Helen Clark - 1st place female Washington 10k Trail & George Ogle Memorial Race.
All my life I've been an outdoorsy sporty person, thanks to my Dad who was an incredible runner/cyclist/hiker/mountain climber. He inspired me to always push yourself and get out there to experience new things.
As a child I ran, dare I say it, for Houghton Harriers (!) where I was XC captain and long distance runner for track and field events.
As an adult I've mainly ran on roads/paths, pretty boring really just to stay active and relatively rarely, flitting in and out of different sports.
I was bullied/nudged into joining WRC (thanks Jo) and was reluctant to join. However, since joining I've made some lovely friends, my WhatsApp has never been so active, everyone is genuinely so friendly and supportive with people really wanting to see everyone doing well and smashing that PB.
The club sessions are well organised, interesting, varied and show you plenty of new fun trails to try with experienced, passionate runners.
Running with people is a great social way to stay fit and you hear of loads of races to enter. Since joining WRC I've ran (and cried in) the Kielder Dark Skies Marathon, something I never imagined I'd be able to do. The trail outlaws series and XC races to name a few. Electrifying atmospheres that I will never forget. I think you soon become addicted to the buzz (and the bling) . I've just signed up for the Lakes In A Day 50 mile challenge, which will either make or break me. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and WRC has definitely made me stronger.
What a fabulous club with inspiring people. I love to see the sea of blue at an event and am proud to be a part of it. The vest is becoming special to me.
I joined the club in 2017, since when I have set PBs in 5k, 10k and half marathons. I’ve also placed higher in events, winning a few local races and the Trail Outlaws Urban Trail Series 2018.
This year I came 3rd in the Washington Trail Race, and won the MV40 trophy in my first race since hitting the big 4-0.
The club has played a huge part in my improvement. Training in a group has given me much more focus and being amongst other runners has pushed me on at times when I would have stopped on my own. I’ve also learned a lot and it’s great to find people as obsessed with all things running as I am.
Turning up to races with a blue army is a massive boost and running becomes a great social event, with us all supporting each other to the end, even in the depths of winter at cross country.
Most importantly I’ve met some brilliant people and made many friends, which as someone not from these parts originally has made a difference well beyond running.
Kathryn Common - 2nd place female & 1st place F40 Washington 10k Trail
For me one the best things has been joining the running club. I think it was in 2014 and I had been running for around 5 years.
I knew I loved it and always enjoyed doing races and pushing myself. I had been thinking about joining a club for quite a few years but they all seemed quite a way to travel for training and if I’m honest, I felt a bit intimidated and didn’t think I would be ‘good enough’ for a club.
I took quite a bit of time out of running shortly after getting pregnant with my son, and due to his birth and how I felt afterwards, it took me a long time to get back to running.
Not long after I got back into it, I was told about the club by Caroline Morgan and have literally never looked back. I think for me it’s not just about getting better at running. Its been about making so many new friends. As an ‘immigrant’ to this town and literally not knowing anyone – now I can’t go anywhere without bumping into a fellow Washy runner. I’ve got a brilliant network of friends who are just awesome and worth their weight in gold.
I also love the atmosphere at races with so many Washington runners cheering each other on – and especially the bits when we go to the pub after.
I have improved so much and achieved stuff running I never thought was possible (like up goat mountain to Penshaw monument!). Joining the club has pushed me on and I’ve gone from been a 9-10min mile runner to being able to knock out a 6 min mile – not bad for a 40+ lass with two kids.
Last year was the best for me as I never even imagined I would ever win a trophy – let alone 8 of them. Turning 40 has been a real turning point as I think I had a bit of a mid-life crisis and decided to really start pushing myself in training – and I am more stunned than anyone at what I have achieved so far.
I was absolutely delighted with the Washington 10K result last month where I came 2nd overall and fastest over 40 lady, and set a course record for my age category. I think the course record was the bit I’m most chuffed with as that’s a new one. The race was fantastic and being cheered on all the way round by fellow club runners was brilliant – even if some of them had cameras which I’m contractually obliged to smile and look like I’m having fun.
Running has been transformational to my life – for both my physical and mental health and intend to keep pushing it for as long as I can..
Before joining WRC in September 2017 I had only done a little bit of running and ploddy 5km was my limit! I hoped that joining a club would help build both my confidence and my fitness. Having never been a member of a running club before I had no idea what to expect and to say I was a little apprehensive was an understatement – I needn’t have worried.
WRC is such a warm, welcoming, friendly and inclusive group. Leaders and other members always offer support, advice, encouragement and inspiration. The atmosphere at events is always so positive and such a laugh.
Since joining the club I’ve entered cross country competitions, trail races, The Blaydon Races, completed my first Great North Run and have achieved more than I ever thought I could. I now have a love for running, words I never thought I would say, and so much of that is down to the fantastic people that make up Washington Running Club!
Dan Bewick - 1st Place Durham Ultra
I started running with the club about 2 years ago now, after being another one of those aimless lone runners that just bounced around the streets doing the same runs. Joining WRC has took me to a level of running I genuinely never thought was possible. They’ve got me to top 10 finishes in regional trail race events, but also helped me find my strange ability to compete in ultra marathons. I jumped from doing the Great North Run to doing a 70 mile ultra the full length of Hadrians Wall in just over 13 hours. That’s where it all began!!! My most recent ultra was of a different type; a 7 hour endurance race around a set course on the outskirts of Durham city centre. This was something I’d never tried before, and unsure how it would pan out. As the day progressed I found my pace and distance were ahead of where I expected to be when I was approaching the 28 mile mark. The repetition of the loops was starting to take its toll now, but I managed to zone out and keep plodding on to put more miles under my belt. Heading into the final 2 hours I had fellow WRC runner and my usual partner in crime Tim Jones join me to pace me around the last 10 miles, which worked wonders and gave me a second wind.... I even had enough left in the tank to blast off a final straight sprint finish. Then to my amazement to be told I’d completed the longest distance by the timing staff, along with a new course record!! Not a bad day in the office.
Alex Charlton - Most Improved Female 2018
I’m so Proud to wear a club vest right here in my hometown. To be a member of such a welcoming club is a privilege. The run leaders have a wealth of experience in running, knowledge of the area and above all they are great people.
After the birth of my 3rd baby I couldn’t have progressed the way I have if it wasn’t for each and every member that’s helped me along the journey. I’ve met some new friends for life and been reunited with old friends! I’ve travelled to new and exciting places to run and pushed myself further than ever! I’m excited for another year of running as a member of the club and can’t thank you all enough
It all started with my dad falling ill to cancer, after I dropped the kids off at school I would run back to him. I would run everywhere, it was my release until I found Washington Running Club, where I became part of a family that loved running. With the help of the leaders and runners I've found my passion in life and grew in every way to become the runner I can be. Stronger, fitter, healthier and faster. What can I say? That's what the club has done for me .
I am proud to be a part of this great club.
Katherine Conway - Run Leader
I joined Washington Running Club in early 2015 after a friend recommended the sessions to me. I hadn’t long been running but always enjoyed going to the gym and keeping fit.
With the dark nights it was a great way to train safely in a group and the structured sessions really boosted my performance.
Since joining the club I have taken part in so many races and events that I would never have joined on my own, including cross country and my first trail marathon.
The experience I have gained along the way has allowed me to help other people
and I completed the “Leader in Running Fitness” course in 2017. I have loved being part of the Couch to 5k programme we have ran and seeing the progress of the participants is amazing.
I’ve made great friendships and realised that’s there’s some beautiful places to run in our region. I’m really proud to be part of Washington Running Club.