After a hit and miss 2014, I really was looking forward to getting 2015 going. A family and friend week away in Alnwick meant that my usual NYD Captain Cooks fell race was out of the question so I set my sights on Hillforts and Headaches in Northumberland only to find out it had been cancelled for this year. But in its absence was Morpeth 11k road race hosted by Morpeth Harriers.
After a few too many on NYE and a very late bedtime, the 1pm start was a bonus. Having roped my non-running friend to join me we set off from Alnwick to Morpeth with families in tow. Arriving at Morpeth Rugby club it became apparent to my friend that only club runners are mad enough to run on NYD and with the weather not particularly good for spectators below the ages of 6, our wives drove off and left us.
A large contingent of Elswick Harriers were present and I’d pointed out who was most likely to win. Then I spotted Fiona Shenton as she made her way to the start but didn’t get to say hello. The start was midway up a steep hill heading downwards. Before long we were off, down the back roads of Morpeth and under the A1. The road was undulating until about the 3km mark when it started the long drag upwards.
Up until this point Fiona was never more than 50 meters away but on the climb I slowly closed the gap. About three quarters of the way a guy who had been passed by Fiona asked who she was, stating what a runner she was. I agreed and pressed on determined to catch her. A strong crosswind accompanied us to the top of the climb at around the 6/7km mark before a change of direction put the wind behind us and sent us downhill back to Morpeth. At this point I was within 5ft of Fiona and hoping to let her know she wasn’t the only Strider present, but she seemed to find another gear and had quickly opened up the gap. I tried to keep pace but couldn’t on the fantastic downhill back into Morpeth.
Back in town we were swept left into Carlisle Park and up a really short but nasty hill before a fast, flat out run along the river to the finish line.
I never did get to say hello to Fiona as I waited for my friend to finish, but he never did, he’d dropped out at 9km and got a lift back to the finish from one of the marshals which was a real shame.
In all, this was a fantastic race, quite tough but one that should be given more consideration by our road loving members.
|1||Tadele Geremew||Elswick Harriers||SM||34.58|
|31||Jacqueline Penn||North Shields Poly||F||42.29|