Here's today's race report from the Sunderland Strollers Pier to Pier race....
As ever we were up at the crack of dawn with at least one of the two early birds i.e. our faithful guard hounds, one of which I found sprawled out in the bed, under the duvet...I mean how in hell did she get there without me noticing during the night. Meg is henceforth now known as 'Stealthpup' the invisible collie
I got my race kit together, had a double helping of Oats-so-simple for brekkie, walked the dogs then Hubby and I drove to Roker. I dropped off one van and he drove me to South Shields. Had a nice bimble through the marine park in what can only be described as the complete opposite to the bbc's forecast for this morning, so instead of vile winds and heavy rain we had blazing sunshine and a light breeze...hurricane? what hurricane?
Met a few fetchies, club-mates, and folks I know from other clubs before the start, the had a bit of a warm up and bimbled over to the beach. Didn't manage to spot Alan who I was supposed to be 'dragging around' but it was the biggest turn out they've had for the race so it's no wonder. I did manage to meet up with the girls from the club and Criag, Alan Wiers group, and the veteran guys, so all in all Jarrow & Hebburn had a pretty good turn out.
I had a canny race, tried to keep a few folks in my sights from the start, but the sand was so soft on the beach it sapped the strength from your legs. Eventually decided enough was enough and jogged across the really dry sand on to the prom next to the elevated walkway. Much easier going on the firm ground there before heading up onto the leas and into the wind.
It actually wasn't as windy as I thought it was going to be, and crossing the leas seemed to fly over. Met up with Phil (flip) from Elvet by Souter lighthouse, well he came striding past, so I tried to use him as some kind of marker. We played cat & mouse round the bottom of the army range, then he pulled away passing Whitburn School. I saw MTS, said 'hi' and had a chat to a lady from North Shields Poly club, and one of the guys from Low Fell that I know, which probably meant I wasn't working hard enough, but I felt ok so I pressed on a bit - too little too late to be honest.
We made our way straight onto the promenade round by the cottages in Seaburn, I can't remember seeing anyone take the beach option this year, but the tide was high, and there had been warnings about the Cat & Dog steps being slippy. Phil was still in my sights, so I made a final push to catch up with him just before we turned round to the cafe (where he almost ran into a gate). I told him to finish it off - he was having a great race, and I had though he might drag me through to the finish.
Back down onto the beach at Roker, but the last 150m were pure torture, it was another stretch of soft sand again, with bloomin' great big pebbles. I heard Shielsy & Mick the Mackem shouting, but I couldn't see them. Then through the finish in a super slow time (for me) of 55:57 (official time, my actual time was 30 secs quicker) - as opposed to last years time which was 50:44.
Picked up some sweeties, red bull and a canny jacket at the finish, had a chat to Phil and his lady, who said my shorts would be visible from space lol, spoke to Ivanhoe from Fetch (see I said you'd get a mention ;)) then a quick looksee to try and spot some more familiar faces again before heading back up the hill to pick up the van.
The one thing I haven't mentioned yet is how much I love this race. I may not have done a really swift time, but this race has everything in it - Sun, Sea, Sand and the Strollers who put on a super race. Many thanks to all the marshals for a great job...cheers guys!
The results are out here: http://www.sunderlandstrollers.co.uk/p2p2009.txt
Many grats to Craig who came 31st and to Paul Dixon from Elswick - 21st Well done you!