Blyth Running Club in the news

Articles from the local press - submitted by Keith Willshire


News Post Leader - December 2002 - Blyth Sands Race

On December 1st, Blyth Running Club organised the annual Sands Race from South Beach Blyth to Seaton Sluice and back, the race is traditionally run on the first Sunday in December with an 11:00am start time. Unfortunately, for the first time in several years this co-incided with an incoming tide and this resulted in the finishing line being moved several times during the race. The high tide also meant that the runners had to run on the ‘soft sand’ and faced a strong breeze on the way out, however the conditions did not deter any of the athletes and this year’s race attracted some of the leading veterans in the country and included two Gold Medal winners at the recent Masters International Cross Country, in 55 year old Jimmy Bell of Elswick and 70 year old Eric Appleby of Heaton. The run is a handicap race, with the handicap based on sex and age, this meant that the last group of runners were set off 12 minutes after the first age group. The first runner back was Jimmy Bell of Elswick who finished 40 seconds in front of Archie Jenkins of Morpeth, while Paul Johnson of Thames Valley Harriers was third. Prizes were awarded in all age categories and were:

Under 18’s Boy: Sean Kirtley (Morpeth)    Girl: Gillian Barry (Houghton & Peterlee)    Senior Man: Ian Twaddle (North Shields Poly)

Senior Woman: Claire Smallwood (Jarrow & Hebburn)    Over 40 Man: Tony Mellor (North Shields Poly)    Over 40 Woman: Denise Tunstall (Teeside)

Over 45 man: Martin Gaughan (Blyth)    Over 45 Woman: Liz Graham (u/a)   Over 50 Man: Rob Hall (Blyth)    Over 50 Woman: A Wild (Norham)

Over 55 Man: Harry Matthews (Elswick)    Over 55 Woman: Eillen Armstrong (Tynedale)    Over 60 Man: Roger Wilson (Sunderland)

The team prize was won by Jimmy Bell, Harry Matthews, Yvonne Swinhoe, Kim Davison of Elswick.

News Post Leader - November 2002 - Winter Series Race 2

Blyth Running Club held the second race in their winter series of 2.5 mile races around the Kitty Brewster trading estate. The wind and rain abated for the run and the weather conditions were quite good for running and this accounted for the large turnout, with 46 runners taking part. Starter Dave Kitching set off the first two runners, Christine Willshire and Gloria McCabe, at 19:15 and the last two runners, Robbie Barkley and Sean Kirtley, went off eight minutes and 20 seconds later. However, nobody was able to catch Christine Willshire and she led the entire field home to take first position and win a yellow T-shirt. The second runner home was Stevie Gair, who is returning to running after a lengthy spell out injured, and he just managed to hold off a fast finishing 12-year-old Marc Cochrane who finished third. The closeness of the race was shown by the fact that 44 runners all finished within 80 seconds of the second finisher. The fastest time was again set by 16-year-old Sean Kirtley, while the fastest time for a lady was set by Leanne Pringle who was running the race for the first time.
This Sunday sees the Blyth Sands race, which is unique in the north east for the handicapping system it uses. Runners receive handicaps according to age/sex ie ladies over 50 years of age will receive 12 minutes start on the men under 40. The race starts on the sands at the south beach of Blyth and the runners run to Seaton Sluice and back, an approximate distance of five miles. The first runners will be off at 11am. Entry forms are available at Blyth Sports Centre, although entries will be taken on the day at the Wellseley School.

News Post Leader - November 2002 - Brampton to Carlisle

The Brampton to Carlisle 10 mile road race has a reputation for fast times and regularly attracts a large a high quality field. This years was no exception and over 35 runners from Blyth ran in a turnout of nearly 500. The race was run in ideal conditions and was won by Michael Openshaw in a time of 48 minutes 35 seconds. The first three runners all finished in under 50 minutes, the first runner back for Blyth was Andrew Brown in 24th position in a time of 55 minutes 42 seconds. However, Blyth Ladies stole the limelight as Cath Young (who was the first Blyth Lady), Anne Potts and Sheila Greener won the Ladies Vets Team Prize, while Cath and Anne combined with Angie Brown to take the second prize in the Senior Ladies competition.

Preparations are also well under way for the Blyth Sands race, which is unique in the North East for the handicapping system it uses. Runners receive handicaps according to age/sex ie Ladies over 50 years of age will receive 12 minutes start on the men under 40. The date of the race is Sunday 1st December and the first runners will be off at 11:00. Entry forms are available at Blyth Sports Centre.

News Post Leader - October 2002 - Winter Series Race 1

Blyth Running Club recently held the first race in their annual Winter Series, which is a series of seven handicap races around the Kitty Brewster Trading Estate. The first race over the 2.5 mile course was held on the same night as Newcastle played Juventus, but there was still a healthy turn-out of 37 runners who were all looking to win one of the coveted ‘Yellow T-shirts’ awarded to the race winner.

Race organiser Dave Kitching was out early setting up the start/finish areas, while handicapper Andy Brown had used previous race times to set the handicaps. Gloria McCabe was the first runner off followed by a steady stream of runners until eight minutes twenty seconds after the first runner Andy Brown set off in hot pursuit of the 36 runners in front of him. For the first time in several years, there were three runners under the age of 18 running, and it was 16 year old Sean Kirtley who was the first runner back, overtaking Angie Brown in the last 100 yards, with Jocelyn Smith finishing in third place. The handicap system meant that all 37 runners finished within two minutes of the race winner. The other two under 18’s both finished in the first fifteen, with 12-year old Marc Cochrane recording 15 minutes 18 seconds, while 13 year old Ryan Robinson ran 15 minutes 32 seconds. The fastest time of the night was set by Sean Kirtley, while Anne Potts set the fastest time by a Lady.

News Post Leader - October 2002 - Autumn Relays

Blyth Running Club recently held their Annual Autumn Relay race around the Kitty Brewster. Handicappers Andy Brown and Dave Kitching had their work cut out to ensure that all the teams had an equal chance to win. The route is approximately 2.25 miles around the Kitty Brewster Trading Estate and conditions seemed ideal for the 16th running of the Relays, although there was a slight breeze on the return trip. There were 10 teams entered and the first leg runners were set on their way by starter Dave Kitching. Once again the handicapping was proved to be fair as only three seconds separated the first two teams, while the third team was ten seconds behind.

The winning team was: Kevin Westwood, Ron Ingram and Ian Richardson, with Anne Potts, John Mallon and Kevin Freeman taking the second team prize, while the third team comprised Keith Willshire, Ralph Dickinson and Mal Derbyshire. The fastest time on the night was set by Andy Brown, while the evergreen Rob Hall showed that he is getting his form and fitness back by setting the fastest time for a Vet. The fastest time by a lady (and setting a new Ladies Vets course record) was Cath Young who recorded 15:26. Although not amongst the trophy winners this time, Steve Gillespie maintained his ever present run in the Relays.

News Post Leader - September 2002 - Links 10k

Every year Blyth Running Club invite runners from other Clubs in the region (Morpeth, North Shields Poly, Blackhill and Blaydon) to a social night, which includes the Links 10K run. On a warm, sunny night conditions were ideal for running and there were over 150 runners who took part in this year's run with Blyth and North Shields providing just under 50 runners each. Club Official Dave Kitching had marked out an accurate 10K course which used the path through the sand dunes, up to Collywell Bay, along the cliff top path, past the Delaval Arms pub and then back down Collywell Bay Road onto the dunes path. The first runner home was Alan Woodward from North Shields Poly with a winning time of 32 minutes 41 seconds, with Michael Morris of Morpeth one minute behind in second place, while last years winner Ian Tweddle was third. The first Blyth runner home was Elliot Makin in seventh position, while Robbie Barkley was second Blyth home in fifteenth place, the first Blyth vet home and winner of the ‘Brian Stringfellow’ trophy was Joe Frazer. Barbara Ingman was the first lady home and she also runs for North Shields Poly, while Helen Wilcox (also of North Shields Poly) was the second Lady home, the first Blyth Lady was Cath Young who was the third Lady on the night.

After the race all runners were invited to Blyth Sports Centre where Blyth had provided a buffet for everybody. Everybody from the Club would like to thank the marshals, timekeepers, stewards etc who ensured that everything went according to plan and without whom no race could take place.

Blyth runners have a busy few weeks ahead, on Sunday 15th September the next event takes place in the annual Running Club Grand Prix and it is the Tynedale 10 mile run, starting at Hexham and finishing at Ovingham. One week later the Club holds its annual 8 mile Handicap Race, this race is only open to members of the running club. Then on Sunday 6th October, it is the largest race in the North East calendar – the Great North Run. Transport has been arranged for the Tynedale 10 mile and the Great North Run, details are on the Club Notice Board at Blyth Sports Centre.

News Post Leader - June 2002 - Blaydon Race

One of the most popular races in the North East, is the annual Blaydon Race which is held every year on June 9th. This years race was no exception and there were over 70 runners from Blyth in the record field of over 3370 runners, waiting outside Balmbra’s in Newcastle for the bell to set them off along the Scotswood Road to the Geordie Ridley Pub in Blaydon.

The weather conditions were kind to the runners and were cloudy, cool with a slight drizzle of rain. The race was won for the fourth year running by Kenyon Julius Kimtai, while Russia's Yelena Burykina celebrated her North-East debut with victory in the women's race. The first runner back for Blyth was Andy Brown who finished in 41st position, Andy and wife Angie finished in fourth position overall in the unique ‘Me and Wor Lass’ category. The first Blyth Lady was Helen Morris.

Special mention must be made to two of the elder members of Blyth Running Club, Bob Soulsby and Katie Seccombe whoe both finished first in the Over 75 category.

Wednesday 3rd July, sees the next race in the Club’s Grand Prix, the Tynedale 10K race. Transport has been arranged and details are on the Club’s Notice-Board at Blyth Sports Centre. Blyth Running Club caters for runners of all ages and abilities and anyone is welcome to join. During the year members run all types of races although quite a few just train to keep fit. We meet at the Blyth Sports Centre on Mondays and Wednesday evenings at 6:45 pm. So just turn up then.

News Post Leader - May 2002 - Keswick Half Marathon

The first race of this year’s Grand Prix was the Keswick Half Marathon and out of a field of over 400 runners twenty were from Blyth. On a difficult, hilly course the weather conditions were kind to the runners and the race was won by Ray Ward of Sheffield, while the first Blyth runner back was Andy Brown. Andy has previously won this race in 1996 and managed to finish in ninth position this year with a time of 80 minutes. The next two Blyth runners both finished in the top thirty, with Robbie Barkley beating Gareth Hope by four seconds. Malcolm Derbyshire followed up his 3 hours 14 minutes for the London Marathon to be the first runner back in Division Two, while Dave Hendry was the first runner in Division Three. The first Blyth Lady to finish was Anne Potts, who was also the first finisher in Division Four, while Michael Brown was the first finisher in Division Five.

News Post Leader - April 2002 - Blyth Valley Ten

This years BV10, sponsored by BASF, took place on Sunday 28th April and running conditions were practically perfect for the 350 finishers, running into a cool southerly wind for the first 7 miles and then a tail-wind for the last three. As usual the organisation of the race was impressive, and this is due to a lot of hard work from the members of Blyth Running Club lead by the secretary George Young. The good reputation of the race ensures that a lot of runners return every year and the 2001 winner Stewy Bell of Chester-Le-Street, returned and won the race for the third time in a time of 51minutes 19 seconds. Vince Wilson of Belgrave Harriers was second, while former race winner Les Atkinson of Morpeth was the third runner home. The first lady home was Judith Nutt of Elswick Harriers with a time of 63 minutes 42 seconds. The race saw the 10 mile debut of 17 year old Ryan McLeod, of Elswick Harriers, who ran impressively to record a time of 55 minutes 13 seconds to finish in tenth place. At the other end of the scale 78 year Ted Joynson of Gateshead Harriers, completed the ten miles in 2 hours 17 minutes. The first Blyth runner back was Michael Stott, who ran strongly to record a time of 59 minutes 53 seconds, the first Blyth lady was Cath Young.

News Post Leader - April 2002 - Club Presentation

Blyth Running Club recently held their Annual Presentation Night at Bedlington Community Centre. Nearly 100 members and guests turned up to show their appreciation to the trophy winners. Every year Blyth organise their own Grand Prix Leagues which consist of twelve races with the runners divided into leagues according to ability. In 2001-2, the races spread from York to Beadnell , Keswick to the Kitty Brewster trading estate and covered distances ranging from 2.5 miles to 14.5 miles.

Division One was won by Andy Brown who was winning the award for fifth time in ten years, second was Dale Stafford who collected his first trophy despite missing several races with a broken leg. In third position was Ian Richardson, the Vets award went to the ever popular Stevie Gillespie.

Division Two was won by Gareth Hope, who had an excellent year and produced personal best time after personal best time and managed to run under 60 minutes for the Brampton to Carlisle ten-mile race. Just behind Gareth was Steve Walker who was second for the second year, with Eddie Stott in third place, while John Mallon was the leading Vet..

Division Three was won by Club Chairman Ralph Dickinson who beat Kevin Westwood into second position by one point, while John Bryan enjoyed his first year in the Grand Prix to take third position. Terry Hart was won the Vets prize.

Division Four was another keenly fought competition with Mark Martin winning by two points from Dave Hendry, both Mark and Dave were debuting in the Grand Prix, for the second year running Anne Potts was in third position while Helen Morris won the Vets prize.

Division Five provided the closest result, with the result in doubt until the last race. In another close finish, Clinton Young won by one point from Sharon Percy, with Michael Brown third and Pauline Cunningham winning the Vets prize.

The members also voted for thier Sports Personalities of 2001. Members used different criteria for their votes: which athlete had improved most during 2001, which athlete had contributed the most to the club during 2001 or who was the best runners during 2001. The Men’s Award was won by Clinton Young, while The Ladies Trophy was won by Pauline Cunningham.

News Post Leader - March 2002

Blyth Running Club have recently held the seventh and final race in their Annual Winter Series of races around the Kitty Brewster trading estate. It was another mild night for the thirty five runners who took part in the last race, with Terry Hart winning the final event and claiming the yellow T-shirt, some 13 seconds behind Terry came Jocelyn Smith who finished two seconds in front of Clinton Young. The next thirty runners all finished within 70 seconds of the winner, so the timekeepers were kept busy. The fastest time of the night was by Dale Smith, while Anne Potts set the fastest time for the Ladies.

The Winter Series League was based on the best five positions of each runner, and the winner of the League was Angie Brown whose consistent running saw her finish in the top ten in four of the races. In second position was Ian Cansfield, while Pauline Cunningham and Michael Stott tied for third position.

The Winter Series was part of the Club’s Grand Prix which just has one more race to go, which is the Redcar Half Marathon on Sunday 17th March.

The members of Blyth are busy preparing for the annual Blyth Valley Ten Mile race, which they organise. The race is probably the top ten mile race in the region and takes place on Sunday 27th April, starting from Concordia Sports Centre at 10:00am. Entry Forms are available from Blyth Sports Centre or online at

News Post Leader - January 2002 - Brass Monkey 1/2m 27th January / Winter Series 5 - 30th January

Twenty runners from Blyth recently made the journey to York to run the ‘Brass Monkey Half Marathon’ and several of the runners were rewarded with best times for the distance. The first Blyth runner back was Andrew Brown who finished in an excellent ninth position with a time of 73 minutes, Dale Stafford was the next Blyth runner in 41st position with a time of 79 minutes. The first Blyth Lady was Pauline Cunningham who ran a personal best time of 1 hour 46 minutes. Three days after the ‘Brass Monkey’, Blyth Running Club held the fifth race in their Annual Winter Series of races around the Kitty Brewster trading estate. Most of the runners who had run at York also ran the Winter Series. Christine Willshire was the first runner away and was not passed until the last 100 metres when Angie Brown overtook her, Angie could not hold the lead and was passed in the last ten yards by a fast finishing Suzanne Humphrey who won by three seconds. The fastest time of the night was set by Dale Stafford, while Suzanne Humphrey was the fastest lady.

News Post Leader - January 2002 - Winter Series 4 - 16th January

Blyth Running Club recently held the fourth race in their Annual Winter Series of races around the Kitty Brewster trading estate. The runners ran out into a slight breeze, but apart from this conditions were one again ideal for running the 2.5 mile course . Ian Cansfield was the first runner back, some thirty seconds in front of second runner John Mallon who beat Keith Willshire into third place, after this timekeepers Dave Kitching, Martin & Sandra Gaughan were kept busy as the next 35 runners all finished within 90 seconds of second place. The fastest time of the night was set by Dale Stafford, while Helen Morris was the fastest lady.

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