Who’s Who

Andrew Charles

I first encountered DFR when cycling through Hamsterley Forest one weekend in 2005, where the club had organised a fell race along the forest Trails.  I was looking for an alternative to road running, so I joined the club and attended the weekly training sessions on Thursday evenings, and took part in the Forest races when I was available. The club has continued following the same general format for the intervening 17 years, and has branched out into organising a number of races in and around the Durham Dales. There is also in intraclub championship competition where members can compete in preselected fell races organised by other clubs across the north of England, and points are awarded according to finishing position. I won this championship one year even though I always finish towards the back of the field, by being able to attend more of these races than any other DFR member. My most serious Fell Race achievement was to complete the first 60 miles of the Bob Graham Round in the 24 hours of my 60th birthday – I would probably have taken another 12 hours to crawl the final 6 miles along the lanes to Keswick! I have been the club secretary for the last few years, and can confirm that the club is committed to encouraging and supporting the sport of Fell Running in County Durham. 

Andy Blackett

Andy Blackett being watched by sheep during Winter Hewitts Round

I joined DFR in 2011 with the ambition of completing the Bob Graham Round. Since competing the BG I have concentrated on shorter races with the occasional foray around the longer classics such as Wasdale, Jura and Ennerdale. In 2013 I was North East fell running champion, and 2023 I was V40 North East chamption. I have been club champion 8 times. Most recently I celebrated the end of my 4th decade with a round of the Durham Hewitts. I’m also club Webofficer and organiser of Cockfield Chase, Bollihope Carrs, Mickle Fell and Silent Night Races.

Dougie Nisbet

Dougie Nisbet with cairn in background during sunset at Coniston

I dabble in most disciplines but always drift back to the hills. I rejoined DFR last year (although I’ve never really been away). Stand out experience has to be the Wainwrights Relay and running over Coniston as the sun was setting. I prefer medium to long races and ultras but nowadays as I get slower I’m constantly playing the Dodge-The-Cutoff game. I’m hoping to improve my fitness so I can get out and enjoy more of the sort of races I want to do.

Fran Blackett

FRA liaison officer, Run Leader (LiRF)

I have been a member of DFR since 2014. I am a keen fell runner and love to be in the mountains. My preferred competitive events are those that involve a navigational element so I often take part in the Lake District Mountain Trial and any multiple day mountain marathon events (such as the Saunders or Kong events) that I can throughout the year. I am race organiser for our summer Chapelfell Top race and I lead our ladies sessions on a Tuesday evening.

Patrick Bonnett

I joined DFR when it was formed in 2004. I’m not hugely competitive but enjoy taking part in mountain navigation events such as Mountain Marathons and the Lake District Mountain Trial. I’ve done a Bob Graham and a solo Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge. I was Chair of DFR for a few years and also organised our Cronkley Fell Race for a while. I’m a Level One running Coach. My specialism is social runs with a cafe and cake at the end.

Paul Hodgson

I’m currently Men’s captain for Durham Fell Runners and it’s my responsibility to organise our teams for the various annual fell relay events. I also organise our own club championship, our informal monthly handicap race, as well as the Cronkley Fell race, in Teesdale. I joined DFR in 2015 as a fairly novice runner, let alone a fell runner! Since then, the club and its members have provided me with support, advice and friendship that has allowed me to complete numerous fell races in fantastic locations around the UK, as well as my own personal challenge of the Bob Graham Round in 2018

Nicky Morse

I’ve just completed my 5th week training with Durham Fell Runners and I am absolutely loving it! I’m still the slowest in the group, but nobody seems to mind! In the last five weeks with support and advice from trained group leaders and members, I have been pushed beyond my limitations and I am definitely improving every week. I’m loving being able to explore Hamsterly forest too. This is an extremely friendly, supportive group, whatever level of fitness. I would encourage anyone who wants to improve their current running ability to come along and give it a go. I’m normally completely out of my comfort zone, but I know that as I keep attending these training sessions, my ability to run is improving dramatically. Roll on next session!