Definitely an Alternative Blaydon report. Thanks for that, Simon. As I’m never at the front I’ve never had this perspective! And well done on your PB.
The Alternative Blaydon 2017
“Aa went to Blaydon Races, ’twas on the ninth of Joon,
Too thoosan’ an’ seventeen, on a summer’s efternoon”
2016 – The Blaydon Scrummage
2017 – A more sedate/boring start
First and foremost I have to say I love Blaydon, well to clarify that a little. I love the Blaydon start, not the race start obviously, that’s just like every other race start being squashed up against sweaty blokes and having water bottles and t shirts being thrown past your head which is not my preferred way to spend a Friday evening, that’s much more of a Saturday thing.
No, I’m talking about the real Blaydon start, the ‘who is going to make the first move into the pen’ scramble. 2016 was a great start, a modern day classic if you will. The lone marshal standing in the centre with outstretched arms, one to fend off the barrier jumpers on the right and the other to stop the stampede that is the Poly hurtling towards him down the centre, he stood no chance but fair play to him for giving it a go. 2017 and a sudden change to the starting system almost scuppered our plans. A decent Poly group had gathered at the bottom of the Bigg Market and barrier fences were unclipped and ready to be lifted once the first brave runner had made a move, then an announcement for all runners to join at the back of the Cloth Market changed things. Well it changed things for those runners that moved but not the Poly, Low Fell and Heaton Harriers who all stood firm in their preferred spots, the first runner made a move and we were off, barriers lifted a quick duck under the starting banner and using Terry ‘the battering ram’ Brown as my cover, I was at the front, a little more twisting and turning and I made it to the third row, best Blaydon start ever!
Anyway, onto the boring stuff about the race and the baggage buses etc…
Blaydon was a tester run for me, I’m running particularly well but a bad NT 10k, followed by a PB at Terry O’Gara 5k and a reasonable Clive Cookson 10k, meant I needed a confidence boosting run to head into racing season. My pre-race fuelling of Ricky’s wine gums had set me up well and I was determined for a good run. The bell sounded and we were off, I had been standing next to Ivan Thorn at the start but as with every race he starts like Usain Bolt and was soon out of sight but also like Usain Bolt he was done after 200m and I soon passed him.
It was warm and it was windy but I was feeling strong, I could see Claire McManus from the Poly up ahead and spent the first 2 miles trying to reel her in, first 2 mile splits of 6:23 and 6:23 felt ok but a hard 3rd mile started to take its toll. Started thinking my pace had dropped off a lot but the third mile split of 6:20 was good to see.
A surprised Dave Stainthorpe passed me just before the switchback, his comment at the end of the race of “I could see a Poly runner up ahead and wondered who it was, couldn’t bloody believe it when it was you” was one of the finest compliments I have ever received on my running. Obviously you have to pick away at the layers before you find the actual compliment but I knew what you meant Dave! It ranks up there alongside “just get a bloody move on Simon will you” which was uttered at me with a shake of the head and a look of utter disgust during a 5K round Wallsend a few years back. I got that one printed on a motivational quote poster with a picture of a really sad looking kitten; it gets me through the hard times.
A quick jump forward and I’m tired, hot and sweaty and I went through 5 miles still keeping good pace, last 1km and loads of Poly support out in force to push me through the sprint finish to cross the line in 36:15, taking 2:33 off my Blaydon PB and making me 8th Poly runner home. A massive PB and I celebrated in true athlete style with lots of gloating, eating 2 packets of crisps, drinking half a bottle of red wine and eating a kebab.
And a plate of chilli pasta.
And some chicken nuggets and chips.
And the other half of the bottle of wine.
Some quality Poly performances on the night and top dogs were Graeme Cook 30:04, Michael Parkinson 33:03, Michael Hindmarch 33:40 and Steph Dann 34:13, Jacky Penn 36:40 and Claire McManus 37:05.
And a packet of wine gums.
And 2 cups of coffee.
Next up for me is Bridges of the Tyne 5 miler and Sunderland 5K and hopefully the good form will carry me through those. If not I will drown my sorrows in kebabs, pasta, chicken nuggets and red wine.
Plimsolls on, eyeballs out and keep eating those wine gums.