary of a new route. Tracey settled at her own pace to enjoy it, Claudie settling in behind me. After the plain at the top, I took a tumble over thin air, skinning a knee, elbow and palms and landing on my shoulder inches from a barbed wire fence. I gave myself 5 mins to clean up and calm down when a passing member of the NHS’ finest stated that as I could stand there was nothing wrong with me. With blood pouring down my knee I set off again. Memory guiding me on this route meant I did not notice the lack of signs. I passed Matt at about 5 miles and carried on. Shortly after that we were directed off the normal course again. This time we found the obstacles with the warrior race coming at us head on. We skipped round to find the front of the Mayhill race coming back to us. They declared it was a circle and they were lost as paths were taped off. We carried on, it was becoming clear now that though there were signs, which race signs you followed were a mystery. More and more runners were getting lost/going in circles and becoming very confused. At every turning you found yourself walking to get the confidence that you were on the right path.

My descent to the finish was a motocross track, banked corners and jumps over 4ft logs with a 10ft deep trenches in between. There were signs and tapes but who knew if we were on the right track. As I broke into the finish field, the marshall was relieved to see anyone as apparently not many had materialised. As I finished Matt, Paul and Claudie were waiting. They had come in from the opposite direction. Ss we started to look around it was obvious the (races) were coming in from all directions, finishing both ways under the finish arch. This was chaos.

I got back to the car to check where Tracey was on our (pre arranged tracker), thank heavens we did. Tracey had started to come off the top when a horse wagon parked in front of signage. She’d taken a wrong turn and was now on the main road. She was cheerful (or delirious) and we guided her back in. How can anyone be that happy and smiley when disaster on a disasterous run had happened. At least we were all safe and mostly uninjured.

Is this a sign of a greedy race organiser trying to recover last years losses? His events are normally better organised but this was a very poor show.

No race positions available as his chip timing system failed due to people coming in from any direction. Distances varied from 9.45 miles to 10.25 miles – Spencer

EMGP Banbury 5 – 13 July 5M

77 Mark Baker 0:34:41
78 Tommy Dempsey 0:34:53
127 Charles Jones 0:39:47

This was the first time that I started right at the back of a race. I had entered the race at the last minute, so I was in the final wave of runners. This gave me a different experience, which was great, as I chased down the other runners. It was a hot night and a fast start, but there were some testing hills in the middle of the race. It’s hard to get really fast times in humid conditions, but we all did well.

Tommy was very consistent, and Charles is still running at a great pace as he approaches MV70 category next year – Mark

Leamington Half-Marathon – 11 July HM

51 Robin Aston 1:23:20
102 Liam Mills 1:29:27
640 Charlotte Mills 1:54:18
730 Simon Aldridge 1:57:23
790 Rebecca Jarvis 1:59:13
1087 Eleanor Aldridge 2:10:19
1090 Alan Smith 2:10:26
1277 Alan Hewitt 2:19:46


The lesson learnt from today’s race was, don’t run with an injury. Sore knee at the start … Very sore knee at the finish. Managed to drag myself round a very picturesque course. Support and organisation was fantastic. I would have probably got under 2h10m if I hadn’t spotted a huge field of pea pods at the 7 mile point and decided to pick a few for a mid race snack – Alan Smith

Lakeland Trails Ultra, Ambleside – 10 July OTH

Cliff Evans 8:57:44

My first 55k event and my first visit to the Lake District. Beautiful setting with a lot of mountain passes.

I’m now utterly in love with Lake District and have signed up for the Lakeland 100k for 2023.

Race to the Stones 100k – 10 July OTH

Matthew Hathrell 17:16:05

Bad day on a bad trail. Not one that I’d advise anyone does in the future. Made it to the end though, and I suppose that’s all that matters.

Salcey Summer Challenge – 8 July OTH

Chris Archer 6:43:19

A 6-hour multi-terrain challenge event – start as many laps as desired/able within 6 hours of race start. I ran 26.4 miles.

7 @ 7pm, Draycote Water – 7 July OTH

22 Spencer Davies 0:31:48
47 Rich Cawley 0:35:06

7 @ 7am, Draycote Water – 7 July OTH

20 Spencer Davies 0:32:08
24 David Mills 0:33:48
27 Rich Cawley 0:34:52

EMGP Harborough 5 – 6 July 5M

Tommy Dempsey 0:34:44
Charles Jones 0:39:53
Julie Liggett 0:46:31

Man vs Coast 25-Mile Trail Run – 4 July OTH

145 Spencer Davies 6:08:42
147 Mark Parker 6:08:48
159 James Lacey 6:13:02
361 Claudie Combelas 7:17:39
362 Caroline Parkinson 7:17:46
364 Tim Hughes 7:18:21
417 Craig Slyde 7:45:58
455 Fern Kenny 8:01:23

As events were beginning to come back an idea developed with a small group of friends. Man vs Coast 2021 was renamed Northbrook vs Coast, and a team of 5 and 2 pairs took the 290 mile trip to Penzance.

What was in store was a 25-mile trail run from St Michaels Mount to the north coast of Cornwall and down to Lands End. Sounds easy, but the first 7 miles were up to the moorland of Cornwall before we plummeted down to the coastal path on the north coast. Still sounds normal? Factor in being waist deep in the sea after 100 mtrs then again before leaving the beach, a river scramble under some very low bridges (Jim, Fern and me somewhat struggling with the height more so than some of our others), a limbo pole in the sea, a cliff jump, a lot of rock scrambling, body boarding, bouldering, a harbour swim, more rocks and then rope bridges. This was going to be awesome.

Jim set off about 5 mins ahead of us in a small group he had arranged. The rest of us started together. The marshalls standing in the sea for the endurance were awesome and so encouraging. As we approached the hill our best laid plans of staying together fizzled out as it became clear that an ability gap and wet clothes were never going to work. The split developed, Craig leading Mark and me to the 1st aid station. We waited but the sea water had been replaced by sweat making us cold so we continued, the others about 5 mins behind us. The moorland was fab, proper cross country stuff. I was glad to see the back of the tarmac up the hill and to start to catch up the other 2 as I hopped from muddy puddle to crag on hidden paths. This was intense. We then turned down hill, even better, the inner mountain goat came out as I leaped from rock to rock chasing Craig down. At the road crossing our support team of Chris and Tracey greeted us. Friendly faces made the difference, though they were being hounded by the wild ponies. We carried on down, Craig and me leaping from rock to rock and wary of cobbles underfoot.

What was supposed to be flat from here in turned out to be vertical rises and drops that took your breath away. Craig developed a niggle and we waited where we could but the paths were narrow. The views were stunning as were the supporters again crossing paths. They were chatting their heads off before we left them for the next installment of sea adventures.


The water limbo was refreshing and well needed. Craig was struggling so we checked he was OK and left him to grit his teeth through the last 11 miles. Then came the cliff jump. It looked huge (sure it was only 4 ft really) and the rocks jutted out, Mark making it look easy as I leapt for my life (not so much mountain goat now but some sort of landslide as I hit the water). That was ace.

At the next aid station and we continued on, Mark loving the encouragement though the sun was rising. As we passed through the remnants of more old tin mines our supporters popped up again. The news that Jim was not far ahead spurred Mark and me on. Knowing the others were all happy and separated into their own abilities made the push on easier. As we dropped towards the sea again the vertical km came into view. What sadist planned this 16 miles into a route? But a challenge is a challenge. I tried though not sure my pace could be classified at this point as trying on a rough gravelly surface. Mark begrudgingly now following me. The next aid station at the top was a welcome sight. Jim having flayed his mate up the vertical km appeared on our tail much to Mark’s horror. He knew what this meant. We pushed on hard, dropping to the next cove where we met the supporters for our last time, Mark imploring them to hold me up so he could get a lead and relax a bit more.

The next section was a cross between vertical uphills and steep drops on a sandy coastal path with rocks every 25 mtrs. It was hard work. It was great to hit the beach for the bodyboarding, feet in the cold sea to numb them from the rocks. Then Jim reappeared, his mate having implored him to leave him to grit his teeth. Jim had us in his sights. Mark was catching waves, Jim threatening tubes. I lay on the board and instantly cramped. That was enough for me. Mark was trying to keep the lead he needed, on the boulders as the mountain goat in me returned. These were real ankle breakers. As I got to the harbour, Mark was already at the orca and turning. By this stage any attempt at front crawl looked like I was having a fit in the sea (as Jim pointed out to me). Tt must have worked for me as the floating marshalls were pushing Mark along with a stick. The 3 of us headed to the rope bridges together. The marshalls took one look at the 3 of us and tightened the tautness on the lines, a bit rude, but rather be safe than under the water again. Jim’s tarzan instincts meant he made mincemeat out of the ropes, I struggled, Mark was cautious wishing we would disappear.

On the vertical climb afterwards Jim deceived us, looking like he was struggling. As we got to the top with 1.5 miles to go Jim’s cry of "go on lads without me I’m done" fooled us. Then he disappeared like a world class sprinter climbing and disappearing ahead of us. All Mark got at this point was "come on Mark we can do this". Determined to finish together was a great reward instantly forgotton as someone shoved a hot bowl of the world’s best powdered soup in front of me. I inhaled it as Mark was still on the floor. Then someone mentioned bar!! – fastest we had all moved in the last 10 miles.

As the others triumphed our finishers’ party grew and the tales of our heroic glory rained down, A great day, Fern ensuring we captured photos of all the wildlife on route and ably supported by Tony and her girls made sure no Northbrooker was left behind.

Northbrook took on the coast and Northbrook won. Well done all – Spencer

Peak District 52Km Ultra Challenge – 4 July OTH


Andy Houston 9:45:00

Enigma Shaken Not Stirred Trail Marathon – 3 July M

Duncan Gordon 4:35:15

Birmingham Black Country Trail Half-Marathon – 3 July HM

Lee Newark 1:55:55
Matthew Hathrell 1:56:49

Legs gave up around 18k – Lee

A week before my 100k race, and still with a slightly dodgy knee, this was never going to be more than a training run. Hit basically the exact time I wanted and had a lot of fun doing it. It’s great to be back racing again – Matthew