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56th CHEVY CHASE RACE REPORT 7th July 2012

The days leading up to this year’s Chevy Chase were an organiser’s nightmare with an amber weather warning for rain and flood warnings throughout the region. A month’s rainfall was predicted the night prior to the event which would fall on already water laden hills. Torrential rain indeed came and an early morning inspection of the burns forced a decision to shorten the race route to avoid any burn crossings except using safe bridges. Our superb team of helpers and marshals rose to the challenge of a last minute reorganisation with the marshals setting off earlier to revised checkpoints and the registration team preparing to inform competitors of the route changes.

77 walkers and 145 runners arrived for the event; unfortunately some from further afield were unable to risk travelling in the poor weather; although one runner had made it all the way from Australia! Thank you to every one who told us they would be unable to compete; any entry money from this will go to the NNP Search and Rescue Team in addition to our usual donation.

Many thanks to all the competitors who were so supportive of our decision to alter the route and remained in good spirits despite the disappointment of not racing over Cheviot and Hedgehope. Kit checking went very smoothly with only a few surprise omissions of waterproofs, whistles and compasses.

The revised route still proved to be a challenge, the distance was measured as somewhere between 15 and 16 miles depending on which line competitors took. The extremely wet preceding month’s had resulted in extremely boggy ground. Although no heavy rain fell the hills were totally clagged in with visibility down to a few feet even at lower checkpoints. This resulted in some navigational errors with runners and walkers appearing at checkpoints from all directions.

The finish was a welcome sight to many; where an additional attraction this year was a hosing down to remove all the mud. Split times and t-shirts were collected before the plentiful tea, buns and cake could be enjoyed. There were many of tales of adventures in the mist and floundering in bogs to be shared. We were delighted to hear that so many of you had still enjoyed your time out in the hills despite the shortened route.
Congratulations to all who completed the course, although no records could be broken the good news is that everyone achieved a Personal Best performance!


Peter representing our main sponsor Salomon presented the trophies and prizes.

A small group battled it out for the top places in the fell race with navigational precision deciding the placing. It was Carl Bell of Howgill Harriers’ first Chevy Chase and he had hoped to have a good look at the course, unfortunately he didn’t see much of our beautiful Cheviots, but he did mange to finish first in a time of 1:54:48. In second was Hugh Aggleton of Mynyddwry De Cymru in 1:55:31.  Phil Sanderson of Elswick Harriers was third and also first V40 in 1:57:39. Peter Rooney of South Shields Harriers was a delighted winner of the V50 category in 2:11:38. Peter Reed of Northumberland Fell Runners (NFR) successfully defended his V60 title. First local runner was Bruce Crombie of Alnwick Harriers in 2:10:01.The team trophy was won by the NFR team of, Nick Swinburn, Phil Green and Mark Watson with 28 points.

Angela Mudge won the ladies race in a time 0f 2:10:16 placing a commendable 8th overall. In second place was the diminutive, but tough Steph Scott in 2:36:43. Henrietta Bolton Carter of Wooler Running Club was cheered home in third place. All of the first three ladies were in the V40 category.  Marie Louise Drozdowicz was the winner of theLV50 trophy in 3:3:05. Pam Brown of Wooler RC won the first local lady trophy in 2:57:08.

The walk was fiercely contested with both men and lady walkers vying for the top ten places. Tim Matthewson was the overall winner with an excellent time of 3:38:16. In second place and also first MV50 was Glenn Cartner in 3:46:25. Third place went to Keith Robson in 3:51:08. Dieter Hofmann strolled in as the first V60 trophy in a time of 3:51:05, he would also have qualified for a V70 prize! David Bertram was the first local man in 4:06:26.

The Ladies cup was this year won by Fiona Mckenzie who was also the first V50 with a time of 3:38:17. Angela Huddleston was second in 3:46:25, Angela also won the local lady trophy. In third place was Tara Bertram. The first V50 was Christine Farnsworth and Margaret Thompson of Elvet Striders crossed the line together to share the LV60 trophy in 5:15:25.
The Cheviot Angels team of Fiona, Angela and Joyce took the team prize with 14 points.

The Geordie Douglas Memorial Trophy is presented to the oldest and boldest competitor and was won by Dieter Hofmann.

The Alan Gardener Trophy, which celebrates the Spirit of the Chevy was presented to The Young family, Susan, Kenny and Duncan. These are dedicated marshal’s, who managed to get slightly mislaid in the mist for an hour on Friday evening whilst taking water to their checkpoint. They still returned to help the next day and had great sympathy for those competitors who also became geographically embarrassed!

The Chevy Chase would not be possible without all the volunteers who help. This year there were over 30 people marshalling or assisting with safety in the hills, another 30 volunteers were busy at the hostel manning registration, the finish and preparing and serving the teas. I am sure all the competitors will join us in thanking them all for their hard work and unfailing cheerfulness.
Thanks also to the landowners for supporting our event and allowing us access to the Cheviots.

We are very grateful to Dave Perkins and his Northumberland National Parks Search and Rescue Team, who were busy on the day assisting those with injuries, or navigational difficulties.

We were happy that Salomon the Mountain Sports Company generously agreed to sponsor all the winner’s prizes again. Spot prizes were kindly donated by Gear For Girls and The Good Life Shop in Wooler.

A final thanks to all the Chevy Chasers for supporting the event, we hope to see you next year on Saturday July 6th for the 57th Chevy Chase. Hopefully the full route in perfect conditions!
On line entries will be available from 1st February 2013.

Best Wishes,
Claire Bagness and Mary Logan
And all at Wooler Running Club





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