One hundred and seventy seven runners helped this race celebrate its 60th birthday. The event organised by Blyth Running Club, is an age handicap, oldest off first, which makes for lots of getting caught. We climbed three groynes twice, ducked under a drainage pipe twice, avoided dogs, but couldn’t avoid wet feet in calf deep water channels.
Fiona, Nina & I returned to this race after absences of too long, Conrad is a regular, Tim chose it over the Hobble and Katy made a last minute decision to run, after Dalton Park cancelled.
All agreed it needs to return to Striders’ sprint GP. It was included in the 1990s & so popular, we booked buses.
Female Striders all placed SECOND in their respective age cats.
Inexpensive £6/8, possible entry on day, never cancelled, first three mixed teams & first back in each five year age cat awarded Start Fitness vouchers, all offered SECONDS of tea, mince pies and sherry. Recipe for success.
Results 13th Conrad White 37.15 23rd Nina Mason 39.53 24th Fiona Shenton 43.57 36th Katy Walton 39.29 73rd Jan Young 49.55 140th Tim Matthews 47.32
Bridges of The Tyne, or BOTT as we fondly refer to it, is a go-to race for many Striders, where the standard of competition is high. Most importantly, Tyne Bridge Harriers put on a consistently excellent event, and are renowned for the enthusiastic, cheerful marshals (thanks all concerned!).
I had an extended day in the office because I thought it was easier than trekking home and back. The closure of the Scotswood Road due to a burst water main provided an additional challenge but thankfully traffic subsided to near normal levels and the drive to the Tyne Bar (Race HQ) was relatively straightforward.
In stark contrast to the perfect racing conditions of the previous year (damp and cool), the weather this time was comparatively tropical. I collected my number, and decided to rest outside the Tyne Bar, resisting the urge to have a cool beer! I’m not good in the heat, so had decided to just have a steady run out – mentioning my plan to running buddies Dave and John who had already run 5km to pick up their numbers! That plan changed a bit on the warm-up run over to the start as I realised the temperature had dropped and the river breeze was welcome!
Last year I’d had a decent run, with a gun time of 38:30 and I thought maybe chipping a few seconds off that would be ok in the heat. Then in the pen, Fiona reminded me that I’d had a decent run at the Hartlepool Marina 5 miler. The fuse was lit and all restraint and notions of a steady run went out the window.
I struck out a little too sharp but managed to settle myself. Anna was off like a rocket and Fiona and Katy were in front of me gaining ground. I saw Dave Coxon ahead of me too and decided to put all ideas of chasing him out of my head! I saw our fast lads approaching, and knew I was close to the turnaround slope. I managed to utter a few yells of support which mentally told me I wasn’t overcooking the goose at that point.
I dropped a few seconds on the slope to the turnaround, and the marshall was yelling “nil-nil” which I think referred to the progress of a soccer tournament, rather than my running progress. On the drop back down to the river, I didn’t relent, mindful that I could recover those lost seconds. On the return, the marshals continued to provide ample encouragement and it was good to see Rob calmly standing his ground hastening folk on. I remember giving Rachel Toth a big yell, and then I go to work, picking folk in front of me one-by-one and it wasn’t too long before I was on the Quayside again. My mind flashed back to the torture of last year’s finish when I got buzzed by Robin on the line and I had a sneaky look behind to check for any advancing purple vests. Then the finish straight – the best bit! I heard some of our fast lads already finished shouting and I increased my pace to cross the line.
Gun time 37:22 and a course PB – I’d indeed managed to shave a few seconds off, job done! I stayed to cheer the others in and then given my lack of interest in watching the soccer, I beat a retreat home. A great race with some gutsy Strider performances all round!
I have run the Blyth Sands on many occasions since joining the striders. An age handicapped run along the beach and back. The 4th December 2016 was my 60th birthday and the race had been a target of mine for the last couple of years when I realised I would get some more time advantage and on my birthday as well. There may well have been other events on the same day and numbers of striders were – 2 – Richard Hocking and myself – previously striders have been in the team prizes but we did not have enough for a team.
The tide was low and going out which meant there were no groynes to negotiate this year. Advancing age means starting nearer the front, so it was possible to count the numbers of runners ahead. (When I first ran I was in the last group to start). By the turn round the oar at half way I had worked up into the top 10, but I knew there was one in my age group ahead. I lost a few places on the return to faster (younger runners) – but still managed a top 20 finish (one of my best placings in the race). Although no age prize, the organisers kindly gave me a bottle of wine. I will be back and hope more of you will join in. What else would you want to do on the first Sunday morning in December but run along the beach?
With GP points up for grabs and a desperate need to recapture some kind of form I decided to give this race a go. My fitness had dropped since my London Marathon experience due to injury and laziness – more of the latter to be fair.
Katy and I arrived in good time and met up with Conrad and Jan in the car park then off we went to pick up our race numbers. The race was billed as approx 6 miles long with the starter explaining the route at length before we set off: two loops plus an out and back section consisting of trail/grass/road including some steady climbs. A group photo was taken with Sarah and Robin, and then we were ready to tear up the course.
I wasn’t sure as we stood at the start line whether I had it in me to compete with Conrad, however as the race began the racing spirit soon kicked in. We soon headed up the first hill with Conrad speeding away from me. I felt decent enough as we made our way through the first lap without to much problem. At the end of the first lap there was a very tough climb where I got the chance to see the front runners on the way back down – they were absolutely flying, although it was downhill for them. At the far end of the out and back section I got a chance to see how far Conrad was in front of me – too far!! Coming back down the hill was heaven and then onto the second lap I started…
Hmmm… this is where it all went wrong: unfortunately a marshal on one of the points had sent the front runners the wrong way and so had little choice than to send the rest of field the same way. Image my surprise when my race was over after only 3.8 miles!! Maybe if you look on the results it will read that I ran approx 10k in under 28 minutes???? – I guess not. No harm done though; as far as every one was concerned it was an honest mistake that could happen to anyone.
Special praise to the Striders prize winners – Conrad, Jan and Sarah who all won some gift vouchers for performing well in there age categories.
In the months of June, July and August the race calendar is full of local gems like this. Just a few weeks after the Blaydon Race, I was back on Tyneside hoping to set a new 5 mile PB. The route is a simple ‘out and back’ course along the iconic Newcastle Quayside with a little climb on the turn at around 2 miles. Other than that it is fair to say that the race is ‘fast and flat’ with ample opportunity to attack the last couple of miles.
There was a huge turnout of new Striders, well established Striders and ex-Striders; everyone was extremely encouraging and it really was a great occasion. I think many people made a bit of a night of it and stayed in a local hostelry after the race. The conditions were warm and although there was a headwind on the way out it did help on the way back when things started getting tough.
Gareth Pritchard set off looking strong and I followed suit as we both went through the first mile a little quicker than intended. There was still time to take stock, ease off and get to half way (including the race’s only hill). The second half was hard work but I felt able to gradually pick up speed and, one by one, gain a few places. I finished the race above 5km pace which was encouraging. The funny thing about running PBs is it never gets any easier.
It was great to give a cheer to other Striders as they stormed towards the finish line, everyone was running hard which was great to see. Goody bag included a technical T-shirt and a protein drink. This is a race I’d most certainly do again.
[Note: Results on the www.resultsbase.net website are not listed by overall position when filtered by club. To see your overall position you need to go the their website and click on your own result. Ed.]
I almost missed out on this race due to poor timing on my part and a certain relay race which was supposed to be going on at the same time. ( gave it my best shot ..) I was very lucky and managed to get a place by emailing the race organisers directly even though entry was closed and race full. Very helpful and fantastic to see.
Weather reports leading up to the race looked terrible with rain and strong wind which potentially could wreck the PB hunters day. The race is ran along the coast and follows the parkrun route with a bit extra added on to make up the 5 miles. Very flat, fast with strong competition all ends of the field to push you on. I had mixed feeling building up to this race, my training seems to go from highs to lows every week now as I build up to the London marathon. Last week I flew round 34 miles with ease but this weeks training was terrible. Only two short runs done, feeling poorly and just not myself.
But Come the morning I was feeling good and the heavens were smiling down on the PB gang, the rain had stopped and the wind a wimpier rather than a roar. The location is great for this race, parked easy and picked number up onboard a very cool ship at the hartlepool marina. On to the race which was almost a false start thanks to a drill? Bad timing as the cannon soon went off to start the race..
Plan for me was simple, try to keep super fast Rob and Stephen in sight and hope to hold off the in form simon to grab 3rd strider home. Pre race marathon paced run for Stephen effected his day and Simon was coming back from recent injury problems. Both still managed cracking runs with simon just missing sub 30 mins for another great time.
The first mile was super fast as expected with Rob zooming off into the distance while I kept trying to control my pace. You turn back half way and it’s great getting the shout outs from fellow Striders as the relentless effort kicks in. I remember Simon shouting out that Rob was finding it hard and could just about still make him out ahead. The last 2 miles to home was nothing but pure grit and effort to catch the super speedy one. I needed every mile of that race and somehow pushed ahead with less than half a mile to go. End result was an unexpected 1st strider Finnish and 2 great PB’s for us both, a fantastic and enjoyable race. This is why I love road races so much, you have no where to hide, no excuses, it all comes down to your training, fitness and pure force of will to push yourself harder than you ever imagined possible. I’m an unashamed super fan of road racing and this race was everything I love about the sport.
Lots of other great runs, performances and someone with a 30 sec PB which we all know about via the emails .. also 3rd place for the strider men’s team. Well done everyone. As some speedster said: well done the strider 5 mile king…… For now. .. Will definitely be back next year.
Jan had helpfully sent an email about this race after we discussed it at the Wallington Harrier League meeting. I was the only taker – so we went up together (thanks ever so for the lift Jan). We have both been doing this age-handicapped race on and off for over 20 years. Sometimes there have been loads of Striders and it may have been in the grand prix at one time. It seems to have fallen off the radar over recent years but despite any of my words below I would highly recommend this – it is only three-quarters of an hour away from Durham and because of the age-handicapping, Striders have and may again win prizes.
The principle is straightforward. You set off in age groups, starting with the older females and ending with the younger men. The course starts outside a new coastguard building which is a vast improvement on the old sea cadets building of years ago. When I first ran, the start was at the end of the beach and it was a straight run south (keeping the sea on your left) to an oar at Seaton Sluice, round the oar and back (keeping the sea on your right).
There was a brief interlude (due to a building change) where the race started at Seaton Sluice but the premise was similar – sea on the right to start and left to come back. Now, as the start is some distance from the end of the beach there is a bit of both, as you run initially north around a flag, then south around the oar and back north to the finish. And I forgot to mention that there are also three groynes to navigate each way – unless the tide is far enough out to allow you to run on the sand.
On the drive up, the weather didn’t look too promising with dark clouds and rain and we knew it was going to be chilly. However the sky cleared to blue with a bright low sun. The icy offshore wind was no help at any point in the race and the sand was the consistency of granulated sugar. The sea had also contrived to take chunks out of the beach with huge inlets of cold water to navigate. I think it was the toughest going of the many sands races I have done and I was not alone judging by the comments at the end (I would suspect that it was nothing in comparison to some of the race reports I have read for “ultra” this and “tougher” that though!).
As the years have gone by I have graduated from starting at the back to starting about halfway down the pack. Hopefully it means you can catch those in front and try and keep ahead of those behind. Although the going was tough I seemed to manage to do just that, as only a few came past and I managed to catch a fair number. I even managed to achieve a top twenty finish (18th fastest on the day) with Jan not far behind. Roll on another two years and I will start nearer the front – but then again, I suspect I will be slower.
After the race it was back to the car to put on as many layers of dry clothing as possible, a hot drink and then home. I’m hoping I didn’t drag Jan away from a prize as although I knew I didn’t make an age prize it would appear Jan was first in her age category.
This is a race that I have wanted to do for a while, 2 years ago I was injured and last year I had the very good excuse of being in Australia so thankfully no excuses this year so despite missing the Chelsea home game (thanks a lot BT!) I managed to make the start line for once.
After a comfortable journey in I bumped into Stephen Jackson at the number collection point and was soon joined by Gareth Pritchard. The race is set on the race course at Newcastle and uses the ambulance track which runs around the inside perimeter of the course.
I had been in great form but wasn’t sure what to expect to be honest, I had been unwell during the week and had not ran since Mansfield parkrun the week before and I had also lost a lot of motivation since my Leeds 10K. A steady Durham parkrun in the morning showed that my stomach was thankfully settled. During the warm up I decided that I would try for an opening 6 minute mile and then try and maintain that hopefully getting a sub 30 minute for the 5 mile and therefore a shiny new PB.
After the normal elbows out start I was able to find some space and settle down into what I thought was a steady pace. The first half of the opening lap probably is a little up and down but not bad at all. My watched beeped for the first mile and showed 5:48 which was way too fast, god what a start! I decided to slow back down to 6:00 to try and leave something in the tank for the end but after doing a 6 min mile I had started to pick off several runners so I knew deep down I was stepping onboard the pain train.
Miles 3 & 4 were back under 6 minutes and I was hurting big style but by this point I knew I was on the last lap of 3 and only had a mile to go and boy what an uncomfortable mile that was! As normal I was having some very negative thoughts (just drop out, slow down – I find it such a mental battle) but I managed to hang on to clock a new 5 mile PB of 29:21 which I’m delighted with.
Very well done to Stephen Jackson for a an excellent 28:55 and Gareth for a sub 30 with still very heavy legs after Brampton to Carlisle
This is a nice low key local event organised by Low Fell Running Club over varied terrain with hilly off road sections up behind the Angel View Hotel then under the A167 to the Angel of the North and back again. It was nice to see they had some junior races with U11, U13 and U15 all getting medals.
I must admit the race was longer and harder than I thought and it turned out to be nearer 6 miles after a change in route from last year. As it started at 7.15 I stopped en route at M&S for a coffee and scone (not recommended pre race food but tasty!!!). I met Alister in the car park and for once Striders were low in numbers with only myself, Alister Robson, Gareth Pritchard and Kathleen Bellamy running together.
Alister went flying off and I never really caught site of him, he had a strong run coming in 35th. Due to the low numbers I ended up being 4th Lady and winning the over 45 category (yes I know it is hard to believe). [It certainly is, Mandy. Ed.]
I’m not sure if it was a one off but there was a lovely buffet on afterwards in the Hotel, a feature which often attracts Striders (not mentioning any names) and also a birthday cake for an 82 year old runner competing from Low Fell Harriers … wow, hope I am still going then. Overall a very friendly event and well organised.