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Ten Tweed Striders made the short hop, skip and jump up the coast on Sunday 5 May to support the RNLI Burnmouth Brae Race, with half taking part in both the 5k and the Sprint.  In the 5k Steve Lauder and Laura Jeffrey were first to take the tape for the club;  Steve in 24.36, 2nd in age group and Laura in 26.03 2nd lady, 2nd in age group.  Heather Barnes was next to finish (27.46, 3rd lady, 2nd in age group) followed by Maureen Aitchison (31.41, 1st in age group), Sara Bebbington (32.05), Sam Armstrong (32.23), Lorna Patton (33.03, 3rd in age group), Laura Robertson (33.15) and Judith Thompson (34.02).  In the Brae Sprint Judith Thompson was first over the line for Striders (05.09, 3rd lady) followed by Laura Robertson (05.16), Sara Bebbington (05.19), Lorna Patton (05.27, 1st in age group), Maureen Aitchison (05.54, 2nd in age group) and Sam Armstrong (05.54). Junior Strider Faye Robertson – and Mum Laura - ran in the 2k for 10 years and under and finished in 16.54.  The final award went to Tweed Striders’ very own Peppa Pig, aka Sam Armstrong, who took the prize in the best dressed category ! 

Two Hundred and Ninety-Six

That is the number of race miles clocked up by Tweed Striders on Sunday 28 April and, as marathon season is upon us, most of these were logged by the seven Striders who ran in either the Virgin Money London Marathon or the Blackpool Marathon or the SimplyHealth Great Stirling Marathon.  London was the destination for Ruth Ballard and Michelle Douglas.  The duo put in superb runs with Michelle finishing first in 3.45.09 and Ruth just minutes behind in 3.53.31 (PB).  Striders also ran extremely well in Blackpool with Steve Flook bringing the quartet home in 3.52.11.  Steve was followed over the line by Paul Brothwood (4.01.05 PB), Steve Dick (4.08.04 PB) and Kirstie Mulvey (4.59.41 PB).  And, finally in Stirling, it was another great performance from sole Strider Stuart Black who took the tape in 3.26.57.  Closer to home Stephen Ball took on the challenges of the Washington Trail 10k, a race which winds its way around the James Steel Park and along some beautiful woodland trails on the banks of the River Wear, where he finished in 51.45 (68th out of 465) and in Dalkeith Country Park Susan Howlett experienced flower power in the Bluebell Trail 10k (60.00).  Action was also seen in Northumberland with Maureen Aitchison, Heather Barnes, Julia Keddie, Laura Jeffrey, Lorna Patton, Laura Robertson, Neil Stalker, Colin Thompson, Judith Thompson and Richard Toward all running in the Race 2 (10 miles from Ingram to Wooler) of the Cheviot Trail Series;  results TBC.  What a fabulous weekend for Tweed Striders – huge congratulations to all !  Taking things at a more leisurely pace in the April Breakfast Run were the select few who enjoyed a mix of trail and road running around Paxton.

About the Girls !

Saturday 13 April it was all about Cragside and the girls - three in the 10k and one in the 5k.  It was PBs all round in the 10k with Laura Jeffrey bringing the trio home in 48.27, followed by Heather Barnes (52.47) and Liz Howlett (62.00) and, in the 5k, Jenni McCraw finished as 4th lady, 1st in age group in 28.09.  Sunday saw Stephen Ball much further to the south in Rutland -  the smallest historic county of England and the fourth smallest in the UK – for the second running of the Rutland Spring Half Marathon.  This is a challenging and technical course, albeit with sensational panoramic views around Hambleton peninsula and of the lake, and Stephen put in a super performance to take the tape in 1.43.26. Fabulous running from all !

From Manchester to Edinburgh

On Sunday it was definitely a tale of two halves with regards to the weather – in Manchester the sun smiled down on those running in the Asics Manchester Marathon but, in Edinburgh, for the Kilomathon, it was most certainly not a question of “Sunshine on Leith” as it was dreich, damp and gray conditions which accompanied runners as they took on the 13.1k along the cycle path network.  Tweed Striders were represented by Brian and Deborah Bowden in the Asics Manchester Marathon and they ran a well-paced and very fine race indeed, taking the tape together in 5.12.12 which was a very well-deserved PB for both.  Back in Auld Reekie it was all about the girls.  Heather Barnes was first to cross the line for Tweed Striders in 1.09.41 (PB).  Next to take the tape in 1.11.33 was Colin Thompson, the sole male Strider running.  It was then back to the girls and a plethora of PBs : Laura Walton (1.12.15 PB), Julia Keddie (1.12.53 PB), Susan Howlett (1.15.43 PB), Keighley Walton (1.16.15 PB), Karen Roughead (3rd in age group in 1.16.28), Jo Payne (1.19.29 PB), Liz Howlett (1.22.0 PB), Judith Thompson (1.23.07, a PB by some 5 minutes), Nikki Robertson (1.26.46 PB), Gill Brownlie (1.48.28) and Jodi Mace (1.50.03 PB).  Given the weather in Edinburgh one could perhaps say it was “Raining Girls” ?!

Kielder Dark Skies Weekend

It was Destination Kielder for three out of the four Tweed Striders in action this past weekend.  The trio took part in the Kielder Dark Skies weekend where, over varying distances, they ran the forest trails, ascents and descents of Kielder Forest but at night whereby they enjoyed the panorama of the beautiful Kielder starlit sky – so beautiful in fact that Kielder was awarded gold tier Dark Sky Park status by the International Dark Skies association in December 2013.  On Friday night Paul Brothwood and Michelle Douglas flew round the Dark Skies Run @ Kielder 10 to finish in 1.30.36 and 1.30.41 respectively.  Their fabulous times meant that Michelle finished 2nd lady overall and 1st in age category and Paul 3rd in age category.  The next evening it was the turn of Stephen Ball to wonder at the Kielder night sky as he raced in the first of two races over the weekend - the Dark Skies Run @ Kielder 26.5.  He obviously didn’t spend too much time in awe as he took the tape in a superb 4.42.51 !  Sunday evening saw Stephen Ball return for a second fix of the starlit sky and the Dark Skies Run @ Kielder 14 where he finished in a very good 2.33.53.  Earlier in the day and some 147 miles to the north, Lesley Wright ran in the Loch Katrine 10k, one of three races (the other two are the Half Marathon and the Marathon) which make up the Loch Katrine Running Festival.

Special Relationship … from UK to USA

The running this weekend was a mix of road and trail.  Pulling on their trail shoes ready to face the challenges of the rather soggy and muddy 12 miles following the St Cuthbert’s Way from Fenwick to Wooler (Race 1 of the Cheviot Trail Series) were Heather Barnes, Michelle Douglas, Laura Jeffrey, Neil Stalker and Rich Toward.  Neil was first home for the club in 1.45.26; he was followed over the line by Laura (2.18.24), Heather (2.18.32) then Michelle (2.21.05) and Rich (2.21.06).

Meanwhile Ruth Ballard pulled on her road racing shoes for the RunNorthumberland Half Marathon at Kirkley Hall, Ponteland, where she raced to a PB of 1.47.28.

And, finally, just as runners in the UK were contemplating putting their feet up, on the other side of the pond Heather and Kevin Dickson were lining up on Prospect Park’s Center Drive for the United Airlines New York City Half Marathon.  From there they ran through the streets of Brooklyn, over the Manhattan Bridge, up FDR Drive, through Times Square and Central Park before finishing at the Tavern on the Green in 2.26.37 and 2.26.38 respectively.