Category Archives: Stephen Jackson

World Half Marathon Championships, Cardiff, Saturday, March 26, 2016

Stephen Jackson

Ok, so Cardiff isn’t exactly on the doorstep. But if you’re going to do a half marathon four weeks before the Virgin London Marathon, you might as well do the World Half Marathon Championships.

A dramatic view of the Start.

I’d had no taper for this race, and the weather forecast wasn’t good, but I still had a feeling I could run well in Cardiff; and that proved to be the case. It’s always a good idea to mentally prepare for three outcomes, perfect, good and satisfactory.

The most important outcome of the day was an injury free run with the training benefit of 13.2 hard miles – not to lose sight of the fact that it was a training session for London; albeit the most high profile race I’d ever been a part of.

Stephen and Michael. I managed three sub 18 minute 5k’s  to get me to 15km (just under 10 miles) at a pace that would have got me tantalisingly close to my ‘perfect race’ time of 01:15. Unfortunately, that is when I started to slow – possibly due to fatigue, or some minor ‘stomach issues’ but most likely due to the monsoon that engulfed Cardiff for the last quarter of the race. I have honestly left the bath drier than I left Cardiff that day.

I really had to dig in as others around me were starting to slow up a little too. I managed to get into a little group to work through the last few miles, courageously led by the female winner of the 2015 Greater Manchester Marathon, Georgie Bruinvels – who I later went on to pass. So, a PB of 01:16:03, and a fantastic weekend. I still have unfinished business at this distance, but that can wait until later in the year.

Finally, a mention to my partner in crime Michael Littlewood who ran a very strong time of 80 minutes on fatigued legs – all looking good for London.

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Age UK Harewood Dash, Sunday, March 13, 2016

Stephen Jackson

Stephen Michael and a Castle My best racing is always done in my head, in the car (or in this case the van), on the way home. This is because, in my head, I would have worked a little harder up the hill in the middle of the race and managed to place third, in a slightly more satisfying time of 35 minutes and so many seconds.

It is, of course, so much easier racing in your head. In my head I was stronger than the young runner who ‘out kicked’ me with 200m to go and denied me a place on the podium.

The reality was that this was a really good day for my London marathon training, a 90 second improvement on last year and a good time, a whisker over 36 minutes, on a really challenging ‘undulating’ [read hilly] course.

Both myself and Michael Littlewood, who joined me for journey South, managed to place in the top 10. Most importantly, we got some good quality hard miles in our legs for forthcoming races in Cardiff and London.

There was time for a quick coffee and a bit craic at Scotch Corner and we were back in Durham in time for lunch.

I may return next year, I now have some unfinished business after all.

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Perkins Great Eastern Run, Peterborough, Sunday, October 11, 2015

Stephen Jackson

Stephen and GerardThis is a race that I would never have entered, were it not for my brother Gerard marrying a lass from Market Deeping, a market town in Lincolnshire – just a few miles away from Peterborough. He was combining the run with a family trip and asked me if I fancied joining him.

I was initially unsure as it was just a few weeks after the Great North Run but I thought it was a good chance to have a catch up so I signed up during the latter part of the summer. I’d initially thought about running with my brother, with the general idea of pacing him to his sub 90 minute goal. However, as the race drew nearer it became apparent that my brother had probably undertrained and I felt in good shape to go for another PB attempt.

The race is very well organised and highly competitive; with three or four elite, professional athletes in the field along with a strong contingent of talented club runners. To put it into context, running 1:20 would have put you in 86th place. My final placing was not that far ahead of where I finished in the Great North Run which had approximately 30 times more entrants.

It’s clear to see why the ‘sharp end’ is stacked – this is a race you enter to run a half marathon PB. Much like the Brass Monkey in York the course is very flat and with good conditions (which we had on the day) and the right training it’s a great race for shaving off a few seconds for the Power of 10.

I’ve been really lucky in 2015, with no injury or illness since January I’ve really had a sustained spell of quality training under the guidance of Allan Seheult. I always train six days a week, sometimes seven, and occasionally twice a day. On this sunny morning in Peterborough I felt the benefit of every session as I actually felt stronger as the race progressed. This, I also put down to a little bit of race experience – I now make a real conscious effort to make sure my first mile is at goal pace and no faster – I’m not quite as naïve as I was this time last year.

So it was to be a half marathon PB of 1:16:16 and, I think, a 10km PB somewhere in the second half of the race. That was enough to put a smile on my face for the journey back up the A1.

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Bridges of the Tyne Road Race, Newcastle Quayside, Tuesday, July 7, 2015

5 miles

Stephen Jackson

 

Stephen in full flight at the Bridges of the Tyne 5 Mile Road Race 2015

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.

Results

Striders POS Name Club Cat Finish Time Chip Time
1st M Lewis Timmins Morpeth Harriers Senior M 25:28 25:27
1st F Justina Heslop Elswick Harriers VF35 27:49 27:49
1 Stephen Jackson Senior M 28:32 28:31
2 Gareth Pritchard Senior M 28:47 28:45
3 Simon Gardner (M) V45 30:56 30:51
4 Paul Pascoe (M) V45 33:39 33:31
5 Helen Todd VF 35 36:26 36:02
6 Fiona Jones VF 35 37:16 36:51
7 David Spence (M) V65+ 37:55 37:39
8 Stephanie Walker VF 35 38:48 36:18
9 Martin Welsh (M) V50 38:49 38:33
10 Katherine Preston (F) V45 40:49 40:32
11 Karen Jones (F) V45 41:11 38:40
12 Richard Hall Senior M 41:32 39:28
13 Greta Jones (F) V45 41:33 39:03
14 Lesley Charman (F) V40 43:01 42:27
15 Louise Barrow Senior F 43:20 42:52
16 Rebecca Fisher VF 35 46:48 44:43
17 Angela Coates (F) V40 46:54 46:35
18 Karen Hooper VF 35 48:37 48:02
19 Aileen Scott (F) V45 48:44 48:13
20 Liz Baker (F) V40 49:07 48:36
21 Laura Chapman Senior F 50:39 49:58
22 Laura Gibson VF 35 50:53 50:12
23 Kerry Lister (F) V40 50:59 50:25
24 Mike Elliott (M) V65+ 53:48 53:15
25 Natalie Johnson VF 35 53:48 53:07
26 Fiona Billinge (F) V40 53:57 53:25
27 Helen Allen (F) V45 55:52 55:11
28 Claire Galloway Senior F 56:28 55:47
29 Lindsay Craig (F) V45 58:37 58:02
30 Laura Jackson VF 35 58:42 58:07

381 finishers.

[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.]

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Roseberry Romp, Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Stephen Jackson

Walker is left mystified after Stephen advises him on best way to get down of the mountain I really enjoyed my first fell race, the Roseberry Romp, which is organised by the National Trust as a fund raiser. The weather was great, course well marked and the race itself was very well organised. Being used to the pricing structure of the more high profile road races, with medal and technical t-shirt etc., the entry fee seemed a bargain at four quid (with a bit of flapjack thrown in). I was pleased to see a couple of familiar faces in the car park before the race and had a chat with Kerry Lister and Helen Allen.

I planned to use the race as a training session with some hill work. I was, I must say, completely unprepared for the demanding nature of fell running and having led the race for the first mile really struggled with the ascents. I naively thought I’d be able to ‘run’ from start to finish – something I realised wouldn’t be possible during the first climb. Once I got used to this idea and felt the pressure was off a little bit as I’d been passed by a half-a-dozen or so runners I started to relax and enjoy the experience.

I remembered from a session with Geoff that he’d told me to ‘attack’ the downhill sections so I used this to my advantage for the last mile or so. I finished the race strongly, close to 5km pace, in eighth position.

The experience was useful if only for the fact that I now have the utmost respect for fell runners. I do see fell running as an important way of complimenting my training for races on the road and will most certainly give another race a go this year.

Results

position name club cat time
1 Paul Crabtree Wharfedale Harriers Harriers MV45 35:49
8 Stephen Jackson SM 38:27
25 Kay Neesam New Marske Harriers LV45 40:33
88 Helen allen LV45 69:01
97 Kerry Lister LV40 73:20

102 finishers.

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Sunderland City 10K, Sunday, May 3, 2015

Stephen Jackson

It's just a jump to the left! The opportunity to run a 10k on my home turf had really appealed to me but the timing just wasn’t right. I’d driven past the posters on my way to work for months but was undecided as to whether I should enter or not as I was too focused on training for Manchester. I made an eleventh hour decision to enter the week of the race and hoped I could run a good time on the back of my marathon training.

It was shaping up to be a nice day; with my family in attendance to cheer me on. I even had visions of heading for an ice cream by the seaside afterwards. Unfortunately, the conditions were very, very poor. Heavy rain, low temperatures and howling winds swept across the start line. To be honest, I was dreading it.

After a slightly delayed start we were moving, which was a welcome relief as my limbs were numb. I’d identified at least a dozen very fast runners at the front and tucked in behind with a runner I’m familiar with from Sedgefield Harriers.

I was happy with the run and on another day could have run a PB. All runners were hampered by a lot of surface water and faced with strong winds off the coast – although the rain had subsided a little. I went through halfway in 18:02 so was on course to get near to my 36 minute target but by 7km I had already talked myself out of it. After an extremely windy segment between 7km and 9km I finished strongly, passing 2-3 runners and finished in a time of 36:42 [chip time]. It was a well organised race and the stadium was an ideal venue for toilet facilities, baggage drop and (most importantly) shelter. However, my overriding memory will be the wind and the rain which is a shame.

Goody bag was ok, nowt flash. Technical T-Shirt, medal and a few other promotional bits and bobs. I swiftly departed for a hot shower, beans on toast and a cup of coffee. I then began to hatch a plan to break 36 minutes this year. We’ll see.

Results

position name cat cat pos chip time gun time
1 Wondiye Indelbu M 1 00:32:50 00:32:50
7 Aly Dixon F 1 00:34:50 00:34:50
16 Stephen Jackson M 9 00:36:42 00:36:44
46 Matthew Archer M 27 00:40:08 00:40:08
188 Sarah Davies F40 3 00:47:33 00:47:36
306 Richard Hall M50 24 00:48:53 00:50:40
639 Stephen Ellis M60 16 00:55:51 00:56:39
778 Rebecca Fisher F 142 00:57:24 00:58:56
845 George Nicholson M60 21 00:59:04 01:00:04
874 Clare Metcalfe F 167 00:59:36 01:00:39
988 Helen Hall F40 94 01:00:57 01:02:45
1109 Matthew Crow M 418 01:03:26 01:05:09
1184 Catherine Walker F50 34 01:05:19 01:06:35
1185 Karrie Rutherford F 278 01:05:18 01:06:35
1186 Gail Craig F40 140 01:05:18 01:06:36
1240 Alison Simms F40 149 01:06:41 01:07:43
1275 Laura Gibson F 315 01:07:01 01:08:19
1276 Natalie Johnson F 316 01:07:01 01:08:19
1359 Mike Elliott M60 30 01:08:58 01:10:35
1426 Laura Jackson F 373 01:12:02 01:12:26
1495 Katharine Bartlett F40 214 01:15:28 01:16:31

1634 finishers.

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Asics Greater Manchester Marathon, Sunday, April 19, 2015

Stephen Jackson

Steven passing runners on the way back at the Asics Manchester Marathon 2015

Where to start? Well, how about the end of my race report for the Ikano Robin Hood Marathon in Nottingham from September 2014: “Never again, I thought, as I noticed there was a reduced price offer for the Greater Manchester Marathon in April 2015. Sub 02.45:00? Now there’s a thought…”

Fast forward six and a bit months and I’m lining up alongside the so called theatre of dreams with a host of other Striders for the 2015 Greater Manchester Marathon. Forgetting the iconic football stadium at the start and finish of the race it seems to me this was a route designed to entice runners with a fast, flat course. The date, I assume, was deliberately designed to coincide with London for those who missed out or an opportunity to achieve a PB with the 2016 VLM in mind. Whilst the course was pleasant enough – an ‘out and back’ loop through the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford – London, with its iconic capital City skyscape, it ain’t.

That said, the atmosphere was very friendly, the race very well sponsored and organised and the weather conditions almost perfect. Cool but not cold, cloudy and calm – save for a gentle breeze. No excuses.

I hadn’t been 100% during the week and was a little apprehensive about the race. In hindsight I’d diagnosed myself with a chest infection that was probably a false alarm. Annoyingly, this meant I’d missed Charlie Spedding on the Wednesday evening but the unplanned rest probably did me good.

Despite this last minute hiccup I knew I was in pretty good shape. I was 4 seconds off a 5k PB the weekend before the race at a windy Hartlepool parkrun and my training in general meant that my ‘easy’ pace was gradually creeping up a notch.

I’d enlisted the help of Allan Seheult who had put together a 9 week bespoke training plan. I’d worked hard up hills and on the track; I’d raced and I’d rested. More often than not, six or seven days a week I’d pounded the payment near to my home, putting the miles in.

This really helped, not just because Allan really knows what he’s talking about but also because it meant I was being thorough and reflecting upon how things were going along the way.

This is a race report as opposed to a training report so I’ll not bore people with the details but I’ll let you into a little secret, I’d only run 20 miles or more twice since my last marathon – over 22 miles only once.

I had a race plan, which of course I didn’t follow. I was to run 3:53/km splits and, if possible, increase slightly towards the end of the race. I’d run a negative split at the Brass Monkey Half Marathon in January so that made sense. However, I felt good on race day and went off a little quicker – nothing too radical (maybe 5 to 10 seconds) but quicker than planned nonetheless.

Now I don’t want to sound like I wasn’t happy with the race, I was absolutely, totally and utterly, indescribably elated BUT there is an argument that I was running just below half marathon pace for twenty miles before my inevitable demise at mile 23. I went through halfway in the same time I completed the GNR last September and twenty miles in 2 hours and two minutes. This would have been fine had I maintained that pace to the finish line, but I didn’t. Room for improvement, says the perfectionist in me.

Steven crosses the line at the Asics Manchester Marathon 2015

The last couple of miles were hell. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I most certainly will have forgotten how uncomfortable it was in a year or so. I would certainly recommend the race; it’s well organised and it’s perfect if you want to run your fastest possible time. There are plenty of drink stations, the t-shirt is canny and the goody bag up there with the GNR. In my humble opinion, decent value for money.

Finally, I wanted to say thank you for the incredible support I received in person, on facebook and via text messages etc. It was a privilege to line up alongside so many Striders, many of whom were completing their first marathon. Never again, I thought, as I noticed that I’d recorded a Championship Entry time for the Virgin London Marathon in April 2016.

Sub 02.40:00? Now there’s a thought…

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Age UK 10K Series, Harewood House, Leeds, Sunday, March 8, 2015

Stephen Jackson

Stephen and Pete My marathon training plan, carefully designed by Alan Seheult, was structured to incorporate a 10k ‘race’ on this particular weekend. As luck would have it the family diary meant that this goal could be achieved in a ‘two birds with one stone’ scenario that also involved a catch up with my cousin and her family. I entered the race with my mate Pete [Culmer – 10th place] who is my Cousin’s husband and also a keen cyclist and runner. We both had our respective wives and children cheering us on at the finish line and despite starting off as a drizzly, chilly sort of day the sun had emerged by a slightly delayed start time of 10:10.

The setting was fantastic and the course was challenging for someone who generally enters fast and flat 10k races. That said, there was as much down as up so until 7km there was ample opportunity to make up for the lost time climbing the trails around the grounds of Harewood House. Checking out the competition on the start line I recognised eventual winner Frank Beresford of Otley AC from his strong performance at the Brass Monkey Half Marathon. I knew that although the race would probably be described as a ‘fun run’ there were more than enough strong club runners at the sharp end to make it competitive.

By 2km I’d settled into a bit of rhythm and started the first ascent of the race. By this point the front runners had disappeared and I’d passed a few runners who’d possibly started too quickly. From this point until the end I only encountered one runner, from Hull AC, who I had a ‘tussle’ with from 5k to the end. Other than that it was me vs. the watch, or more appropriately, me vs. the hills.

Chocolate or Gold, it doesn't matterMy splits were looking pretty even despite the climbs until I got to the top of the final, unforgiving, steep hill. My penultimate km was quite a way below my average race pace as my legs were feeling drained. I recovered enough to finish strongly and just ‘pip’ a Hull AC runner on the line – it emerged later his ‘chip time’ was faster than mine but a moral victory nonetheless.

Afterwards there was time for a massage and a bit of flapjack before a 1 hour wait to exit the ‘car park’ [one tick in the negatives column].

Overall, I would certainly recommend the race as the setting is fantastic and the course was a great workout for a spring marathon and another summer chasing PBs

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Ikano Robin Hood Marathon, Nottingham, Monday, September 29, 2014

Stephen Jackson

I decided I wanted to run a marathon having completed the Great North Run in a decent time in 2013. I was slowly but surely getting into running and it seemed like the obvious progression; I suppose a bucket list type box to tick.

I was aware that the Robin Hood Marathon was about a month after the GNR and heard that it was flat so I decided to sign up – once I’d done that there’d be no turning back! That was before I joined the Striders and before I really started putting in the mileage and training hard.

I’d always anticipated just completing the iconic distance would be an achievement in itself. However, running has re-ignited my competitive nature. I ran my first parkrun in 2012 (about three stone heavier) which took me just over 32 minutes to complete, and before I knew it anything other than a sub 3 hour performance was to be deemed as failure (only by me, I must add). This was, of course, a rather ambitious target for a first marathon but encouraging PBs throughout the year had led me to believe it was possible.

The app I’d used on my phone for my first ever parkrun had measured my splits in kilometres (seemed logical for a 5k run), and I’d subsequently programmed my Garmin to do the same. That’s why I still get a tad confused when people talk to me in min/mile speak. I know that a 4min/km is 20 minute parkrun pace and have always just worked up or down from there as a benchmark. I knew 4:16 km splits would bring me home at the three hour mark – if I had the legs.

Before the off...

My Great North Run time meant that a sub 3 marathon was certainly possible if, and it’s a big IF, I’d trained for the distance. This was where I had a niggling doubt as I’d only actually done one 20 mile training run, one 18 miles and a few around the 12-15 mile mark.

The race morning was great, I’d bumped into Alister, Jacqui and Rachel for a group photo and words of encouragement. The river-side location of the start was quite picturesque and the sun was shining. Having travelled to Nottingham the night before I’d made it to the race village with plenty of time to spare and managed to time things nicely with regards to fluid, nutrition and last minute toilet stops.

I snuck into the first pen which seemed to contain mainly club runners – I justified this to myself as I thought my race time had been a bit conservative when I’d entered. After a quick warm-up the gun fired and I found myself hurtling off towards Nottingham Centre with a group of various club runners – almost all of whom, it would later emerge, were running the half marathon distance. This was where I really had to be careful with my race strategy, “dinnit gan off too fast” Alister had said to me just before the start – echoing Allan’s advice from the track sessions. However, I always knew my plan was to start of quick, not quite half marathon pace, but quicker than 4:16 per km and hope to ‘bank’ the time for a slump around 20 miles. I certainly don’t profess to be an Athletics coach, and many would tell you that’s not a shrewd plan, but I always knew that’s how it would pan out.

The weather was warm as the sun was out but there was little to no wind and the course was flat and fast as described. I felt comfortable as the half-marathon runners forked right on 11 miles and the marathon runners were funnelled along the river and out towards Colwick Country Park.

This was where it got a bit lonely; I didn’t pass another runner for about three miles, when I went past the eventual ladies winner. I reached the half way stage in 22nd position and thought to myself it would be nice to finish in the top 20 but at that point there was no one in site ahead of me.

The route took in both football grounds, Trent Bridge, the race course, Nottingham Castle and vast swathes of beautiful country park. I was pleased with my pace and slowly but surely passed a few people during the second half.

I knew my splits were looking good when ‘it’ finally hit me on mile 21 – ‘it’ being the much spoken of ‘wall’ I was to expect during my marathon effort. My legs were heavy, very heavy, and I could feel myself slowing up. I needed to use a mental strategy; just get myself to 37km and I ‘only’ had a parkrun left. Only?!

The last five miles were by far the hardest I’ve ever found running, but I knew I just had to keep moving and a sub 3 hour marathon was mine.

As I made my way along the river side I again crossed paths with the half marathon runners although I now had a lane to myself. I’ve always prided myself on having a strong finish, but I felt like I had nothing left to give. Then I heard Jacqui Robson’s booming voice; “come on Stephen Jackson” – this was the last bit of encouragement I needed as the finish line was in site. 02.50:23 (gun time 02.51:00) – the pain all of a sudden faded into insignificance and the feeling was amazing.

It was really great to see Rachel Terry as we crossed paths going in opposite directions who managed a cracking time of 03.30:07 – I’d been on a training run with Rachel and knew she was a strong endurance runner.

Alister and Jacqui seemed pleased with their achievements, if not ecstatic, with those two there will no doubt be another run within the week. Jacqui told me she was taking one for the team and allowing Alister to replace lost carbs (in the form of beer) before the drive back to Nottingham.

Never again, I thought, as I noticed there was a reduced price offer for the Greater Manchester Marathon in April 2015. Sub 02.45:00? Now there’s a thought.

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Middlesbrough Tees Pride 10k, Sunday, August 31, 2014

Stephen Jackson, Matthew Crow, Jane Baillie

Stephen Jackson …

I was pleased to be asked to write the race report for this one [You don’t need to be asked, and it’s always nice to get more than one report for a race, such as this one. The more the merrier! Ed.] and not only because I’m still basking in that post-PB glowing feeling. It’s nice to feel part of something; which is one of the reasons why I recently joined the Striders, having trained and attended races on my own for a year or so.

It was also great to lift-share on the way to this event which was an opportunity to get to know a few Striders; both established and new members – Facebook does have some practical uses. By my reckoning 21 Elvet Striders were in attendance (including Alister Robson who, for some reason, wasn’t included in the official filtered results ‘by club’) for this popular 10k event.

I think it had the feel of the Great North Run, albeit on a much smaller scale. As was the case with myself, many Striders seemed to be using this event as some sort of ‘warm up’ for the bigger (and more expensive) Half Marathon the following weekend. There was live music at the start and finish (and at various points around the route), numerous water stations, a bag drop-off point, a small athletes’ village with free sports massage and various catering outlets. Throw in a rather fetching technical T-Shirt, a medal, a pen and a few other bits and bobs and I think the £14.00 affiliated price seemed quite good value for money.

It was really good to have a chat to Craig Younger before the event, who was running his first ever race having recently completed the 5k – 10k course (and prior to that, I think, the couch-to-5k course). It was great to see him in club colours and certainly an achievement to be proud of. I wish I’d joined a club straight away when I finally decided to take up running a couple of years ago as the encouragement and advice really does help.

Not a bad looking piece of bling for fourteen quid. The course was a relatively flat (or at least there seemed to be as many downs as up) single loop on wide roads. The sun was out and the wind was low. In theory this was a perfect day for a PB although I have a feeling some runners will have been holding a little bit back for the aforementioned half-marathon the following weekend. I found myself passing a couple of familiar rivals who usually finish well ahead of me at such events. It was also interesting to note that race winner Wondiye Fikre Indelbu ran about a minute slower than at Darlington 10k a few weeks before. He might be one to look out for in the results of ‘Brendan’s super run’. A quick chat to fellow Striders afterwards led me to believe a fair few PBs had been achieved (most notably Simon Gardener’s 38:24), a few were a little disappointed and others seemed to have held a little back for various reasons. Anyone who gets their backside out of bed on a Sunday morning, pulls on the club vest, laces up their trainers and gives it a good go deserves a medal. Which, quite appropriately, is exactly what they got.

… Matthew Crow…

Today sees me writing up my first ever race report so I hope this make sense and today saw me doing the Middlesbrough 10k run. This is pretty much a warm up run in preparation for the great north run the following weekend. As most races I do tend to be up early on the morning I left the house to pick up a few friends who were also taking part in the race – having taking the wrong turning on way to race the roads were are starting to close ready for the race I managed to find a side street to park.

Walking up the streets prior to the race starting there plenty people walking about and few music bands setting up ready for race to begin testing out some music. As I reached the the start line where the race would begin I took note of where the starting positions elite runners sub 35 etc then came across the position sign at the end of the start say happy to finish what made me smile. Heading to the field where most people were hanging about I found the fellow Striders I was met by Graeme Walton and Stephen Jackson after having a brief chat I decided to get changed and drop my bag off ready for starting. After dropping my bag I decided to do a warm on the field to right on the start line few laps jogging around and stretches it was time to head to the start.

Finding my way to start I seen Alister Graeme and Katy so I decided to jump in start from there looking at my watch, it was nearly time for race to begin the wheel chairs race had just begun. Few minutes later the 10k run began. It was quite a quick start crossing the start Line, good crowds either sides cheers people along heading down acklam road. The pace was quite quick, trying to settle in to a comfortable pace I managed to get sorted and felt good turning down bottom of the road to the left was pretty much straight bit of road only very slight incline. Hitting the 4k mark we turned left again heading up by the James Cook hospital as I hit 5k Mark I was around 19.50 minutes In to the run feeling good I decide to press on and push my self as heading to word 6k we heading threw housing streets plenty people out cheering people along and you could hear music bands playing music and you kids trying to squirt people with water as I reached 8k I was think not long to go I turned left again heading to wards the coronation pub you could hear they had music blasting out speakers as I hit 9k witch seem to go on for ages I pressed on heading to wards finish there was big crowds cheering everyone along which was great. I crossed the line in 40.37 and I was quite happy with that time heading towards the t shirt collection area I was met by Stephen Jackson who had great run and also Simon Gardener who got him self a new 10k pb.

As collected my t shirt you could smell the food stalls near by and they smelt nice the sun was shining nice and warm so decided to go collect my bag before it go too busy then decided to go cheer everyone along

Well done to all who took part.

… and Jane Baillie:

After losing my running mojo during the summer, I had signed up to this race with no expectations. One week before the Great North Run, good chance to stretch the legs and had been told was good course, relatively flat. (the magic words!)

Good turnout of Striders – approximately 25 of us made the trip down. Glorious morning for it, almost a bit too warm, but we can’t really complain about these things. Seemed to be a good setup, this was the 10th anniversary race, with all the race essentials – baggage areas/Mizuno trailer/warmup session/bands playing/chip timing/dirty burger van! We eventually all got into our pens, I always like it when a race offers areas for estimated time finishing – momentarily debated going in the ‘happy to finish’ section but boldly pushed forward to the sub 60 mins!! In fact we may have even strayed into the sub 50 – optimism at its blindest!!

The crowds were great at the start line, lots of support and cheering, and was like this most of the way around. Loved the bands on the corners as well, small taster ahead of Great North Run! Plus the usual gauntlet of kids who think it’s fun to squirt water at you as well!

After a fairly average parkrun on the Saturday, I was just aiming to get round in a reasonable time. My plan was 10 minute miles, and a steady race. Having learned the hard way about going out too fast, I was a slightly speedy 09:30 for the first mile. Calmed it down a wee bit and kept on plodding, even after the only ‘hill’ on the course I was still pretty consistent with my mile splits. All averaging about 09:30 pace.

Got to 5k mark 15 secs off my parkrun PB, and was feeling really good. By mile 4 and 5, I was starting to overtake a Strider or two (a first for me!!) and still hitting steady pacing. Getting to the last big turn, I realised I was on course for a PB, barring any major disasters. Had been running faster than I have been for quite a few months, and although I didn’t quite manage my usual sprint finish (Alistair and the Strider cheering squad were too far from the finish!!) I managed to come in at 58:31 – 26 seconds off my previous 10k time and splits of 29:15 and 29:16 for both 5k splits.

Some other notable runs on the day were from Stephen Jackson – a super speedy 36:20 and Craig Younger, completing his first official 10k race, having just graduated from the 5-10k group 4 days earlier!!

I really enjoyed the race – bands playing at most corners, water stations, sun shining, medal, nice t-shirt and a PB to boot – what more does a girl need!!

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