Sunderland 5K Race Report

Hold on to your hats ladies and gents, it’s going to be a bumpy ride..

Keith Rooney reports from Wednesday’s race..

As I veered to the right of the postrate pain-hunched figure, I experienced vague feelings of deja vue: been here before…..where?….That’s it….. The Clive Cookson. That had been a hairy take off too. I must admit, I’d had my doubts, as soon as I  saw the runners fan out over the grass sward to our left: a fifty foot long phalanx of deadly earnestness. Yet, a glance ahead confirmed my doubts: the route entered a dense copse some fifty yards ahead, but the path was only 5 foot wide. Now I’m no big brain with maths, but fifty doesn’t go into five…. Does it? I suspected somebody’s expectations down here in sultry Silksworth, were going to be tearfully cut short.

That old sage Murray had warned us about the steep start, and, once clear of the trees, the path did indeed plunge abruptly, carrying the  cascade of runners down to the floor of an idyllically wooded hollow, through which the route then proceeded to carve its circuitous, tortuous path.

I wasn’t on my own of course. The Old Shuffler – aka Graham King – had agreed, once more, to tag along for the ride, and he predictably caught me up after the  first mile. But it wasn’t easy, this race, enshrined in PB folklore. The narrowness of the path: twisting, choka with runners, with plenty  of bashes, bumps and bruised knees to boot…. And of course the heat. There was talk of 32 degrees, I heard, at the start. It was  certainly stifling, down there in the dell, as we dashed along side the gentle brook, which meandered its leisurely way, seemingly  unconcerned by the sight of such sweaty convolutions. I checked the garmin; 6.20 for the first mile. Bloody hell not bad, considering the  disagreeable start. But, as I said, it wasn’t easy and maintaining that pace required no small degree of pushing, jostling and general  gerrymandering. But Graham pushed me, pushed me hard. He really is the perfect running partner: unrelenting and dogged; and I do like to think we’ve developed something of a symbiosis in our running relationship of late. In fact since we started sparring off each other, we’ve never been running better. It was nip and tuck the whole way, but Graham nudged it in the end. Still, not quite sub 20, but with a  new PB by 36 seconds, that 20 min mile stone is enticingly within reach.

There were other fine performances on the night, of course: Kevin ‘Cheetah’ down to 22.26 – oh! He’s got group 3 in his sights – and Sinead (Coffey), steadily grinding out the results and steadily improving; and not to mention on the sharp end, Chris Graham, who’s rise is nothing short of meteoric. But the final word has to go once again to the Old Shuffler: Graham you shuffle along at a pace which is NOT respectable for your age. I mean, where are the pipe and slippers!!!


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  1. Dear Santa, please can I have a dictionary this Christmas so I can understand some of the words used in Keith Rooney’s excellent race reports. Are these actually real or made up to impress the readers? DD

  2. Excellent report there Captain Rooney Sub-20 awaits soon. The start was treacherous, very similar to the Tynedale 10k. Elbows out and head down!.

    • Dave Moir on 19th July 2013 at 09:45
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    I’d say a subscription to Readers Digest would be the way forwad DD Great report Keith, exactly how I remembered it.

    • kenny mac on 19th July 2013 at 17:56
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    Keith you are fast becoming a legend in respect of your race reports over the last few months. One of the most improved runners at the club in the last year, keep up the good work

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