Sand Dancer 10k Race Report: Sunday, 13th April 2014 by Alasdair Blain
Whilst most eyes were rightly on TBH exploits at the London Marathon on Sunday morning, a few of us decided to get our running fix at South Shields Harriers Sand Dancer 10K. A multi terrain race, mainly on trail and grass, it provided a nice alternative to the road scene. This year was the 100th anniversary of the Sand Dancer 10K. The 1914 race had 280 runners of which 100 died in World War 1. This included 11 South Shields Harriers and the race is held in their memory, with a minutes impeccably observed silence in their honour before the start.
It was also the NEMAA 10K MT Championship, so there was plenty of experience within the field. My race was due to be another close battle with the inimitable TBH totem that is Keith Rooney, so it was a shame he had to pull out at the last minute, although it meant I could perhaps focus on a more consistent pace.
As is often the case, I arrived far too early so went for a wander along the beach. After an hour mooching around and a brief warm-up we were lined up and quickly underway. A steady climb from the start whistle helped curtail any exuberant early pace, although a nice tailwind guided us along the track as it hugged the coastline. By the 3rd mile the course had turned back across the leas into a stiff headwind. The pace dropped, but the dry grass underfoot made it comfortable running.
Another loop around the coastal path and we were back into the wind again. I had managed to bridge across to the runners in front and felt good as I picked them off one by one. We headed back down the start straight and finished with a lap of the Gypsies Green track. I’d crossed 5k in bang on 20 minutes, so was delighted to negative split into the wind and come home in 39:40, a 55 second PB. Alan Hodgson was first TBH home and a steady stream could be seen coming home as I warmed down. Our reward was a choice of mug or t-shirt, both good designs. I went for the mug!
The Sand Dancer is another good local race that perhaps suffers unduly from being multi-terrain amongst more popular 10k races on the road, but one that I will definitely look to do again.