I used to live in Tynemouth and having ran some of the handicaps with North Shields Poly I had heard of the Clive Cookson 10k, but I’d never got round to doing it. I knew it was well known for being a fast, flat course which was good for pb’s but fresh memories of my somewhat hideous run at the not so flat Sunderland mean’t I had decided to just go along, give it a shot and hope for the best.
I shared a lift with Jacquie and Alister and was surprised to find we were the only Striders taking part, but apparently it clashed with a few other races. After sharing my new super pre race snacks with Jacquie and a trip to the uber-futuristic pod like toilets in Monkseaton school (very strange!) we made our way to the start.
I had a quick chat with my very own running idol, Ian Harding, an old work colleague who runs for Morpeth Harriers (he came 27th in last years GNR and won last years Coastal Run to mention a few of his achievements). I said goodbye to Ian, secretly praying that my improved pace would mean that he wouldn’t lap me as he did a few years ago when I last ran in the same race as him!
Everything appeared to be against me (my nike+ wouldn’t pick up a signal and I’m useless at pacing myself, I didn’t have my running twin with me (Victoria) so I’d be running on my own with no ipod and it was two laps which to me is a psychological nightmare!) All this considered, I still couldn’t get the thought of a sub 54 min out of my head….
A quick brief from the organiser and off we went. Alister was up near the front but due to the heat there was no sign of the yellow hat so he just blended in with the masses and soon disappeared from view. Jacquie was a little bit ahead but I decided to hang back as it was a bit congested at the start as we weaved our way through the streets of the housing estate.
The route takes in a bit of everything from public roads, gravel paths, farmers tracks to back roads so I didn’t actually find doing two laps too boring. There were a few bottlenecks at certain points which was frustrating but before I knew the first lap was done so I grabbed a quick drink from the half way point water station and then set off for my final lap.
Physically I felt good, but mentally I was driving myself insane not knowing my pace! I obsessively attempted to find a signal on my nike+. I eventually gave in at some point in the second lap when I realised that I could still see Jacquie up ahead. I knew she was aiming for 52 mins so decided that as long as I could see her she couldn’t be more than 2 minutes ahead of me, so that was my new tactic – keep Jacquie in my sights and hopefully I might get that sub 54.
I was going quite strong and felt good, despite a slight wobble at just before 7k when I nearly snorted a little fly but I recovered well and pushed on over the final few k. I still had no idea of my time (my clock was wrong on my watch so couldn’t even use that as an indicator!) but I felt like I was on track for a pb so I pushed a bit harder. I was never going to catch Jacquie and when I started to feel a little sick at 9k I started to regret pushing too soon.
In the distance I saw Ian (who’d won in 32.49) who pushed me on to catch the girl in front (one of which I’d been back and forth with all race) then there was Alister waiting on the final corner screaming for me to sprint for the finish (just round the corner – why are these corners always so long!). I managed a sprint finish and heard someone say 52 as I crossed the line… surely not?!
I stumbled over for a chat with Run Geordie Run who had ran this prior to running Edinburgh to Newcastle at the weekend. I then found Alister and Jacquie, Jacquie informed me that her Garmin said 51.37 (a pb for her) so maybe I’d heard right?? Sure did – finished in 52.15 so smashed my 54.20 previous pb! Alister also finished in 43.17, amazing time but sadly missing his pb by 4 secs (that’ll be last time he turns down my super pre-race snacks!)
Overall, there wasn’t the huge sea of purple I’ve seen recently at races so there wasn’t much support round the course but still great company and great times for all. It was well marshalled and although not that scenic a very enjoyable race so I’ll be back next year as beating my new pb on any other course is probably going to be very difficult!
||Morpeth Harriers & AC
||Morpeth Harriers & AC
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