Butters strides out to lead the way in gruelling Chevy Chase

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The Chevy Chase t-shirt this year proclaimed “20 miles that make us kin”. This reflects the spirit of this longstanding fell race and walkers challenge; where despite some healthy competition there is true comradeship.

The first Chevy Chase race organised by the Youth Hostel Association was held in 1955, the wearing of boots and carrying a 10lb rucksack was compulsory. The route was from Alnham to Wooler via Cheviot.

Over the years the race has evolved with walkers being joined by fell runners and a circular route from Wooler Youth Hostel adopted.

In 1990 the current 20 mile route was introduced and Chevy Chasers have followed the same course every year except for 2001when foot and mouth curtailed activity in the Cheviots. Boots have been replaced with fell shoes and the emphasis is now on lightweight safety gear.

A total of 21 walkers and 154 runners started the race this year and were glad of the ‘cool for July’ temperatures. There was a strong headwind which made the ascents challenging and boggy conditions underfoot which impeded progress.

John Butters Northumberland Fell Runners (NFR) was jubilant as he crossed the line in first place in the fell race after a tough battle with Andrew Brown of Norham and Peter Taylor of Tattenhalll Runners. The winning time was 3:03:46 with John gaining over five minutes on his rivals in the later stages of the race.

John was also first V40. First V50 and seventh overall was Keith Murray of Teviotdale Harriers.

Neil Hindle was the first V60 home. First V70 was Mike Gill of Blackhill Bounders. Young Hamish Murray was placed fourth overall and won the first local trophy; this was his first ever fell race!

The team trophy was won by the NFR team of John Butters (1 t ), John Duff (6th ), and Matthew Pearce(21st) total 28 points.

Gemma Bradley of Saltwell Harriers ran strongly to win the ladies race in a time of 3:31:44, placing a commendable 11th overall.

Karen Robertson NFR raced well for second place in a time of 3:43:35 she was also the first FV40. In third place was Katherine Davis from South Shields Polytechnic in 3:46:14. Carol Cervenek of Gateshead Harriers was the first FV50 and Gail Tombs of Calder Valley was first FV60. Wooler lass Shirley Cassidy had another great run to finish fifth and again won the first local lady trophy in 3:52:14.

It was a very special day in the walker’s race with many of the competitors walking in memory of Sarah Wilson from the Breamish valley.

Paul Appleby of NFR strode home in first place in a time of 4:44:16 he was also the first V50. In second place and first V60 was Len Glen Davison 4:52:17, in third place was Keith Davison 4;57:46.

Rob Brooks was the winner of the V40 trophy 5:14:24 .

The evergreen Dieter Hofmann strode round the course in 5:39:19 to win the V70 category, he was 8 th overall. Alan Urwin also a V70 once again took the first local trophy in 6:05:49.

First lady walker was Fiona McKenzie in 5:15:16. She was also first V50. In second place and first local lady walker was Angela Huddleston 5:28:18. In third place and first V40 was Joyce Guthrie in a time of 5:36:23.

The FV60 trophy was shared by Margaret Thompson and Christine Farnsworth from Elvet Striders who finished together in 7:49:25.

This will be the last year that trophies are awarded in the walk.

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

The Alan Gardener Trophy, which celebrates the Spirit of the Chevy Chase was awarded to Jamie Wilkinson who travelled from Australia to run the race and follow in his father’s footsteps.

Full results are available on the Wooler Running Club website at www.woolerrunningclub.co.uk