WHEN it comes to terrain for running, Rob Burn, of Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers, likes nothing better than trails, hills and mud, which he found in abundance at the St Aidan's Winter Beast, a 6.66 mile race at the RSPB Nature Reserve near Leeds.

On a cold, sunny morning, surrounded by plenty of over-wintering birds, Rob was in his element, and a longish stretch of water to wade through near the end was the icing on the cake, as well as cleaning off some of the mud. Rob finished 47th out of the 242 entrants, second M60, in 52.34. Tim Waistell came 209th in 1.14.3 and Christine Burn finished in 1.19.31.

Consider a complete contrast - a flat, ten-mile road race, and that is what is coming up on March 13, the Thirsk 10. This popular race, affording opportunities for fast times, and suitable for the quickest runners as well as less confident people who might want to try a ten-mile race for the first time, has often enabled entrants to record PBs.

The previous staging was in 2020, and was the very last race before the country went into complete lockdown.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

The start time is 10am, with a wheelchair race at 9.50am and an off-road, untimed, fun run at 9am. The race has taken various guises over the years, its first format being the Northallerton to Thirsk Road race, where competitors were bussed to the far side of Northallerton and ran back to finish in Thirsk Market Place.

That was in the days when there was considerably less traffic than there is now, and police were able to give support in return for a donation to the Police Benevolent Fund.

Norman Smith was the founder of both the club and the race, and awards in his name are made to the fastest man and the fastest woman, unattached to a club, in the YO7 postcode area. The finest runners from around the area and beyond have taken part in the past, perhaps the best known being Brendan Foster in 1982, though he only came second, to Jim McCleod on that occasion.

Women who have been past winners of Thirsk 10 and have gone on to be named in the Team GB Olympic marathon sqaud have included Tracey Morris, Alyson Dixon and, a long way back, Veronique Marot to name but a few. 

These days, the race is based at Thirsk Racecourse on Station Road (A61), and there is ample free parking and a children's play park. To enter, see www.thirskandsowerbyharriers.co.uk/thirsk-10

Many Harriers have been taking part in weekly parkruns, and Trish Radford tackled Rushmere, near Leighton Buzzard, with her seven-year-old granddaughter, Elise, who was doing her first senior park run. Trish finished in 41.38.

Back up north, in very blustery conditions, some events did take place. At Northallerton, Adrian Saunders came 26th out of 108 in 26.48. Five members were at Millfield, Alan Simpson coming sixth out of 130 in 21.21, with Esther Harrison really recovering some of her past form, 11th, and first lady, in 21.35. Adrian Elsworth was not far behind, 13th in 22.13, Gary Wilkinson 30th in 24.34 and Kimberli Werner 100th in 34.24.