2012 Northumberland Coastal Run Race Report

2012 Coastal Run race report by Sean Kelly

Thrills, spills and awesome views.

The Coastal Run (also known as ‘The Beadnell to Alnmouth Race’) is a well established fixture in the north-east running calendar.  The route begins at Beadnell Harbour and then heads south to Alnmouth It’s approximately 14 miles, depending on whether the tide is in or out. This year, I measured it as 13.2 miles. It was first held in 1979 and had 12 competitors! It has grown and maintained a huge popularity up to the present day. Entries are open in January and they usually sell out on the same day.

One reason for its popularity is the spectacularly beautiful scenery. My favourite part is running past Dunstanburgh Castle at about half-way. It’s also a change from running on roads. It’s a sort of half-way house between road and fell running. There are many narrow paths that you have to negotiate carefully due to stones and rocks. I witnessed one women on the floor clutching her ankle, fortunately the race is well marshalled with plenty of first aid around the course. I shouted to a first-aider that she was ‘down’ about ½ a mile further along the course.

To the amusement of the TBH contingent, we had two fallers in the first mile! Tony Carter and David Moir both took an early bath on Beadnell beach when they misjudged the depth and current in a stream running towards the sea! I watched Mr Moir suddenly fall to his left only to bounce back up and continue his relentless pace. As we headed up the sand from the beach I could see TC in a breakaway group of three at the front. I next saw him at the finish.

David Appleby ran with me for a little while as we hit the first road section. However, he was feeling sharp and steadily moved up through the field.

Approach to Dunstanburgh Castle

The trickiest part of the course for me was when we had to pick our way across about 15 meters of rocks before we made the approach to Dunstanburgh Castle. Skilled fell runners (like our own John Tollit) must have laughed as they witnessed those used to running on tarmaced roads trying to skip and slip across the rocks.

I found it hard to get into a rhythm on this run. As soon as you got used to the hard-ribbed sand, you were picking your way across rocky paths and then running along county lanes. It wasn’t until about 9 miles, when we ran through a long stretch of smelly water that I began to run with more freedom. We joined onto one of my favourite training routes that I use when we stay in Alnmouth for our annual summer holiday. I love that route and memories of previous carefree summer training lifted me mentally and my legs felt light again. I had been caught by three team-mates – John Tollit, Stephen Dixon and Mark Prendergast and I felt like I had been going backwards in the field. Now I suddenly wanted to race! I picked my way past a couple of runners and started to fix my sights on Stephen and Mark. They were about 100 meters ahead of me and I used them as a target. I knew exactly how far it was to the finish and this is a big help. I caught them on the beach with about a mile and a half to go and I just focused on the view ahead.

I saw TC standing next to Lizzy and he berated me for waving to the camera instead of sprinting for the finish line!

Everyone who finished had a sense of achievement and relief at not twisting their ankles. At the sharp end of the field Tony had a great run to finish third, Kev Jefress was next home and David Moir had recovered from his early fall to make up team that was awarded the third place prize. If you didn’t run you will be well impressed when you see the tops that were given to every finisher – a long-sleeved, yellow, cycling-style top.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.tynebridgeharriers.com/2012/07/24/2012-northumberland-coastal-run-race-report/


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  1. Cracking report as usual Sean, and good to read you’re getting your competitive edge back too.

    As for Mr Moir and TC taking a tumble on Beadnell Bay, if anyone has photographic evidence, I will gladly pay good money ;-)

  2. I laughed like a drain when Carter went in, so I suppose I deserved my soaking to some extent. The sand just seemed to collapse in the middle of the stream. It was more tlike Takeshi’s Castle than Dunstunburgh!!

    • Apples on 24th July 2012 at 09:53
    • Reply

    Gutted that I actually managed to miss the TC and Moir early salt bath. I don’t think I would have stopped laughing for next 12 miles. I was however victim of the stinking field where I managed to end up shin deep in cow cack and urine, very pleasant indeed. There were some interesting smells in the boozer afterwards.

    • John Tollitt on 24th July 2012 at 12:01
    • Reply

    Mr Moir`s tumble was a particular highlight for me, sorry no pics. Sean you fail to mention that after I caught up with you, you then streaked ahead and left me for dead. The Coastal Run is always one of my highlights of the year. Definitely recommend it. Remember ‘book early`.

    • Vicki Deritis on 24th July 2012 at 12:17
    • Reply

    Loved it!! Will definitely do it again but can someone please turn the wind down next time. I also took the clarty route. The car smelt particularly fragrant on the way back. Apologies again to John and Alex.

    • BigAl on 24th July 2012 at 12:23
    • Reply

    Great report Sean. This is one run which every north east runner should do at some point. It was a tough run in the wind but the Northumberland coast is stunning. The only bad point for me was forgetting to carry my £2 for an ice cream in Craster.

    • David Hindmarsh on 24th July 2012 at 17:06
    • Reply

    Great to see so many from TBH up for the race. I too did a Moir at the first stream and ended up under water. The byproduct of 13 miles with a wet salty vest was extremely sore man boobs!
    May need a new vest!

      • Double D on 25th July 2012 at 08:16
      • Reply

      another German one?? ;-)

    • Kev jeffress on 24th July 2012 at 20:19
    • Reply

    Cracking run Sean, and great report Marra, a word of advice for Alnwick harriers ” get a video camera next to that stream for next year” I’d pay good money for the video. Great day out

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