> 2010 race reports
21/08/10 Falstone Falcon Fell Race - from Rob Stephens (photos from Pat & Rob)

Another fine warm summer's day took precedence over the odd threatening cloud. It was good to see plenty of the Northumberland Country Show regulars, and a handful of newcomers too, in what looks like one of the best turnouts for the race.

the first few steps

A surprisingly tough little race which gives the runner quite a workout. Over rough open fell, through dense forest breaks, with frequent changes in direction, rooty forest path and clambering down and up a couple of small ravines, it can really knock the stuffing out.

wait for me!

John learns that what looks like a trod is just a drainage ditch!

out of the dark

along forest track

The course seemed better taped this year, but it didn't stop at least three overshoots on the bends: one where Chris Sanderson found himself wading into chest-high bracken whilst Chris Winter trotted merrily alongside on good forest road!; another when I had to call a runner back as he disappeared down a deep slope in the woods, and then there's that last sharp right after the stile which I missed last year and a few missed this year too!

across the stream

Joe and Lee lead all the way

Chris finds the path again

a welcome straight stretch

keeping the pressure on

Terry picks his way through the woods

all smiles for Keith

From the start we guessed it would be a good race between Lee Grant and Joe Blackett, both of whom had not run the course before - on a route as convoluted as this, that could spell trouble, but the duo kept each other in check throughout. So close was it that only a final sprint finish across the ditches would decide the outcome - it must have been quite a spectacle to watch as Lee bounded for the finishing gate in first place. A little later Sue Mitchell glided in gracefully to win the ladies, and it was also nice to see Chris Sanderson's partner, Marie-Helene (who really enjoyed the race) take home a race trophy for 2nd place - this will no doubt take pride of place on the mantelpiece matching the one Chris won last year!

a second win for Lee Grant following Forest Burn

There were of course a few minor bumps and scrapes and one Tynedale runner was glad of some shoulder support to help him limp to the finish with a sore-looking shin/calf. No support needed though for a sprightly David Wright who at 77 still trotted in with a nimble gait - an inspiration!

Thanks again to Mike and Fiona Sanderson for hosting this very enjoyable race - the smiles from the runners at the end say it all!


Rob Stephens

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