Friday, 12 October 2012

Training @BirtleyAC

I've been finding it increasingly difficult to get down to do my regular track session after work on a Thursday. As it starts at six, this means a rush back home, then just enough time to get changed and head back out again.  So after chatting to Lee at the minors xc last Saturday, and with Birtley AC training just at the top of my street, I thought I'd see if I could give it a go.

I messaged Ed & Val on Facebook, and they were more than happy to let me tag along.

It's only about a 2-3 minute jog up the hill and along to Lord Lawson School, which served as a little bit of a warm up.  There was some kind of school information evening going on, which meant the place was heaving with kids & parents, but someone managed to spot me looking like a bit of a lost soul, and pointed me in the right direction.

The younger members of the club stayed at the school to do some kind of training demo for the prospective kids & parents, while the junior members & seniors headed out for a road session.  I was kind of hoping it was going to be something relatively flat, since I'd done one of Evil-Coach-Darth-Jim's hill session on the Tuesday at Jarrow, but that hope was quashed with the info that we were doing hills, and that it was the road up to Wrekenton.  This prompted some major discussion on the jog over (for which read decent paced run) as to which road it might be as there as several.  It turns out that it was the longest, steepest road so there was some thoughts of 'Oh my God, I hope we don't have to run all the way up that' and *holds hand up* 'Taxi for Thompson' which were floating round my head.

I was surprised to see so many people waiting (at the lane which leads to the Angel View Pub), we were pretty strung out on the trip over, but they all re-grouped, and waited for Tom (the coach) to set the session.

It was timed efforts (something I've not really done before - normally number of reps or distance).  So 30sec / 45 sec / 60 sec effort up the hill, jog or walk back down recovery x 4.  This meant that the fast lads & lasses could get a decent workout, without leaving the slower folks way behind.  The session worked really well, and with there being so many people there (about 30 or so), it had a smashing atmosphere.  I probably could have worked a bit harder than I did, but I could still feel Tuesday's hills in my legs, so I just tried to take it steady, and not embarrass myself by dropping out before the finish.

Once were done, it was a steady bimble back down Durham Road, and up the the school.

Some stats:
Warm up - 3.15k, 16:15
Session - 2.09k (this is just the uphill efforts, though this would be more for the faster folks)
Warm down - 3.88k, 20:57 (inc my bimble back home)

Gotta say it was really well organised, and I'd definitely recommend it to both established runners, and beginners alike - very friendly.

Many thanks to Birtley AC for having me along!

Check out Birtley AC here on the web on Facebook, and twitter: @BirtleyAC

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Cross Country & Poetry

It's that wonderful time of year again, when of all of the rain, wind, hail and snow we've had throughout the summer can be enjoyed in all of their glory in the wonder that is the Cross Country season.  As a wee bit of a XC taster I reworked (butchered) a christmas favourite to give you this poetic masterpiece:

Twas the night before XC-mas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The spikes were hung in the spike bag with care,
In hopes that rain and the mud would soon be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of races ran round in their heads.
And lasses in shorts, and lads in club vests,
Stocked up on Tiger Balm, Vaseline and Elastoplasts .

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed, stubbed my toe on a trainer.
Away to the window I ran like Mo Farah,
Tore open the curtains t’see what was the marra’.

The moon on the glimmer of the newly made mud
The rain was hoying it down, as hard as it could.
When, what to my wondering eyes appears,
But a bunch of officials, marshals & timekeepers.

With a smile and a wave they all looked up,
I knew in a moment it must be the Sherman Cup.
More races they said, "we’ve the Davison Shield too",
"Get ya spikes on, it’s race time, we’re talking to you!"

"Now Strollers! now, Striders! now, Birtley and Alnwick!
On, Tynebridge! On, Tynedale! on Jarrow and Elswick!
To the bottom of the dell! to the top of the hill!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

I'm the ladies secretary for the North East Harrier league.  This involves a lot of emailing back & forward to clubs, sorting out race numbers for seniors, vets and juniors, vast Excel spreadsheets, me cursing at the computer, various people, and a fair bit of hair pulling.  I was still sorting out race numbers & team sheets the night before the big day when all the wee xc runners were tucked up in bed, but not quite as late as the men's secretary Simon who apparently had a 3am finish :s  So all you folks out there who do any kind of race - please spare a thought for the officials, timekeepers, marshals and race-results fairies who make the day possible!

Back on with the running:
Being that I was injured for pretty much the whole of last year's cross country season, I hadn't had my spikes or fell shoes out of the bag since this time in 2011.  They were of course still in the state I left them in after the Davison Shield last year, so after a quick dusting off (for which read bashing against the garage wall 'till the caked on mud cracked enough to pry it off) I was set to go.
The Jarrow & Hebburn team have somehow managed to triple in size from last year, but the senior lasses have an important race next weekend, so it was down to us veteran ladies to fly the yellow & blue colours.  So Elaine, Anne-Marie and I lined up at the start on the Temple Park course in South Shields, bedecked in our team vests, and I have to say Anne-Marie's trail shoes where a damn sight less manky than my fell shoes.
Elaine - 6th overall

me & Anne-Marie (many thanks to George Routledge for piccies
It was windy as hell, but the skies were blue.  There was a fair bit of mud in parts, after all the rain we had earlier in the week, but it was otherwise very passable.  After slogging it round the two lap course, me and Anne-Marie finished in a pretty respectable 61st & 63rd place, but Elaine managed a fantastic 6th!
This meant we finished 5th vets team out of 12 - pretty bloomin' good.
I'm hoping that I'll be able to complete all but one of this years races (I can't normally do the Prudhoe fixture because the results for the teams need to be worked out on the day), and after feeling okay all the way round yesterday it's looking pretty good.  
An enjoyable run, lugging myself up & down hills, who'da thought it.  Well done to everyone who turned out :D
Happy running folks!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Golfy update

I started playing golf at Tyneside Golf Club with a scheme they were running for ladies who had never played golf before called the "Tee-Timers".  The first session was carnage on the practice field, with 24 of us lined up, and balls flying everywhere, and not going anywhere at all.  After several months of lessons with Gary the pro, and the wonderful Lillian and Anne from the ladies section, they finally let us loose on the course (a terrifying day for the rest of the membership no doubt).

Of the initial Tee-timers around 16 joined up, so it was a great success, and this has been my first full season playing with a handicap. 

Andy, my hubby, who has played golf since before he served with Nelson in the Navy, is keen as mustard.  So he entered us into all manner of mixed competitions this year.  This could have been grounds for divorce with some couples, but fortunately he also has the patience of a saint when it comes to my 'lively' putting style, so we haven't come to blows as yet.

Yesterday saw us off on our travels after work again, this time up to Garesfield Golf Club, near Chopwell Woods.

View from the clubhouse
The weather really didn't know what it wanted to do, it was blazing sunshine on the 1st, and after a soaking in heavy rain on the 7th,  and an initially poor start we managed to recover to 17 points on the front nine.  The rain stopped on the 9th, but the wind picked up, the temperature dropped, and by the 10th it was bloody freezing.  We really did have four seasons in one day.

14th tee, facing the green
The views were stunning on the course, and you are so high up you can see the sea at South Shields!  I could probably just have walked around the course with my camera to take some great pics.

14th tee, looking back across the 13th toward Chopwell
It was getting late, and we were playing into a low sun on the 17th & 18th which was really difficult for judging were the ball was going, but we (mostly Andy) rallied round on the back nine, finishing with 39 points. I did myself proud though in my first mixed comp playing with my new 30 handicap, and the score was a team effort.

I was so cold I couldn't feel my fingers at the finish though - crazy after such a warm start to the round.  So the trip back home had the heaters in the van on gas mark 9 ;)

Back home to a lovely Birtley sunset
That's it for my season of mixed golf, the last competition 'till next year.  I've got two more ladies competitions, and then it's full on into the cross country season (with the first harrier league meeting in 10 days time)

Happy running / diving / /golfing folks!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Fantastic weekend of sport

It really doesn't get much better than this.

After the buzz of watching the elites competing at the Olympics & Paralympics it was my turn to get stuck into some sport over the weekend.  I was hoping for a decent time at the Great North 5k, but sadly the hills and wind put pay to it.  Nevermind.

After an initial promising start, the route took us along the south side of the river, which unlike the Newcastle side (totally flat), is more what hardened cross country folks like to call 'undualting' - though to anyone with half a brain would say a wee bit hilly.  It had more ups and downs than an Indiana Jones film.

I tried to stick it out with the fasters lasses, but my legs said 'sod off, you loon' and I just about pushed myself on with willpower alone to finish in a not-too-shabby (but ultimately poor) finishing time of 22:56

However, all was not lost with a super finishing position of 5th Lady! and 2nd over 40 which made the whole thing worth it.

A big well done to the ladies who finished ahead of me, and to Janette (first L60), Fred (second v70), John Iley, Tim (second v40), Steve (fourth v35) and Jason (fourth v40), who all ran too!

I met up with rkid, Pete, and Pixie for the Citygames on the quayside later on, which were great!  Good to see so many people out supporting the really fast lads & lasses.

Sunday, well, this is Great North Run day traditionally, and I must say I was really jealous of everyone I saw waiting for buses, and travelling to the start while I was heading west to play golf at my home club Tyneside.  I've had a great season of mixed golf, winning a few comps with Andy, and a win with one of his golfing buddies, Tony, last week (while Andy and the boys from Bristol came third in their comp at Alnmouth), but I've not had a great deal of success in our ladies medal competitions.

Well, today was a bit different.  I thought I'd rather be running the North Run when I finished the 1st with an 8, but the Red Arrows came flying past the course, on their way to do the traditional Tyne Bridge formation, and we saw the red white and blue trails, and I thought it was kind of inspiring.  So, I just got on with the rest of the round, trying not to drop too many shots on the rest of the round.

And...after months of trying..I managed to break 100, finishing with a net 65 whoohoo!

So here it is in black & white :D

Not bad since this is my first season playing with a handicap.

Actually...I'm over the moon

So...finished 5th lady, 2nd L40, broke 100, and won the comp.  I'd say that's a pretty bloody good weekend :)

Well done to the hundreds of friends who ran in the Great North Run today, especially to Pixie as it was his first, and he got the time he was hoping for, and to Peter from my running club group who knocked 5 minutes!!! off his pb to finish in 1:29:14, and Anne-Marie with her shiny new pb of 1:46:22

Well done to you all :D

Friday, 14 September 2012

5k delight

It's been 5k season for me over the last couple of months, a few 5k races, and the parkruns have seen me get some pretty decent times, but nothing close to my personal best.  So, sub 22 is the main goal for today's 5k effort at the Great North 5k, on the Newcastle & Gateshead quaysides.

I'm not sure that having my 'Sunday' name on it will help me run any quicker, but I'm quite looking forward to the fact that it's got chip timing, and that the course looks pretty fast, despite a couple of ups & downs.

According to the powerof10 I'm not doing too badly in the UK rankings for vet 40, but I'd like to just dip under the 22 minute mark for my own sanity, and the fact that I know I can do it, and haven't yet this year is a bit annoying.

 I've ran 22 5ks/5000m this year, so hopefully by the end of the year I should have cracked it!

Event Time Position L40
5KMT 22:15 31 1 Riverside parkrun 5K Event 3 28-Jul-12
5KMT 22:15 24   Riverside parkrun 5K Event 5 11-Aug-12
5K 22:21 183 3 Sunderland 5K 18-Jul-12
5KMT 22:30 25 1 Riverside parkrun 5K Event 8 01-Sep-12
5000 22:48.3 7   North East Veterans' Pentathlon Championships (inc NECAA Pentathlon) 08-Sep-12
5KMT 22:59 66   Riverside parkrun 5K Event 1 14-Jul-12
5KMT 23:02 66 4 Watergate 5K (Inc NE Veterans' Champs) 30-Aug-12
5K 23:03 125 2 Wallsend Harriers Terry O'Gara Memorial 5K 22-Apr-12
5KNAD 23:23 134   Newcastle parkrun 5K Event 107 04-Feb-12
5KNAD 23:23 30 1 Gateshead parkrun 5K Event 10 28-Apr-12
5KMT 23:24 29 1 Riverside parkrun 5K Event 6 18-Aug-12
5KNAD 23:28 16 1 Gateshead parkrun 5K Event 3 03-Mar-12
5KMT 23:29 70   Whitley Bay parkrun 5K Event 1 16-Jun-12
5KNAD 23:30 21 1 Gateshead parkrun 5K Event 20 07-Jul-12
5KNAD 23:55 129   Newcastle parkrun 5K Event 103 07-Jan-12
5KNAD 23:58 17 1 Gateshead parkrun 5K Event 14 26-May-12
5KNAD 24:01:00 16 1 Gateshead parkrun 5K Event 16 09-Jun-12
5KNAD 24:14:00 26 1 Gateshead parkrun 5K Event 4 10-Mar-12
5KNAD 24:39:00 19   Gateshead parkrun 5K Event 7 31-Mar-12
5KMT 25:03:00 76   Sedgefield parkrun 5K Event 1 17-Mar-12
5KNAD 27:51:00 54   Gateshead parkrun 5K Event 1 18-Feb-12

I know I didn't manage to get under 22 mins last year either, but I was injured for a good portion of it, so hopefully it'll happen today, with a favourable tailwind in the last mile please!

Best of luck to everyone running, and of course to everyone doing the North Run tomorrow :D 

Sunday, 29 July 2012

One of those weeks

Must have been having one of those weeks where nothing is easy, the runs seem that bit more difficult, and you have to put that little bit more effort in to try and just treadwater.

I had an awful session on the slagheaps (Bedewell Park) on Tuesday.  It was boiling hot, and the flies were out in force.  I must have ate at least a dozen on the first rep.  The session was 4 x 1400m, but after the first two I felt like a boil-in-the-bag rice, so I skipped the third and then did the fourth.

Rep 1 - 1.4k, 5:37 (6:27 pace)
Rep 2 - 1.4k, 5:38 (6:29 pace)
Rep 3 - 1.4k, 6:06 (7:01 pace)

I was practically jogging on the last lap round, so it's no wonder it was way slower than the first two.

On Wednesday I was going to do Elswick Cup, but I'd felt so crap on the Tuesday I thought it was a waste of effort - haven't felt like that for ages about a race, so it's probably for the best that I sat with my feet up instead.

Thursday - In the absence of Evil Coach Darth Jim, we were left to our own devices, and opted for a 3k time trial.  I finished in around 13:40 (didn't have my watch on), not too unhappy with that, but afterwards I went for one of Frankie's mega warm-downs, which was a big mistake, as his "trip round the block" turned into a two and a bit mile route march round Primrose and the Don (with more swarms of flies), at pretty much the same pace as I'd done the time trial in :S

Saturday - I was hoping to get to a parkrun after work, but cut things very tight, so Andy very kindly offered to drive me straight from work to Chester le Street, to do the Riverside parkrun.  We got there with minutes to spare, so I had no time to do a warm up.  As per usual I'd decided not to wear my watch, and just run how I felt, which for this run was to try and hold on to Kim Mathews from Elswick for as long as possible.  I managed the first lap, before she came steaming past, but I never let her out of my sight, and did my best to keep the distance between us as short as possible.

The low point of the run was a guy pushing a buggy, running past me by the river.  I didn't have enough speed in my legs to keep with his pace.  My only thought was that he must be bloody good when he's not pushing a kid round.

I could hear quite a few people shouting for someone called Ruth behind me, and she managed to catch up as the start of the last lap, but I pressed on, and aimed to keep ahead for as long as possible.  I held her off right through to the finish.  The support on the way round is great - many thanks to everyone who cheered me on!

Didn't realise it till the results came up later, that I had a new seasons best of 22:15 (my second fastest parkrun ever - after a 22:14 on the Moor last July).  Over the moon, as I didn't really feel that great while I was running.  Things are looking good for sub 22 this year.

Well done to the Birtley girls on a splendid 1 2 3 4 5 finish, and to Kim, who managed 21:59 - if only I'd managed to hang on!  Also a big well done to Mick on a new parkrun pb, and to Michelle on finishing her first ever parkrun!

Full results here: Riverside parkrun

I must apologise to Andy for making him hang around for 15 mins in the carpark while I chatted at the finish, especially since he had to get off to play golf,  though I did pay him off with a chocolate biscuit on the course later on ;)

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Jarrow & Hebburn AC Round Up

A fortnight's worth of races for Team Jarrow.  Added Mick's wife Michelle in as it was her first ever parkrun - well done!

Week 23-28 July

Riverside Parkrun, Chester le Street

23 Mick JOYCE 20:19 VM55-59 76.95%
31 Vicki THOMPSON 22:15 VW40-44 68.76%
68 Michelle JOYCE* 30:40:00 VW50-54 54.67%

Newcastle Parkrun

22 Andrew THORNTON 20:26 SM20-24 63.13%

Sunderland Parkrun

75 Malcolm LEECE 28:41:00 SM35-39 46.89%

Week 16 - 22 July



1 Aiden TURNBULL 12.1  

3 Cath CLINTON 12:04 L50
13 Mick JOYCE 11:33 M55

1 Cath CLINTON 50.7 L50
1 Aiden TURNBULL 41.4  

1 Hazelle WEBSTER-COSTELLA 68.0  
4 Vicki THOMPSON 79.8 L40

Sunderland 5k

10 Andy BURN 15.57  
50 Angela HIBBS 17:44  
54 Alex SNOOK 17:54  
103 Elaine LESLIE 19:00 F40
122 Malcolm LEECE 19:43  
131 Mick JOYCE 20:09 M55
170 Andrew HUDSON 21:47  
183 Vicki THOMPSON 22:21 F40
195 David Mills 23:12 M50

Newcastle Parkrun

13 Peter FOGGO 19:25 VM40-44 70.82%
30 Andrew THORNTON 20:42 SM20-24 62.32%

Gateshead Parkrun

32 Joe PRUDHAM 25:24:00 VM75-79 75.92%

Great North 10k

99 Daniel SANDBACH 00:40:39

117 Craig DEACON 00:43:06

292 Malcolm LEECE 00:40:18

348 Graeme THOMPSON 00:43:53

Monday, 23 July 2012

fast and furious

Had a great week for running.

After the success of running at Riverside parkrun I was all geared up for Sunderland 5k on the Wednesday, hoping that everything would come together and I'd get round without being manhanded into a bush this year. 

The plan was a pretty simple one, run as fast as possible down the first big hill, in the stampede, and then hang on till I ran out of steam.

Basically, take off like a whippet, ignore all the pacing advice and run like a loon.

It kind of worked ok too.

I got myself pretty close to the action at the front, maybe 20ft into the throng of runners (wondering if there's a collective noun there somewhere...maybe a gaggle of runners, or something similar), and waited for the whistle.  I couldn't hear a damn thing of the pre-race talk up - seriously thinking of getting a loud hailer for the Harrier League to use, but the gist of it is that it's a tight course, and if you're not careful some overgrown lout in a sweaty vest, and dirty trainers will push you off the path with both hands into a hawthorn bush.. Not that I'm bitter about the last time it happened...much ;)


The whistle went, and I took off like Usain Bolt being chased by a T-Rex on crack.  It's all downhill for at least 600m, so I took full advantage of the decent, thought I was a champion fell running nutter, and leapt forwards into action.  I reckon I must have shrunk at least an inch from the impact on each foot.  For at least the first 400m I was ahead of my team mate Mick 'the Machine' Joyce, so I'm guessing I went off a wee bit quickly. 

Reality hit home pretty quickly on the first bend across the little bridge, where my speed went from Lamborghini to Lada, but I dug in, and set about getting on with the race in earnest.  my plan (after the initial craziness), was to stick with and try to get past people in chunks of distance - so cruise for a bit, then work for a bit (we're all technical here eh).  It kind of worked, and I made great gains on the up hills and downhills, and 'floated' on the flat bits.  I managed to catch a fair few folks, and made few losses.  I even caught Marie from Morpeth (though later found out she had a cold and wasn't too well). 

The main thing was that I worked as hard as I could, did my best and managed a seasons best, by 40 seconds to finish in 22:20. 

Over the moon with that one :)

On the Thursday (in what was supposed to be easy - lol) we did a track session 8 x 300m parlaufs, 71, 70, 69, 68, 65, 61, 69, 70. Went a bit mad in the middle where I was racing against Jimmy, but was otherwise okay.

Friday was a warm up for the golfing weekend - played a great friendly with Andy and two of his golfing buddies, and prolly played the best I've ever have.  I was hoping this might gear me up for the weekend, playing Carlisle Mixed Open on Saturday, then Dunstanburgh Mixed Open on Sunday.

I absolutely loved Carlisle GC.  The course was really nice, conditions were pretty good, and the clubhouse was really nice.  I didn't really get going, but Andy played well enough for the two of us!

Dunstanburgh...sweet Jesus, the wind - it was like playing in a wind test tunnel.  I really felt for the folks running the Northumberland Coastal Run on Sunday, cause the wind was hideous.  The rough was hideous, it was up to my knees in places, and I'm no midget.  And... the bunkers were pretty hideous too, not in a Royal Lytham way, but I couldn't see out when I was standing in one.

I will never complain about the bunkers at Tyneside again!

Still, after a little coaching from Yoda Thompson, I managed to play out of the one above (with the ball pretty close to the face) first time!

Not sure I'll ever like links golf though, give me some lovely parkland, big trees and water any day of the week.

So that's me worn out...all golf and running.. I'm creaking now.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Jarrow & Hebburn AC - recent race round up

Just for the Team Jarrow folks, here's a (2) weekly round up of finishing positions.  If you're missing off my list (and run for Jarrow & Hebburn obv.) let me know and tag you on my results.

This Week

Chester-le-Street, Riverside parkrun

Position Name Time Age Grade Club Age Cat
36 Mick JOYCE 20:56 74.68% Jarrow and Hebburn AC M55
41 Malcolm LEECE 21:13 63.39% Jarrow and Hebburn AC M35
66 Vicki THOMPSON 22:59 66.57% Jarrow and Hebburn AC F40
83 David MILLS 23:55 61.67% Jarrow and Hebburn AC M50

Newcastle, Townmoor parkrun

Position Name Time Age Grade Club Age Cat
25 Peter FOGGO 18:55 72.69% Jarrow and Hebburn AC M40
64 Andrew THORNTON 20:43 62.27% Jarrow and Hebburn AC SNR

Gateshead, Saltwell parkrun

Position Name Time Age Grade Club Age Cat
40 Joe PRUDHAM 24:59 75.85% Jarrow and Hebburn AC M70

Bridges of the Tyne 5 Mile

Position Name Time Age Grade Club Age Cat
37 Graham Yare 30:55 69.81 Jarrow & Hebburn AC  SNR
175 Vicki Thompson 38:48 62.37 Jarrow & Hebburn AC  F40

Last Week

Tynedale 10k

Position Name Time Age Grade Club Age Cat
55 Graham Yare 39:03 68.76 Jarrow & Hebburn AC  SNR
89 Elaine Leslie 40:38 74.65 Jarrow & Hebburn AC  F40
233 Andrew Hudson 47:11   Jarrow & Hebburn AC  SNR

Gateshead, Saltwell parkrun

Position Name Time Age Grade Club Age Cat
36 Mick JOYCE 20:51 74.98% Jarrow and Hebburn AC M55
21 Vicki THOMPSON 23:30 65.11% Jarrow and Hebburn AC F40

Newcastle, Townmoor parkrun

Position Name Time Age Grade Club Age Cat
25 Peter FOGGO 18:55 72.69% Jarrow and Hebburn AC M40
64 Andrew THORNTON 20:43 62.27% Jarrow and Hebburn AC SNR

Joe Prudham - Saltwell parkrun
Andrew Thornton (bright orange shirt) Newcastle parkrun

Tynebridge 5m, Riverside Parkrun, North East Harrier league information

It's all go in the whippet household at the moment, but the Great British weather is killing off some of our planned sporting activities, which is really frustrating.  I was supposed to be playing for the Tyneside ladies B team on Wednesday, but that was cancelled (cause it was hoying it down), and then Mr T. and I were to be playing in the Woodham GC Mixed open today (Saturday) but that's been cancelled too...Booo!

The jet stream needs to sod off back to above Iceland, so we can have at least one month of sunshine, and make the most of a wee bit of summer.

Still, despite the naff weather, it doesn't stop me getting out and running (thankfully for my own sanity), so I've managed to cram in a few more races!

by Flip Owen
Tuesday was the first ever running of the Bridges of the Tyne 5mile - a lovely course taking in the Newcastle Quayside from the law courts, up river to the Newcastle Business park, and then back down, past the Millennium bridge, through to the finish, not far from the Tyne pub.  It was totally flat, aside from a wee rise at two and a half miles, and so would be the fastest 5 miler in the region.  I'd have ran much better if I hadn't have eaten my dinner (lunch for southerners) too late, and felt sick the whole way round.  Aside from the feeling like I was going to hurl bit, I really enjoyed the race, and finished in a not too shabby time of 38:48.  Seeing as I did 38:15 earlier in the year, on the much windier Hartlepool course, I reckon the TBH race will be a damn sight quicker when I do it next year.

Love the piccie Flip managed to get with the Tyne Bridges & Olympic rings in the background - cheers matey :)

Results can be found on the TBH website

Today I've been out for my seventh inaugural parkrun, at Chester-le-Street riverside park.

It's totally flat, very scenic, and thankfully the rain held off, so we didn't all get wet. It's got to be one of the fastest courses in the North East now, apart from a 150m or so on the grass, it's all paths, and judging from the speedy Yared Hagos of Wallsend, good for the quicker and slower runners.  Yared must have been 800m ahead of me at the 800m mark!

We were sharing the park iwith swans, ducks, loads of dogs, other walkers, kids, cyclists etc, bu there was plenty of room for everyone to get around, and with a cafe and toilet facilities, it's like the park was designed specifically for parkrunners!

Great to see Mick 'the machine' Joyce, Malcolm Leece and Davy Mills there to represent Team Jarrow!

Position Name Time Age Grade Club Total Runs Age Position
36 Mick JOYCE 20:56 74.68% Jarrow and Hebburn AC 21 1st V55
41 Malcolm LEECE 21:13 63.39% Jarrow and Hebburn AC 24 5th M35
66 Vicki THOMPSON 22:59 66.57% Jarrow and Hebburn AC 35 2nd VW40
83 David MILLS 23:55 61.67% Jarrow and Hebburn AC 24 5th V50

I'm over the moon with my time - said I was taking it easy, then clocked my fastest time this year!

Full set of results are available on the Riverside parkrun website

Next week is equally as busy - with the final Vet's Track & Field meeting on the Monday: 100m, 3000m, 300m, and and open 400m race.  (I may give the 400m a bash), then the fastest 5k on the calendar at Silksworth, Sunderland on Wednesday.

Harrier League News

Last Monday was the Start Fitness North East Harrier League AGM, at the Angel View Pub in Low Fell.  As I'm the ladies secretary I was in attendance, and here's the pertinent info for the coming season:

League dates for your diary:
Sat 29th Sept - Sherman Cup/Davison Shield, Temple Park (South Shields/Sunderland Strollers)*
Sat 27th Oct - Blyth, East Cramlington Nature Reserve
Sat 17th Nov - Blaydon, Shibdon Pond
Sat 15th Dec - Jarrow & Hebburn, Bedewell Park (Monkton) **
Sat 9th Feb 2013 - Saltwell, Wrekenton
Sat 2nd Mar 2013 - Alnwick, Alnwick Gardens
Sat 23rd Mar 2013 - Tynedale, Prudhoe

Other cross country dates:
Sat 6th Oct - Minors XC - Jarrow
Sat 8th Dec - North Eastern XC Championships - Hartlepool

Sat 26th Jan 2013 - Northern XC Championships - Liverpool
Sat 23rd Feb 2013 - National XC
Championships - Herrington Country Park
Sat 16th Mar 2013 - British Masters XC Championships - Herrington Country Park

*Sherman Cup / Davison Shield (date TBC)
For the first time we will have a vets race (ran at the same time as the seniors) for Men aged 40 and above, and ladies over 35. Three vets to count per team. So clubs may enter both vets & seniors teams. (So basically register and run as per normal, but state beforehand if you want to run as a vet or senior)  Athletes will be given finishing positions based on how they finished vs either seniors or vets.  Vets teams will count towards both the Sherman Cup and Davison Shield.

**Bedewell Park is a provisional location for the Jarrow & Hebburn fixture, It may be Temple Park, but we'll let you know asap.

There will be under 11's races at all of the fixtures (inc. Sherman Cup), except for Saltwell (Wrekenton) - so that's 6 of the 7 fixtures :D

We are hoping to run to the normal timetable of events which is as follows:
12.15 Combined Boys & Girls under 11
12.30 Boys under 13
12.35 Girls under 13
12.50 Boys under 15
12.55 Girls under 15
13.15 Senior Men
14.00 Junior men under 17
14:25 Under 17/20 Women & Senior/Veteran Women*

*The times for the U17&20 women race may change to just after the U17 men, we'll keep you informed

New for the 2012-13 Season

The U17 & 20 Women's Race will be limited to around 5k.

Athletes U15 category and above, wearing the wrong number will be automatically disqualified. If you turn up at a fixture and don't know what your number is, ask your team captain, or come to registration.

Following on from this - Replacement numbers are going up to 50p. We ran out of blank numbers last year because so many people lost or forgot their numbers. It's the athlete's responsibility to keep the number for the whole season (7 fixtures including the Sherman Cup).

Photocopied results are now going up to 20p per copy, in line with increasing costs.

Costs of entry are remaining the same:
£50 for the mens and junior boys club team entry (no individual fees)
£50 for the ladies and junior girls
club team entry (no individual fees)
£4 per fixture for guests (must be registered with a UKA / SA / EA or international affiliated club - no unattached - sorry)

Cheques for club entries must be received by October at the latest

We'll be sending out lists of last year's NEHL registered athletes to each club, to amend, add to and then send back.  We're hoping to do the majority of this years paperwork electronically, so please let us know who to email if we don't have the correct club secretary on our list already.

Our sponsor Start Fitness would like to extend their league support again this year, and as an added incentive for you folks to get out and run xc (like people need an excuse ;)) they would like to offer a FREE harrier league polo shirt to everyone who participates  in five Harrier League fixtures, compete in the Sherman Cup/Davidson Shield and compete in the North Eastern XC Championships.

Thanks very much for continuing to support the North East Cross Country scene, and I look forward to the season getting underway at the end of September.

This brings me to what is a pretty sad day for the North East too - after 42 years of hosting a Harrier League fixture, Sunderland Harriers now feel that the Farrindon course is too tight to accommodate the vast numbers of folks wishing to take part.  In some ways this is a testament to the success of cross country running in the North East, but a great loss too.  I for one will miss the mad mud slide off the first hill, the twists and turns before the stream, and the 'geet yarkin big' hill in the middle.

I would just like to say a massive thank you to Kevin Carr and all at Sunderland Harriers for hosting a fixture every year since 1970 (the year before I was born!), and would like to pass on the appreciation of everyone who has finished that course covered in mud.

The true spirit of cross country!

Kevin had this to say:
Thanks Vicky for your kind words on the ending of the Sunderland Harriers Farringdon Harrier League. It is nice to see that the difficult decision to bring the event to an end after so many years has not gone unnoticed by yourself and the league. I can remember our first league race in the Barnes Park Extension in Ettrick Grove in 1970 when my father, a joiner, used to make the stakes and I myself, on my own, marked out the course. It was in 1978 that we decided to move to Farringdon and we continued there untill 2011!

If you do want to give the course a go this year, Sunderland Harriers are hosting their open XC relays on the 8th of September.