Sunday, 12 July 2009

Northumberland Coastal Run

Morning Campers Laughing

Have sufficiently recovered enough from yesterday to actually write a report...

Was up with the larks as per usual, but I had sorted all my kit out on the Saturday, so I had plenty of time to get up to the parking at the start. Met up with Mick the Makkem and Anne-Marie from the club and got the bus together up to Beadnell - I was thinking that we seemed to be on the bus for ages, so it was going to be pretty tough on the run itself.

After registering and walking round past the start to the car park we met up with a whole bunch of Fetchies, Stoxy and her friend from Kirkstall Harriers, Joy and a few other Sunderland Strollers, Lisa from Wallsend (who couldn't run due to an injury Frown), and Kelly from Heaotn (& hubby) - had a good natter and a cuppa - thanx Mick, before a short bimble down to the start.

It was basically like the Pier to Pier - just a long line drawn in the sand - I wasn't quite sure how the chipped timing was going to work as there were'nt any mats to run over, at least where we were standing - but figured they must be using a gun start and a chipped finish. I'd told Mick I wasn't going to race either, so I was going to try and stick with him - many, many thanks for that little piece of advice!

The horn went off and everyone started hurtling down the beach! I know if I hadn't of been trying to stick with Mick, I'd have been off like a whippet, but I kept my cool and ran along side him at a nice steady pace - this had another advantage of him giving me terrain advice as we were moving. We hit the first of the mini-rivers crossing the beach and I attempted to try and get through without getting my feet wet, but by the time we hit the third & fourth I thought 'sod it' and plodged through. I was keeping a good pace with Mick, and we weren't far behind Joy, catching up with her as we exited the beach.

It was like bouncing on clouds running on the trails and tarmac, so I didn't really notice the next couple of miles till we hit the next beach. My feet had just about dried out when we hit more water and I was so glad I'd worn my 950 mile trainers and not the brand new pair! There was a bit of a scramble up the rocks and a steep trail before it leveled out and we were running towards and then past Dunstanburgh Castle.

I've got to say the scenery was stunning - I've never done a race were you can forget about the running just to look around at your surroundings - superb stuff. Anyways, back to the race Wink I started to find it a bit tough going as it was getting a bit hot, but Mel (Bunny-Phobia) from Low Fell dropped in beside me, Mick moved up a few metres to chat to a guy from Claremont, and I settled in next to Mel. We had a bit of a natter as we were crossing the grassy leas heading towards Craster, it seems she had too much clothing on at the start, so I took the t-shirt she was carrying and tucked it into my belt, I wasn't going fast enough to notice the extra weight if I'm honest.

There was a bit of a dip down in Craster, and I was tempted to nip into the shop for kippers, but the local support was super and we pushed on. I saw Lisa who shouted me on too (thanks!). The next couple of miles were a bit of a blur, Mel pressed on and I tucked in behind Mick again - his Sunderland vest was easy to spot, I was now around 100m behind him (where I was to stay for the rest of the race) but was quite happy with my pace. We went down some kind of gully, across a bridge and up a steep bank on the other side, I'm glad to say I managed to pass a fair few folks on the bank, and I didn't stop to walk, even though my legs were complaining.

Back on the level at the top of the bank and the trail turned a bit gravelly, pretty rough underfoot, but I pressed on in the hopes of some improvement in the terrain. I could still see Mick up ahead, I was using him as a target - pretty difficult as the wind picked up, but we eventually made it back onto tarmac and my running improved again. I was just approaching the "about 2 miles left" sign when I heard someone shout my name - Wendy (Jovi-Runner) from the RW forums - had a brief one sentence convo, then headed down onto the beach.

The last two miles were like running on a treadmill - the wind was strong and in my face, and the ground seemed like it wasn't actually moving. To add to this it started to rain, so I had to just put my head down and try to concentrate on finishing. There was a guy up ahead who kept stopping and looking behind, I was thinking that if I had the inclination to stop I wouldn't get going again. By the fifth time he turned round it was starting to bug me - why couldn't the guy just concentrate on finishing the race. Thankfully I eventually caught him about 800m from the finish line. I heard a lady breathing right on my shoulder (I actually thought that Wendy had caught me) but it was a girl from Heaton I didn't recognise. I tried to kick off, but I'd left it a little late and she beat me across the line by a couple of seconds. It was silly of me to even try if I'm honest, but it's the greyhound and rabbit thing all over again Wink

Finishing position 311, 47th female in a time of 1:54:27

A lovely lady marshal cut the tag off my shoe and I hobbled round to meet up with Mel, Joy from the Strollers and a few other folks I recognised. Then a quick nip over to collect my shirt, before meeting up with Mick and Craig from my club. I was knackered, but happy - the race is stunning, and I guess it'd be even better if the wind dropped and the sun came out. I bimbled over to collect my kit from the baggage area with Mel, and we managed a bit of a warm down (and a natter with Running Beard from Fetch & Bill from Low Fell) back down the hill to the school.

My feet are bloomin' killing me today, I guess that's what I get for racing in my 950 miles, (well now 964 mile) trainers...time for them to retire me thinks.

Many thanks to all of the marshals for a fantastic job! and I hope to be there next year Laughing

Full list of results are now available on the Alnwick Harriers webbie

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