Blue Runnings

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

Gibside Night Run 2018


I ran Gibside Night Run for the first time in 2015, and since then it’s made the list of ‘races I want to run’ every year – but this is the first year I’ve actually made it back: I missed one of the intermediary years due to illness, and another due to it clashing with another night race J had booked us all on to. This year, I managed to sucker B into attending me as a late entry and we both headed off to Gibside with G as official bagholder for the fee of 1 post-race pizza!



I’d remembered some stretches suprisingly well given it’s 3 years since I last did it, and had blissfully forgotten the length of some of the hills, and the steepness of the second-to-last one! I’ve run at Gibside enough times to know there’s always a hill near the start – it doesn’t matter which way you go, unless you’re just doing the Avenue and back you are going to hit a hill.

There wasn’t a huge amount of chatting up the first loooong hill, but we both made it to the top maintaining a steady jog, and passing several people who’d dropped to a walk from about halfway up. One of the great things about hill training and having pretty much any local run you try to do featuring at least one hill in it somewhere is you get to be pretty unphased unless they’re particularly long and/or steep. It was a marked difference in approach to last time I did this race, where I definitely walked every one of the uphills after the first few steps up them.

The one thing that wasn’t different was how much I enjoyed it – this is very much a fun run; it’s not chocka with club runners, it’s popular with families, walkers, people with dogs, you name it! It’s very low pressure and at 6km is a distance you can either push yourself over or just kick back and enjoy it.

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Dark Skies Kielder

Having  seen all the photos from last year’s race, where the runners set off in blue skies and sunshine, and were treated to some fantastic night skies when the sun had set, it honestly never occurred to me when I booked this race that it might rain. Cue Storm Katie. Normally I don’t watch the weather forecast before, well, anything; looking out the window is good enough for me! The week preceding the race I was watching on a daily basis, praying it would improve – it actually got worse every time I checked it. This was the forecast the morning before race day:


Looks like it might clear up for the majority of the run time (approx. 17:00-23:00), but it was basically mostly drizzle and light rain the entire time on the hourly forecast as the race got closer. Those wind figures never budged either <_< lovely; just the type of evening everyone looks forwards to!

P & I set off up to Kielder mid-afternoon (1 hr nap squeezed in!), my parents and midgets having kindly come to visit for the weekend and cheer me on were to follow a bit later for the offset. We picked up my race number and t-shirt – not everyone did; there were 42 who didn’t bother to turn up for registration – I can’t believe they all had personal circumstances come up at short notice so suspect the weather to have been the primary detractor!

It was drizzling when we set off, here we have some of my lovely family looking rather soggy at the start-line! (Yes guys, Hippie caught you too! There’s no escape!)


To me, once we set off, it didn’t feel as wet as it looks in this picture – more of a misty drizzle and I was more concerned with how warm I was getting wearing a fully sealed waterproof top and hat, so I stashed my waterproof on my backpack elastics and put my gloves on – my hands at least were rather chilly! I’ve run in drizzle before, and stayed warm as long as I keep moving so I didn’t really think anything of it, but this is the start of the whole race going downhill for me (unlike the route which I swear managed to be uphill 90% of the time!).

I was feeling pretty calm and steady as we headed off to the Northern most tip of the reservoir; I didn’t get dragged along with the speedies and just concentrated on a steady jog off to “the hilly bits”. All was well.


I only look slightly ridiculous with my hat under my headtorch and over my headphones!

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No Ego Torch Challenge – Wallington – 6.7km


Having done a torch race the night before at Gibside, I thought I knew what to expect from this one. I was wrong. I can see now why this series is called ‘No Ego’! J & I had booked in on this one as a push distance for her, and as an intermediary between the 4km J can now run comfortably and the 10k No Ego Trail in Otterburn we’re booked in for in April. There is a strong possibility that the Trail race, despite being further in distance, may actually be a step down in difficulty just because you should be able to actually see where you’re putting your feet! This one had the terrain I would expect from a muddy trail race, with the added complication of being done with the limited visibility offered by a headtorch…

The race started through the courtyard of Wallington hall and then we were off out over the grounds – slightly bumpy and soft-grounded grass which was more effort than roads to run on, but not per-say difficult, with only about 50m you were better off walking for some half-buried masonry. From here we moved onto a well-trodden woodland trail with a few minor tree roots and then onto a proper laid-down path along the river. So far so good! Next up were the woodland tracks – tree roots and tree-stumps a-plenty! Progress through here was patchy – depth perception is much harder with a torch in the dark, as the shadows are on the opposite side to you and we nearly ended up in an inelegant heap more than once!

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National Trust Night Run – Gibside – 6km


I’ve done the Gibside Great Run Local 5k route a few times, and I knew this was not going to be a flat course at all, but with it being on the doorstep – I had to give it a go. This is probably the closest organised event to my front door I’ll ever find without moving house. My suspicions about the hills were correct. I did not find this an easy course. The downhills were greatly welcomed but I confess to walking the steep or long uphills, at least partially. Not anything like a personal best but I’m really pleased I went out there and did it. I was right at the back for the first half, but was able to gain some ground and overtake some people on the hills around the 4km with my pat-pending power-walk-up-hills-instead-of-even-attempting-to-run!

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