6.3 Miles, 1 Hour, 6 Minutes, 46 Seconds
I know I was reasonably positive after my last event, the Cragside 10k, but over the last couple of weeks, I’ve not really been looking at it particularly fondly. It felt like a little bit of a failure how much I struggled with the hilly terrain, and although I’m glad I did it, it’s not one I’m in a rush to revisit.
The North Tyneside 10k is something I’ve been viewing differently in the run-up, though. As a Wallsend boy, it’s a part of the world I’m extremely familiar with, and not only that, it’s a setting I absolutely adore – perhaps one of my favourite stretches of scenery anywhere that I’ve ever been actually.
Course-wise, I knew it wasn’t going to be as challenging (okay, horrible) as Cragside, because it’s relatively flat so I was just looking forward to being able to toddle along the sea front enjoying the scenery.
Oh man, it was fun. I genuinely can’t remember having enjoyed a run that much in a long time. I’ve banged on before about how much I love being by the water, so the fact that all bar about half a mile was along the quay/sea front means that clearly this is a course pretty much tailor-made for me.
The conditions were excellent too – not too cold, and not too much of a wind on the sea front, so I was able to just trot through the run at a bit of a cruise. I probably had three or four walking breaks, but I don’t think any of them exceeded two minutes, and the rest of the time I was just on auto-pilot.
I took over four minutes off my Cragside time, and actually I think if I’d pushed myself even more I could probably have done it a bit quicker. The course was a bit congested at times, which didn’t help, mind. It’s a bit surprising that North Tyneside Council don’t close more stretches of road along the coast for a little while during the run (or maybe they do and I was just too slow to benefit from it!).
That’s not such a major issue for a not-that-serious runner like me, though, and the occasional bout of congestion was more than counteracted by the friendliness of the atmosphere on the course. I found the number of supporters out on the route quite surprising and it draws obvious parallels between this event and the closing stages of the Great North Run, with the coastal home straight lined by people cheering and clapping. I think that triggered memories which helped me keep my walking breaks down to a minimum in the latter stages.
All in all, a massively positive experience, and one I’m keen to repeat next year.
Don’t forget, there’s a very good reason I’m doing this stuff, so any sponsorship is hugely appreciated.
Music: Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out & One Beat