Signing up for the Coxhoe Trail event a few weeks before the event, meant I had a chance to try a trail run before the day. Preparation went well running a 5-mile trail around Beamish with over 250-metre elevation, which I knew was a lot more than the Coxhoe Trail.
Looking at the forecast, the day before the event, I noticed it had to be a good day and there was no sign of rain. An early morning rise at 5 with my 18-month-old daughter, then a nice 20-minute walk with the dog followed by my running ritual of porridge, put me in good stead ready for the run.
At about 8 am, in Sacriston, the heavens opened and I was hoping it wouldn’t last long.
I arrived at the event at about 830, enough time to sort everything out. Once I collected my shirt and number, it was the waiting game for over an hour and what I hate most is waiting. So I chatted for a good 40 minutes to another runner, an ex Durham County Cricketer Paul Burn. We both headed up to the event in good time, me not realising it took a good 15 minutes to walk.
Once there I jumped in the Elvet Striders team photo and headed back to the start and a chat to a few of the team.
I didn’t realise I made a big mistake until the race set off and I was behind about 50 people and the runner who I was going to stay near, Stuart Scott, was way ahead already after about 200 metres. I had some ground to make up as I like getting a quick start, so once we got on the downward hill, I tried to weave in and out of people the best I could on a narrow section of the course.
I managed to get caught up once we reached the woods section and had him in my sights for the next few kilometres, just keeping a decent pace behind him. I had in my mind under 40 minutes for the race and was determined to stick to it.
All was going well after 4 km and was under 16 minutes which was well on time, between 4-5km was the hardest on the course and steepest incline and it really tested me and I am guessing all other runners. Once we reached the loop near Quarrington Hill, I made ground on another Elvet Strider, Graeme Watt, and for some reason I found more strength going up the hills and made better ground. At one point I managed to overtake Graeme but this did not last for long. On the way back towards Kelloe he found extra acceleration on the downward hills and powered off into the distance.
Between 5-9 km I managed to keep an average pace around the 4-minute per km mark and knew I was on target. Then I realised the last part of the race was the steep hill at the start of the race. Both Stuart and I nearly took the wrong direction as we had a choice of left or straight ahead and thankfully a steward behind shouted which way. The hill took its toll but I was glad to be able to power up it at a decent pace even though it seemed to be never-ending.
Once at the top, around 10 supporters were cheering runners up the hill and onto the final stretch. It was back along the straight for a few hundred yards, then a sharp right into the woods for less than a minute to finally see the finish line out of the woods and three Striders, who had already made it back in the distance. A time of 39:51 and a 10th place finish made it all worthwhile and I was pleased to see a number of Striders in the hunt for a top 20 place just behind me. An excellent day all round and a very good first trail race which all in all was well signposted and stewarded to make the day even easier.
|1||207||McKenzie James (Heaton Harriers)||00:35:04||M|
|37||103||C. Anton Juan||00:44:41||M|
|43||164||Darby Lisa (Sedgefield Harriers)||00:44:55||F|
|186||22||Fisher Anne Marie||01:07:47||F|