Jokes in Urban Planning

Posted: 29/04/2012 in Uncategorized

Sunday – land of the Long Slow Run.

I’ve been unsuccessfully aiming to up my longer run for a few weeks, but life has had a habit of getting in the way. However, today was looking promising, and I decided a nice 8-mile jaunt would be a good plan. I know that the pub by the harbour at Seaton Sluice is a round seven mile return, so only half a mile or so more and I’m there. But how much further is half a mile?

I set off into the howling gale of the North East coast feeling pretty upbeat, I had a plan, I had some shoes, and I had clothing that would do the job – back in tights tray and a gilet for good measure against any rain that might show up. It’s a bit of a confused wind we get here, blowing all directions at once and never one way for more than a moment. It wasn’t phasing me today, which I took as a pretty good sign. Loading up on carbs with a big plate of pasta yesterday lunchtime seems to have been a good move, and also didn’t leave me feeling heavy this morning, having had time to work its way through the ol’ pipework.

Along the coast, past the Mini Golf and around the caravan park, all good and I’m feeling pretty chipper. Trying to hold back to a decent pace, imagining that this is part of my training for the Hadrian’s Wall half marathon at the end of June. Somewhere around the 9:40 mark, I reckon, and well within my race aim of keeping to a ten minute mile.

Up to Seaton Sluice now, and the slight incline up the road is just fine. Through the scenic side of Seaton Sluice, with a view out to sea and along to the pub at the far end. As I approach the pub, there’s a row of houses built right on the cliff edge. I’ve been past them a number of times and only just now noticed the sign on the end of the street, “West Terrace”. Given that we’re right on the edge of the eastern coast of the country, it strikes me that some Town Planners decided to have a little joke here – you couldn’t have an East Terrace unless you invested in some pretty hefty waders, and maybe a small boat.

Past the pub and along the start of the dunes that lead to Blyth – watching the mile counter creep up – finally reach four miles just before the far end of the houses in Seaton Sluice and cut back up to the road for the return. Back along to the pub  and along the front. As I was coming along, I noticed a cliff-top path. Now, I’m a sucker for a trail, so I cut onto it on the way back, hoping it would bring me out at the top end of the headland past the Lighthouse. Right enough, after a proper buffeting, exposed to 360 degree winds I wend my way out into the carpark and head onto the trail along to the Links. Along the path, and I neck a gel – I’ve discovered that the High 5 ones are palatable and I’ve trained my guts not to rebel at the sight of them, They certainly give a bit of a lift to the legs, and whether that’s physiological or mental, it does the trick.

Onto the Links now, and someone else heading back from the Lighthouse starts to tail me – it’s a fun feeling, like you’re running with some competition, and I have to hold back not to try and dash away (not that hard given that I’m over six miles now). Along the cliff tops, past the waterlogged Mini Golf, and to the stream that cuts down to the beach. Rush down the stairs, up the other side and onto the promenade along the beach. Still being followed and pretty much matched for pace.

Part way along the Promenade, I’ve got into the habit of plodding up a big slope onto the top again – I figured it would be good training for trails, it’s way steep and it feels good to top out and push on after you’ve done it. Hmm, still being followed, still being matched. Along past the Spanish City and the Promenade to the end of the run – nothing very eventful, but with 8 miles under my belt I stop for a drink (and breathe) and the running-stalker goes past me with a jaunty wave.

A little bit of camaraderie goes a long way.

All in all, a grand run, and a new distance for me. Next week I’m planning on 9 miles, with the aim of building up each week until the half marathon.


  • Distance: 8.07 miles
  • Time: 1:15.29
  • Average pace: 9’22”


  1. Deana morris says:

    You’re rocking that mileage aren’t you. Well done.

    • I’m trying Deana – got a fair bit of work to do ahead of the trail half marathon in June! Eight miles is groovy, but it’s five short of where I need to get to, so a good bit of building up still to go… 🙂

      Knees are sore tonight, but I think that’s the damp – were fine until the rain started…

  2. Deana morris says:

    Don’t go overtraining. You can add on one mile a week and still have a good rest before the run knowing you can make it. You don’t have to do 13 miles to know its reachable. Or why don’t you try distance over pace and see if you can do the distance. The excitement of the day will pick up your pace, surely?

  3. Good advice Deana – reckon I’m on for the distance rather than the pace, the day will take care of itself if I look after my legs. Still getting the hang of the whole tapering whatnot, as it’s only my second proper race… 🙂

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