Marathon of the North 2012 – Race Report

Having physically (and mentally) recovered from Sunday’s race, Dave Moir sends in this report.

Wheeeeez Keys are these?  – Sunderland Marathon 6-5-12

Along with incorporating Mackum and Tackum in everyday conversation and calling everyone Marra for about a week, this strategy allowed me to seamlessly blend in with the local population of Sunderland at weekend. It was an early start as I got picked up by Dave Rowe’s mate Alan at 7:30 and we got parked right by the stadium. On seeing the Heaton lads a quick blast of “LLLLEEEESSS” out the car window gave them all heart failure but saved them the bother of a last toilet stop, then it was off to race HQ.

We were greeted by Lord Ron Murray of Sunderland who had turned the baggage area into a fine tuned military operation, so we went through the usual preparation routine (not enough stretching with general disinterest and a bit of apathy thrown in) whilst a few more TBH turned up.

I decided against a fast start and kept well away from the front (as many of you know, the marathon is the only race I ever take this sensible approach with) and had my race plan firmly in my head. My aim was to get a sub 3 hour time and to do that I was going to run 6:40 for the first half (1:27:30 half way) then allow myself to drop to 6:50 to 20 miles (2:14:30) then try to keep at 7 minute mileing to 23 just in case it all went horribly wrong in the last 3 miles, and I could drop to 7:20s.

We set off steady and one of my early concerns with the convoluted twisty route I soon realised were unfounded. The course was well marshalled, well marked and it didn’t really matter that you weren’t 100% certain where you were, an idea of the main landmarks was useful, but not essential. It was a bit hillier than I expected with the worst hill being at 10 miles and there being quite a lot of undulation in the parks that you ran through. There were plenty of well manned water stations and they gave out sachets of water that that sounded a bit worrying, but in practice they worked really well.

The first half of a marathon I always end up speaking to a few people, and it helps with getting a big chunk of the race under your belt before it gets serious. I noticed a bloke carrying a full sized cross on the opposite side of the course early on (who I believe blessed us), then had a chat with a Sunderland Stroller who told me they had 80 runners in the days event (well done to the Strollers), a fellow TBH member who I had a chat about the conditions in Inverness the year I did the marathon there, and conditions were so bad we didn’t get out the car to visit the local battle sites the day before (I got accused of being a typical English tourist I believe) then another runner from Sedgefield who kept me on pace up until 15 miles or so. The chatting tends to stop at this point.

I had got to half way in 1:27:30 – tick

I then hit 20 miles in 2:14:30 – tick

I had noticed the garmin was a little out at this stage, realising they are useful but not 100% accurate I accepted that.

For the next 3 miles we then headed along the coast and it was noticeably down hill, and a wind had picked up from no where that was on our backs. At the turn around point at 23 miles, I spotted Kev a hundred meters behind me then Rob Wishart a little further back, so that gave me a bit on an incentive to keep pushing on. The course was noticeably uphill now and the wind was a real problem, I started to slow to 7:30- 7:40 pace and Kev went past me at 25 miles. As I neared the stadium, I could hear the announcer urging on the last runner (Les Smith from Heaton returning the earlier shout I gave him) to come in under the 3 hour mark. I looked up at the clock and saw I had crossed the line in 3:00:41 – which although was 6 minute off my PB and a top 20 finish but was still out-side the magical 3 hour mark.

Philosophically, there’s always the chance of a flat autumn marathon, but my main disappointment was me being unable to enquire if anyone had lost their keys. “Wheeeez keys are these”

Dave Moir


Race Results:

Kevin Jeffress, 2h 59m 12s

Dave Moir, 3h 00m 36s

Rob Wishart, 3h 04m 33s

Dave Rowe, 3h 23m 43s

Dave Young, 3h 26m 28s

Chris Mitsides, 3h 31m 26s

John Hurse, 3h 42m 33s

James Knox, 4h 13m 44s

Stepanie McFarlane, 5h 25m 26s

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    • Big Ron on 8th May 2012 at 12:29
    • Reply

    Well done Dave, great report. I know you were gutted not to break 3 hours but uyou still knocked 6 minutes of your PB!

    Thanks for the comment, it was bloody cold in the bag drop area and I was there until aboout 12:45 when, thankfully, i was moved to the finish area and later to handing out t shirts.

    A long day for me and it did confirm one decision I madecearly in my running, never do a marathon…….

  1. Once again I blame the organisors. Fancy putting an up-hill section in the closing stages of a marathon haha!! Seriously though, I thought the whole day was fantastic. And having the 10k at the same time as the marathon was a brilliant idea, as it meant we, the spectators, were always busy cheering on the runners.
    As for Dave’s valiant effort, I know he will come back stronger and more determined to get under the 3hr mark, and he should take enormous satisfaction from knocking 6 minutes off his previous best time. Now, if only he could knock off another 60 seconds ;-)

    • RobW on 8th May 2012 at 13:41
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    Am glad it didn’t rain in Sunderland or else you’d never have got out of the car! Damn those hills and congrats on the pb.

    • Simon Pryde on 8th May 2012 at 14:15
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    Well done Dave and everyone else… some great times.

    Good report too (if mildly politcally incorrect in its references to the characteristics of the good folk of Wearside!)

    • Apples on 8th May 2012 at 14:35
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    Great report Dave and sorry you just missed out on the magical 3 hr mark. Actually thought your Wearyside references were spot on, I could detect no signs of political incorrectness.

    • kenny mac on 8th May 2012 at 16:12
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    As an impartial Highlander who has worked in both Sunderland and Newcastle, there is no difference at all, you all are mad keen on beer, football and hating each other. Not like us Scots who are the mildest mannered politically correct Nation in the world unless you hail from the opposite coast, are a Lowlander, kick with the opposite foot or indeed come from the next village over the hill, don’t get me talking about people from Arisaig.

    On a serious note well done Dave but I know you can do better and sub 3 hours will be delivered by you shome time shoon.

    Actually why not lay these demons to rest by coming down to Birmingham to do the Vets Relays on Saturday, to quote Lord Kitchener ” YOUR CLUB NEEDS YOU”

    1. Because my legs don’t work anymore ??? I’m no Rob “2 marathon’s a month” Wishart you know.

      1. but you won’t be doing another marathon.

        what is it, 6 miles at most?

          • Apples on 8th May 2012 at 17:10
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          Nope only a teeny weeny three miles. I managed two races the week after London and I am sure Mr Moir can manage one.

    • Cat on 8th May 2012 at 16:57
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    Great report and well done, at least you know now that sub 3 is in EASSSSSSSY reach! Enjoy your recovery and the joys of picking your next marathon – or you already decided?

    • sean kelly on 8th May 2012 at 17:25
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    Congratulations to all of our runners (and our friends in Heaton Harriers). Kev breaking 3 hours at his first attempt is remarkable! Even our best marathon runners usually take a few goes before they manage to break that barrier. And as for Mr Moir…fantastic effort and, I heard that most garmins had the race distance down as 26.4 miles! You have surely run the equivalent to 2/59.

    I agree with you on resting before racing again. Don’t rush back to hard running. It’s no joke, after a run like that your legs will not work. I prescribe plenty of beer to aid recovery.

    • kenny mac on 8th May 2012 at 17:26
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    Moir for Birmingham, Moir for Birmingham

    Aye, fight and you may die, run and you’ll live. At least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to go to Birmingham and compete for Tyne Bridge Harriers and etch your name in history.

    • Kev jefrress on 8th May 2012 at 18:48
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    Great report dave and great running, amsterdam or berlin next? Ya were sub 3 in my eyes marra, my watch was out from mile one, great running from everyone, wasnt the easiest of courses, and the wind on the seafront didnt help. Was great great to see everyone in my neck of the woods, spectators and runners.

    • david rowe on 8th May 2012 at 20:28
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    Great report Mr.M, my watch was out from the first mile and measured it at 26.4, so too me you did go under the magical 3 hours. no to amsterdam or berlin, we look forward to 5 magical laps of the town moor, heaven. Thanks to everyone who was there supporting us, it really was very special. Guessing which corner DD would appear on next took my mind of the pain in my legs. thanks to Lord Murray for making us welcome in wonderful town.

    • Anji on 8th May 2012 at 21:17
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    Fantastic fun report and great running. You made it look easy on Sunday! Well done xx

    • Ian Jackman on 8th May 2012 at 21:52
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    Great report and a great run Dave.

    • Big Ron on 9th May 2012 at 12:20
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    We need you in Birmingham and having been ther a couple of times for the senior twelve stage relays I can assure you that it is an experience you’ll not forget. I am so disappointed that I couln’t get a team!

  2. well done dave your 1 runner who gives it your all in a race wont be long before you get that sub 3 hours mate

    • michelle on 11th May 2012 at 12:35
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    A great read,well done to you and all that took part in the marathon !!

    • Brother Louis on 16th May 2012 at 09:33
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    I guess Kev had the extra intensive that he was running to finish at Mackum Mecca! Tantalisingly close to 3 hrs, I’ll be putting a bet down that you’ll make it in your autumn race. Well done Psycho Eyes

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