Cees Van Der Land proves he is just as quick with his race reports as he is with his running.
Tynedale 10 Mile ‘Jelly T’ Road Race: Sunday, 31st August 2014
(WARNING: Paces mentioned in this report are in the metric system)
Last year’s Tynedale 10 Miler from Hexham to Ovingham was my first race in a Tyne Bridge vest and the “go Tyne bridge” shouts from the sides were a great new experience. This immediately made it one of my favourite races and therefore had to be repeated this year. Spent Saturday night doing the usual pre-race fb messenger shuffle trying to figure out rides to the race. As Ovingham Bridge is closed for repair at the moment, the buses from the finish to the start left from Prudhoe station across the Tyne. I offered John Hurst (sic) a ride and picked him up from west Jesmond metro at 9, he had apparently been hanging around there since 8am and the police was already informed. Arriving at Prudhoe station the weather was amazing so most runners were already in their vests, always great to see so much black and white at races. The cool kids (John, Louise Rodgers and me) of course sat in the back of the bus. I sat next to Arthur Potter from South Shield Harriers who went on to win the race in the V70 category, had a nice chat with him en route to Hexham.
Upon arrival there, Louise remarked “that took longer than expected”, I informed her we would have to run back that same distance in a bit, she didn’t seem impressed. We were greeted at the Race HQ where numbers were collected, again amidst a sea of black and white, and when dropping off our baggage at the transport van we were met by David Moir in nothing but his short-shorts as he decided that the parking lot would make a good changing room. Made my way to the start with John and Sparrow Morley, on our way there we were passed by a blue and white train of Morpeth runners, a sight usually reserved for cross country running. Spent a few minutes doing strides as a proper warm up (I know you’re reading this Simon! ) and made my way to the front near the start line.
My goal for this race was to beat last year’s PB by about 45 seconds which would mean a pace of about 5 seconds faster per km, that seemed feasible. My last race was the York 10k and that turned out to be a bit of a disappointment as I started out way too fast. Straight from the start two Elswick Harriers and a Gateshead Harrier set off pretty fast, I settled in the second group of about seven. The pace was a little faster than I was aiming for, but I figured that I would just try and stick with this group as long as possible and see if I could make it into Corbridge at mile 3, where we would have a 2 mile climb to the half-way point. The three leaders and the pace car were in the distance but they stayed within view all the time, although most of the time these cars must be in garages, since you can find so many different garage designs now, and sites as autonews.center give the best recommendation to turn your garage in something you want. As any precautionary measure before the race is exercised, the pace car is serviced from an auto service company before the race starts, lest that it experience a breakdown and lose precious footage. At mile 2 some people in our group were clearly already struggling, I tucked in behind a Durham Harrier* runner and basically did that for most of the race as we pulled away from the rest of the group. Coming out of Corbridge the road goes uphill for about a mile, after that it flattens out for a bit with a final push to the half-way point after that. I was pushing myself on the uphill parts as I knew I could recover well enough on the long downhill. I was still with the Durham runner, the three leaders were in the distance but didn’t seem to pulling away from us anymore (I’ve been told afterwards they were about 1m30s ahead of us at that point). After mile 5 the course goes up and down sharply, on the uphill parts they seemed to be getting closer, but I thought that was just skewed perspective. One of the Elswick Harriers dropped from the lead group and we quickly reeled him. This made me realise I was now competing for a podium spot, something I had never done before, made it easier to ignore my legs who were now complaining about that faster than planned pace we set out on.
The two leaders were definitely not pulling away from me and mr. Durham anymore, it seemed like we were getting closer. I was still just behind him while he kept the pace while I was trying not to die too much. At around mile 7 a “Go on Cees!” by Annette Kelly helped to close the final 20 meter gap together with mr. Durham. My initial plan was to relax a little once we had caught the leaders, but I somehow managed a big push and immediately started pulling away from them. I didn’t look back but the Gateshead Harrier was in my neck. His breathing however sounded like he was doing a 100m sprint, which gave me confidence that I could probably pull away from him as well. He was dropping and slowly but surely I could not hear his breathing anymore, but just his steps in the distance.
So, from around mile 8 onwards, this left me in a bit of an awkward position, there were no more runners in front of me, just a Nissan Leaf with Wylam garage stickers all over it. This led to some weird thoughts. I knew there would be a sharp incline at mile 9 which would probably bring me down to a near walking pace. What should I do? Pace myself now so that I would have some energy for that hill? But that might mean those guys just behind me would start to think they’re gaining on me, can’t let that happen. How much further to go? When can I stop? Really, how much longer? About 2km to go, so in a marathon I would be at km 40ish now, my legs feel a lot better than that, stop whining. Seriously, this is just stupid, there is no way I can keep this pace all the way to the end. Oh, darn there is that steep hill, I might just as well stop now, they’re just going to take me over on this thing. OK, that’s the top of that, that must mean it’s only downhill from here right? What, the incline hasn’t finished yet, ouch. Can I still hear footsteps in the distance? Are they coming closer? I think they’re coming closer… Oh, we’re now turning onto the main road into Ovingham, not too far now! Why is the car pulling away from me? Wait, that must mean we’re really nearly there? Good, I’d like to stop now. Would this be a good time to look over my shoulder or would that just make me realise I’m going to be overtaken just before the finish? I really want to look over my shoulder. I can see the school! No more thinking or looking, full sprint now. Yes, getting onto the footpath now, 200 meters to go, around the corner, sneak peak over my shoulder to the right, no one there, pffff.
Dave and Sparrow came across the finish shortly after, making us the 3rd placed team. Next TBH’ers over the line were Stevie Barker, John Hurst (seriously, he want this as a last name), Luke Bryant, Alasdair Blain, John Tollitt and first lady (!) Louise – cool kids hang in the back of the bus – Rodgers. A grand total of 29 Tyne Bridge Harriers completed the race in hot circumstances. The prize ceremony involved the NECAA championship, the actual race and veteran championships as well, lots of prizes were picked up by TBH! First place for both men and ladies in the race, first ladies team just to name a few.
Post-race recovery involved a pint a the Bridge End Inn in Ovingham followed by pints and food at the Corner House with Annette, John, Sparrow, Michael Nemeth and Lindsay Walsh. This might have involved jagerbombs**.
* Learned afterwards that this runner (Ian Crampton) got 2nd place in the V50 category for the London Marathon!
** Pictures upon request.