Seaside Races

Dave Robson

I like running races by the sea. Preferably on beaches or promenades but running on pavements on roads close to the sea is good too. These races are often fairly flat but the interest is the sea air and the view. I thought I would write some brief descriptions on seaside races in the North East for those of you that might have similar inclinations. When I started out on this, I thought there would not be many, but the list has grown. Not all of them are entirely by the sea, but each of them has a portion very close to the sea. I may well have missed some and if you think so, please let me know; it would be great if there were other seaside races that I could do.

Most of North East seaside races seem to be in the period March to July. The order of these races is as they are scheduled in 2007. Details of most of these races are on Barry Cornelius’s site.

Run for Bob 7.5m, Whitley Bay

This is advertised as a run rather than a race. Initially, it could be on the beach or the headland depending on the state of the tide, then on promenade and headland. It starts at Whitley Bay and heads up to Seaton Sluice, then inland through a muddy Dene and back. A lovely run.
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Redcar Half Marathon

I have not done this one, but part of it is by the sea and Striders have turned in some good times for this race.
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Sand Dancer 10K, South Shields

I think this has only been run once before and I did not do it, so I can?t say very much. It appears that the race starts at Gypsies Green Stadium, and then goes along the Leas coastal path and return to Gypsies. And according to the entry form there is a free buffet lunch.
Anyone prepared to draw the route on gmap=pedometer?

Hartlepool Marina 5m, Hartlepool

Basically an out and back route along the promenade going south from the Marina. Fast, flat and a good view of the sea.
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Mermaid 10K, Marske (Good Friday)

The first mile or so of this race is in a housing estate close to the sea, but then the route is on the pavement along the coastal road, before turning onto the promenade and then looping back along the coastal road, the promenade and a finish on the coastal road.
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North Tyneside 10K, North Shields to Whitley Bay (Easter Sunday)

This race descends from the Sports Centre in North Shields to the Fish Quay and keeps close to the River Tyne on the way to Tynemouth. After this it is on pavements close to the sea and it finishes close to St Mary’s Lighthouse. There is usually a technical tee shirt and a goody bag to compensate for the relatively high entry fee. Buses back to the start.
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Spring Coast Road 5K, Redcar

I have not done any of these. There is a Summer one 25 June and an Autumn one on 5 September all starting at 7.15. The only clue to the route is on the organisers’ web site ‘2 lap “pink path” course’.
Anyone prepared to draw the route on gmap=pedometer?

Blyth Valley 10K, Blyth

I did wonder about including this one as it starts at the harbour and that’s almost all the sea that you see, but the first half of what is almost an ‘out and back’ route is run on a path through the sand dunes with the return via pavement on the coastal road.
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CHIN-UP Beach Run 10K, Seahouses to Bamburgh and return

This out and back race is entirely on the beach and it is also on one of my favorite beaches. I think it has only been run once before in October 2005 when the rain lashed down on late finishers. There were not many people running last time, which allowed Shaun and I to scoop some prizes (in my case this wasn’t hard as I was the only one in my age category !).
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Pier to Pier 7.5m approx, Sound Shields to Sunderland

Well what can you say about this race ? It has to be one of the most attractive races in the year going from South Shields Pier to Roker Pier. Parts of it are on beach, parts on headland and parts on the promenade. The organizers say ‘it starts on the beach at South Shields Pier and continue around a superb scenic route, following the cliff top paths past Marsden Rock, Souter Point Lighthouse, passing very quickly by the Firing Range, onto the beach at Whitburn and finishing at Roker Pier’. You are allowed to choose your own route, but there are recommendations. Lots of Striders usually do this one. Buses from Sunderland to South Shields before the race (must be booked). Sadly, I will miss this one this year.
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BUPA Great Women’s Run 10K, Seaburn

This race started last year and I don’t know very much about it. According to the organisers’ web site it ‘starts at Seaburn Promenade taking participants along a short stretch of the beach before runners feel the sea breeze with a 1.5km run to the end of Roker Pier, with the final stretch of the course circling the picturesque Roker Park’. Anyone prepared to draw the route on
gmap=pedometer?

Coastal Run 14m, Beadnell to Alnmouth

Another classic run which Striders have run for many years. Run along beaches, paths and roads. The distance depends on the tide. Beautiful run along the Northumberland coast passing Dunstanburgh Castle. Be warned it can be hot. Officially you are allowed to choose your own route, but there is a well established route. Buses are available from Alnmouth to Beadnell before the race.
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Coquet Challenge 10K, Amble

You do not see much of the sea on this race, but it is not far away and part of route is in sand dunes. It is an out and back course where the turn around point is somebody’s car. When I did the race in 2005, the driver of this car had gone too far down the path and my times for the fifth and sixth kilometers were much slower !
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Victorian 10K, Marske, 10.15

I have never done this race, so I am unsure that it is close to the sea. Two people I have asked have said they think that it is the same route as the Marske 10K above. Hopefully somebody can confirm this.
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Blyth Sands 5m, Seaton Sluice

A race using a rare handicap race based on age and gender. Entirely on beach and it can feel like it’s a different race each year depending on where the tide is during the race. Starts at Seaton Sluice and goes up to Blyth before returning by the same route.
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Woodlawn Christmas Pudding Race 5K

A thin figure eight of a course which is largely on the promenade at Whitley Bay. Some runners in fancy dress and yes, you do get a Christmas pudding when you finish – probably the last thing you want on Boxing Day. It always seems to be cold for this event.
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