Race Rundown: Raby Castle Races 1.2k and 10k, 12th May 2019

The first race I ever entered was the Sunderland 10k in May 2017 and I returned the following year to have a go at the Sunderland Half so this year, after feeling very disappointed with my effort at the half, I was looking for a different event. My brother had spoken highly of the Raby 10k so I thought I’d give it a go.

Once a month, as a family we try to make sure we all get together and go somewhere. We call it Rudd’s Rambles. And when Marie saw there was a 5k race on, which she entered, a 1.2k fun run for the kids and free entry for participants and their families to the Raby gardens, Rudd’s Rambles became Rudd’s Runs for May with my brother and sister-in-law also entering the 10k, their kids entering the 3k and the old people coming along for a picnic after.

We arrived in a bit of a hurry, as we do everywhere we go with the 2 small people, fearing we’d be late for the fun run registration for Isaac, but made it in plenty of time. The sun was shining in a cloudless blue sky and it was hot, even at 9:30 in the morning. Isaac’s 1.2k fun run was the 1st race of the day. There was a warm up for the kids, which he enjoyed, then we moved across to the start. The horn sounded and there was flurry of toddlers zig zagging all over the place, dragging their parents across the start line and around the course. Isaac smiled the whole way around, liked his finisher medal but was more eager to show his mam the jelly sweet he got at the finish line.

The 3k run was next to start followed by the 5k then it was my turn with the 10k. The only advice my brother gave me was to go steady on the 1st lap of the 2 lap course to save some energy for the hill at the start of the lap.

I lined up with Matthew and the race began. The start funnel was just to the side of the road on bumpy long grass so I was eager to get on the tarmac for fear of turning my ankle on the uneven surface. But I quickly found that I’d started further back than I should have as I was soon clipping the heels of the runners in front. It was a trip back on to the grass to clear those in front. After a few hundred metres we passed a gate then ‘the hill’ came in to clearer view. Some runners were already rounding a bend and disappearing behind the trees as I started the climb. At 4.3% gradient it isn’t massively steep but it drags on for a kilometre so it’s still punishing. I tried to keep my form and pace consistent and peaked the hill feeling relatively fit. The road then dipped down before raising back up again and around some farm buildings before a lovely long, straight and gradual downhill part of the course sandwiched between fragrant rape seed fields and leading to the off road part of the lap, along a track through some woods.

This is where my personal duel with a lady from Darlington Harriers began. I crept past her on the climb through the woods and as the track turned back to tarmac and levelled, with Raby Castle to our right hand side, she crept back past me.

At the start of the second lap and at the bottom of the hill I overtook her again and this time my legs were telling me that I had ran up a hill as I reached the top. On the long straight to the woods the Darlington Harrier lady re-passed me and on the climb back through the woods I re-passed her. This time it was a race to the finish line so I pushed hard and stayed ahead over the line, passing a few more along the way. I also claimed a 10k race PB, 47:38 on a hot and hilly course, which I was extremely pleased with.

It was a well run event by Teesdale AC with a good medal at the finish, cake, a welcome bottle of water after running in the heat and an even more welcome can of McColl’s brewery (brewed in Evenwood) IPA. A day out that the whole family enjoyed.

Link to the results:

https://racebest.com/results/vrt7r

by Sam Rudd

Race Rundown: Ravenscar Half Marathon, 19th May 2019

Ravenscar Half Marathon….. 19th May 2019

I’ve thought about this event a few times before but never got around to running it….. So 2019 was going to be the year, which unfortunately clashed with a club race… The plan was that myself and “BILLY” were off to do this… But I kept pursuing fellow Harriers to join me… Eventually I managed to in the name of Steve Forman.

So the morning came and all the travelling plans were in place… The morning weather reports said cloudy and showery…. so put the appropriate clothing on……. which turned out to be the total opposite, a very warm one indeed. Ravenscar would take around 1 hour 25 minutes to get there so set off in good time. It’s been a while since I’ve travelled over the moor roads, which I used to every morning for a while when working over at the early warning system….. at Fylingdales. We had the postcode set into the Satnav and one called ‘just follow’ which took us though a place Sandsend (which would be a nice seaside stop in the future ?????).

Once back on track and realising we had just driven around in a nice little circle, driving over to Ravenscar the roads can be like a rollercoaster which could be a little hairy if not paying attention….. We arrived thinking we would be early…. But no, got there perfect timing, just ahead of all the others turning up so parking the car was great, no problems. We collected our numbers and Steve bought us a nice coffee. The headquarters and registration were in the village hall and side gardens. The event was run by the Scarborough Mountain Rescue from this area. Steve and I treated ourselves to a new buff from them which I thought ‘in this heat ???’

All sorted ready for the start, lots of eager runners gathered. There were going to be two events A half marathon, and a 10k which started 30 minutes after us…. so after short briefing we were off… The plan was to take it easy for the first half, no pressure just enjoy this new event. We ran down the coastal paths and across, picking up an old railway line. It was about 9 miles running down this way, through lovely woodlands which did make a nice difference to the temperature… Once at the turning point we found out the first half was a lot easier and than second !!!! A fellow runner did warn us what was coming up. Heading back, the views were great. Trail running is beautiful at times!!!!!

Then the real fun started, HILLS and STEPS or you could call them LADDERS!!!!! Keeping sensible about things and watching our footing we pushed on up the coastal paths taking turns pacing each other.

With about 3 miles to go Steve started to pick up the pace and we passed a few more runners. The heat was starting to catch up with me and my back started to ache again in the place I’ve been having problems …. But I’m not to go there… old age must be catching up ??? I said to Steve ‘keeping going and I’ll see you at the end’.

We didn’t have long to go to the finish, just a couple of little sharp inclines and a little push to the line…. phew finished….. time for a big drink of water…. That buff… I was glad of it… was like a towel around my waist. Grabbing a medal and drinks and a little chat to others we thought about heading back….. Was it going to be fish and chips from Whitby? WELL….. no, back to Guisborough to the trusty place #COSTA ….Parked up, small walk, been a while since here too !!! ( need to get out more ???? well not quite…) While walking to grab a coffee a young lad on his phone asked his mate about getting hold of his…… steroids… nice!! Put it down to culture (or “lack of ”) … and modern life.

So to finish. The trip out, a nice coffee and a muffin….. a rainbow muffin? … sorry no parmo…. Would I go back and run it again? Yes (maybe a great one for the Grand Prix next year????) Great event, great course and challenging in places. It may be different in the rain and wet but that’s the same for all events…. But The views – I can see why people love running – the moors, trails and coast.

Notes …. value for money …. Yes, travelling and parking all good. Event organisation… all ran smoothly. The heat did catch a few out, but all was in hand with the great staff and volunteers.

Just remember people: in warm weather keep hydrated (and that’s a note to myself!!!)

So here’s to the next adventure…… Ray out !!!!!

Results: http://www.srmrt.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/RC-Half-Marathon-Results-2019.pdf

 

By Ray Carmichael.

Race Rundown: Sunderland Half Marathon, 12th May 2019

I have taken part in the Sunderland City 10k on a couple of occasions, but this was the first time I have entered the half.

I arrived a little late and did not see many fellow Sedgefield Harriers; only Pete King (hard to miss at 6ft 5in) and Chris Lines who was involved in PR for the event.

My target was 1hr 38 but the heat, lack of long runs to prepare and quite a few beers on Friday night hampered my efforts. I was on target to 10 miles but at the bottom of the Roker Park Hill I knew that I was going to struggle from there on in, which I did finishing in 1hr 42. I had the words of an old rugby coach ringing in my head “Failure to prepare is preparation to fail”. Very apt.

There were some good runs from the Harriers which are summarised below:

41 Ben Smale Male HM-MO Sedgefeld Harriers 01:25:35
67 Declan Munnelly Male HM-M40 Sedgefeld Harriers 01:28:22
270 Simon Cavey Male HM-M40 Sedgefeld Harriers 01:42:56
386 Peter King Male HM-M50 Sedgefeld Harriers 01:46:31
596 Ian Spencer Male HM-M50 Sedgefeld Harriers 01:54:24
1028 Sarah Horner Female HM-FO Sedgefeld Harriers 02:18:19

There were three in the 10K also (not seen Gary Auston for a while good to see him back running):

148 Gary Auston Male 10K-M40 Sedgefeld Harriers 00:46:21
995 Anne Gladwin Female 10K-F40 Sedgefeld Harriers 01:02:07
1266 Jayne Freeman Female 10K-F40 Sedgefeld Harriers 01:06:24

Results are copied from the website, note the spelling error which is not mine!

Views on the event:

Parking and Accessibility               Good (I found a free car park but not sure if all car parks are free on a Sunday)

Organisation                                      Very good

Baggage Store                                   Good to have a store very close to start and finish

Course                                                  Urban (buildings provided some useful shelter from the sun), lots of turns and hillier than I thought it would be

Weather                                              Hot – don’t have an official temp for the day but felt like 20 degrees plus

Cost                                                       High at over £30 but I felt it was fair bearing in mind the cost to host is likely to be high (road closures etc).

Goody Bag                                          Mixed; included a protein bar which despite my hunger was inedible and a fruit drink in a can (even though the contents were flat) which was not to my liking either.

This is my first race rundown which is passed on to Pete King for approval. Given his job, I have been panicking about my English. I have thrown in a few commas and semicolons but I have no idea if they are in the correct place! English was not my best subject at school.

By Simon Cavey

 

Flying feet by Sarah in the half. You get fancy photos (for free) at the Sunderland events.

Editor’s notes: other than to correct a height error (6’5” not 6’8”) no other amendments were required 🙂; additional to the club spelling mistake in the results, the runner in position 386 also won’t actually be in the M50 category until next time…

Great showing by Ciaran in the 5k the previous evening

 

Andy also did the 5k.

 

Anne and Jayne did the 10k.

 

Gary returning to form.

 

Ben was first Harrier home in the half. Great time.

 

Declan close behind.

 

Well done Ian.

 

 

Race Rundown: Pier to Pier, 19th May 2019

The Pier to Pier (South Shields to Roker, around 7 miles depending how many short cuts you can take) was one of the first races I did and remains a firm favourite. OK, it’s a bit up-and down, there are a lot of people doing it so at times there are bottlenecks and you have to slow down or walk a bit (not a problem for me but maybe would annoy some…) and as it’s a point-to-point you have to work out parking and buses etc, but these are small matters compared to the many outstanding features, as follows: –

1. You can’t get lost. Find your way to South Shields beach, turn right and run, keeping the sea on your left, until you see lots of people milling about waiting for you to finish so they can go home.

2. It starts and finishes on a beach. This may not be to everyone’s taste but I love to run along a beach; at least it’s mostly flat.

3. The goody bag for this race is right up there with the very best. As an added bonus, this year it included beer. Well, it did for about 5 minutes.

4. It is always a very sociable event, as there are always a lot of friendly Harriers (is there any other kind?) around. To meet up at the start and compare anticipated times (somewhere between 1 and 1 and a half hours was the accurate prediction from the conversation I was in) and share reviews of the toilet facilities is a good start to the day, and then at the end, by the time I finish, there are always loads of the speedy types around doing their best not to look pointedly at their watches but instead providing much-needed support and encouragement.

5. They usually pick a good day. This year was no exception – plenty of sun without being TOO hot and a lighter wind than usual.

6. The refuelling opportunities post-run appear endless – this year, the call of the fish and chips from Latimer’s, washed down by a Minchella’s ice cream proved irresistible again, but I jogged back past a number of very tempting eateries and might even try something else next year.

7. I normally get to see a couple of photos of myself in which a sympathetic eye (mine) might discern a trace of athleticism. Unfortunately, the photographers this year were unable to capture this; their fault, not mine. 😊

8. The organisation and marshalling are superb.

My own personal performance was marred by my unfortunate tendency to go off too quick. This does have the advantage that I can have a chat with a number of my fellow runners as they overtake me and quickly pull away; yes, Paul Frame and Dave Round, I am thinking of you. I did also think of having a chat with Sue Dobson as she was about to pass me, but it was on the beach with only about 200 metres to go so I thought: no, I’m not having this and was able to push her into a convenient rock pool before continuing to stagger towards the finish line. My new watch I bought myself for my birthday said about 1 hour 4 minutes which is around average for me. I understand that many Harriers were able to knock minutes off their previous best and there were some cracking performances so congratulations to everyone who took part in a great morning’s entertainment.

By Mike Wood:

Full Results: https://my4.raceresult.com/108808/results#1_94D641

Even more photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/SLBv4sByU9bee2NE6

 

Race Rundown: Trail Outlaws Durham 10 Mile Trail, 12th May 2019

Summer finally decided to make an appearance just in time for this beautiful run. Into its second year, this event had sold out many weeks ago. The run is advertised as 10miles (elastic tape measure!), 1080 feet ascent (didn’t we know it!), 1079 feet descent (glad of it after the ascent) and 600 runners .

A motley crew of Harriers had decided to take on the challenge. The start line in a corner of Maiden Castle’s many playing fields was buzzing on the morning, collection of numbers and memento t-shirt all well organised, just as long as you had your ID with you. The Redbull car made an appearance with a very large sound system and Scott trainers had also rocked up with some shiny new shoes which they were showcasing at this run.

Some of us had planned a social run (some more social than others), although once the gun sounded a number of Harriers went off like a rocket, keen to get past the bottle necks of the noisy bridge and the limbo under the bridge at the Rose Tree pub. The course is a beautiful run along the river and through the woods, which are chocablock with bluebells at this time of year, stunning scenery when I was able to lift my eyes from the path! I know that we ran to Croxdale Hall and Sunderland Bridge but otherwise I really am not sure where we went!!! Across fields, down paths, up paths, following the Trail Outlaw yellow flags and being pointed in the right direction by some lovely marshals.

Once we came back towards Maiden Castle and back over the noisy bridge the finish line was in sight! But as with all Trail Outlaws runs, there was a sting in the tail; we were guided to take a right turn to continue along the river, round the uni rugby pitches and then up Whinney Hill, but thankfully what goes up must come back down again and this time we were heading towards the finish line.

After crossing the finish line a spectacular medal was placed around our necks and we were pointed in the direction of our mug memento and big water bottles, big boxes of jelly babies, cola bottles, liquorice allsorts and chocolate raisins. A mug of water and several handfuls of sweets were just what the doctor ordered after the run!

All the Harriers finished with big smiles on our faces (nothing to do with the sweets we were consuming!) and a little bit of sunburn. Some fantastic times on a very challenging course. If you haven’t got yourselves down to a Trail Outlaws urban trail series event, you don’t know what you have been missing!!

By Emma Featherstone

 

 

 

Race Rundown: Trail Outlaws Washington Trail 10k, 28th April 2019

Registration

Thanks to the trusty satnav I arrived at the tail of the queue trying to turn right into the car park at Prissick School. Having read the pre race instructions (brownie point) I turned left and parked easily in a residential estate without inconvenience to any residents.

Registration was outside the school building in a cool breeze and I was very glad of the top I’d brought “just in case”, though it did mean that I ran with my little backpack. Equipped with my little bracelet I then went inside to join the toilet queue which, though massive, moved steadily and I gained relief without embarrassment.

The Start

Outside I met Karen who always helps out at junior parkrun and we wandered down to the start, a 10 minute walk away. I spotted Rosie and Emma in the ever thickening crowd.  As we waited for the delayed start the organisers called for runners 6 and 9 to come to the front.  Wonder why?  Then they wanted numbers 68 and 86. A pattern was emerging, which is more than we did when the race started.  There was hardly room to shuffle feet as the crowd of 604 runners moved towards a tunnel.  “Watch out for the bollard” was the cry.  Bollard, all I could see was the back of the big bloke in front.  I was cursing the loss of time not realising ‘til the next day that my bracelet recorded the time as I crossed the start line and again as I crossed the finish. I am new to this though and technology is not my strongpoint.

The Course

The route is a figure of eight across both sides of the river using the contours to provide a varied course and terrain, through woods and open fields to a constant accompaniment of birdsong. We started by running through the trees on the north side of the river heading downhill then alongside the river before climbing towards the overflow car park of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. After a bit more climbing we then went downhill towards the start point.

A faller

After crossing the Wear at Cox Green Bridge we came into the sunshine and climbed gently through a wood where an old guy in front of me crashed to earth. A couple of us checked him over but apart from a nasty scratch or two he was able to continue. His shirt had “Bosnia Jack” on the back. I met him at the end.  He was called Bill, was 70 and had just recovered from 2 broken ribs from his last fell run.

Still climbing out of the river valley there was a series of fields. This provided several opportunities to catch your breath as you queued to climb over a stile or go through a kissing gate.  I pointed out to a guy behind that, although it was a kissing gate, he was not to get his hopes up. His riposte was lost on the wind.

The new friend

On a level section I found myself either a couple of steps ahead or a couple of steps behind number 74. We ended up running together for the rest of the race.

We entered a wood which was single track with no chance to pass ‘til a steep downhill descent allowed us to fly past a group of runners before a very sharp right turn (or get very wet). We continued on levelish ground alongside the river before recrossing the bridge.

The finish

With less than 800m to go I was able to stretch out and pass around 20 runners. Less than 200m to go, turn right and there it was. No, not the finish but “The Hill”.  Walking, aching, panting up the thing I passed a few more then there it was – the finish in sight.  Run up the last bit of hill then a furious sprint trying to hold off someone behind.  We hit the line together.

Waiting to return my bracelet there were Emma and Andy with the turbopram together with Rosie. Bosnia Jack followed behind and we were able to have a chat. Looking at the results later I was delighted to see my new mate, number 74, was just 2 seconds behind me.

It was a great day, a lovely run as long as you don’t care about a PB. I came home and booked the Trail Outlaws’ Branches and Bays and the Penshaw 10K.  I’m on my way to Islay on the day of the Durham 10 Miles. Phew.

By John Marshall

Full results: https://urbantrails.co.uk/washington-results-2019.php

 

Race Rundown: North Tyneside 10k, 21st April 2019

This was my first proper ‘adult’ race as I am now old enough to enter some of them and my first 10K race. I had decided to do this one because I am raising money for my GirlGuiding international trip to Canada in August. There is a link for this at the bottom.

It was a very warm day; about 22℃. I don’t like running in the heat very much, obviously I don’t mind a bit of heat but it was too hot for me. In addition to this when you were running there wasn’t a breeze (which would have nice) and very little shade and I was very glad that I put my suncream on.

There weren’t very many Harriers out, just me, my Mum and Dad, Chris Lines, Ciaran Lines, Peter King and Gary Auston. However we did have some good results:

At the start of the race I found that all of the people kept getting in my way and it annoyed me. The further I got through the race the fewer people there were around me, but they still managed to get in my way a bit, however by that point I was too tired to really care anyway.

To begin with I was ahead of my Mum but at about 7km she overtook me, I tried to keep her in my sight but then she just got too far so I gave up and stopped looking that far ahead. There was a tight corner before the finish but there were signs so you knew how far that you had left to go which I found very useful.

I found the race difficult because of the heat and the distance, but the route was very scenic and there was only one major hill which was quite near the start meaning it was easier than if it had been closer to the end. I was also pleased with my time because of all the 6 mile training runs I have done this was much faster; I personally think that 50:15 is very good, but I would have loved to get below 50 minutes.

 

There were a lot of people out supporting the runners which was nice and the marshals were also very supportive towards the runners.

I am collecting sponsorship for doing this event to go towards my Sedgefield Rangers trip to Canada. If you wish to sponsor me the link to my online fundraising page is is: https://www.justgiving.com/ crowdfunding/abbie-walker-canada-trip

I would be grateful for any donations.

By Abbie Walker

Race Rundown: London Marathon, 28th April 2019

By Beth Raine and Paula Warwick

Beth:

If someone had said two years ago (before I joined the Harriers) that I would run a marathon, I would have laughed and said no way! Fast forward those two years and I’m stood in the pen with the thousands of other runners, waiting to set off for a journey into the unknown. Having been inspired by the efforts of fellow Harriers at Manchester three weeks before, it was now my turn to see what I could do.

Sure, I’d done the training runs with some amazing support of fellow Harriers (Tracy F, Ali, Alda, Sue D, Georgina and Paula) but could I go the distance and run 26.2 miles? I was about to find out.

With the plan to meet Paula at the mile 4 marker (we were starting in different zones), I was happy that we would run together and although at a pace considerably slower than Paula is capable of, it was going to be a good day out.

Paula:

8th October 2018, the post lady had delivered another magazine, presumably for Dave (CIBSE or Investors Chronicle!!!), I picked it off the door mat to see “in!”, I quickly looked at the name and realised it was for me, then it dawned on me, oh no, I started to shake and felt sick, this had happened once before. I opened the plastic wrapping just to clarify it was from London Marathon before I carefully thought how I’d break the news to Dave!

So, my training started with Rosie in RED January, then got progressively worse when I went back to work in March only running once a week and usually with a buggy. I managed to squeeze a couple of long runs in with Jane and Tracy Glaister as they trained for Manchester and I finished doing a 20 miler with Beth.

Thursday 25th April: we left Sedgefield for Essex, Dave had a stomach bug and Amy was full of cold, I wasn’t happy that I had to share a car with them both for fear of catching something, let alone the same hotel room…..and bed! 😤

Marathon Day, Sunday 28th April, 26.2 miles awaited me. From getting up that morning I couldn’t wait to get back into bed! Full of cold, twisty baby, sick husband, watch battery dead, ran out the house late (as ever these days) and missed the train! Eventually meeting Beth and Mark in Greenwich a few minutes before the pen closed. I thought I’d chance it and try get into the red pen with Beth so we could start together, the Marshal insisted on looking at my number, I gave him a quick look but he clocked it….I was a blue, I tried to act stupid but they made me leave, with very little time to get to the blue pen. Thankfully Beth and I had a plan, we’d both start at 10.48am, I’d run a minute a mile quicker ‘til mile 4 then stop under the balloon arch where she’d find me! Unfortunately I was too late in my pen, I started at 10.59am with the 7 hour pacer 😫.

Beth:

Well I arrived at mile 4 with no sign of Paula! I hovered for a minute, jogging on the spot, looking back down the field to see if I could catch a glimpse but to no avail. I decided to go on, but about 20 seconds later decided I hadn’t waited long enough so I jogged back! Still no sign, so I decided to carry on. Assuming she was behind me, I knew she’d catch me up at some point.

The course was absolutely amazing! I knew how privileged I was to be taking part in this iconic event. Having listened in awe to the experiences of others, I was eager to see if it lived up to the hype and boy did it! There were crowds along the entire route and I mean crowds ten deep in places, with rallying cries of “you’ve got this” and “you’re amazing”! The noise was phenomenal.

Having seen Mark and Dave at mile 7 just after Cutty Sark and keen to find out where Paula was, with the news that she wasn’t far behind, I carried on.

The course was pretty darn flat and as I crossed onto Tower Bridge, I got real goosebumps as the imposing landmark came into view. I was really enjoying the atmosphere and I was feeling strong.

The miles were ticking over (my Garmin was beeping about half a mile earlier than the mile markers due to the weaving and the little trip back to see if I could spot Paula) and I was happy with my pacing. I was even happier when I got a hug from behind at mile 16 and it was Paula. We’d found each other!

Paula:

I ran as quick as I could, constantly dodging the walkers and fun runners in crazy costumes. I passed two rhinos, the 6.30 pacer, a man in a bomb disposal suit, the 6 hour pacer, a bloke running in ski boots, the 5.45 pacer, Jesus, another rhino and the 5.30 pacer.

I got to mile 4, I stood and waited with a lot of other runners who had the same plan. I was in two minds whether I should stop because I started so late but I said I would, so I did. After 10 minutes I felt I’d waited long enough and sure enough the 7 hour pacer was heading towards me. I ran on knowing Dave and Mark would be at Cutty Sark, mile 7. I spotted them and Dave shouted Beth was 8 minutes a head, I swore (a few times). I worked out that if I ran a minute a mile quicker than Beth and giving time for dodging the Rhinos, I would catch her about mile 16. I also thought it would give those at home tracking us some excitement. The chase began! Mile 15, I was bored, no one to talk to, no one to whinge at, no one to throw a paddy with (I missed Jane and Ray) then I spotted a white vest with blue band…I got closer. Before I put my arms around this woman I needed to make sure it was Beth…it was, I was so pleased.

Beth:

Canary Wharf loomed into view and we were having a great time!

Having tried to channel my inner Tracy G (whose metronomic pacing at Manchester was inspirational to watch), at mile 21 things started to unravel a little and my pace dropped off. I didn’t hit “the wall” just a wave of fatigue and a stitch that wouldn’t go away. The last 5 miles were tough and the sight of Big Ben was a huge relief! I wasn’t great company for Paula at this stage who seemed to know I wouldn’t be up for playing the alphabet game right then! But just being by my side, was a huge support.

Turning into Parliament Square and across to Birdcage Walk all seemed unreal. I’d watched this event on the television in the past and wondered what it must be like to be there, and here I was about to turn onto the Mall. Just in that moment I heard a massive scream of “BETH” in the crowds and saw Aileen with yards to go. Buckingham Palace to my left, The Queen Victoria Memorial in front and then a right hand turn down The Mall. Then with a final push (not quite a sprint finish), we were over the line!

Paula:

From there on we had a great race! No idea what time I finished, didn’t really care! Pleased to get the medal, Dave and Mark robbed the contents of my goody bag, Beth completed her first Marathon.

Beth:

I did it in 4:53:59. As I stopped my Garmin, 2 new announcements…my record marathon time and my longest run of 26.96 miles! All that weaving and turning back had racked up some extra mileage! Knowing we’d raised over £1500 (including Gift Aid) for FoSH made the extra distance seem all worthwhile!

What do I think about this race?

I know entry is ballot only and I know how hard it is to get in, but if you do and you get to run this event, you will have the most amazing experience! The organisation is second to none, the crowds were fantastic and the backdrop of London’s landmarks was the cherry on the top!

Whenever I speak to people about running I am at pains to point out that Mark is “the runner” in our house and that I am just “having a go”. The day after the marathon as I reflect on my performance; whilst I am not quite up to Mr Raine’s speed, I think I might have to start accepting that it is okay to call myself a runner now!

Paula:

When I got back to Essex, Amy greeted me with a snotty kiss, she wore her tee shirt with pride, I demolished a Chinese and thoroughly enjoyed climbing into bed!

Race Rundown: Druridge Bay Marathon, April 7th 2019

Here are some of my running stats:

  • Number of marathons completed ever:  4, all in 2017
  • Date of last marathon: September 2017, Hull
  • Number of times I’ve run further than half marathon distance in last 12 months: 1 (16 miles)
  • Months missed through injury in 2019: 2 (most of January and February)
  • Reason for entering Druridge Bay Marathon: Absolutely no idea

Well actually I do know why I entered, but nothing makes complete sense. I was inspired by Mike W running his first ever marathon at the Hardwick Winter Wonder in January, based on simply being in good running nick; I’ve been involved in a lot of marathon talk recently with the Manchester, London and York enthusiasts and it’s quite seductive (John H: “Camm on Pete, you’ve gotta do Yawk mayt”); I am a member of the North East Marathon Club, the clue is in the name; I didn’t take my free place at the Leas event nor was able to do the winter wonders due to injury, so I had this one for ‘free’; due to tide times at Druridge, those doing the full marathon had to set off an hour earlier than those doing the half, so I couldn’t start the half and just see if I could keep going, I had to state my aim.

But apart from being in decent running nick for me and racking up a few miles in March, I really hadn’t trained for it. I kept quiet about it, partly out of respect for those doing Manchester the proper way on the same morning, and made it to the start line.

I haven’t done Druridge Bay before, but it’s in keeping with NEMC’s events in that a number of attractive laps are repeated, four in total. Each lap was like a squiggly figure of 8, with a mid point (an interchange, enabling refreshments twice each lap). Those who have done Druridge cross country would recognise the lake to be orbited each time, but there were also really nice sections of path and closed road, all at easy gradients. The highlight of each circuit was the mile or so stretch on the beach, on hard sand with the wind behind, a lovely bay.

Conditions were chilly and damp, ideal for long distance running. After a quick briefing and ‘ready, steady go’ we were off. I can honestly say that the first two laps (half marathon) were a dream. I ran at a steady pace (just over two hours) and felt great. I made several new friends. Ryan was doing his first ever marathon, loping along in a very easy style; he lives up in Weardale, his wife works in M&S in Durham. It was only when I needed a wee at the end of the first lap that we were parted. Debbie D and her Peterlee friends were discussing HR issues at work. On lap two I caught up with David. Recently turned 50, he was training for an ultra in a couple of months’ time; should he go for a flat 47 miler or a Lakeland mountainous 32? We discussed the merits of each until I eased ahead of him on the second beach stretch.

In quieter moments I was also mentally writing my Rundown. At the halfway point it was all about how easy it was to run a marathon with no additional training. This new found revelation was despite me finding every long run difficult, ever, after about 16 miles…

There were no other Sedgefield runners in my race but I did spy Ben Smale at the interchange one time. He was doing the half, and flying along on his way to a brilliant 4th place and huge PB. Julia Atkinson-Tait was somewhere in the half field too. When I saw Ben, I bellowed a huge ‘Good luck Ben Smale!’ He told me later that he had heard and that it had really benefitted. The woman with the headphones alongside me that jumped out of her skin may have not felt so grateful. “Oh, sorry love”.

Lap 3 and I definitely started to stiffen up. I felt it first as I got onto the beach and by the end of the lap was finding it hard to keep moving. Stopping to empty my shoe of small stones was probably as much about taking a breather, but I did keep running overall.

The start of lap 4, coming back through the public area was really tough. Had it just been a more informal winter wonder type event, I would have called it a day then. I was knackered. But I kept going. A short way into lap 4, and I walked for the first time and so began the most miserable hour or so of running/walking since the closing stages of Hull, 18 months ago. The triumphant mood of an hour previous was long consigned and gradually many of the people who I had passed in the earlier stages, steadily came back past me. I was so full of self pity. I thought enviously of Chris and Ciaran doing 3000m at Middlesbrough. 3000m, now that would have been much more sensible. I began to rewrite this rundown in my head, recognising the stupidity of not training properly. I aimed for trees and puddles and any other landmarks to run (shuffle) to before walking again. I counted 100 running strides to 40 walking. My glutes said no, my pride whispered yes. The only person I had passed early on in this final lap was Noel. I only know his name through the results. His feet were killing him, he muttered. But not so much, because he stayed close for all the last 5 miles. We played slow motion cat and mouse all the way back; he catching me with a faster walk, my shuffle run slightly quicker. I never looked behind – now that would have betrayed my pretend nonchalance – but each time I heard him close I dragged myself into a jog. Once past the refreshment table (no final Haribo, I’ve had enough of those for a while!) I kept up a slow run for the last half a kilometre and thanked Noel once we’d both crossed the finish. 13 seconds separated us, he had really helped.

4 hours 31 is nothing to write home about, but neither was it a disaster. Feeling utterly fatigued I gratefully accepted both medals (yes two, one about ‘World Bamnation Weekend’. No idea what it means, neither does Google, but I deserved it). I had a photo with my lap 1 friend Ryan who also had suffered latterly and the briefest of chats with the likes of Mel, Ian and Omar from the club. I was so wrecked, that I just wanted to go home and curl up. Sitting on the boot lid of the car, wrestling with stiffness and the lining of my track bottoms, a member of the public came over and asked if I wanted some help. I must have looked that pathetic. I remember hearing myself say “Thanks, it’s okay. I’ve just run a marathon.”

The volunteer marshals were great as always: Karl & co hunkering down behind the concrete beach blocks, Andy swatting away midges for five hours, Chris on his camping chair in one corner of the park, Anna and her friend unable to take a photo because they were too cold, Christine on the refreshment table (who pointed out my bleeding nipples at about half way!). Others too. Heroes, all.

So would I recommend doing a marathon on minimal training? Absolutely not. Stupid idea. Running should be an enjoyable experience. Yet, as soon as I’d warmed up, grabbed a coffee, got a free electric charge at Stannington Services and thought about what I’d done, I realised I didn’t regret it. I’m so not a long distance runner, but I was quite pleased with myself. Marathon #5: third quickest (or slowest, if your glass is half empty).

I’m definitely not doing Yawk though John, before you ask again.

By Pete King

Results: https://www.trailoutlaws.com/tots/index.php

Race Rundown: Herrington Park Winter Wonder, 16th December 2018

This was part of the ‘Winter Wonder’ series organised by North East Marathon Club. I’ve been a member of NEMC for two years and enjoy their local, low key events. The Winter Wonders have generally been a Newcastle Town Moor fixture but this year have started to branch out to such places as Herrington and, next month, Hardwick Park. You don’t have to be a marathon runner to be a member of NEMC and the Winter Wonders are designed accordingly for runners of all distances. They tend to be multi-lap events, for participants to run as far as they wish within a six hour window. There are no finishing placings as such and sometimes runners’ own times are used as their ‘official’ time. I also like them because you get to run past the refreshment table for snacks and drinks every few miles, avoiding the need to carry your own kit.

Fellow Harriers Justin Cox and Ben Smale also took part. Justin needs no introduction. Ben is an unassuming guy from Coxhoe and a good runner (first Harrier at the Coxhoe Trail 10k the other month) and we shared a lift. Coxhoe, by the way, is a hotbed of running talent, just ask Mil Walton. Following Storm Deirdre and her freezing rain the previous day, this was a chilly but rather pleasant sunny morning for running. I chose road shoes based on the tarmac path at the start, but soon questioned that once we danced through some downhill icy slush. Despite having to stop twice to empty stones out of said shoes, it was a decent decision. Herrington Park, a colliery until 1985 with the largest spoil heap in the North East, is in the shadow of Penshaw Monument and the course was a 5km loop on good paths. There were several inclines but they served more to break up the run rather than tire out and it was an enjoyable event in good surroundings. I’m not training for anything in particular so was happy to call it a day after five laps and sixteen miles. Further ahead Ben had decided the same. He’s recently completed five marathons in five days at an event near Bolton so felt he didn’t to push himself too much. Justin lapped me on lap four, well ahead of anyone else. I happen to also know the guy in second place, Elvet’s Gareth Pritchard from Coxhoe (hotbed, I did say).

75 runners completed the event, each deciding their own distance, with 25 doing a full marathon or more. All entry monies were for charity too, raising an impressive £1,500 for Special Olympics Sunderland. For the record, I completed my five laps (16.2 miles) in 2hrs 27:40, and Ben in 2 hrs 17. I stiffened up on the last lap but was pleased overall. Justin ran 8 laps+, the full marathon distance in 3hrs 1:33; a great effort for a training run, eight minutes quicker than anyone else.

A bonus was that Herrington Park has an electric car charging station, which got me all the way home too. Result!

Full results from a very well organised event can be found at: http://www.northeastmarathonclub.co.uk/winter-wonder-runs.php

by Pete King