Photo courtesy and © of @MSPhotosNE
Billed as a two-lap trail/paths race run on Newcastle Town Moor in aid of St Oswald’s Hospice and Water Aid, this seemed a fine way to shake off any remaining festive excesses…
The route was described as about 8.6km and around 95m height gain, on grass and hard pack surface – useful information which I read as I walked to the start, my resolve waning as I realised my schoolboy error – a critical failure in terms of shoe choice. Yup, I had donned a pair of well used road shoes, which would have coped well with the hard park surfaces, and maybe, just maybe a bit of light grass.
I made my way to the boathouse adjacent to lake at the Exhibtion Park, realising also as the biting wind blew that I’d left my gloves at home.
So, lack of adequate preparation aside, I paid my £10, pinned my bib on, and chatted to Helen and James Potter in anticipation of what lay ahead.
I think the following elevation v pace chart explains the lack of traction as I encountered the dreaded Cow Hill – my only saving grace being that on the second lap, I’d begun to learn a more advanced traverse technique.
I struck out at an 8 min/mile pace, the wind taken out of my sails as I hit the first patch of mud adjacent to Kenton Road, and at which point Fiona (more suitably shod) pressed on. Slightly further on came Cow Hill, and those cows had certainly made some work of that hill, preparing it for their runner friends. On the top the bracing wind did not deter the marshalls and photographer who spurred the participants on both the uphill, and downhill antics.
I remember feeling happy to see some hard stuff as I approached the end of lap 1, and not to be beaten, I attacked the final lap, with a little bit more tactical footwork to counter the mud. I was delighted to find sufficient traction to attempt a sprint finish, my heated seats calling me. A highly recommended way to introduce running to 2017!
A total field of 179 runners participated. Here’s an excerpt from the results.