The Scribbler

11 July 2012

Bridges of the Tyne 5 mile road race

It’s always fun to try out a new race, and this was a brand new addition to the North East’s racing calendar. New and fast growing club Tyne Bridge Harriers did a fantastic job of their inaugural race, getting all the ingredients right for an event that I hope will become a regular on the calendar.

I made my way down to Newcastle’s quayside straight after work, under grey skies and a persistent drizzle. Meeting up at the race HQ at the Tyne pub, I saw lots of familiar faces from parkrun and local running clubs, and it looked like it was set to be a very speedy crowd.

Runners hanging around before the start of the race

Catching up on running gossip ahead for the race (Photo: Mick Durnion)

I caught up with some friends and was able to wish good luck to Karen and her mum Isobel, running her first race in preparation for the Great North Run in September. And I caught up with a couple of girls I’d met at the start of the Blaydon Race. Running really is a very friendly sport.

I picked up my race pack, complete with number, and a very nice technical T-shirt and took advantage of the plentiful safety pins to get myself ready for a quick warm up, before a good walk back down to the Quayside to find the start line.

I hadn’t actually worked out where the start would be, and it was a good bit further along than I thought, but the walk, even in the drizzle was a nice warm up and the rain sodden skies weren’t dampening anyone’s spirits. Goodness knows what those drinking in the Pitcher and Piano thought of a stream of lycra clad runners passing by though.

No sooner were we all together than we were off and racing along the flat pavements of the quayside towards the Tyne Bridge, complete with Olympic rings.

With potential hazards of street furniture taped up or protected by marshals, I wasn’t aware of anyone having trouble negotiating the course, which is a fast out and back along beside the river. A few cheery spectators gave us a shout or a wave as we passed and the fishermen further up river looked on with amusement.

The route basically follows the smooth riverside paths, with runners passing beneath the Tyne’s bridges up towards the business park. Here there is a small incline to round the waymarker for the sea to sea cycle route and then it’s back along the same paths, giving slower runners like me a good chance to cheer on speedier pals.

Tyne Bridge with the Olympic rings

Costa del Quayside (Photo: Mick Durnion)

After my injury in the first part of the year, and my recent tri focus, I don’t feel like I’ve raced properly on a run other than at Blaydon this year. My thinking going into it, was just to give it a blast and see how my pace is coming along. So I went out fast, with a tactic of go hard and see how long I could keep going.

After talking to Ian on Monday night at our kettlebell session, I also tried to focus on shortening my stride and turning my legs over quickly, trying to run more on the mid/forefoot, rather than stretching my legs out and braking with a heel strike.

It felt good to be running quickly and just pushing it at the edge of where my breathing felt comfortable and where it began to get a bit too stressed out. I’ve been doing a lot of ‘running easy’ as I recovered and I still enjoy just easing into a longer run, but I need to remind myself of how it feels to run when it hurts a bit. My PBs didn’t come running easy.

With the wide pavements and space on the Quayside, I found I had plenty of space to run and very much ran my own race. I deliberately kept clear of the Garmin, just giving it the odd glance, but really running to feel and trying to keep pushing at the edge of what was comfortable

I’m sure I went through patches where I eased off to catch my breathing and I know I started to drift off my fast starting pace after two miles. But I was pleased I still had the mental race focus to keep pushing, find a rhythm and stay in the race.

I was chasing a group of three Tyne Bridge Harriers girls at the turn. They came past me on the grass, then I caught them, before one put on a spurt of speed and broke away. I ran alongside one of them for a while until she too dropped back.

But I can’t remember many passing me in the last two miles and as I started to really feel the strain, particularly with just over a mile to go, I kept trying to focus just ahead and inch in the distance to the next runner.

Me and a couple of all4Ali runners

Cathcing up with the All4Ali runners post race (Photo: Mick Durnion)

The next runner in this case was a girl in a blue t-shirt with a justgiving link written across the back of it. She had a few walking breaks and each time I tried to reel her in. But she must have been a tasty runner as, no sooner had I eaten away at the gap between us, than she lengthened it out again as soon as she started running. So I never did get close enough to read the whole of the link.

With the finish approaching and a few shouts of encouragement, I kicked it up a notch for a sprint over the line and was pleased to stop my watch with 44:xx on the clock. That’s an average of 9 min miles, and considering I’ve been running at more like 10 min miles recently, I’m very happy with that.

As I cheered in some of the remaining runners, I also caught up with the team in the blue fundraising T-shirts and was delighted to find they were from a group of local running and triathlon clubs All4Ali raising money for North of England Children’s Cancer research. I knew of their fundraising efforts from my Twitter pal Adi, who I ‘met’ at the Northumberland triathlon, so it was nice to hear how they were getting on and say hello. The north east running and triathlon world is a very friendly and supportive one.

Stats and stuff:

5 miles 44:27
1)  – 1m – 8:29(8:29/m) – 103cal
2)  – 1m – 8:48(8:48/m) – 104cal
3)  – 1m – 9:00(9:00/m) – 104cal
4)  – 1m – 9:07(9:07/m) – 105cal
5)  – 1m – 9:03(9:03/m) – 104cal

Race results



1 Comment »

  1. […] race the following night, but I still managed to coax a decent performance out of my legs for the Bridges of the Tyne […]


    Pingback by All three disciplines – weekly round up « The Scribbler — 16 July 2012 @ 12:15 | Reply

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