The prep for the race was good, I felt pretty happy with my training before the start, but once I arrived in Newcastle I just couldn't get warm. The temperature was only 7 degrees, a little on the cool side to be standing around for 2 hours, but nevermind - the forecast was for it to warm up, so I just tried to keep moving and hope that I'd be warm enough by the time the gun went off. I had a chat to Alan from my running club (he looked bloody freezing), after meeting up with some forum folks.
I managed to get into my pen (Orange B) in plenty of time, despite a 40 minute wait in the loo queue (I'll be going back to the bushes again next year), and eventually met up with my clubmates Mick & Jimmy just before the race started.
The gun went off, and we went streaming along the motorway. This year for me the first time I'd gone on the right hand side of the carriageway. I'd deffo say if was a much quicker start - even by the time we started to go up the first incline there were some people walking and jogging on the left hand side (the carriageway that goes underneath). I'm not sure which is the better route though, as at least on the left hand side you get a little respite from the sunshine.
By the time we hit the Tyne Bridge the sun was really starting to heat things up. The forecast was for 17-18 degrees by noon, but it felt warmer than that even at eleven am. I had lost Mick & Jimmy by the beginning of the Felling bypass, where Speedy Goth (RW forums) came past and said her hellos.
I was desparate for water by Gateshead Stadium, not to drink, but to tip over my head. I didn't feel dehydrated, just close to melting. I got a bottle from Vicki from the Strollers, had a few sips and tried to cover myself with the rest. Things picked up a little after that, and I felt quite good up to Heworth where my family were waiting to cheer me on , then it was another long slog up to the Black Bull. I didn't have any of the Powerade on the course as the bottles were a bit on the large size, and I don't really like the taste, so I hung on down to the next water station at Whitemare Pool. At this point I was so hot I'd just decided to try and enjoy the race rather than go for a time, there seemed no point in trying to kill myself for a few minutes off my pb, so I just settled in for a bit of a bimble in the sunshine.
The firemen at York Avenue were a godsend - I could have stayed there all day in the spray, but I pressed on and Alan came striding past me, he tried to get me to press on further, but I was boiling hot, and just wanted to try and cool down a little. He cruised off up the hill, and I followed, seeing him head off into the distance.
The crowds through Jarrow and South Shields are fantastic. I had two quarters of orange, and an icepop from the wonderful folks on the John Reid road (much appreciated thankyou!), and the gel I'd taken at Whitemare Pool seemed to be kicking in, so I actually managed to put on a bit of an effort as we came up the the Bupa power zone. There were people there with big tubs of jelly babies!! Fantastic stuff. I was tucking into my second when Rachel came past. I actually felt good enough to stick with her all the way up the Nook, I think I was Jimmy (on the other side of the road) as we climbed, then she pressed on and I lost her, but could see Frankie from the club up ahead too.
Alistair from Knaresmere Harriers got me up to the Marsden Inn (spotted MTS - Hi mate!), he said he had credits riding on me on Fetch, but I was well outside pb times by then. I just wanted to try and catch Rachel again now. I saw her not far ahead so I pressed on, caught up with Alan again, and then the chase was on as we hit the seafront.
I've ran this last mile many time, in training when I lived in Shields, and for the Fetch Mile challenges, but I can honestly say that when I hit that last 800m, it was the longest 800m of my entire life. The road seemed to suck the life out of me, I gave up all hopes of catching Rachel, I just wanted to hang onto the sight of her and Frankie ahead of me and not let them get too far away. I was thinking at the Marsden Inn that if I could do the last mile in 7:30 I could at least equal last years time, I had managed the last mile in 7:03 last year, but there wasn't a hope in hell of it happening in the heat of the 2009 race.
The end finally came, thankfully as I don't think I could have ran another step. I felt like my face & shoulders were melting with the heat, and Alan crossed the line only seconds behind me, we hugged, and I've never felt so thankful for the end of a race.
My time 1:43:44
We actually only had a seconds difference on our watch times, which was a clear indicator that the up & over righthand carriageway makes no difference other than a speedier start. I will be returning to the left hand side for a few reasons next year, not least that it makes me run a little slower at the start, but I'm glad I gave it a go, just to see for myself.
Split times as follows:
5k: 22:1510k : 47:1415k: 1:12:52finish: 1:43:44
A good minute slower than last year, but acceptable in the heat. I'd love to do a half in the winter where I could really go for it without overheating.
A big thanks to all the folks who come out to cheer us runners on, to the water station peeps, folks marshalling, to the clean up crew who tidy up afterwards, and a specialy 'many thanks' to the gardening guys who were out at 9pm on Saturday night making Gateshead & South Tyneside look lovely for everyone on the Sunday morning!
Club stuff to follow
Jarrow & Hebburn runners finishing times
ANDREW CLARK - 01:29:11
Caitlin Lloyd - 01:30:51
IAN SALKELD - 01:31:23
michael joyce - 01:31:35
Roy White - 01:32:16
Rachel Lowther - 01:40:00
Robert Seaton - 01:40:22
FRANK DOCKERTY - 01:43:09
ALAN JOBLING - 01:43:40
Victoria Thompson - 01:43:44
stephen rodgers - 01:43:58
JAMES FORD - 01:47:29
barry pascoe - 01:51:47
MICHAEL JAMES SHERRIFF - 01:51:53
Michelle Hartley - 01:54:55
Anne-Marie Shiels - 01:55:23
JOSEPH PRUDHAM - 01:56:40
Maria Marshall - 02:07:36
GRAEME SLESSER - 02:15:16
ALAN SLESSER - 02:15:16
SUSAN BARNES - 02:16:16
Jeff Clark - 02:23:00
Rachel Andrews - 02:23:08
Alison Slowther - 02:24:14
margaret quinn - 02:24:34
simon simpson - 02:31:14
JAMES BARKER - 02:32:50
Emily Coyne - 02:36:05
THOMAS FRANCIS QUINN - 02:43:34
ELEANOR THOMPSON - 02:55:15
Emma Winter - 03:02:20