Big-hearted runners plough through mud at Newcastle Stampede

An obstacle course run in Newcastle has raised vital funds for the British Heart Foundation

They might have been caked in mud and freezing cold but the hardy competitors in this year’s Newcastle Stampede all came out smiling.

The event at Newcastle Racecourse yesterday saw people crawl through tunnels, wade through water and climb over obstacles in plunging temperatures to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation.

The rain might have held off for the most part at the charity event, now in its fourth year, and by the time the drizzle set in those jostling past the cheering onlookers at the finishing line at Newcastle Racecourse were past caring.

The adventure run course, designed by the North East’s largest bootcamp company, Outdoor Fitness, had stewards and marines along a route lined with such hurdles as the water run, hay bale stack and sheep dip.

And it seemed no matter how wet and muddy, the runners loved the atmosphere so much they said they will definitely be supporting the good cause again next year.


One of the most mud-covered, with only his eyes showing, was Ben Lovell, a 55-year-old printer from Gosforth, who headed up a real family effort joined by daughter Kay Mason, 24, who said “he kept pushing everyone in”; niece Rachael, 27, and son Andy.

They have done the course every year so far with 26-year-old Andy this time setting himself the additional challenge of running it backwards. “It made the tunnels a bit of challenge,” he said.

Father Ben said: “We just do it for fun and make a donation to the charity.”

Meanwhile a team from Washington-based Future Fit North East, a fitness centre run by 26-year-old Paul Davidson, signed up for the run having set the bar with previous challenges such as a sky-dive and a run across the country.

Among the 35 members, who raised £2,000 were Paul’s fiancee Kim Dobson, 25,who liked the water slide and tunnels of mud and 48-year-old Ann Lambrinoydakis from Felling who said: “It was absolutely awesome.”

Oscar Vargas, 37, an engineer who took part with colleagues from American Air Filter, said: “The 10km took me one hour, two minutes. It’s the first time I’ve done it and it was great fun.

“I go to the gym but didn’t do any training for this. It was like an army training course and very challenging.”

He added: “Now I’m going to have a shower first of all - and then a big dinner!”

Other first-timers to the Stampede were childhood friends Rosanne McTernan, 27, and 28-year-old Katherine Sweet, both from Newcastle.

The pair did the Great North Run last month, raising between them money for Barnardo’s and a charity helping third world countries, and this time set themselves the task of collecting £50 more sponsorship.

“We’d just done the Great North Run and wanted another challenge,” said Rosanne. “It wasn’t hard but the tunnels were very cold.”

“They were the worst!” agreed Katherine.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer