Race Rundown 2: South Shields Winter Trail 5k, 2nd February 2020

Sunday saw the second race in this year’s Harriers Grand Prix. This race was a trail at South Shields. Unlike most other races in the series this one was only a 5k, a relative doddle me thinks, & listening this week to my fellow harriers making comments like ‘I’m not going all the way up there for a 5k’ maybe I’ll get a few points for this one. 


So out of bed at 7:00am & on the road at 8:00am after shovelling in a geet walla bowl of porridge. 

I was first to arrive at the White Horse pub, and soon after some of my fellow Harriers appeared. I started checking out who had shown up from division 2 to work out my expected points haul for the day.

Christine. Well there goes the maximum of 10. 

Ian. Well that’s 9 down the pan. 

Paul. Oh flip, remembering being passed in last year’s 400m. I decided I would have to be happy with 7, that’s assuming no one else turns up. 

Marie & some of the usual Sunday morning crew said they were doing a couple of miles warm up & a few miles after. This would count towards the other challenge a few of us are doing of 500 Sunday miles for the year.  

We set out on the course ready to enjoy the view down to the seafront. A few hundred yards in, there was an arrow indicating the direction… up, up & more up. It was mountainous. Needless to say my 2 mile warm up became 1 mile & I let the others go. 

Arriving back at the pub I had a little smirk to myself in the knowledge that my fellows at the registration desk did not have a clue what lay ahead – as if that gave me some form of advantage! 

So a gentle jog to the start, this time it was downhill which only meant one thing, with the finish being at the pub there was going to be more up than down and plenty of it! 

So the race started & we set off on a gentle climb knowing much worse was to come with a harassment of harriers strung out on the course. Soon I was onto the lung busting climbs and decided no one in their right mind would run up here, so like many others, the thought of having two feet off the ground became a distant memory and I began to ambulate (notice how I managed to avoid the ‘w’ word). 

The downhill bits weren’t much better as it wasn’t easy on the terrain, still I had my trail shoes on so I gave it my best shot on my already tired legs. And then there were the steps, these were impossible to run down – steep & completely the wrong pitch for my stride length. Towards the bottom I spotted a muddy path just to my right & thought I could have run down that instead. 

So with the expectation of more lung busting pain I started the second lap, this time our swarm was a bit more spread out & after nearly taking a wrong turn & not too soon I arrived at the steps again. I saw the top of the little path & decided that’s the route for me… Big mistake. The reasonably steep slope soon changed to what only can be described as north face of the Eiger, and I found myself careering down with arms flailing as if I was doing semaphore with a wasp up my shirt.

By the time I got to the bit I’d seen earlier all four limbs were now completely out of sync and my running style could only be described as demented. How I stayed upright heaven only knows. The marshal at the bottom was very impressed though, stating ‘you negotiated that well’.  (I’ve never really understood sarcasm).

One more hill & then on to the finish where I collapsed in the usual fashion – 

I survived. That’ll do for me. 

After a brief rest I set out with the aforementioned Sunday crew to complete this week’s instalment of the Proclaimers 500 club challenge – 6 more miles along the seafront making a total of 10.6 for the day. I was shattered & it was now raining.  Still I had a good day & the blister I discovered later on my little toe didn’t dampen the occasion.

Doddle… I think not. 

by Dave Round.

With the ‘Proclaimers Club’ (500 miles…) afterwards

Race Rundown: Hartlepool Marina 5 mile, 14th April 2019

Out to Seaton Carew & back –(Paved & Flat)


This race report starts in June of last year when I had the bright idea of removing an unsightly raised flowerbed from the garden.

After I’d loaded two and a half tons of rubble into the trailer I discovered I had a bad back.

Despite seeing the physio on several occasions my back had ‘gone out’ more time than I had. I’m sure most of you could testify to this, due to my frequent wailing and gnashing of teeth on Saturday mornings.

The positive bit.

That is, until I started to attend a back class a month or so ago. After ‘engaging my core’ & punishing muscles I never knew I had on several occasions, I was feeling a lot better & decided to start entering races longer than the usual parkrun distance.

The morning of the race.

Still suffering with a cold & lack of sleep from staying up too late, the morning did not start well, but after some porridge & copious amounts of coffee I set off for the coast.

On arrival to say it was cold would be somewhat of an understatement. To be honest it was that bitter, not to mention a well known phrase, the round projectiles on the nearby Trincomalee had detached from their stands & were rolling around on the decks!


As with previous years registration was very friendly, quick & efficient. Tee shirt pickup was prior to the event, prompting many comments about not having to run now, I must admit, the thought had crossed my mind.

The obligatory visit to the thunder box.

The queue was quite long but I was soon in conversation with some other runners although I was wishing I had gone back to the car for my nice warm coat. Although I cannot say this was a particularly uplifting experience, the convenience was clean with a good supply of hand sanitiser. Furthermore unlike my experience of the great north run, it had not been delivered to site already pre-filled.

The warmup

I set out around the back of the marina at 10-minute mile pace but my legs were having none of it. Feeling absolute rubbish I persevered for half a mile thinking this is not going well. On stopping my Garmin to record even this brief event, it reported I needed seven hours recovery time- I’d only got 20 minutes before the race start!

I did a few strides and very reluctantly parted with my hoody as I proceeded to the start.

It was there I met Mark C, Lisa M and the family F complete with their turbocharged racing buggies. I couldn’t help wondering why they never made a bigger version so I could get in. It was then I started to contemplate my race strategy & concluded for some unknown reason I was going to start at nine-minute mile pace & see how it went.

The race (bet you thought this bit would never come).

After some brief race instructions we were off. Lisa, Andy & Emma soon disappeared into the distance but I could see Mark up in front from about 50 metres back.

I was soon up on the promenade and the wind hit, diagonally into my face coming in from the North Sea. I couldn’t find anyone tall to run behind, everyone moving at my speed just did not cut it as a windbreak, so I had to grin and bear it. My thoughts went to the buggies up front, it could not have been easy pushing in these conditions.

I hadn’t got to the two-mile marker when the lead runners flew past on their way back. ‘How is this humanly possible to gain over a mile on me already?’ I asked. I could still see Mark up front & thought this can’t be right, so I looked at my Garmin to see 8.5 minute pace and I was actually still feeling reasonable. I decided to stick with it, hoping things would get easier at the turn, telling myself ‘I feel good‘ in the hope it would help. I then saw Andy & Emma on their return journey now literally with the wind in their sails.

Boosted by this I dug in, & was soon at the turn & had actually started to close the gap on Mark. Now that the wind was slightly from behind things became less of a battle. I was actually feeling warm with no more thoughts of differential expansion between brass frames & iron spheres on the deck of the aforementioned warship.

After another half a mile I caught Mark up & concluded he was now paying for the 10 miles before 10 & Parkrun he did on the previous two days.

The Finish

I pushed on towards the finish now believing my own propaganda about feeling good & was overtaking a few fellow competitors along the way. Into the final straight my legs started to complain when I pushed a bit harder. Telling them to ‘shut up’ didn’t help, but I was soon crossing the finish line collapsing into a heap, but not before stopping my Garmin & gratefully grabbing a bottle of water.

As ever it took an age for my breathing to come under control before I looked at my time..


Official result 41.13 that’s 8:15 minutes a mile!


Well pleased with my first race coming back from injury & a negative split too.

And my back… well lets not tempt fate.



For full race results see & anything else you might want to know appendix below


By Davewiththeknees (David Round)


HMS Trincomalee

It is often stated that the phrase originated from the use of a brass tray, called a “monkey“, to hold cannonballs on warships in the 16th to 18th centuries. Supposedly, in very cold temperatures the “monkey” would contract, causing the balls to fall off.

Race results: