Yes, it's that time of year again when the folks of the North East trip down to the seaside and romp around the leas. I'm talking about the South Shields Harriers - Sanddancer 10k (so named because the folks of Shields are called 'Sanddancers')
The race is a favourite of mine, I absolutely love running at the coast, there's something about running in the sea air which makes you feel alive, and the course of the race takes in the leas which is where the Great North Run finishes (and the Pier to Pier starts), a lovely strip of National Trust land running a few miles from Shields up to Marsden.
The weather was glorious again this year, like a summers day, a little cold at the start, but otherwise perfect. I did my warm up with Micheal Bunn (from J&H), and then set off for my 5th loo trip :s It seems that despite having run more than a hundred races I still get the pre race jitters :(
We set off from the pub (also called the Sanddancer) and headed along the promenade and up onto the leas. There's only one real incline and that's in the first mile, then there's a few uppy-downy bits, but nothing too horrendous. We had to make a wee bit of a diversion to avoid the cliff collapse at Frenchman's Bay, but I'd rather go long, than headlong off a cliff ;)
It was a southerly wind, meaning the wind was in our faces on the outward part of each lap (on the cliff-side path), then behind us as we headed down the grassy path along the middle of the leas. Once we were out of the wind I started to really roast and was glad I'd opted for shorts & vest.
All in all I had a pretty steady race, I knew I was ahead of the two Heaton ladies I'm normally chasing, and just behind one of the Blyth ladies I'm normally miles behind. So I was pretty happy position wise. I'd tagged onto a guy who was doing roughly the same pace as me, and we tag-teamed it round the last two miles, with him pulling ahead as we rounded the quarry and the final decline back down to the promenade. I couldn't catch him even once we rounded into the stadium, so I just did my best not to get caught in the last few hundred metres.
I'm over the moon with my time - still nowhere close to my pb, but still 45:25 - my quickest 10k since 2008 :D
I also managed a bronze medal in the VAANEE 10kMT championships (L35), so a good day all round :)Will post a link to results when they're available