Blue Runnings

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

Sunderland 10k – 2018

on 13 May 2018

It was very much a Girls On Tour trip this morning – four of us on our merry way to Sunderland; two for the 10k and two for the half marathon (after J3 had remembered to retrieve our 10k numbers from her car before we left). Many odd things were discussed on the way there, the direction of conversation seemingly funneled by how much B needed to use the little girl’s room…

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The weather was forecast for rain forever when we checked it on Saturday so were all armed to the hilt with waterproof jackets and long trousers, but by Sunday morning it had changed to light drizzle all morning, and when we got there it looked decidedly too muggy to wear long-anythings! We succeeded in finding B a loo, and then trekked back to the car to dump the coats!

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We did eventually make it to the start line, where J3 & I dumped B & J2 (maybe I should just start using names?!) as they were leaving half an hour after us for the half marathon, while we were doing the 10k. We completed the usual cram-into-the-pens-like-sardines and wiggled around a bit as a warm up before we were allowed to head over the start line!

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The first half of the 10k route weaves through more built up areas – and as a result there was no breeze and it was very muggy! We spent some time swapping between pavements and roads depending on the presence of cobbles, and dodging Deadpool when he lost his keys. We were passed by a guy carrying a full wheely bin as we headed towards the bridge – and didn’t really see him again until the last kilometer! He was a man on a mission and one does not get in the way of that!

It was with great relief we left the town, headed out over the bridge and dooooooown towards the rivermouth. Still not particularly breezy but at least everyone was spacing out nicely and we were still chugging along at a good pace. It didn’t rain for the whole day so I was able to pass the boats at the docks with full vision available and therefore discern they were not grey walls as I have previous for observing on a high rain and therefore no glasses attempt at this race (2015). We hit the first water station here with the odd squishy bag bottles, and had a mini water fight trying to get water out of them to spray over our heads to cool off – they’re designed not to leak under squeeze pressure only! We managed 😉 Apologies to anyone running around us we may have hit in the process!

I always like the stretch along the beach to Roker – also the end point for the Pier to Pier race next weekend – but had not forgotten there was a bank up into the park, though it was fortunately shorter than I remembered. There was sadly no steel band playing this year; they always help me find a bit more push to get up the hill. We were out the park again in relatively short order and back on the main road back to the bridge and the finish. I could feel myself starting to flag a bit here – the 4 mile-ish mark – as it’s been a long time since I sustained a 10 min/mile pace over that period of time, but mentioning this to J3 (just as an acknowledgement, not a cop-out I promise!) resulted in her making some very odd noises at me and refusing to take that sort of talk!

I’ve not booked into as many races this year, but the ones I have picked are ones I’ve enjoyed before or new ones I haven’t done before but have wanted to; there’s no ‘meh, it’s ok’ races in the year at time of writing. Unfortunately, doing races you’ve done before means you know the route – including knowing that it’s not straight down the road to the bridge because someone’s put a mean loop around the church to put an extra incline in (obviously this was their sole motivation and it’s nothing to do with making the distance up without going too far away from base). At least it wasn’t too steep but you (or at least I) can feel every small degree when the legs are starting to flag! Fortunately, we only had 0.6 miles to go to hit the finish line, a very doable distance 🙂 J3 was very patient with me keeping me slogging along as she’s quite capable of running quite a bit quicker when she wants to (and had the day before!).

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I’m normally pretty good at keeping a steady pace for runs, but I confess to pushing the pace a little bit with this one, particularly in the first few miles; why not when you’re enjoying being able to do so?! As a result, while my splits don’t look toooo varied, my pace for the whole race was rather more up and down than usual! Still working on turning the 09:30 and 10 min/miles into ‘normal’ – which is evident in the way my heart rate is in ‘high intensity’ stratas rather than ‘race pace’ or ‘tempo’ where it normally sits – but I’m getting better at sustaining it longer so I’m hoping for some real gains when the cold weather comes around again later in the year 🙂

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My fastest official 10k race times are 01:02:05 at the North Tyneside 10k and 01:02:15 at the Kielder 10k both in 2015 (seriously, it’s been a while since I was that close to the 1hr mark!), but because they’d clocked on my watch at 6.18 and 6.11 miles respectively rather than the 6.2 miles of a 10k, neither counted on my Garmin records 😦 We finished the Sunderland 10k in 01:02:41 – so not a race recorded pb – but it did actually reach 6.22 miles on my watch so it has taken position on the internet as my best 10k time to beat 🙂 Not a bad position to be in going into the summer, where I normally hope to maintain pace so I can make gains again when the cold comes back, so I have pipe-dreams of hitting a 1hr 10k at some point this year!

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Definitely feel like we earned our medals 🙂 We headed back to the car for non-smelly clothes, money, phones and other such paraphenalia and then headed back to Keel Square via Greggs – sandwiches were needed! The 8 mile point for the half marathon passes very close to the finish line so we hoped we’d been quick enough we would be able to see J2 and B come through. B picked up such a  burst of speed as she passed us that we thought we’d try and help move her along by popping up elsewhere along the course, as I’ve done on the 10k before when J was running it. The second half of the half marathon uses the same route as most of the 10k, so we were travelling familiar ground to find them. We dropped onto a crossover point hoping to see B again before she headed out to Roker, but it looked like she’d beaten us to it so we went back towards the church hoping to see them both there (about 12M for them).

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J2 was first through – sans Macmillan vest as like us she’d found it very muggy! We waved her on and loitered to catch B for her last mile. We cut the corner as she ran round the church and then trotted along with her for the last half mile to the finish line, where we left her again as crossing it when you’re not in the race is Not The Done Thing and tends to be frowned upon by race officials for some reason…

A productive and successful day for all I think! We all hit our aims – whether distance or time – and got round on a fortuitously dry but rather thick and humid day, not to be sniffed at 🙂

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Unlike J3 and I, who had wanted savoury ‘proper’ food after our run, B and J2 wanted ice creams! These safely obtained we hit the road back to Consett, and it was almost a competition to see who could yawn the most in the car! Fortunately J2 had made a post-race chocolate cake to see us through the afternoon 🙂 nomnomnom

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I actually hadn’t entered this race this year until about 8 hours before the closing deadline, thinking I wasn’t really bothered about doing it and was originally intending to go as support for B & J2’s Macmillan run, but I must admit I’m glad I was nudged into entering as I really enjoyed it and will be looking at it again for next year. The bag of spoils is a good sweetener too 😉 I only did it for the fridge magnet 😉 Those medals are heavy too!

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If you want to download a GPX file for this race, you can do so from my Dropbox account by clicking on the link below:

Sunderland 10k GPX file

Previous race reviews for this race can be found by clicking these links: 2015 and 2017

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