Northumberland Coastal Run

Mark Hall sends in this report from yesterdays Coastal Run

Northumberland Coastal Run

Although I haven’t the story teller talents of our own fine Kenny ‘Burns’ Macpherson I shall attempt to give my own personal race report of today’s Northumberland Coastal Run. I have attached the ‘official’ summary detailed from the Alnwick Harriers web site, for those of you that wish an in-depth understanding of what the course entails.

The first ever Beadnell to Alnmouth Race was held 1979, there were only 12 competitors. In the beginning competitors had to choose their route starting in the sandy bay next to Beadnell Harbour and then heading south running to Alnmouth (approximately 14 miles).

In the first two to three years many changes were made to the route as runners found the short cuts and quickest routes. Apart from one or two sensitive areas the course is unmarked and competitors are responsible for choosing their own route. The course is however, now well established as it makes its way from Beadnell to Alnmouth using public footpaths and roadways. The course which most competitors choose to run is approximately 14 miles long (depending on whether the tide is in or out) and makes its way as follows:

Start at Beadnell Bay and head South via Newton Links, Low Newton By The Sea, Dunstan Golf Course, Dunstanburgh Castle, Craster Village, The Heughs, Cullernose Point, Howick (Sea Houses Farm), Sugar Sands, Boulmer, Foxton Beach, and finishes on the beach at Alnmouth.

Having ran this race the previous two years I was aware of the demands that this course presented, running on sand, coastal paths (mud, grass, rocks or hardcore) and road so selecting the correct footwear is the first important hurdle. After the atrocious weather experienced in Newcastle this weekend, as my wife Kylie and I set off this morning I had anticipated the worse but upon arriving at Beadnell the rain had ceased and apart from a strong head wind the conditions were perfect.

As the crowd of anxious runners assembled at the start I found my fellow TBH colleagues. Within the roll call, there was Micky Baker, fresh from his JDH conquest, Lisa Walker, Kerry Reed, Andy Harrison, Mark Black, Alan Wallace and myself. For the start, the runners line up in an extended line from the sand dunes down to the sea front, jockeying for the most advantageous position, on this occasion not all runners heard the count-down and many were caught off-guard when the hooter went off to signal the start. After the initial mad dash to find the best route the field settled down into some form of order. I found myself in a small group and was happy to be lead round the coastline.

I appreciated the head wind keeping me cool as we trudged through Newton by the Sea, round Dunstanburgh Castle and into Craster Village which is roughly the half way mark. The scenery is truly breath taking and I would advise all our new members to consider this race within their racing calendar for next year as although a tough course it certainly is an experience that very few other races provide. From Craster onwards our little group of three split up and I found myself running the second half on my own. I maintained the pace and was grateful when I eventually arrived at the 2miles to go sign, which leads you onto Alnmouth beach for what seems an endless journey to the finish line.

It was great to see the remaining TBH’s come in, all finishing strongly, with a fair amount of chaffing!!! Well done to you all.

Kylie confirmed that I was 8th finisher in a time of 01:25:42 which I am absolutely delighted with. All the great training sessions at the club are improving my all round running ability and I thank the coaches and my fellow colleagues for their continued encouragement and support.

Upon receiving the official race results it appears they have me mixed up with a George Hall and I have been relegated to 10th with a time 38 seconds slower than I ran. Hopefully after the stewards enquiry I shall been reinstated into my correct position.

Northumberland Coastal Run

PosNameSurnameCatTimeCat PosGender Pos
73MarkBLACKM Senior01:37:502566

PS……… Fuelled up with Beetroot ahead of this week…

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    • Paul Hilton on 18th July 2011 at 23:02
    • Reply

    Mark we reckon ye had the run of the day on Sunday. 8th overall in a race of this magnitude and you also beat Paul Waterston from Morpeth, 1 of the top vets around. Just clarifies what a strong runner you really are and I still dont think we have seen the best of Horlicks yet !

    • Kerry Reed on 19th July 2011 at 09:40
    • Reply

    Great report Mark and very well done for Sunday, It was a tough course, i spent 10 mins or so on my hands and knees trying to climb over those “rocks” before dunstanborough so what you did was remarkable. Well done to all who ran.

    • Andy Harrison on 19th July 2011 at 12:32
    • Reply

    Wel done Mark and all my fellow beachcombers. I’d recommend this to anyone who fancies something a bit different next year. Good atmosphere, great scenery, just not sure whether to recommend running shoes, flip flops or climbing boots

    • kenny mac on 19th July 2011 at 12:45
    • Reply

    Great run Mark, cant wait til the winter when we get the Cross Country season and the longer races under our belts. Think you will be the man to beat. George Hall is a mate of mine and is running well at the moment and to beat George and Paul Waterston is no mean feat.

    Well done to everybody else as well, loads of good racing from the club last weekend

    • Gareth Huxley on 19th July 2011 at 20:19
    • Reply

    Well done Mark, you are definitely a Coastal Run specialist! Top 10 (again) in a field that size is a brilliant result.

    Well done all who ran.

    • Deka on 20th July 2011 at 18:14
    • Reply

    great report mark and must say tremendous time all so well done to all TBH who
    ran the race great effort on a really challenging course

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