Trail Outlaws organises an Urban Trail series of 5 trail races across the summer with Penshaw 10K the last in the series. All of the Trail Outlaw events are really well organised, friendly and you always get a medal and some goodies at the end. They are also well known to be challenging and have a sting in the tail, the 2 Penshaw races being the toughest of the series.
My race day didn’t start well when i saw the forecast for torrential rain and looked out at 6am to see it pouring down. The thought of not turning up crossed my mind many times but I had run all the others in the series so wanted to finish it. My support team (Paul and the boys) refused to come because of the weather so I set off on my own.
The weather was grim. After collecting my number, like most of the other runners I sat in the car with the heaters on trying to find some motivation to get out. Although I had my waterproof on, I was so cold by the time the race started my legs refused to function and it took a couple of miles before I warmed up. The course was challenging but totally off road which I loved.
After starting at the bottom of the hill and running around the Penshaw Monument we flew down over the fields to the the old railway line. Two people running alongside me had already fallen by this time and I hoped I would finish with my ankles intact. The route then headed towards Washington, along the river and then back across the fields. The organisers had to change the finish due to the weather and instead of climbing all the way back to the monument we cut back down to the start, although it wasn’t any easier running down the steps. I bet the course would be quite lovely in the middle of summer, but I could barely see past the rain and at some points the water was up to my knees.
By the time we finished I was just glad it was over, but also quite pleased I had actually turned up. I quickly popped into the visitor centre to get my medal, some cherryade and sweets and then was in the car in dry clothes driving away within two minutes. Quick Costa drive-through stop on the way back to warm up and hot bath when I got home.
You know its been a tough race when you are eating piping hot tomato soup in the bath, with your woolly hat still on.
by Rosie Warnett.
Editor’s note: Rosie finished 6th female overall, out of 156, a very good effort.