Race Rundown: Hardmoors 55 (50) – March 16th 2019

Time to stop doubting, and start believing!

This could be a long read, so grab a coffee or tea and make yourself comfortable. This year the race was shortened slightly to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of The Cleveland Way and 10th Anniversary of the running of this event.

The route of the run went from North to South, Guisborough to Helmsley via Roseberry Topping (up and over it twice!) This proved to make this race extremely difficult due to the direction of the run. Whilst the run was as long as it was difficult, the biggest factor was the weather. This proved to be the undoing of a lot of combatants; I don’t use this word lightly, because it was a battle out there between the elements and sheer willpower. During this Race Rundown, I will attempt to, not just describe the miles I crossed, but to try and convey what was going on inside my head at the time.

Friday night before the race, full of hope and optimism, I packed my race gear, a lot of essential kit to carry on an ultra. I packed two drop bags, with extra gels and Haribo for Drop 1 at Kildale, and ham and pickle sarnies and pork pies for Drop 2 at Osmotherley. All set, good to go, early night then race day! No matter what race it is, I love race day, the excitement of what’s about to unfold, the uncertainty of how it will go, the buzz of anticipation from all the runners, its palpable.

It was raining on the morning, but did not dampen anybody’s spirits, well, not yet anyway. The race was under way 15 minutes late, after registration and everyone had to have a tracker taped to their race vest.

The first couple of miles were uphill, no surprise there, and across to the Tees Link, which was a vertical mud-bath climb straight to Highcliff Nab. This was relentless, but weather wise, shielded from the wind was not too bad. Once we got to the top and a few hundred yards later the wind came into its own just as Roseberry Topping came into view, in all its rugged splendour. Runners were already streaming down one side of Roseberry and on to Captain Cook’s Monument before I even made the first climb over it. Once up and over, we turned around and did it again then on our merry way. The wind was horrific, almost catching people off balance, this was set in for the day. After 5 miles the first of the retirements were logged.

Between mile 5 and 10, I was not in a good place. The sheer difficulty of the climb with wind, and rain combined got me thinking about the next 40 miles. My legs were stiff, knees with a niggle I have had on and off for a long time, Kildale seemed an easy decision to call it a day! Gutted!

On the approach to Kildale I started running a little more freely, maybe it wasn’t gonna end here after all. I was of course soaking wet, but not cold, benefits of carrying a few extra pounds I suppose. My inner Andy told me, get inside, hot drink, grab your dropbag and go. The problem with staying too long in warm indoor checkpoints is the fact that it’s warm and indoors!! So I decided to have a go to the next check point, up and over Bloworth Crossing to Clay Bank. It was 10 miles. I had arrived at Kildale 45 minutes ahead of cut off, so to have a go and carry on was my decision, based on the fact that if I ran every now and again my legs and knees loosened up and felt better. Off we go.

10 miles crossing Bloworth I started thinking about the next big cut off point at Osmotherley, which was a further 10 miles away and included the 3 Sisters. I had until 6.00pm to do another 20 miles. There was a small group of us traversing Bloworth together, not a lot of conversation, driving rain coming at you sideways and wind gusting up to 45mph took all of our concentration. We leap-frogged each other (not literally tho! Lol! ) on that 10 mile stretch. Each time a faster person went past, words of encouragement were given…” nice one, keep it up” … “ well done, looking strong” and other short words of motivation. The runner would then stop and walk a while, others picked up the proverbial baton and it was their turn to stretch their legs….This went on for what seemed like an eternity, but in reality, 3 hours. Bloworth is bleak on a Summer day, never mind on a day like this. But all I could think of was making Clay Bank and evaluate my mind and body as to carrying on or calling it a day.

Approaching Clay Bank the 3 Sisters loomed in the distance, looking bleak and menacing. Its only 3 hills, up an over, up and over and you’ve guessed it, up and over again. I have done this section probably a dozen times, and to be fair, its one of my favourite places. Once I dropped into Clay Bank my mind was more or less made up to carry on. A lot of bodies called it a day at that point, not wanting to go any further. And who could blame them, 20 miles of being battered has taken its toll. Inner Andy told me “its not gonna end here is it? C’mon ya big Jessie, fill your bottles grab some Jaffa cakes and go!!” I would not have forgiven myself if I didn’t at least climb the next stage to Lordstones. In hindsight, Inner Andy would have being right. I had to carry on. At our amazing club at Sedgefield, I seem to have a name for liking the hills and doing reasonably well at them for a big lad. I’m not the quickest or strongest on the flat but you just have to embrace the hills, grit your teeth and grind them out. So basically I carried on, with Inner Andy and The Harriers in my mind, Wainstones 3 Sisters were smashed and dedicated to our Club & members.

I could always stop at Lordstones Café, if I was in no shape to carry on further, call my wife to collect my body from there, while I could have had a nice pint of Guinness. Mmm more internal dialogue.

To reach Osmotherley from Lordstones I had 8 miles and 2 and a half hours to cut off at 6.00pm. I was by now moving slowly so it was going to be tight on time. I discounted stopping at Lordstones and carried on. My reasoning being, Osmotherley is easier to get to for my wife and more importantly I had pork pies there! And waiting about, for an hour in wet clothes would not have being fun. So while I was still mobile, albeit wet but not cold I went onwards.

Friends of mine caught me up on the run in to Osmotherley, it was a nice distraction to chat and have a bit of banter with them, they eventually pushed on after a few miles to try and beat cut off time. I was moving slower. I knew my race was over. I made peace with Inner Andy, had an epiphany 4 miles out from Osmotherley, and looked back on the previous 9 hours and realised what I have just done in the bleakest of conditions. I was pleased with myself for giving it a proper go, no regrets, 30 miles in the bag and lots of memories.

I made the call to my wife to meet me in the village hall. I was not upset by this, or even subdued like I was at the first attempt and being timed out 3 years ago. It was the correct decision. Whilst I was wet all day, I was never cold. But as daylight faded, the temperature dropped, so for me to carry on would not have ended well. My friends missed cut off by 6 minutes, I was disappointed for them. I trundled in at 6.24pm happy in the knowledge I had given it a proper go, my wife was already there 10 minutes before me. So the day ended with coffee and pork pies, warm dry clothes and a bag of chips from around the corner. The last half mile all I could smell was fish and chips!! And they were lovely!!

Lessons learned today were, some kit worked better than others, but only a small portion of runners managed to stay dry. All sorts of big name jackets eventually failed the weather test we had, quite a few, me included were soaked after the first 3 hours. The weather made this an extremely unpredictable and difficult race for an unsupported runner like myself and many others. But the race is designed that way, to be run in one go by oneself. Even supported runners dropped out. Some guys on the race said it was the worst conditions they have encounted, and a few of them ran last year when The Beast from the East hit the race.

Will I run this next year? Of course I will, it’s one of my favourite races in the calendar.

My run by the numbers, I do love a good bit of data:

Distance – 30.5 miles

Ascent – 8855 ft – 5 hrs 27mins of climbing

Descent – 8688 ft – 4 hrs 34mins

Heart rate average for 10 hours – 132bpm

& 2 pork pies

A couple of items of kit I had are note worthy of a mention:

Runderware anti-blister, double layered ankle sock – feet were wet all day, but no chaffing or blisters and very comfortable. Feet were as good as when I started, NO HOBBIT FEET HERE!

Lanacane anti-chafing cream – one application all day, no issues at all, nuff said!

Base layer, Under Armour Cold Gear – I may have been wet because of the extreme conditions but I was never cold.

Suunto Ambit 3 Peak – Battery life amazing, only used 37% in over 10 hours of use, and I was wearing a bluetooth chest heart-rate strap.

Thank you for reading my race rundown, at the time of writing, the full set of race results have yet to be published but will appear on the Hardmoors website. The winner did finish in 8 hrs 19 mins.

https://www.hardmoors110.org.uk/hardmoors-55/

Andrew Corfield.

Race Rundown: RunFit Hartlepool 5k Trail Race 10th March 2019

Tommy Cooper summed me up well when he lamented “I used to be indecisive but now I am not quite sure”. The RunFit Hartlepool 5k Trail pre-race literature stating “Entries close at 9.30am on the day of the race” was both blessing and curse.

Unable to decide between the above race or 10 miles of Big Stu’s 8am fields of mud I decided to let my body clock decide my fate. A 7.48am awakening meant my decision was all but made for me; a trip to the motherland was in store.

As always, I left home in plenty of time, only to be scuppered by a journey that was blighted by more red lights than Roxanne’s.

09.29 – I’m in – runner 821, a number somewhat high given the 104 entrants.

U naccustomed to arriving so early, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself, so, given my aching limbs from yesterday’s lope to Cowpen Bewley, coupled with the somewhat sub-Saharan temperatures of the north east coastline an all too rare warm-up was on the cards.

As 10am beckoned, we left our shelter of the village hall in varying degrees of undress; a last minute decision to deglove from me.

“READY…GO”.

A start to match the organiser’s humble persona: unfussy; understated, unlike his RunFit posse’s hoodies with their lurid, Stabilo Boss-esque tangerine hue.

I underestimated the cold today and struggled to run with this load to warm. The North Sea air wicked heat away faster than my body could replace it. It wasn’t a pleasant coldness but it was the kind that made you try to run faster and brace your head against the wind. No matter how warm the blood in your veins, your face got frozen just the same.

“Where are my gloves? Anything for one of those hoodies!” Puddles galore. Cold water seeps into my shoes, stealing the heat from my soles just as fast as the wind steals from my face. For this short blast up Butts Lane, the icy wind and the freezing puddles are my nemesis. Suddenly, good news; the uphill stretch is over. Surely it’s all downhill from here. For now, at least, it is.

I’m one of three out front. Down Dolly Lane, a fast stretch – more folly, insane. As the veritable ‘coaster ends, we rise again toward Nesbitt Hall. The cold now forgotten as my lungs scream like an asthmatic fish out of water. Sod the gloves, “inhaler please, marshal!” The good news… three has become two.

Hall hill complete. A sharp right into a field. Stuart’s Sunday sessions should stand me in good stead. Another right-hander and it’s onto the steep descent of Nesbitt Dene. Underfoot it’s more slippery than a well-known Ceddesfeld politician covered in Iraqi oil. More good news comes from the shoes. My ‘trails’ bite the ground like a puppy’s incisors. My opponents road shoes cannot cope. As we cross Bellows Burn, finally, daylight. The hapless Hartlepool Harrier hindered. Hope.

An unfamiliar position. I’m about as used to winning as Theresa May in a Common’s Brexit vote.

More up. Steep steps, we egress, back to Butts. Keep going. KEEP GOING!

Home stretch, down to the ‘Old Monk’s’ finish funnel. Time to open up. Time to replace last year’s silver with gold. KEEP GOING!!!

Victory.

It tastes so sweet. The post-race cocktail of Lucozade, digestives and jelly babies was followed by a soupçon of umami from the oven-warmed pies. Quite a spread.

It is, however, “not the quantity of the meat, but the cheerfulness of the guests, which makes the feast”. Joyous faces abound in the Hart Village Hall, all revelling in their own small victory against a spiky little course.

I say “little”, but at 5.9km it’s rather a long ‘5k’!

This race was a metrological and meteorological disaster, but in Andrew Lilley, RunFit Hartlepool have a true leader, a man on a mission, a man with a plan to improve the mental and physical health of his orange army through running and other sporting activities. Whilst his tape measure may have failed him, his organisational and inspirational skills are second to none.

I love RunFit’s events; I think you will too.

By David Bentley

Race Results

https://www.webscorer.com/race?raceid=172311&fbclid=IwAR0ZCSTuMgJWCUnXhwMgDZ8PsWT4Tk7_PRh1Y70rLeTX0S91bslCozNaRxI#.XIUM7GQ18aQ.facebook

You can enter one or all of their future Trail Races Here ? ? ?

10k 26/05/19

https://www.sportsentrysolutions.com/new_race_page.php?recordID=201029&fbclid=IwAR02v4-ubn2VG43uSQmSTL97W8SZjPkbiNMBQRS9-9DUftFHZzgCrLDumls

Half Marathon 29/09/19

https://www.sportsentrysolutions.com/new_race_page.php?recordID=201031&fbclid=IwAR0B0lbN6RAVHKCi7SBQWO97hyL8lxmYxqK_priXSibJWSZhL2qulYy8D-U

10k 27/10/19

https://www.sportsentrysolutions.com/new_race_page.php?recordID=201030&fbclid=IwAR2GpU5PIFMhoD9IJSJ23SpzjVGWl_Dy4SQa176qH26ILQvSov8HG0B30-0

Race Rundown: Dentdale 14, 9th March 2019

Much like me in Dent, my race report is coming in a little later than I had hoped.

It started off as a very windy day as Tracy and I got ready to make the journey over to Dent in Cumbria. For those who don’t know Dent, it is a little village in Dentdale valley just west of the Pennines.  The race itself is all on road and is a figure eight style route with Dent in the centre, with a choice of 14 mile or 8 mile races.  On this occasion I had entered the 14 mile race and Tracy the 8 mile.

As we travelled over, the weather looked grim with lots of snow on the hills, but luckily as we got into the valley the snow eased off and was replaced with wind and rain.

By the time the race started the weather wasn’t too bad, but the course was very wet.

The race raises money for the local school and has a very community feel to it, which I personally really like. You are made to feel very welcome and at the finish you are served afternoon tea in the school hall.

It’s a hilly course, which the elevation profile above shows (the 14 mile route is the 8 mile route plus an additional 6). My pace overlay shows the location of two of the water stations!

Steve:

71 of 283, 1:52:48 Chip Time

Tracy:

96 of 189, 1:09:12 Chip Time

 

Full Results:

https://racebest.com/races/244wr

 

Unlike previous years, no other Sedgefield Harriers made the journey over.

 

Whilst slower than previous years I was happy with my run and Tracy was happy with hers too, which made the post-race beer in the local enjoyable!

 

By Steve Foreman

Race Rundown: North East Harrier League Cross Country, Alnwick Castle, Saturday March 2nd 2019

The final cross country race of the season and the moment of truth for the Senior Men’s team. A strong performance and favourable result and we might just avoid relegation to Division 3.

My race day preparation was as meticulous as ever, the long drive to Alnwick required an early start to allow time to acclimatise to the race environment. At 1.35pm I arrived at Alnwick Gardens and used the opportunity to race from there to the Harriers Tent in time for my race 15 minutes later as my warm up! Nothing like getting the adrenaline pumping! I opted to wear trail shoes, not because the course was dry with a gravel/hardcore twist but because I forget to pack my spikes!

Harriers converged as close to the start line to gain an advantage, especially over our challengers for Division 2 status – Low Fell & Saltwell.

Facing the impressive Alnwick Castle, the gun signalled the start of an undulating 10 km course, sweeping down along the banks of the River Aln before climbing the pasture and startling the grazing sheep. Then the route meandered towards the canopy of the woodland trails before descending down a steep grass hill peppered with natural obstacles of mole hills and large tufts of grass before passing by the large gathering of vocal supporters at the Start/Finish section.

Only 2 more laps of the same to go!!

Mark Raine made a strong start leading the Harriers charge. I had him in my sights for about 700 metres before my focus shifted to a Saltwell Harrier running alongside me. We traded positions temporarily before he got bored and ran ahead. The challenges of the undulating course took a slight toll on me during the 2nd lap. A minor stitch began to emerge, not sure if this was due to the 2 Mars bars I consumed en-route to Alnwick! Mind over matter was the order of the day; there was job to be done and our status in Division 2 to maintain.

I tried to use the course to my running advantage, gazelle-like running on the downward trails; trying to regulate my breathing on the flat sections and having enough energy to push strongly on the uphill climbs. The roar of the crowd was continually a source of welcome encouragement and motivation also, especially when I could hear my name shouted out. My only concern was that my eager Labrador, Luna, would break free from the control of my partner Lisa and get a better PB than me or go for a swim in the river!

Further words of encouragement were offered by David Bentley, David Walker and Chris Lines as they glided past me as if mounted on Harry Potter’s firebolt brooms. In order to conserve my energy I think I offered each of them a breathless grunt!

The final run through the forest and decent towards the finish line focused my mind on those ahead of me and how I could overtake them while ensuring I didn’t twist my ankle on the undulating ground.

Into the home straight and I had a Saltwell Harrier within my sights but with a decent advantage on me. Game on! He weaved right and my opportunity to gain ground on him was cut off by other runners. I ran to the left, undercutting those ahead of me and having just enough energy to sprint to the finish line just ahead of the Saltwell Harrier and Ray Carmichael who was galloping closely in behind me.

The end of another Cross Country season and sadly despite all the fantastic efforts of the senior men’s team since last September, relegation to Division 3 was confirmed even before our team tent was taken down!

Onwards and hopefully upwards for next season. For any Harriers who have not yet experienced Cross Country running, I would encourage you to give it go, you will be pleasantly surprised by the camaraderie it generates. The locations are varied in their terrain and scenery with a wealth of running challenges presented, the support from spectators and marshals is fantastic and this season the weather has been surprisingly warm so hopefully normal wintry conditions will be prevail for 2019/2020.

By Declan Munnelly

http://harrierleague.com/results/2018-19/Alnwick/

Race Rundown: Leazes Park Winter Wonder, Sunday 3rd February 2019

Sunday 3rd February 2019 …… North East Marathon Club Winter Wonder at Leazes Park, Newcastle…..#“Training run in mind”….. The day started fairly early as I was picking up fellow Harriers Justin Cox and Gary Thwaites on the way …. Alarm went off around 6.10 am, up and ready…. Quick breakfast, porridge with blueberries, Mmm , and a nice coffee… A good start for a marathon run ???? (So they say).

To start…. it was minus eight outside! A quick clean of the windows and headed off, heating on and seats warming up, perfect…. The roads weren’t great but made good time picking the boys up and got there right on time as we didn’t want to be hanging about on a morning that was….. COLD !!! We parked the car and had a little walk to the park, talking about the usual stuff… what was ahead and what runs we’ve been doing, aches and pains, and of course, when you go with Gary, food !!!!! Got to the park and registered and met the other runners taking part.

T he Marathon Club has a very laid back feel and very friendly which is great, no pressure, just enjoyment. The course looked very icy in places but with our sensible heads on it was runnable. At the briefing there was a presentation of a 100 Marathon vest for Helen Schofield, which is some achievement – Well done Helen. After all the safety talk and being told it wasn’t a race or PB weather we were off, bang on 9am!!!!

Nice and slow for the first few laps just to see where the feet needed to be heading around the park. It would take sixteen laps if you were to run the full distance…. 26.2, or you could run more, as you had six hours. The park was lovely to run around, it had a few hills but these added to the enjoyment…..1.6 miles per lap, which I found was great to forget about the mileage and just count the laps ……But as I said, no pressure with these winter wonders, one can run as far as one would like – a lot use them as great training runs, myself included. My plan was to run eighteen miles…. After three laps I had to stop for a gentleman stop….. but I won’t go in to that!!! Getting back to it was fine but I didn’t want to leave the warmth of the building…..

After a while I got carried away (I blame the blueberries…..) Feeling good at eighteen miles I pushed on, another three miles or two laps. Still feeling ok, I thought why not just run the full distance…… The course started getting better as the day went on and the sun came out. Seeing other runners along the way giving each other encouraging words helped the laps disappear. Justin Cox out in front looking good with Gary Thwaites pushing on in third place, great stuff, and Ben Swales running great too. You do meet a lot of new people along the way at all these events and over the years at other events too. Nice seeing people again.

So back to the run. All good. I mainly ran by myself for most of it at a nice steady safe pace. I did tag onto Melanie Horan, the marathon club secretary and had a little chat…. til she pulled away up the hills going on to completing her 94th marathon!!!!!! With only two laps to go, legs feeling heavy !!! I had my number taken for the records – four laps – which gave me a little scare as they had missed a lap. But my watch came to the rescue with the mileage on show “phew”?…. This is when I spotted Mr Justin Cox at the cafe with a big cup of coffee!!!! ‘Go on Ray only two laps to go !!!!!!!’ Cheers …… COXY. Then Gary shouted ‘I’ve got you some chocolate cake !!!!’ Nice one…. Gazza. With that running through my head I pushed on with only one more lap to go !!!

Well as I said, all was great, when I saw Melanie ahead and pushed to catch her up … And I did til I hit the bottom of the hill for the last time and BANG!!!!! Left leg cramped up big time!!! Felt sorry for myself thinking I should have stuck to my training plan miles??? After a little stretch, I power walked up the hill… which sometimes is just as quick..???? At the top a gentleman shouted ‘Don’t push it there’s always another race to WIN!!!’ Win, I thought ?? I’m just training…. I’m sure he was just encouraging me…. I set off again, a nice downhill section which helped the tired old legs… once back at it only a little way to go, felt great to complete the distance which I didn’t think I would be doing that morning.

Had a nice warmly welcome in by all…… and after receiving my medal and socks, crisps and chocolate bar, things looked up … it was in the bag …. Jackpot: 26.67 miles. Plus this was my first official marathon as a new member to the marathon club. Then Gary passed the chocolate cake to me… magic, just what I needed… BUT a coffee would have been nice too Justin Cox ?! Well done Gary on completing your 88th marathon, they’re starting to rack up now….. Nice seeing Peter and Debbie King having a walk around the park too. Thanks for the pics.

The “true” heroes of the day were all the volunteers and marshals for standing in those cold conditions. These events wouldn’t happen if we didn’t have volunteers… Thanks again. Once warmed up we watched a few in…. We made our way back to the car…… As promised while driving up, as “ALL” good athletes, we carb’d back up at the Golden Arches !!!!!!… ( #McDonald’s) …. A steady drive back, dropping the boys off and wished them well . I then headed back to a nice hot bath which was made ready by my understanding wife of a runner ???? .

After a lovely bath and little stretch it was time to carb back up “full time” with this !!! (Parmo!) It will take another marathon or two to burn this off !!!!!

To me these run events have helped put the miles in while training for other marathons etc , which helps when needing to find long runs in the winter months. If anybody’s looking at moving the miles up, they are great and a good price too. Have a look on their website…. http://northeastmarathonclub.co.uk

A great day had by all, thanks everybody…… See you all at the next event.

“Ray out …..”

By Ray Carmichael

Results: http://www.northeastmarathonclub.co.uk/winter-wonder-runs.php

Event photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/wxpoyNGh3hQ7imrD9

Race Rundown: Leas Marathon, 24th February 2019

2019 Leas Marathon, around South Shields and Souter lighthouse. The course is mainly on gravel coastal paths with some gentle inclines. It can be tough if it’s windy, but we had perfect running conditions today. I travelled and ran with Ray and we saw Ben Swales on the course too. I haven’t seen any results yet so I’m not sure how Sedgefield Harriers faired on the day.

I really enjoy North East Marathon club events. No massive nightmare getting to the start line and the relaxed atmosphere is always welcome. Ray picked me up and we headed up the coast. As usual the conversation turned to food. It was the AGM that day too so there would be a buffet! Back-up would be a Big Mac Grande and a Twix McFlurry. The buffet was great so no trip to the golden arches was needed.

The weather was fine in Wingate, but the fog was so thick in South Shields you couldn’t see more than 50 meters in front of you! We found the tent, picked up our numbers and got ourselves ready to run. It was a staggered start, so Ray and I started on our own. No race briefing or anything like that, just turn up and run. Ray and I decided to run together. It’s great to have company and miles seem to pass much quicker when chatting. Basically, I talk about food for a few hours with a bit of cross county, football and other running chat too, but it’s mainly food.

The thick fog made it hard to stay on track during the first lap and we took a few wrong turns. Maybe I shouldn’t blame the fog… I have run this marathon a few times and always get the route wrong. Nothing major and the distance still adds up to marathon distance. We even followed fellow marathon clubber Paul Blakey thinking he knew the course, but he went wrong too. No harm done and we quickly got back on track. The fog made everything wet too! You could see dew on runners’ hats, my feet got wet and I could even feel water on my eye lashes. The route was basically two out and backs with a little loop at each end. You did these 4 times, so you kept bumping into other runners throughout the whole event. I love this type of event when it’s a small field of runners.

I wasn’t sure if I drank too much water or my compression gear was too tight, but I kept needing the toilet. Luckily you ran past public toilets so I didn’t have to wait too long before I could go again.

The run was going well, we ran well together and pretty much chatted for the whole run. The sun made an appearance too and we were treated to a beautiful sunny afternoon in South Shields. We could see a warship just out to sea which was pretty cool. I started looking at my watch and could see a sub 4 marathon was achievable if we kept moving at a reasonable pace, but I kept needing to pee and Ray needed to stretch to keep cramp at bay so it would be close. We did manage to just sneak under 4 hours so that was great.

After the run we made our way to the AGM. This is a great time to chat and catch up with everyone plus take care of club business. Peter King came to the AGM so four Harriers in total at the event. The food was great! A simple but lovely fish and chip buffet with pasta for vegetarians and vegans. I love fish and chips, but never eat it so this was a proper treat for me.

Everyone received a Marathon Club travel mug as a surprise gift! This was a really nice touch, and everyone seemed pretty chuffed with it. After that we said our goodbyes and headed home. It was a long, but very enjoyable day out at the seaside.

All in all, a great day out catching up with running friends and another step closer to completing my 100th marathon. Thanks to Razza for the lift and the company and everyone at NEMC who helped put on another great event.

By Gary Thwaites

Results: http://www.northeastmarathonclub.co.uk/the-leas.php

Race Rundown: Tees Barrage 5k Trail, 24th February 2019

I decided about 5 weeks ago to give this run ago.  As I am fairly new to the Sedgefield Harriers family I thought that a 5k race would be nice for a change (short).

I am a keen gym member and go most mornings when everybody is still in bed (it’s the only time I get to do it).  I normally do weights a couple of days and a couple of classes as well.  Four weeks ago doing star jumps!! I rolled over on my ankle which has resulted in me not running.  My husband Richy says I have done nothing but twist as I have not been out running, so I have just been walking the dogs instead.

Anyway, enough twisting.  The journey to the race was very easy to find and well described on the actual race page.  There were loads of parking places and as usual I had a panic on thinking that I was going to be late, however we had plenty of time for at least 4 toilet visits (ha ha this is normal).   I always get really nervous before a race even though I have been running for a couple of years. The registration was straightforward and easy as my details were already listed and there was no queue.  I like this time of the event as I like to talk to different people to get their feedback on the race and also check out how many fit people are about!!

There was a slight nip in the air, however I was brave enough to just put a t-shirt under my Harriers vest instead of a long sleeve top.  Again this is something I always do before a run, I put too many layers on, and Jane Spink rocks on up in a vest and shorts. It was lovely to see so many Harriers at the start and made my nerves drop a little bit.  In fact I think we had the majority of runners for a specific club. I got talking to Stuart who was giving me the run-down of the race.  He did say that there was one slight hill and unfortunately you have to tackle this twice. Apart from that it was a nice race.  Bingo!

I am not sure what is worse, knowing the route or not knowing the route?

The first mile into the race and I felt good, no niggles, so far so good.  If you closed your eyes for just 1 second (only kidding I didn’t do this really) you would have thought it was a summer’s day i n July; nope it was 24th February.  Fantastic weather.  Anyway back to the race, we tapered off in to the woods and it wasn’t too muddy and was well marshalled throughout.

Coming in for the final stretch and yes I knew what was coming, the final hill, However I seemed to attack it as I knew the finishing line was just straight after and downhill. I finished the race in 24 minutes, well that’s what my Fitbit says. Very pleased with my time especially with my ankle not being 100%.

A very well organised and friendly race and pleased I took part and will definitely do it again. I look forward to people updating Facebook with future runs just so that I know what to enter next please.

By Lisa Martin

Results: https://events.stockton.gov.uk/media/1967/tees-barrage-5k-feb-results-2019.pdf

Race Rundown: English National Cross Country Championships Harewood House, Leeds, February 23rd 2019

I t turned out to be a lovely day, however I had three layers of clothes on as I am normally cold. I also had 3/4 length leggings and so went to buy some shorts at one of the stalls. However they only had little tiny ones. I said, I like my backside covered up thank you! Everyone at the stall was laughing.

I got to the start line where you were guided to pens with numbers on where you had to stand and everyone was spread out along the field. It was a brilliant sight to see all the ladies in a line at the start. The gun went and everyone charged to the middle. With 1034 ladies charging up the hill you got a bit stuck at times with arms, legs and uneven ground to contend with. It was a very warm day and quite a few ladies pulled out, it was very tempting; however I was very determined to finish.

T here was a slight wind which was nice to cool off, a few inclines and two lovely down hills. No mud either to my delight as running round fields is not my favourite racing. It was supposed to be a training run (ha ha) however I did have a good race as I was two and a half minutes quicker than last year (maybe not that fast at 40.10 for the 5 miles and placed 492nd). It was a very friendly atmosphere but I was the only lady Harrier running.

Do I love cross country racing? No, but it’s good training… x

By Lisa Darby

Results: https://www.englishcrosscountry.co.uk/news/saucony-english-national-xc-results-2019/

Race Rundown: Hardmoors 26.2 Trail Series Saltburn Half Marathon – 9th February 2019

Sunday 9th February is the first event of the Hardmoors 26.2 Trail Series. This consists of 7 race venues throughout the year, in and around The North Yorkshire Moors. Each race day has 3 events, 10k, half marathon and full marathon. I have run this event every year since it started in
2013, mainly 10ks, but today was a half marathon for me.

The race itself starts from the Saltburn Recreation Centre and heads towards the Valley Gardens and down to the seafront within the first mile or so. This is the only flat bit on the course and from here the only way is up! We headed to the cliff tops and started a very long ascent, terrain was actually quite good for the most part (more to follow on that statement) and the weather was actually quite kind today. No driving sleet and snow like last year.

A caption here

It was a little breezy on the tops, nothing like the past day or so, which actually caused the RD (Jon Steele) to divert the route as it would have been too dangerous in high winds in certain places. This shortened the route by over a mile, but we still had over 14 miles of race to complete.

Hardmoors miles are approximate!! Value for money Jon calls it.


Sadly today I was the only Harrier out there. In fact I am at most of these
events. I’m not sure what this says about me, answers on a postcard please! LOL.

The course follows the coastline for a few miles, views are fantastic, runners strung out along the cliff tops, it’s an inspirational sight. We then headed inland on the loop back, via public footpaths, country lanes and bridle paths. Some fields were a little muddy, lots of slipping about but manageable for the most part. Until that is, I came to a sharp downhill; it was very muddy and slippery, bearing in mind some 400 or so marathoners and others had made this what it was. Deadly. I nearly escaped with a controlled slide, but a fight between me and gravity was only going to end one way, me on my backside sliding down the rest of the way.

Back at the race finish I received my medal and shirt. A hot coffee, biscuits and cake, a chat to good friends I only see on race days, then start off back home, another one in the bag! Time was 3hrs 55mins, not fantastic, but a good solid training run for bigger things later and good for a kit evaluation and maybe tweaking a few things for other runs. These runs have a compulsory kit requirement which consists of : waterproof jacket with taped seems – hat – gloves – 500ml water – map and direction guide – emergency food – and survival bag.

These events are very well organised and safe, checkpoints every few miles with lots of goodies. Marshals who are experienced trail and ultra runners, look after every athlete, it’s one big family, The Hardmoors Family, and it’s open to everyone! Thank you for reading.

Results

by Andrew Corfield

Race Rundown: Valentine’s 10k, Newcastle, 17th February 2019

Having run this race last year I was looking forward to returning to the Town Moor in Newcastle to run the Valentine’s 10km again this year. Due to concentrating on longer distances recently I was interested to see how I’d get on over a distance that I used to run regularly and on a course that is relatively fast. 

Due to the leisurely 10.45am start time I didn’t need to leave too early and picked up Nicola en route. Having found parking tricky last year we decided to park in Gateshead and have a jog to the start over the iconic Tyne Bridge and through the Toon to the start. This turned out to be a good move as the Central Motorway appeared to be closed causing the traffic to tail back as we jogged merrily on. We got to the start and I had expected to see a few Harriers out as it had been a Grand Prix event last year and was really well attended. However, having collected my number, there was only myself representing Sedgefield that I could see. I bumped into some friends from Hartlepool Tri and then having discussed the usual pre-race topics of “What time you expecting?” and “How’s the injury feeling?” I headed off for a warm up. There was a 5k event just before the 10k this year so having run the first section of the route the first runners of the 5k were starting to cross the line as we stretched off and dumped clothing into the baggage drop. 

T he Run Nation events always seem well organised so we were in the Start chute on time and with a last ‘Good Luck’ to each other we were ready to go. The course is 2 laps of the Town Moor, heading from Wylam Brewery across to Gosforth and then working your way round the Moor and back to the Brewery. It was apparent coming over the Tyne Bridge that there was a substantial breeze but as I headed out on to the Town Moor for the first frantic mile I realised we were going to be battered coming back as I was getting pushed along by a very pleasant, but very strong, tailwind. This prediction came true about halfway through the first lap as I headed back to the brewery, looking at nothing but my feet as I kept my head down, trying to tuck in behind anybody close enough to offer any protection. Fortunately this didn’t last too long and soon enough I was passing the start and heading out on my second lap. Once again I managed to pick up heading away from the start and was still hopeful of matching my sub-40 time of last year. These thoughts soon evaporated however as I really struggled turning into the wind again on the second lap. 

I finished in just over 40mins which I was more than happy with considering the training I’m currently doing. Nicola however ran a massive PB, showing that it is a fast course, even in windy conditions. I’d definitely recommend the race as for 2nd year running it’s been well organised and a pleasure to run in. 

By Ian Blakemore

Results: http://www.racetecresults.com/results.aspx?CId=16685&RId=153&EId=1&dt=1

(editor’s note: modestly, Ian doesn’t mention a fine 3rd in his age category)