Over one hundred Poly runners gathered in the Bigg Market once again at the start of the Blaydon Race. For once we were blessed with good weather-neither torrential rain or asphalt-melting sun. Once again the masses were held back outside Balmbra’s while the (mostly) club runners were penned in front of the cathedral. This seems to work much better and means less squashed runners lying about in Collingwood Street. With the wind behind us we set off round the roadworks beside the Union Rooms and by the time we arrived at the Centre of Life runners were sorted, and there didn’t seem much jostling for room after that.
Hurrah! The dreaded humped bridge at Chainbridge Industrial Estate was left off the route. I know it’s in the song (We flew across the Chain Bridge) but is that a good reason to include it in the race! Besides it isn’t the sort of bridge anyone could fly over after three miles of racing. So hopefully this will be the route from now on. As in the past three years, the race ended at Shibdon Ponds fields but this year the baggage area seemed to be better organised and easy to find.
The results were out fairly swiftly (via the Results Base website https://www.resultsbase.net/event) and Poly claimed many prizes, particularly in age categories. First male Poly athlete in was Graham Cooke (29.29, 16th) Followed by Michael Dawson (30.10, 27th) then Guy Bracken 30.55, 40th. Currently as results go Guy is showing as 2nd in his age category. Other age category winners were John Brown (4th in age category) and Ian Richardson (3rd).
Jackie Penn was first female Poly runner in (33.13, 8th ) and was first in her age category as well as featuring on the front page of the Evening Chronicle Blaydon race supplement with her dad, Greg. Stephanie Maclean Dann was also in the Chronicle supplement and was 2nd Poly female in (35.09, 13th). She was also 2nd in her age category. Katherine Davis was 1st in her age category (36.54, 26th). Alison Cummings was first in her age category in 39.21.
Once again the Blaydon Race was well organised with excellent goody bags (where else would you get a ham and pease pudding stottie and a bottle of specially brewed beer at the end of a race?) and a unique atmosphere. Maybe we should try and beat the Tyne Bridge total of over 150 runners for next year?