Blue Runnings

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

Gateshead Trail 10k – 2019

It’s Gateshead Trail time again! Now in its sixth incarnation, and even bigger than ever with 2000 runners signed up for this year’s event, though I’m not sure if some didn’t bail with the weather warnings! I think I’ve made four out of six races since it started 🙂 I like the route, how local it is to me (15 mins drive away tops!), and the general atmosphere at basecamp. The medal’s usually a corker too 😉 J was my official chauffeur and cheerleader for this one, and we met L down there who made sure we were fully stocked with tablet for a sugar boost post-race!

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It feels like normally this race is blessed with sunshine, but there were lightning and rain warnings this year as there have been for previous week, and the river was very full indeed! Anorak’s and bin bags were in plentiful supply in the run up to the race, and those small (and less small!) beings blessed with wellies were having a good stomp in the water-logged fields while it showered.

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As it happens, we’d scrapped the jackets and bin liners at the start line as it was rather close despite the wet, and it didn’t rain again for the rest of the event! There may even have been a hint of a sunbeam in a few places!

L & I started in a slightly faster time pen than we were going for – L was hoping to beat last year’s time, and I sometimes find that I get quite penned in if I start nearer the back, even though my intention was to take things easy and just get round (I may do a knees update later this week!). Gateshead Trail 10k is great for being open to all abilities and there’s a huge range of paces taking part – from the sprint-for-miles to those who may need to walk quite a bit of it, but the nearer the back of the starting pens you get the less accurate it feels the approximate timings of the participants is and the busier it gets – and I always feel a bit rude darting round people!

It honestly didn’t feel like there were 2000 runners when we set up – it was plenty busy enough at the start line, but with the way the organisers had set up the start line we didn’t get hemmed in at all after we crossed it and were nicely spaced out as we set out towards Derwenthaugh Park. L and I kept about the same pace and had a good chat for the first 3km, but as we hit the first long incline I began to drop back a bit while L went ahead. I managed to keep her in sight for most of the race, but she disappeared somewhere between the 7km and 8km mark as we headed back to Blaydon along the Derwent Walk! We’d both worn trail shoes having serious questionmarks over the amount of mud there was likely to be, but unless you were one of the front-runners and full on sprinting through the puddles, it wasn’t too bad and road trainers you didn’t mind getting a bit grubby would have been fine.

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I did manage to complete the last straight with a sprint finish (this race and Kielder 10k are two I always have to feel I’ve emptied the tank crossing the finish line – even when I’ve been taking it easy like this time!) without falling on my face over the timing mats (win!), and this year’s medal felt particularly heavy round my neck at the end! I don’t think it’s any different than previous years but it’s not been a very medal-heavy year for me this year so it stuck out!

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I stopped actively using Strava a while ago – though I still have an account. Still having an account, it still sometimes sends me emails usually regarding what my friends are out doing. I received one yesterday evening regarding a certain segment on the Gateshead Trail 10k. It turns out, I’ve held the ladies course record since 2015 – until yesterday when a well-deserving Strider apparently kicked my 2015 bottom into touch!

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For someone who doesn’t normally use Strava, and is not competitive in many things, I’m slightly put out 😛 This year’s time doesn’t come close either! Nevermind 🙂 I’m still on the board at position 80 – and I think lady number 2 🙂 Not too shabby for someone who’s normally at the middle-back of the pack 🙂

All in all, another great race with some lovely people ❤

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I even found a NEW friend on my way back to the carpark!

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Will we be back next year? Probably – if I’m not swanning around the South of France somewhere!

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You can download the GPX file for this route from my Dropbox account here

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Great North Run

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A week on and I think my knees have finally found their way home from South Shields! I was a bit stiff on Monday, and more so on Tuesday, but by Wednesday my legs were fine – so of course the machine at work went bang and I finished the week with very stiff arms instead! Ho-hum.

How was it? I hear you cry! This was the first time I’ve done the Great North Run, and it was definitely one I wanted to tick off the bucket list – if I’m going to run in the North-East, I have to have run the Blaydon Races and the Great North Run – I can now say I have survived both! Both were also ridiculously hot and sunny…

I’d surprised J in the car on the way to Leaze’s Park, where Mr J was kindly dropping us off, with a tutu of her very own as I know she has previous for coveting other’s tutus at other races 😛 She was running for the Great North Air Ambulance so was gifted a luminous green tutu, while I was in a black one with gold ribbons for the colours of the Blackhill Bounders.

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We’d opted for leaving all our stuff with Mr J. rather than risking the crush of the baggage buses, so were walking down to the starting corrals as we were intending to run – it was somewhat cold. We joined the compulsory loo queue – fortunately before it got too long, and then found the corrals – or rather, we could see them, but not a clear way to get to them. With them essentially being on the motorway, it wasn’t exactly built for pedestrian access so in true direct style we hopped over the fence and down the slope! I think we must have walked a mile to get to our corral, we were starting from pink – the second to last corral and the start line wasn’t even in sight when we found it. Plenty of screens showing it, no sign of its physical presence!

It was at least heating up, our frozen fingers were a thing of the past as we cautiously sipped our pre-race water not wanting another trip to the portaloos, and praying it wasn’t going to heat up too much more. It had been cooling down nicely through September so of course race day had to be a throwback to a summer scorcher.

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