The Blaydon Race 2013

Posted: 11/06/2013 in Event, Laughingly Called Training, Running

“Awaa wu went alang Collingwood Street tha’s on the raad to Blaydun..”

And that’s exactly what we did.

Yup, after last year’s Shower-A-Thon™ of a Blaydon Race (which I still enjoyed immensely) I had high hopes that this year could only be better weather. Getting up on Sunday morning, the sky was grey, it looked like it could turn out I was wrong. However, it held off raining, looked a little better, but still overcast. Or, to put it another way, perfect running weather.

It was warm enough that I stuck to shorts and my trusty Vegetarian Cycling & Athletic Club vest combo to head into toon* for the start. It’s fun wandering around town, seeing lots of other folks with numbers pinned, milling about. A few folk asked when it started, one wished me good luck and hoped I’d win… 🙂

As 2:30pm rolled around, I made my way down through the Bigg Market to the start – and it was just then that the skies opened. No, not like last year where it rained, here it was lovely warm sunshine. I also remembered the bottle of suntan lotion I’ve not bothered using when I left, because it looked a bit grey…

IMG_0651

3pm came, 3pm went – everyone was a bit edgy, 3pm is the start time, right? Then at 7 minutes past, the bell rang, then all the church bells rang and off we went! For the first time the race had chip timing, so you could tell where the start line was – GPS go, and away!

Given the upcoming Wall, and my ongoing wonky ankle, I was trying to take it easy (or so I thought), just having a little jaunt out on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Actually, it was quite remarkably sunny, and runners were heading into the shade whenever a bit came up. Much like last year, where the rivers crossing the road made people head for the pavement, at a couple of points I had most of the road to myself as everyone else bunched onto the pavement to get out of the sun.

Somewhere along Scotswood Road I ran past Tony the Fridge. The clue’s in the name – Tony is a bit of a North East legend, and he’s been at more races I’ve run than not, carrying a fridge on his back to raise money. He used to have a standard white fridge, but I think he’s gone a bit up-market and now has a spiffy orange Smeg fridge. It certainly looks a bit more aerodynamic, even if it also looks a bit heavier. Given that this was a good couple of miles into the race shows you that he goes at a fair old lick, even with a fridge. Reckon he could win it if he was ever allowed to take it off.

There were a lot more supporters out this year than last, and there’s nowt quite like having someone cheer or clap to keep you going – kids have got into the habit of holding out their hands for a high-five.

Over the Scotswood Bridge, which didn’t seem like the huge hill it did last year*** and onto the Other Side of the River. That’s the run into Blaydon, after a whistle stop tour of the Chain Bridge Industrial Estate, of course. And another bridge over the dual carriageway.

Into the town**** and a quick dog-leg before heading up to the playing fields. A few last-sprint-push runners came past, but I was busy with my run, not theirs, so I didn’t pay much attention. Over the line and there we go, stop the ol’ GPS and see what it says.

50:01.

Hmmmmm.

That’s about one second longer than I would have liked, to be honest.

Of course, my chip time will likely be slightly different, right, but can’t see it would be any less.

Hey ho, pick up my back (didn’t see a veggie option this year, so it was a ham sandwich) and off to pick up my t-shirt – couldn’t find the Geordie Food tent either, so no pickled onion.

Whoa! That’s a bright t-shirt that is. No need of a head torch with that on.

tshirtout

I think that could be Geordie Ridley in the picture there, who wrote the song. Though I could be properly wrong.

Then, a quick nip back on the bus to Toon (see, we’re getting the hang of this now) to pick up the car and then drive home.

Later, when the timings went up, I had a look, not that I’m bothered about my time or anything…

49:59

Uh-huh, sub-50, and like doing just the right amount of work to pass your exams, it was about as close as it could have been. 🙂

Rock on!

===

*That’s Newcastle for those not in the know – back in the day, when I first heard a crowd of Newcastle United football fans calling “Toon Army”** I misheard and though they were shouting “tsunami!”. Oh how I laughed, after running the length of Northumberland Street, worried about the advancing mega-wave.

**Well, there’s a lot of them, and they’re from the Toon, so why not?

***Thank you High Spen, I have learned from your hills.

****Not the Toon, this is Blaydon, not Newcastle we’re talking about now.

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