It’s taken me a few days to process this one!
The Gateshead Half Marathon and 10k has been going for two or three years now, I believe. Slightly confusingly, people round here often used to refer to the Great North 10k as the ‘Gateshead 10k’ – and the RunThrough-organised Gateshead 10k does follow a fairly similar route to the old Great North 10k route, starting and ending in Gateshead Stadium. It’s two laps and an extra bit for the half, but as I’m doing a lot of races on the bounce at the moment, I decided one lap was more than enough for me!
There were quite a few TMBR clubmates doing the half, so I was able to meet up with people en route to the race and hang out in the stadium beforehand. Braving the rain, we were off, along the track and out onto the road.
I wanted a PB. My existing PB was 1:04:41, set at the Sunderland 10k in 2021. I had come close with a 1:05:07 at the North Tyneside 10k three weeks ago, and that’s a tougher course by all accounts so I was hopeful. The strategy was to semi-chase the one-hour pacer for a while and then just try to hang onto the pace.
The elevation was roughly one mile downhill, four miles flattish, one mile uphill. I did manage to keep the pacer in sight for some time, and was also able to try and keep up with some half marathoning friends every now and again. The worst bit was actually when we crossed into Newcastle for an out-and-back that felt like it lasted forever! Back on the Gateshead side, around about mile five, there were some more TMBR folks (Benchies) out supporting as part of their Sunday social, which was a huge mental boost.
The final mile uphill was really tough, and every corner felt like it should be the turn into the stadium but wasn’t yet! But finally I was back on the flat track. Between the rain and the crowds I couldn’t see exactly where the finish line was, and so I mistimed my sprint, but to be honest I didn’t have much of a sprint left in me. I finished in 1:02:57 – a 1 minute 44 second PB! I am gradually starting to believe that sub-hour is possible this year. I have another 10k this weekend, in Sunderland – and I’ve always found Sunderland to be a fast course so it’d be great if I could shave a few more seconds off. We’ll see!
I really loved Gateshead 10k – well organised, great post-race experience and I do like finishing in a stadium. I will 100% be back next year – especially as they’ve just announced an extra distance, the Newcastle-Gateshead Marathon, which will be three laps of an extended version of the course! I won’t be doing the marathon next year as I’ve already got Manchester booked, but I am thrilled we’re going to have a marathon taking place in the centre of town here and am really looking forward to the atmosphere already. I’ll probably sneak in for the 10k again seeing as I enjoyed it so much this year!