Coasting Around Whitley Bay
The first ever Veterans’ Relay Race at Whitley Bay was a night wrapped in silver for the mighty Tyne Bridge Harriers. The wind was whipping across the sand and the lads and lasses had tired legs after the previous evening’s sharp session. However, once more the flag of Tyne Bridge Harriers was flown proud and high.
The wind was at its strongest as Lisa Walker set off on the first leg of the ‘young’ veterans’ race. She is showing signs of the incredibly strong and feisty runner that we have known over many years as she increased the pace throughout the (slighter over) 2k course. Great support from Chris Thompson, Mark Hall and Ryan ‘Two Ciders’ Hall as well as many other local athletes pushed Lisa to complete a strong performance.
Kerry Reed ran a determined and smooth leg after Lisa. She managed a broad smile as she passed the loud support and really began to ‘go for it’ as she passed the war memorial. She showed the kids what speed really meant as she passed the skate-board park and kicked hard down the home straight.
I warmed up with Micky, David and Paul and we all moaned of having tired legs. I could see a boat in the distance, and trailing it, was a guy on a wakeboard. Nonetheless, it was brave of our DD to volunteer to run the first leg… I have since learned that I was put on last leg due to my failure to finish my previous two races, the lads didn’t want to have a wasted journey up to the coast… Anyway, David brought the ‘young’ vets team home close to the medals and David Appleby ran a strong leg to keep Paul Hilton on his toes for the next stage.
Paul had North Shields and Heaton Harriers to aim for on his leg and, as usual, our Captain delivered the goods. He blasted around the course and handed over to me in third place (second in our age-category)… ‘The ****’, I thought, ‘ I’ve got to keep us in the medals now’. I had messed up my last two races and I have felt dreadful about it. There was no way I would let TBH down again, so I set off as fast as I could and tried to hold the pace. Thanks to the great support, particularly that of the Ginger Geordies (Luke Kelly and Trish) I held it together and we finished third in the race and second in our age category. I cannot explain the elation I felt as I ran down the promenade to properly represent the club I love so much. Thanks to Brian Heathrington and, my friend, Kevin Payne from Wallsend Harriers for the shouts of support.
Maybe some people didn’t notice but a great athlete returned to racing tonight. Bringing the O/45’s veteran team into the medals was Dave Anderson. This is an athlete who has posted some awesome times and performances over the years (one example, 34mins 39secs at the Morpeth 10 k in 2002 – aged 44). Dave has been recovering from knee surgery and is now coaching our members in his own inimitable style (no sugar-coating for poor performances, but great encouragement). Take a bow Grandpa! It was inspiring to see you back, ‘in the zone’ tonight.
Great night in Whitley Bay in all. Davy Anderson had the run of the night, brilliant to see him back. We got 6 silver medals and further built the reputation of the mighty TBH!
Photos courtesy of George Routledge