Trail Outlaws – Washington Trail 10k
Photo courtesy of Hippie Nixon Photography, and others courtesy of LK Photography.
Billed as a challenging trail race, which shows off some of Washington’s hidden trails, it is part of a series of races organised by Trail Outlaws. I had some unfinished business from my first attempt in 2016. What struck me then, and is still true today is the friendly, and efficient organisation – from marshalled car parking at Biddick Academy, efficient registration, to a superbly marked and marshalled course, with refreshments both en route, and post-race, it certainly ticks the boxes.
At registration, runners were issued with buffs – and I picked up the t-shirt which I’d pre-ordered. I decided not to don the buff on account that the weather was rather pleasant.
Starting in the James Steel Park, the route follows a trail along the River Wear before looping back to Cox Green. What follows are some other ‘lesser known secret trails’ and then eventually back over the bridge to the final delight – the last hill to the finish.
I set off at a decent pace, secure in the knowledge that the hills would calibrate my enthusiasm – they did! Undeterred, I decided my strategy was simply to run as hard as I could, keeping back something mentally, if not physically for the dreaded last hill. There were a few bottlenecks, and I decided to vault (ok, well half vault) a fence beside a style which I think gained me a whole 4 seconds. I was really pleased to see Kerry at her marshalling point as I emerged across a field, uphill, and incapable of discussion.
Galvanised from the sight of a fellow purple warrior, I pressed on along the flat, and it was all going well, until Dead Dog Woods (around 7km in), when I landed awkwardly on my right foot (ice treatment to follow!). As I ran along the River to the footbridge at Cox Green, all I could think about was the dreaded last hill. Finally, it had its chance, and it well and truly knocked the wind out of my sails – fortunately, the worst bit is at the bottom, and it flattens out towards the finish, which allowed me to look more as if I was running at that point.
I set out thinking that an improvement on my time in 2016 was on the cards, and I was delighted to secure a ~8 plus minute course PB.
Taking place on St George’s Day, we were briefed by Sir Tim Bateson, who later handed out prizes in his fitting attire for the day. I’m not sure if the green dragon won a prize but our Louise Warner placed 2nd lady!
Through the finish, I collected my medal (dog tag), and some goodies, including wrist bands, and a sticker before having some water with a dash of cordial!
A fantastic local race, which I’d recommend to anyone but be quick – it was a sell out! We had a good contingent of Striders present, and some fantastic achievements, including Katharine Goda – her first race, not an easy one but a stonking time!
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Harriers & AC