Keith Rooney, cousin of Wayne, reports from Sunday’s Race.
I have to admit, I felt a bit like Lawrence of Arabia as a another blast of sand swept across the path stinging the face and raking our legs. The Sand Dancer 10k was about to commence. Still my mood perked up with the arrival of Father Baker and Frankie King. Not the only TBH’er after all. But the wind! Shrieking, moaning screaming, whipping the sand to a frenzy.
That first quarter of a mile was tough with everyone crouching and flinching and looking for cover that didn’t exist. But then we left the sand behind, ran through an open grassy quarry, up a steep incline and onto the tops. Bang!! The wind!!! At times I was reduced to almost 9 min pace. Which was a shame, because the path was great. The route was described as multi-terrain, but it was perfectly good for running on in normal road-running shoes, merely gravely with some slight undulations. We did several loop the loops, before heading back, with the wind, thank god, behind us. But it was a south westerly and the cliff tops were at times, oh! so close. I heard one guy complain about health and safety requirements at the end! I lost Micky at the half way point and past Franky King helping the marshalls!?
I got into a battle with a South Shields Harrier guy. He’d been shadowing me for about 3 miles. And it was a amusing to hear the expletives, as every time he thought he had caught me, I found just sufficient energy to spurt ahead. His “thank f…k for that!”, when he did finally draw level was funny .Afterwards I learnt, he had come all the way from the United States to run! He got the better of me anyway and finished half a minute a head. The race finished in the “stadium”. My garmin said 46.12. They gave me 46.25! But my disappointment was tempered afterwards when I found out I had come 64th out of nearly 200! The guy giving the presentations was quite impressed with that!
The bun and hot soup in the Sand Dancer afterwards were lovely and I liked the pub itself, as I sat there with Micky and a couple of his Wallsend Harrier mates, I thought it had a great chilled out atmosphere.
The Sand Dancer is a low profile race, which is a shame: it could do with more competitors. And despite the “multi-terrain” label is definitely a PB course – as long as there’s no wind! I’m pretty certain, I would have PB’d in good conditions. Freezing cold showers at the finish, of course. By the time they switched the boiler on, just about everybody had finished. But no, a nice day out. Will definitely do again.