Blue Runnings

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

North-East Harrier League – Tanfield

on 27 September 2015


I had my first taster of how Cross Country might possibly pan-out last Wednesday at the Bounders handicap night – 3 laps around the cricket and football fields and the race track – none of which I knew previously were there…running has done much for teaching me the local area! I’d turned up to that in completely the wrong shoes – forgetting until I got there that I was intending to wear my trail shoes, I had put on my trusty road shoes by mistake. The poor things are now a very different colour and slightly damp. I hope they will forgive me!

I was determined not to make this mistake on race day, and I had also figured by this point that my trail shoes were also probably not going to cut it if I wanted to still have them for trail running by the end of the season…so my trusty trash-em pinkies have found a new role in life – Glycerins for road, Cascadia’s for trail, pink canoes for cross country! I had to empty them of all the sand or mud I’d got into them last time I wore them…may have been Otterburn that was responsible for that one.

My plans to leave were scuppered by my sudden fretting about irrelevant things, and I was twitchy anyway as I’d discovered that morning that my Bounders vest was in the bottom of the washing basket and disgusting – so that was frantically washed and fortunately being a sports vest had dried on the airer by the time I needed to leave. P was kindly coming with me to wave and support (and drive me home afterwards!) and we did actually make it there in time for me to empty my trainers of the last run’s mess and find my team tent and my race number. It was bigger than we’d anticipated – 2 fields covered in cars, and 10 races being run with teams from all over the North-East. I ran with the ‘slow’ women’s wave, and there were 388 runners just in the race I did!

The race was two laps at Tanfield, and came in slightly more than the 5-5.5km I was anticipating at just over 3km a lap. Not a problem on a road race, but the terrain made this absolutely sapping. There were muddy stretches, fresh mown grass to plod through, a long water trough you couldn’t go round and was several paces across to go through – and deeper than everyone’s trainers, hills, hills and more hills! I thought I was getting used to hills running at Consett, but running on soft ground is really sapping! 1 lap really was enough – not wanting to let the club down and a touch of J-style blind stubborness were the only reasons I headed resolutely round for the second lap.

One of the other Bounder back-runners (fortunately they’re not all speed demons who leave me in the dust!) caught me up about a third of the way around the second lap, and this was a good distraction for both of us as we just yakked round to the finish and kept each other moving! Can’t walk past the club tent…can’t walk past the portaloos (too smelly!), can’t walk on the finish stretch! We did walk a few of the hills further back in the lap – the first time I’ve felt the need to on a run of this distance (or any really) for a long time! Several stretches of the run were through the woods – there was no breeze and it was really muggy – not my favourite weather for running at the best of times, even on hard ground!

I finished this feeling as tired as if I’d been out jogging for 10 miles! It was really really tough for a newbie – and looking at some of the comments, some of the oldies too. I think (hope!) that this was one of the tougher courses of the season and the next one’s a bit more beginner friendly! I’m pleased to have done it but I don’t think I’ll be bubbling with enthusiasm for the next one unless I suddenly start doing amazingly well on flat road/trail runs! I don’t think I’ll be signing up for any longer cross-country runs anytime soon, my legs just don’t have it in them at the moment. If I make it through the season, they will be steel though!



One response to “North-East Harrier League – Tanfield

  1. Massive well done Sarah! You’re braver/ crazier than me for tackling XC. That was a tough course x


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