Tynedale Jelly Tea, Hexham, Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dave Spence

Woke up got out of bed dragged a comb across my head and then reality struck when I realised it was Sunday and a 10 mile race faced me that morning. No going back to bed since I had promised to take Barrie Evans to the race. So 8.30 Barrie arrives and off we go to the Tynedale Jelly Tea.

Knowing the way to Ovingham very well doesn’t stop going the wrong way twice. I know what you are thinking – Old men not able to talk and navigate at the same time might have been the problem. But got there in plenty of time and caught the bus to Hexham. After the short pleasant journey arrived at the modern sports centre, checked in, acquired a number, changed, threw bag on baggage bus, chatted to other striders and then not being able to put it off any further a short walk to the start.

So a shuffle along to the start with obligatory toilet stop (it’s an age thing) and we were off. The first 3 miles mainly downhill finally dropping into Corbridge [where the race passes some extremely handy toilets – I should know … Ed.]. Time looking good. But then before your very eyes looms heartbreak hill out of Corbridge. And oh it goes on and on and on for 2 miles. Water poured over the head near the top, Turn left, marshall says downhill now, liar. It’s up then down then up. But what goes up must go down and it does for nearly 3 miles to Bywell. More water poured over the head. Sorry did I mention the heat. Then it’s 1.5 miles level road alongside the Tyne before you turn left and hit a minor Eiger for 200 yards and a marshall says again it’s all downhill now. Well it is after the uphill bit which wasn’t mentioned. And finally the finish down to Ovingham school with a reasonable time.

Then cheer in other Striders at the finish including Barrie. At last reward time and into the School for jelly, sandwich, tea and piece of cake. What better way to spend Sunday on what is a really well organised interesting run which has a great atmosphere. Numbers running were well down this year I suspect because of closeness to the Big One.

Now looking forward to next year?

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