Great North Ultra, 15th July 2023

There are two races under the Great North Ultra banner – a real ultra of 55K and a shorter trail run of 25K. Both take place on hilly trails in and around the Derwent Valley, starting and finishing at Swalwell.

Claremont had representatives in both, with Mark Anderson taking on the challenge of the full distance, while Nina Jentl and Simon Lowe opted for the shorter version. As well as the runners, we provided no fewer than 7 volunteers! Holly Porter and Jenny Roberts had to set their alarms to be on site for 7am in order to help with start of the runs. Holly enjoyed being able to chat to all the runners while they still had the energy to talk back!

The other 5 (Gill Milne, Kim Collings, Elaine Wharton, Paul Jameson and Tom Tinsley) had been allocated the management of the checkpoint, feeding station and surrounding area on the 25K route. This involved checking the route for 1km each way before the arrival of the first competitors, and setting up the feed station with all the various drink and food options. This entailed carrying everything from the van to the route across a lovely stretch of mud! Then it was a case of marshalling to ensure the runners went the right way to and from the station. This year there was no need for us to check-in the runners as the chip-timing system was set-up and working, so some of the faster runners just ran straight past. However, most were happy to stop, eat, drink and chat.

The course must have been muddy for the runners too, and there was some scary thunder and a downpour or two that probably had a few racing to get home quickly – the joys of a British summer! Simon, treating this as a training run before a full ultra later, came in an impressive 8th place. Nina took a much more leisurely approach, jogging around with a friend.

Mark also had a fairly leisurely approach to the 55K route, running the first half with friends before speeding up a bit to finish 24th.

Well done to all!

Trail 25
8Simon Lowe2:05:24
158Nina Jentl3:43:52
Ultra North 55
24Mark Anderson5:29:57
Tom Tinsley -