The day dawned bright and warm for the last of the 2019 10k series at Scottow Enterpise Park, but a cloud hung over the future of the races at the airfield, the management still in talks with the Jags committee about our future there. It felt strange arriving to run in the Jolly Jaguars race rather than helping at the event, but as this was part of the Grand Prix series I had decided to give it a go. My niece was marshalling in my place, bribed with a bottle of Prosecco!
The race director gave his pre race briefing, he hoped it wouldn’t be our last race at the airfield, this was greeted with applause from over 700 runners. The race was two laps around the perimeter track, with marshalls at regular intervals cheering us on, there were pacers for those who wanted to achieve a certain time and cyclists patrolling the route keeping an eye on us all. I spotted at least 3 runners who had succumbed to the heat and were being attended to by first aiders, though luckily none needed hospital treatment this time. It was too hot a day for a personal best, for me anyway, but I was pleased with my place in age category and the very nice medal of course! An enjoyable and successful event, including the junior 2k and wheelchair race, all on the fast, flat and safe course, let’s hope this isn’t the end of the road for Coltishall Jaguars running events at the airfield.
What an amazing experience for a first half marathon! Every step along the 13.1 mile route was filled with a flood of cheering Geordie supporters, all offering goodies such as ice pops, sausage rolls, jelly babies and even beer! There were even several walk-through showers along the course to keep you cool. I’d never experienced such a great party atmosphere while running my furthest distance ever. ‘Enjoy it’ was my PT’s advice and I certainly did.
With 57,000 runners it’s not surprising that you cover quite a distance just walking to your pen. I’d been so obsessed with being hydrated enough in the heat that the need to jump the fence and join my fellow runners in the bushes for a quick wee seemed like the natural thing to do – so much so that I jumped the fence twice! It didn’t take long to get to the start line and once we were off I remembered to go left under the bridge to be rewarded with the ‘Oggy Oggy Oggies’ from above. Magic. Running across the Tyne Bridge was an iconic moment. I decided to head straight down the middle, little realising that a camera would capture the magic moment. Fab. At around mile 8 someone behind me was distracted eating their bag of Haribo that they stood on the back of my trainer, whipping it off my foot! It’s definitely not easy recovering your trainer in the middle of a road with so many runners heading towards you! Once I hit mile 10 an inner smile appeared – ‘just a parkrun to go’ – woo hoo! That’s when mile 11 arrived with a steep hill to climb followed by a rather steep descent trying to protect your knees. Your hard work over the last couple of miles is rewarded with a beautiful view of the sea as you enter South Shields – along with the never ending last mile to the finish line where you’re treated to jubilant faces, so many charity vests and time to share stories. Amazing.
My journey to the start line hadn’t been an easy one. I’d unexpectedly got a ballot place in the January, just when I couldn’t walk due to glute issues. Time, patience and effort got me to Newcastle and I can honestly say that it was definitely worth it – so much so that I’ve signed up for the next 3 years! If you get the chance, do it. Up the Toons!!!
Wissey Half Marathon The Wissey Half Marathon starts in Oxborough with a nice undulating route passing through the countryside of West Norfolk. It was a very nice, smaller scale race with around 300 runners taking part and was well marshalled throughout, and reasonably well organised although the queues for the portaloos caused a short delay to the start of the race. The weather for the race was good, with temperatures not too high, but the long incline through most of mile nine proved to be very challenging – I was certainly pleased that the last 3-4 miles were mainly downhill! Two Jags competed in this race with Sharon Jones achieving a great time of 2:03.31 and a Silver standard. There was also great support from Charlotte Read out on the course! Personally, I was very happy to achieve a new PB, knocking 1 min 11 off my previous best to claim 13th place overall.
GY Half This was my first time running the Great Yarmouth Half Marathon. It was a very well organised event with good facilities available at the Ormiston Venture Academy school prior to the start of the race – lots of room in the sports hall, food available in the canteen and toilets available within the school. With the race taking place in mid-August the temperature was warm as expected, what was less expected was the strong winds which made the conditions very challenging for running! Six Jaguars took part with everyone achieving great times in the conditions and Emma Penfold completing her first half marathon. The race was very well marshalled with a nice section running past Somerleyton Hall and it is certainly a race I would like to do again in the future.