Tony ‘TC’ Carter sends in this report form his ‘pb tastic’ day out in ‘the boro’
Coming into this weekend with two races in two days, there are many things that you just have to ask yourself: will I be able to do both races and do well for both? Should I conserve my energy for the first, so I have a better chance for the second? Where would I prefer to race: Mackem Sunderland or Smoggie Middlesbrough? As a Geordie, I found the last of these questions the hardest to answer.
After the exciting Farringdon XC Relays on Saturday, all attention turned on Sunday’s Tees Pride 10km, where I had wanted to get that ever so elusive PB that has remained static and been mocking me since doing the Klagenfurter Adventlauf back in 2009 in Klagenfurt, Austria, running 33:51 under the name “Tomy Carter”. After all that time, I was resolute in getting a new PB to my (correct) name, and to add this one to the few I’ve got over the year. I had a feeling that this would be my last chance for a 10k PB too: I feel I would be taking the wrong bike at the Memorial 10k so soon after the Venice marathon that I am doing to pace a friend around, and the Saltwell 10k would be a difficult one to do without the right weather and a sledge to go with it.
On the sunny but cool day, the TBH lot prepared themselves for the race ahead of us. Fortunately, things were already looking up from the start: the legs of the three runners from yesterday’s relays (mine, Shaun Brown and ‘whippersnapper’ Nick Pearson) were in shape for the race, there was no mad dash to the start by anyone, and no one had any sudden need to relieve themselves (at least not right before the start, anyway). The race started at 10.45 and everyone was off! I had respectfully refused to move in front of Shaun before the start in respect for my elders after he allowed me to, as this was my race plan to take it at a steady and even pace anticipating a hurried start. The first mile was all about settling into a decent pace, taking this at 5:20, passing anyone who went with the strong front group.
The second mile was about keeping that pace up as the body got used to what it was going to handle as the course dished out a few slight climbs and descents. I thought all was well, what with still being able to see the front group, passing others etc. But then came the 4k mark. Last time I had looked behind a km earlier, there were a group of runners about 10 metres behind, aka “groupe Carter” to Shaun if it were le Tour de France (obviously said in a French accent), and I was in a trio on the nice gradual decent to the halfway point, now feeling a bit of burn. “Just gotta keep it up” I said to myself, going through 5k in 16.30. I was on course for a 33 minute 10k, but I knew the Farringdon race was catching up to me.
Farringdon wasn’t the only thing that was catching me. From 6k, I thought some of the lads had caught back up to me, but to my surprise it was Rosie “the running rose with thorns that stings like bees” Smith of Durham that was on my neck. Worse was that my legs were going in arrears from the day before feeling the same sting as I did up those final hills. 8k, up a few tricky part of the course and the wind was blowing towards us (i.e., me, as groupe Carter’s wind shield) and expecting Rosie just to say “thanks for the ride but I’m
finishing with you, bye!” and run off into the distance, but the roadside band provided some motivation through “Sex on Fire” and “Dakota” when the pain got worse, and I just had to run through it all.
Seeing the 9k flag somehow gave me a second dying breath and tried to use whatever I had left to take me to the finish. The final 400 metres were immense with crowds on each side and applauding loudly, that loud in fact I thought the vibrations in my ears were going to make me hoy up! Seeing the time at the end was a relief that I got a PB, but not before a New Marske runner got me to the finish having no speed after using up what little speed I had on Saturday, of all the cheek! Still a PB though, and my name was correct too! (With thanks to some organising on his behalf, it didn’t spell “Andy Harrison” and I’ll be owing the lad a pint for the number for making the change.) Not far behind came the main chasing group with Shaun PBing for 10k and super V50 Keith Smith just missing out on a sub 34. James Dunce followed after 35 mins with a PB and DD1 came home after 38 minutes, followed by Nick Varley, coming home with a PB after trying to keep up with Daniels at the beginning of the race. Nick ‘whippersnapper’ Pearson PB’d even after doing the relays and PBing for 5k at the Sunderland parkrun the previous day, followed by Herr Kaiser Keith ‘Wayne’ Rooney, also PBing but complaining somewhat. Graham ‘the old shuffler’ King, Kev “get down Saturday night” Cheetham, Natalie Ohlson and Lizzy Clamp completed the team. DD2 came as support/TBH cheerleader/photographer, who I wasn’t sure why he didn’t race but I guess it must have something to do with not messing his hair up? Nevertheless, another good day for the Black and White! (I don’t mean Middlesbrough & Cleveland Harriers, by the way)
Tony ‘TC’ Carter