Blue Runnings

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

Washington Bottoms Up Cup 2016

on 5 June 2016


I was originally down to do the Durham Coastal Half Marathon today, and looking at the photos I am definitely going to be doing this next year as it looks right up my street. This year however I decided I was not fit enough right now to be trying to do a tough terrain half marathon (320 steps and no flat bits!) right now and entered myself in for the Bottoms Up Cup at Washington, which I did in its inaugural year last year and quite enjoyed. It’s a club-run organised by Washington RC, and was well attended this year, with I think 80-ish runners present.

It’s been cold in the mornings all week, and often foggy, so of course today while it started off cloudy it burned off before the race start to a ridiculously sunny day in much the same way it did for the Washington Trail 10k a few weeks ago. I was a little more prepared this morning having actually bothered to check the weather forecast before getting dressed, and determining very rapidly that shorts would be a sensible idea even if I needed a jumper in the morning before the race start.


I woke up rather earlier than I would have liked this morning dreaming of Dun Niffelem and ice giants (don’t ask) so had my tired head on when I set off with as many trainers in the car as J normally takes when she’s racing! I was wearing my Cascadia trail shoes, having removed all the bits of grit and sand which were stuck in the holes in the insoles and I found last time I wore them for a run with J last week after they gave me a blister from bits of rock rubbing against my feet! I hadn’t completely committed to wearing them so also threw in my other road-running shoes, and a pair of shoes for afterwards. As it happens, I did wear them and they were fine 🙂 Checking my insoles has become a regular part of my pre-run prep…particularly if I’m going more than 10k – I’m always checking for balls of cat hair, cotton buds (presents from said cat) and build-ups of grit and sand which you don’t notice when you first put them on but boy do they start to rub after a mile or two! I don’t normally actually have to check IN the insole though – these were embedded in the little drilled through holes.

I’ve run this one before, so had some inkling what to expect from it, but I was reminded several times on the way round that this is a Trail Outlaws designed route – and that means it’s not the easiest 5k on the planet. The Trail Outlaws don’t really do ‘flat and straight-forward’… It’s actually probably easier than Blackhill parkrun in terrain, but it didn’t feel it because at least with Blackhill you’re doing short loops – you know there’s a downhill coming up soon and while I’m not generally a fan of loopy runs and doing the same hills again and again, it does make the course seem shorter knowing the landmarks. With this one, it felt much longer – I’d remembered some stretches of it, but forgotten much of the second half – which meant I wasn’t as far round as I decided I should be when I got to some bits!

I was feeling a bit frustrated and tempted to start walking, particularly with the heat, after even just a mile, but I did that last year when I ran this and I was determined that even if my time wasn’t really going to be different I was going to run all of it this year! I dropped in behind 2 Elvet Striders who were setting a similar pace to me – if they didn’t walk, I wasn’t going to! I got chatting to them and that helped take my mind off the rest of the distance and the heat. They really helped get me round in one piece and one go! As it happens, they actually messaged the Blackhill Bounders website thanking a Sarah from the Bounders for getting them round the course – I think they helped me more than I helped them but I thought that was really sweet of them to get in touch like that 🙂 I love the running community 🙂

I still like this route and this course, and I like knowing I’m supporting a local running club too and not just funding a company that’s not connected with its runners, and for £5 you can’t really go wrong! It was well marked out (even the tree roots on the woody bit had been chalked!) and the marshalls were in good form and plentiful 🙂 If it doesn’t clash with the Durham Coastal next year (it’s their 5th anniversary so should be a good one!), I will be hoping to book in again 🙂 Maybe make it a few degrees cooler though please?!

I also need to have a look at doing a run at Penshaw sometime – I’ve done quite a few races around the area now – this one twice, the Washington Trail 10k twice, and the Resolution Run and you can see Penshaw Monument overlooking all of them, but I still haven’t actually been there… The Pieces of Eight 10k is there next Sunday organised by the Trail Outlaws, but with this one and the Newburn River Run booked in for June already, I haven’t signed up to it. Yet.

You can download the GPX data for this race from my Dropbox account by following the link below:

GPX data from Dropbox


One response to “Washington Bottoms Up Cup 2016

  1. […] (?)        Bottom’s Up Cup – 5k – Washington Running Club – Washington – £8(?) – 2015, 2016 […]


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