Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

North Tyneside Road Race – 10km – A Taste of Summer

on 5 April 2015


What a gloriously sunny day for a run! A positively tropical 12ºC and clear blue skies for Easter Sunday. It makes a massive contrast to the horrible snow and hail we were running in only last Tuesday – I can’t believe it was less than a week ago! I made it to the leisure centre at North Shields early enough to nab an on-site parking space and then loitered around there – without a jacket on, or tied around my waist in my usual ridiculous ways! I’d not even taken one with me, my hoody was in the car but that wasn’t even an option for running in. I had my buff on my head, but I’d been fine with that on muggy Saturday’s morning run. And the great thing? Even while standing around outside the sports centre for 40 minutes I wasn’t cold! Unheard of for the cold North on an April morning! I was running really lightly laden for me – only a tiny waist pouch with phone, dextrose tablets, keys and a small amount of cash – normally for a 10k I take the bigger bum-bag with the bottle pouch, but this time with there being a water station in the middle I didn’t bother with it – and of course made myself psychologically thirsty at the start line without it and had to visit the water fountain a few times!

The North Tyneside 10k is a road race from North Shields to St Mary’s Lighthouse and follows right along the coast, the views were fab, and with the exception of a bit of a pig of a hill by Tynemouth Priory, which I’ve only ever seen from further up the coast and never been to, the route was pretty much flat or downhill for the whole stretch. I still don’t think I can say I’ve been there – I know nothing about its history or anything, but as with Penshaw Monument, I have been ignorant from a much nearer distance! I’ve been to Whitley Bay before, but only to the Sea Life Centre or for a walk along the beach from about halfway between the aquarium and the lighthouse – and never in the direction of the lighthouse, so I’ve probably only covered maybe 2.5 miles of this stretch of coastline.

I started by just keeping a slow, steady pace – there were 1902 runners total so unless you ducked around to the pavements, it wasn’t a quick starter from where I started in the pack – I wasn’t complaining though, it was a good warm-up down the hill from the leisure centre down to the Fish Quay. From here where the route started to gently climb up to the Priory, the runners got a bit more spread out – I swear the front-runners must have been stretched out over a kilometre along the seafront! The steep hill at the Priory brought many runners in the area I was in to a walk pretty quickly, I managed halfway up before slowing down to a walk for the last 100 yards and breaking back into a jog again at the top. I’m getting very good at making the most of any downhill gifted to me. I finished the rest of the route without another break, and even managed a sprint finish! Or what felt like one by the time I got there anyway…flappy ankles and all – I’ll never get any points for grace in running…

I’d heard there was a nasty hill or two on the route from others that have done it before, so didn’t really know what to expect of the route – my pb on a flattish route is 1:07 so I was hoping to come in under 1:10 if possible, and would be over the moon with less than 1:05. I knew when the lighthouse was coming clearly into sight I had a good shot at it – 3km to go at 45mins down, so 1:10 was likely given that I’ve done 5km in around the half-hour mark, the crucial one would be how much would I tire on the last few km? Not enough to hold me back – I smashed my pb with a time of 1:02:05 – and ran the last 300 yards determined to keep the timer within 1:02:XX if it killed me, mentally laughing at myself at the thought of possibly having cranked the speed up too early and tripping over my own feet in an exhausted heap before reaching the finish line! I made it, still upright however! The torturous runs of the week are obviously doing something! AND, you know that summary I did of March’s progress with the pacing? I had a best pace of 06:30min/km in Feb and 06:50min/km for March? Smashed it already for April – 06:14min/km averaged over 6.1 miles. Chuffed! Hitting a sub-60 min 10k is looking very much in my grasp over the next month if I keep this up 🙂

tyneside results

I was also nowhere near as far towards the back as I was expecting – normally I’m in the last 10% so hitting the last 25% instead I’m pretty pleased with! I’d registered for this one before joining the Bounders, so I was running unaffiliated for this race, but there were several there flying the club colours with some impressive times.

Goody bags galore at the end – and they weren’t short of shirt size options! It’s not unusual for us back-runners to get in to find out that the shirt size we want has run out (especially if you’re a medium like me) and you end up with a shirt several sizes too big – even though you specify when signing up what size you want…anyway, not an issue here! Not sure if I wasn’t as much of a tail-gaiter as normal, or better stock but I’m happy anyway! The goody bag also included some running socks, again graded by size to match your t-shirt, and a running/cycling diary, both of which were a nice touch. Sadly in my case by the time I got home, a slightly soggy touch, as one of the water bottle sports tops had come slightly open in transit back to the car and got everything wet – fortunately most of it absorbed by the socks and the socks’ packaging so no real harm done! The other great thing about the finish? I went for a walk to cool off and I found a DONUT VAN! Fresh donuts inhaled at a shamefully indigestion-inducing rate. I only feel slightly guilty, I needed those! I did cool off quick, in a literal sense at least, when you’ve stopped running you sharp feel that sea-breeze! I was thinking whistfully of my neglected windproof jacket when I remembered I had collected a shirt! Sorted. That was enough to keep me comfortable while waiting to get back to the start.


They had shuttle buses to get everyone back to the leisure centre to pick cars up, a rather fragrant bus when it’s packed with people who’ve just been running several miles in the sunshine! Sadly by the time I’d gotten back in my own car I had to admit to myself that I was a shareholder in Sweaty Betty Inc.! I seem to have gotten away without sunburn but I’ll see if I get the faintest hint of a tan up by tomorrow! I will at least not be alabaster pale by the end of the year if I keep this up, and maybe by the end of the summer my knees might even see a ray of sunshine! I don’t think that’s happened in years… I also seem to have got away without injury, my left shin and right knee have been a little protesty since I did the Thirsk 10 a fortnight ago, but they were fine on this one, it’s my triceps that are feeling tight for some reason! Friday’s weights workout must have hit them! I’m blaming those push-ups…

I really enjoyed this one, it was well organised – the race numbers were posted out quite a way in advance, there were several marshalls stretched along the route so you were never far to the next one, the shuttle buses ran smoothly, starting was prompt, road closures kept to a minimum, there was a well-stocked water station around the halfway mark and at the end, and the ambience along the waterfront particularly along Whitley Bay with the spectators was great. Definitely one for next year’s running calendar!

5 star

tyneside 10k

GPX file available from Dropbox here:

North Tyneside 10k GPX File


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