Winter Warmer Curry Run – Thursday 15th January

As a few of you have expressed an interest in sampling the “Thursday Curry Night” at The Chelmsford in Ebchester, we’ve decided to try it out as one of our ever popular “Run, Eat, Drink” events. 

The night in question will be Thursday 15th January, and the evening will consist of a 5-6 mile run, starting from Ebchester at 6.30pm (route still to be confirmed, although I can say you will definitely need a headtorch), followed by a curry and drinks in The Chelmsford.

The cost of the freshly homemade curries is just £7.95, and you will find the standard menu below. A vegetarian, beef, chicken and prawn option is available on all curries except the Katsu curry.

All curries are to be pre-ordered, and paid for by Monday 12th January. Due to seating numbers we will be limited to approximately 45, so please let Tony Skeen have names and your choice of curry as soon as possible. Payment can be made to Tony in cash, or by direct payment into Bounders account using “curry run” and your surname name as reference.

I’m sure The Chelmsford would be delighted to feed any friends or family who would like to eat while we run.

It would be great to see a good turn out as usual!

Click on menu above to make it bigger.

The Annual “Deck the Tree” Run – Sunday 14th December

Christmas-Tree-Snow-ForestDon’t forget, our annual “Deck the Tree” run is this Sunday!

It’s a run of approximately 11 miles, at an easy pace, starting from the Punch Bowl in Edmundbyers at 8:00am. Running out to a lone tree at the foot of Bolts Law Fell, which is then decked with baubles and tinsel. If we’re lucky, we’ll be met at the tree by Bounders bearing sweet mince pies and mulled wine to refuel for the return journey.

It is mainly across fells, moorland and fields, and although mostly on good tracks, it will be very wet and boggy in places, so again, please come prepared for the terrain and possible adverse weather conditions, with trail shoes (or old trainers), plenty of layers and a waterproof. Also, a change of clothing for afterwards will be handy, as you will get wet and muddy! 

If you are unsure where the meeting point in Edmundbyers is, then we can arrange a meeting at Belle Vue for car sharing, or to head over in convoy.

Don’t forget to bring some baubles and tinsel, and as always, festive hats are a must!

Notice of Annual General Meeting

Notice of Annual General Meeting.

The Annual General Meeting for 2015 will take place

Thursday 22nd January 2015 at 7:30pm

Venue: Blackhill Club

At the meeting there will be reports from the Chair and Treasurer together with a review of progress on the development of the club.

Election of the Management Committee for 2015 will be held. The committee is made up of an executive of 3 plus a further 12 members.

Any member wishing to seek election to the committee should contact the Club Secretary by January 5th 2015 to lodge their nomination.

All members are invited to attend to hear about what has been a great year for the club and to help shape our future direction so that we continue to go from strength to strength.

Members wishing to ask questions or raise issues should submit them to the Club Secretary by January 5th 2015.

Mike Powell. 23/11/14.

You can find the Minutes of the previous AGM, September 2013, here.

Christmas Headtorch Pasty Run – Friday 5th December

800px-Cornish_pasty_-_cutJust a reminder that the Christmas head torch pasty run to Gibside takes place tomorrow night. Meeting at Shotley Station at 6:30 pm. to run along the Derwent Walk to Rowlands Gill. There will also be a group running from the sports centre, leaving at 6pm.

Headtorches, or headlamps are an absolute must for this run. There will also be a tailrunner/bike, to ensure  no-one gets lost or picked off by creatures lurking in the woods! We’d like to give this run a festive feel, so dig out your Santa hats and fairy lights!

Please bring something warm to wear at Gibside. As usual there will be cars on hand to transport baggage.

A Message from Blackhill parkrun


Blackhill parkrun is planning a festive fancy dress run on Saturday 20th December. Santa hats at the ready! Ho ho ho!

The core team have also decided that they will hold a special event on New Years Day, starting at the usual time of 9am. Last year this event proved very popular, and we are expecting the same for this year!

NEHL Wallington – Saturday 29th December, 2014


Report submitted by Junior Bounder, Madison Mitchell

The Race Wallington Cross Country
Overall Score (out of a possible 35) 30
PB Potential 3
Atmosphere 5
Organisation 5
Scenery 4
Value for Money 5
Beginner Friendliness 3
Club Support & Social 5
In Short A really well organised route in very scenic surroundings
In Full – On Saturday morning I travelled to Wallington with my mum and dad to do the Harrier League Cross Country. I was really nervous and as we arrived my nerves didn’t seem to get any better.

Our team, Blackhill Bounders, all met by their tent and flag. Whilst everyone fussed over getting the junior boy bounders ready I had butterflies in my stomach. I looked over at the route to see where I would be running to calm my nerves. Just before the boys under 11’s run started I joined the other girls for a warm up. Then I suddenly felt eager to go and run. I was so excited!

We watched the boys start and they did great. Everyone waited five minutes before the girls approached the starting line. My heart was beating so fast as I prepared to race. The gun suddenly fired and we were off. The first part of the run was slightly uphill before dropping into a downhill bend. This is where the bounders were standing to cheer us on.

As I was going down the hill, I started to enjoy myself and I forgot about my nerves. At the bottom of the hill the ground became really muddy and I continued to run straight through the middle where the mud was deepest. I was having a great time!

I could still hear the Bounders in the distance, shouting my name. At this point I felt really included and part of the team. As well as the Bounders, there were other teams and supporters shouting “Well done Blackhill” and I felt encouraged by this. I was so inspired by the support that I really wanted to do my best.

As I began to approach the finish line I could see my mum and dad in the distance and wanted to try my best for them. There were three girls quite a way in front of me who I didn’t think I would be able to catch. But I thought, if I didn’t try to catch them I would never know if I could. So I picked up the pace and began my sprint. I managed to pass the first one, then continued racing and picked them off one by one. I couldn’t believe I’d done it and felt so pleased with myself!

Once the hard work was over I continued to enjoy my day by cheering everyone else during their races and to finish the day off on a high I went to the park with some of the junior Bounders which was great fun!


NEHL Aykley Heads – A Hobbit’s Tale

Report submitted by Neil Capstick

The race Aykley Heads X Country
Overall score 25
PB potential 0 – Not a chance! Too many hills and too much mud.
Atmosphere 4 – Very well attended.
Organisation 5 – Spot on and the results are posted quickly considering the numbers. Good car parking too.
Scenery 4 – Pretty good but when running your head will be pointed at the floor.
Value for money 5 – It’s a quid! Cheap as chips from the really cheap chip shop.
Beginner friendliness 2 – Not for the faint hearted.
Club support and social 5 – Well supported with lots of cheering especially from the Junior Bounders
In short A character building run, with mud, hills and more mud and hills.

Hobbit in the Mud

The day started reasonably well. I had a little bit of a lie in, was picked up punctually and travelled to the course in good time to see some of the Juniors’ race, and all of the Ladies’.

It was all downhill from there really – or should that be uphill? Either way, I was about to experience the hardest run of my life.

I was not initially going to run Aykley Heads as I did not really think X Country was for me. I had run at Cramlington and it all seemed a lot of fuss and a lot of time for a relatively short six miles. A couple of days before the event one of the Bounders walked the course and posted some photographs on FaceBook, saying it would be muddy; very muddy indeed. This made me rethink. X Country is supposed to be about mud and Cramlington had been like the Sahara so I figured that I should have one more go before making my mind up completely.

I had run Cramlington in spikes and I didn’t fancy running in them again to be honest. They had hurt my foot a little and I prefer more cushioning. I undertook a little research and after a last minute Friday afternoon dash to Start Fitness, bought some Mud Claws.

Here I was, lined up at the start, ready to go. I had positioned myself near the finish line of the Ladies’ race to watch them storm home and to offer some encouragement. I was a little surprised to see them coming in looking so tired. Some were covered from head to toe in mud but all of them looked completely wiped out. I mean, how hard could it be?

The gun went off and I was caught off guard. I was positioned right at the back and so had some ground to make up. The first mile was a doddle and I really enjoyed it. After about a mile there was a really steep downhill section. It was covered in mud, and at the bottom of the hill was a hairpin right hand turn straight into a very steep incline. Laps 2 and 3 saw the Bounders “Ladies” standing here allegedly cheering everyone on. In reality they had selected the spot most likely to end in a near death experience for any over-confident male runner who slipped – oh how they laughed/cackled! Like the mythical Sirens, they gave men the power to destroy themselves by screaming encouragement to them to run faster down the hill only to laugh themselves into an incontinent fit when someone fell.

At the first hill I flung myself into it. I mean, I really, really went for it. The guy in the shop had said there was no way I would slip with Mud Claws, so I figured I would chance it. It was exhilarating to say the least and I flew down the hill passing lots of tiptoeing runners and never slid a millimetre. Down to the bottom I went, swinging right, past the cackling “support” group (with a disappointed look on their faces as my footing remained intact) and into the hill.

Then the worst race of my life began. I don’t know if I had overdone my run the day before, whether it was the much lower heel drop of the Mud Claws, or just the hills, but my calf muscles began to scream. So bad was it that I had to slow and so it remained for the rest of the lap, the only respite being another very steep muddy downhill section which I enjoyed enormously.

At the end of lap one I was finished and wanted to stop. There was absolutely no way I was going to make it. My legs were aching and I just couldn’t see any way of mustering up the energy to complete the race. I ran on but slowed considerably.

The pain lasted until about a third of the way round the second lap, until I hit the downhill section. Relief was short lived though because as soon as I had to climb the pain returned. This pattern was repeated at every up and downhill section and how I finished the race I don’t know. Running along the finishing straight I was a spent force and I was in the last 25% of finishers. This race was the hardest I have ever run and I have run marathons and ultras!

A special thanks must go to the supporters who cheered the runners all along the course. I do know that one set of Bounders who were shouting encouragement at me were met by a very harsh glare and a stream of sweat as I turned my head. Sorry, but it was a bad day at the office.


The Mud

My report would not be complete without a description of the mud. There was lots of it. The depth varied from about an inch to perhaps six inches in places. The mud was not soaking wet, squirt up your leg mud, but more of a paste which grabbed your foot. The mud did not try to pull your shoe off like the wet stuff but closed in over your foot and made it difficult to stride. On the hills and corners the mud was lethal, not as deep but cleverer. It laid in wait and surprised you, like a naughty child that pokes its leg out to trip you and then giggles and runs off. Only the mud did not run off, it just waited for the next lap.

I slipped a lot on the uphill but I don’t blame the Mud Claws. I have an unusual running style which means my feet point out a little more than most and this meant I kept losing my footing as my foot slipped behind and to the side of me.

When I had finished the race my spirits were lifted a little when I heard everyone say they too had found it very hard. I reviewed the results later and it was with some disappointment that I discovered my very poor placing. I guess I will stick to road running; at least there I don’t disgrace myself.

On the other Hobbit foot, perhaps I should go to Wallington Hall this weekend…

NEHL Wallington – Saturday 29th November 2014

griffinsThe next Harrier League fixture is this coming Saturday (29th November),  hosted by Morpeth Harriers, in the grounds of Wallington Hall – another superb “proper” Cross Country course.

The program of races follows the usual pattern. More infomation and directions can be found here.

There will be car sharing from the sports centre at 10:30am. Those who wish to go later will have to make their own arrangements.

NEHL Aykley Heads – Saturday 22nd November, 2014


Report submitted by Elizabeth Mitchell

The Race NEHL Cross Country – Aykley Heads, Saturday 22nd November, 2014
Overall Score 31
Please score the following categories out of 5  
PB Potential 2
Atmosphere 5
Organisation 5
Scenery 4
Value for Money 5
Beginner Friendliness 5
Club Support & Social 5
Tell us more…  
In Short A little bit tougher than the Blackhill Parkrun !
In FullSaturday 22nd November started like any other Saturday in the Mitchell household. A frantic dash to get everyone ready and everything organised so that we could make it out in time. Only this Saturday we were off to Aykley Heads Cross Country and not the usual Parkrun!We arrived at Aykley Heads in good time and observed the gathering of tribes setting up on the same field I had been watching with trepidation from the office window all week.   The weather had been favourable, rain in the preceding days which seemed to be holding off for the event. This could only mean one thing…….. mud, and plenty of it!

There was enough time before the race for the nerves to set in and my stomach was beginning to feel like a washing machine on the spin cycle. I joined the other Bounder ladies at the start line for the obligatory photograph (not forgetting those jazz hands) and then took a few steps back to take my familiar place. One thing I noticed about this race was that the start line was wide and I didn’t need to step back quite so far!

The tension was mounting just as the gun sounded and the girls were off across the field before curving to the left. At this stage I began wondering why I had entered. The ground underfoot was very uneven and I was concentrating on staying upright whilst teetering along with a drunken swagger.

By chance, the ground seemed to even out, my nerves calmed and my breathing steadied. I began to enjoy the differing terrain. The route was varied and had a good smattering of hills, fortunately for me, not all of them up!

After a steady ascent to “the Hurdle”, I could see a sharp downhill. The ground appeared to soften and I saw the mud! I knew that if there was a place to fall, this was going to be it. I could hear Dave Mitchell telling me “be confident, don’t hold back.” So….. I went for it! I ran down the hill, managing to slow down enough at the bottom to get me around the tight right hand hairpin. Result!

I continued around the course with a smile on my face until I reached the last uphill. This was a short incline which seemed to get steeper the further up you went.


Throughout the race the support was amazing. There were bounders lined up all along the route cheering you on (especially where there was a chance of a spectacular tumble!). The marshalls were encouraging the athletes along their way and the event was extremely well organised.

Lap 2 began a little easier as the ground seemed to have been evened out by the stampede of 354 lady runners. The mud was a little muddier but this added to the fun (this was never going to be a quick race!)

As I began the incline from the railway line, I was starting to tire. I knew what was ahead of me and I was dreading that final hill. As I approached I was at the stage where I was thinking I was going to have to walk. Then I heard them…. The junior bounders were all lined up shouting support and encouragement. There was no way I was walking now. With a modicum of emotion I attacked the hill and battled my way to the top. Hill conquered, I fought my way to the finish line thinking of those supporters and proud to be a bounder!

Leeds Abbey Dash – Sunday 16th November 2014

Report submitted by Chris Playle

The Race The Leeds Abby Dash
Overall Score 25
PB Potential 5 – Fast flat out and back course
Atmosphere 4 – 1000s of people there
Organisation 5 – Slick and professional
Scenery 3 – Not the best Leeds has to offer but by no means the worst
Value for Money 3 – It’s a long way to go for just a 10k
Beginner Friendliness 4
Club Support & Social 1 Not many of us there to be honest. (S Bell, G Wallace)
In Short As my brother lives in Leeds I thought I would give this fast flat course a go get the PB down a bit
In Full: Built up as a flat fast course I thought I would give this a blast, and with my brother living just ten minutes away from the start line then this was a no brainer.

 Having arrived in Leeds on the Saturday afternoon, I and two excited kids set off for Thought Bubble at the royal armouries. Which to the uneducated is a Comic Book and Sci-FI convention, and for those that know of my geekish love all thing comics and super heroes, (Remember Bounder Man), I knew this was going to be a good weekend.

 Sunday Morning I woke to the slate Grey skies that only Yorkshire could provide, and with a light drizzle and no wind the day was set for a crack at the PB, which was set just the week previous at the town moor memorial 10k in Newcastle.

 My training over the past year has been interrupted by both running and non-running related issues but heading to the start line I was confident. And this was helped by seeing some familiar faces from both Crook A C and also Sedgefield Harriers, who had travelled down in numbers.

 And soon we were off heading up a slight incline for the first 5k. This is a mass participation event and numbers are in the 1000s, so building any momentum was difficult. This was also a race in which I was not using my Garmin to monitor my pace. It was all about feel and effort. So it was with great surprise and a tad frustration I made it to the half-way point feeling fresh and as if I could have ran it faster. But soon after and the opening up of the roads as well as the slight decline in the road my pace picked up nicely. And apart from a tiny hump in the road I maintained this strong pace to the finish looking down at a 42m 09s on the stop watch, which was further reduced to 42m 07s.


I have no doubt in my mind that by this race next year I will be running under 40m for 10k and will target this race to do it in.

Yes it’s a long way to go for a 10k, but with a city centre finish, a German Market, and plenty of pubs nearby, maybe one or two more will make the journey next year! HEP & DAWSON, the race is on!