At three minutes to two I put down my unfinished cuppa, said seeyalater to Roberta and Hazel, and wandered outside the tea-tent to the start. I was still early. But it was for the best. I heard my name shouted and was delighted to see Angela and Sue (very unpurplery it has to be said) waiting on the Start Line. We’d all paid our two quid, and had our numbers allocated courtesy of the random race-number generator, so we stood in anticipation. Was the field comprised of 6? Or 2 thousand? Who could tell?
The Striders, all in purple, (did I mention, only one of us was running in the ‘away’ strip?), gathered at the back of the field. I tried shoving Angela forwards to the Start Line, but she shoved me back, and so we club runners waited patiently at the back comfortable in the knowledge that it might be a short race but short is often a lot longer than you expect. I’ve raced Roseberry Topping (and so has Alister) and I know with certainty that a 2 mile fell race can seem a lot longer and harder than a marathon. I knew I’d be back inside 20 minutes. It’d just seem like 20 hours.
Away we went and I ran with Angela and Sue to the first bridge and then we began to string out on the climb. I say climb; it seemed to be comprised entirely of steps, stiles, bridges, and cow pats. I settled down, concentrated, and got into a rhythm. I popped out through a gap in the wall into the lane and turned left (“it’s all downhill now”) and tried to stop wheezing. I was disappointed that the fast recovery descent didn’t end up at the finish line, but instead we were diverted hard left through the fields and lots of gaps-in-walls, more fields, walls, stiles, gaps, cowpats, then, we must be near the finish now, surely?
Nope. A long, endless, grinding climb up the lane by the showfield. Then a sharp-left into the show-ground and finally we’re home. A glance at my watch showed that I’d been ‘Out There’ for less than 20 minutes. It felt like an eternity! The race winner had got back inside 15 minutes (a course record?) and was cheering everyone else in. Once everyone was home I wandered off with Angela, Stephanie, Sue, Andy and Angela and we soon found a spider or two that Sue (“I’ve always wanted to hold a Tarantula”) could relax with.
This is a fantastically well organised event. Medics and Marshalls must surely outnumber runners and were full of encouragement around the course. I wandered back to the tea-tent. Roberta was still there, in animated conversation with Hazel. Were they even aware I’d been away? I’d been and gone and had a massive adventure and they were still gassing! And my tea wasn’t even cold yet.
|1||David Moir||Tyne Bridge Harriers||Men (35-44)||1||14:22|
|5||Emma Moir||Tyne Bridge Harriers||Ladies (35-44)||1||18:35|
|7||Dougie Nisbet||Men (45+)||2||19:21|
|15||Angela Proctor||Ladies (35-44)||3||24:41|
|16||Sue Jennings||Ladies (45+)||2||24:42|