5.7 Miles, 58 Minutes, 52 Seconds
You’re probably aware that I’m from Newcastle, and am a staunch afficionado of all things Novocastrian. If you’re familiar with the city, you’re also likely to know that the song The Blaydon Races is woven into its fabric.
As such, as a keen(ish) runner and adorer of my place of birth, it’s a bit of an anomaly that I have never previously sampled the event which follows the path mapped out in the words to The Blaydon Races. Of course, this year’s extravaganza of events felt like the perfect chance to rectify that, so after much huffing and puffing over the stressful online queuing system, I secured a place a couple of months ago and have been looking forward to it ever since.
Unusually for an event, I purposely arrived early. This was partly because of a paranoia about the apparently enhanced security (which merely meant a few more smiling coppers with massive guns), and partly to soak up a bit of atmosphere. It was lovely – It felt a bit like a mini Great North Run, a theme which continued throughout with the bands and applauding spectators (who were much appreciated).
The whole good vibe carried me through an improbably quick first three miles – My times were 9.30, 9.38 and 9.32, which for me is incredibly quick, especially on hills – I’m normally happy with a ten minute mile. It probably helped that I ran the first mile with my unfeasibly swift mate Andy who set a good pace for me (before he went on to finish inside 48 minutes – the man’s a machine). I’m also reasonably familiar with the course because I’ve run Scotswood Road plenty of times on previous training runs, but I think most of the motivation stemmed from the good feeling in the air.
Naturally I slowed a little as the course progressed – I’m very familiar with the incline onto Scotswood Bridge from my runs from work, but I don’t normally have three and a half fast miles in my legs when I get there, so it was heavy going. I still had enough in the tank to power through though, and even coped pretty well with the moderately soul-destroying bit off the bridge where you’ve got to come back on yourself, a section which feels like it lasts forever.
I ended up completing the run in 58.32 (according to my timing), which I’m absolutely delighted with. The Blaydon Race has firmly taken its place as my favourite event so far this year, and I 100% want to do it again.
By the way, thanks for all the sponsorship of late. Your kindness really is pushing my legs on during those last couple of miles these days. Anyone else who fancies donating, you can chuck something in the pot here.
‘Oohhhh, me lads….’
Music: Ash – 1977 & Meltdown