With the opportunity to incorporate a fun family day out and a road race I suggested to my clan ‘why don’t we visit the Allendale fair’ …..the kids fell for the ‘fair’ hook straight away! Off we trooped and with a slight diversion through Wylam and Corbridge due to the A69 being closed we arrived with 30mins to spare, plenty of time to register and pick-up my free t-shirt (with the wife pointing out ‘if you have the t-shirt there’s no real need to do the race’ – suppose she had a point).
The course is 7.7 miles (confirmed on my Garmin – Paul) on undulating roads in beautiful surroundings with the t-shirt stating ‘There are NO hills in Allendale only bumps’
With stern words from the race marshal advising that any runner running with headphones would be disqualified the race was promptly started, led out of Allendale by a farmer’s quad bike.
I have been struggling with a persistent hip/glut problem for several months with the intensity of this ‘niggle’ varying but after last week’s track escapades (steeple chase/high hurdles) it has been particular restricting this week reducing my training to 1 slow run (that’s the excuse out of the way ), with the first couple of miles being a slow incline drag, I was off the leading group and slightly ahead of the second main group and had to be content with running on my own. The race (put on by Allen Valley Striders) was competently marshalled, with 2 water stations, and the weather was ideal for running, overcast with a slight drizzle to keep you from overheating. From mile 3 I started to struggle, paying the price for missing the so important club night training sessions – BE WARNED!!! and had to really battle mind and body to keep going, battling up the ‘bumps’ and recovering on the downhill. As the miles passed, the runners strung out into single file and I attempted to appreciate the landscape but to be honest once you’ve seen one sheep…..with a final cruel hill to the finish line I made a last effort for the benefit of the family photo, only to discover the ‘family’ were still occupied with ‘hook the duck’ and missed my fine finish!!
Having finished in a time of 49:28, not sure of the position, I was content`ish’ with my performance, although way off Louis and Dave Moir’s strong time from last year. The girls had a fab time at the fair, so everyone was happy. We stopped for the presentation with James Buis winning the men’s race. There were also bundles of spot prizes but even with my daughter picking the numbers I missed out. After a freshly barbequed burger and a coffee, we stopped to watch the Strong Man competition, must be mental those blokes not like ‘us’ runners.
In summary this is a tough race but well recommended, excellently executed with plenty of marshal’s giving heaps of encouragement and ample water stations. If we can replicate within our own race then we would have done well. Plenty of prizes and hopefully next year if we can enter a team I’m sure we could compete. I would like to run this race again next year and with entrance fee, petrol money, cash for ‘hook the duck’ and burgers it’s only cost in excess of £50…….(and I didn’t even get a spot prize!!!)