Dave Moir reports on the latest ‘Ten miler’ to join the racing calendar.
This was the first running of this road race, and it was put on by a company called “Sport in Action” who are better known for a portfolio of triathlons they put on in the Cumbria area. With a promise of a “gently undulating course with PB potential around quiet country roads” DD & myself decided to give it a go.
The weather in the morning was absolutely spot on, with temperatures being 6-8C, very little wind and a bit of sun to cheer us all up. There were only a few representatives from NE clubs (Low Fell, Heaton and Elswick) in the fairly small field of around 100 and it was hard to work out what sort of times people would be aiming for. I spoke to one runner from Lancashire who ran 57 minutes for a very flat 10M 2 weeks ago, and I thought that may have been a little fast for me on a flat one, but was probably achievable (he ended up about 30 seconds in front of me so I’m keen to try a flat one now). I was after getting under the hour for the first time, and at this stage I had realised there were to be a few hills to tackle. The gun went at 12:00 prompt and very soon it was clear that there were 4 or 5 runners who would be battling it out right at the front, so I settled into a chasing pack of 4 comprising of a lad from Dumfries Harriers, one from Border Harriers and an unattached runner. The first mile felt very easy (it was flat) and it went by in 5:35 which was a little faster than I had planned, but I was comfortable in the group, so stayed with it. The next 3 miles were all around the target pace of 6:00 and it felt a bit slow, so I tried to push the pace a few times over them.
The first climb happened between mile 4-5, there were some hills that took a little work so the pace dropped to 6:30 followed by a 6:20. I was really struggling with the hills and just managed to hold onto the back of the group, knowing that the organisers had promised a good long 4 mile downhill finish. The unattached runner coped very well with the hills and eventually dropped all of us over this section, charming!! As promised we then had a very welcome downhill mile and this nearly matched my first mile being a 5:40 followed by another 6:00 then a 5:55. The lad from Border had dropped off at this stage, and it was just me and Al from Dumfries Harriers (makes you realise how grateful you are for home support when you are out the area, as Alan was getting all the shout outs).
At the 9 mile marker (probably the most accurate mile markers I’ve ever come across, you could set your Garmin by them!!) my new friend Alanand I realised we were at 54 minutes dead and all we had left was to run a sub 6 minute mile and that would be us home and dry under the hour. I’d been putting s few surges in over the last couple of miles to try to drop Al (he wasn’t that good a friend), but he was still there by 9.5 miles, so I gave it one last go and put a gap between us, so having committed I had to go with it and managed to maintain and extend the gap a little. I was delighted to see the clock on the finish line reading 59:46 which is over a minute and a half off my PB, on a fairly tough course.
DD was fairly hot on my heels in just over 61 minutes (14th place), with Jon Stevens from Low Fell just behind him to get second V50. I was 7th overall and second V40, realising the unattached mountain goat just in front of me got first V40.
This was a very well run event, very scenic and it must have been a little disappointing for the organisors to not get a bigger field. The prizes were very generous, particularly when you consider the entry fee was only £8 for attached runners. A further nice touch was the free cakes, tea, coffee and Jaffa cakes (they knew DD was going) at the presentation. We should definitely support this race next year, so let’s have a big TBH posse head over there to make sure the race continues for years to come.