I keep meaning to try out Denton Dene, the new parkrun on the west side of Newcastle, but it might have to wait for a few more weeks. I decided on Rising Sun on Saturday morning, as I find it quite a peaceful place to run once you’re past the congested start.
Steady run with some progression towards the end got me round in 32:35, which I didn’t realise was a course PB until later that day! I had it in my head that I’d previously done 32:00 dead on, but it was actually 33:00. Nice to see more improvement.
Leazes next week as Geth is doing a rare parkrun again!
The Great North 10k used to be entirely in Gateshead, starting just outside Gateshead Stadium, heading out for an out-and-back along the Quayside, and finishing on the track inside it. I didn’t do it last year but I’m aware the route was changed so that it crossed one or two of the bridges and went along the Newcastle side of the Quayside for a bit, very similarly to the RunThrough Gateshead 10k that now takes place at the end of April (which I did for the first time this year). This year, they changed the route again, making it similar to the special 2021 route for the Great North Run where we all ran out halfway and then turned back. The difference was that as it was just a 10k, we turned back as soon as we got to the end of the Tyne Bridge – so we did pop into Gateshead, but only for a few seconds!
Still chasing that sub-hour 10k, I did some proper training for it this time with a couple of months of speedwork and higher mileage. Geth also offered to pace me as he was still recovering from his injury and wasn’t planning to race fast himself.
We set off too fast due to the downhill start. As with the GNR, this is hard to avoid. The bulk of the race after the Tyne Bridge out-and-back is a lot of twisting and turning in central Newcastle and I did start finding it a bit difficult to keep to pace at this point, especially when we went through what looked like the midway timing mats (quite a bit after 5k on my watch) in 30:08 and I knew I wouldn’t be able to match my first half. I kept up as best as I could up the hill to the Great North Road and the very tough final section along the gravel paths of the Town Moor to the finish line.
Geth paced it well but sub-hour still eludes me. I finished in 1:01:21, which was a 1 min 20 sec PB following my 1:02:41 at Sunderland in May. Getting closer. But not there yet.
Things that slowed me down on the day:
A less than easy course including the Town Moor’s notoriously tough gravel
Very strong winds, which in particular made the exposed Moor even tougher
The course measuring long on my watch (about 6.3 miles) – I know you have to allow for these things but the watch reckons I did 10k in 1:00:37! Swings and roundabouts…
As such, I know I can do it someday. Just need to find that golden combination of a fast course and good conditions.
It was lovely to be at the race with so many Benchies and to go for a pub lunch afterwards!
I’ve arranged one final crack at this distance for 2023. Geth and I are running the Leeds Abbey Dash in October. It doesn’t appear to be that flat (Yorkshire flat perhaps), so not the fastest of courses, but I am determined to give sub-hour another go.
Bit of a parkrun catchup post as I’ve not had much time for blogging recently!
A few weeks ago I went to Rising Sun for the first time in about five years. It used to be my go-to alternative parkrun when Town Moor wasn’t on, but then Leazes and Jesmond Dene started up in 2019 and I’d sort of forgotten about Rising Sun in the intervening time. It was really nice to try it again (I think I’ve now run it three times on three slightly different courses).
The week after that, I was parkwalking for the first time at Town Moor, as I had a race the following day. I understand the parkwalking role is different from the tailwalking role, but I found that there weren’t really any other walkers to encourage – there was (I think) one very fast walker and a few slow runners, but they were all quite a lot faster than my brisk walking pace and so I ended up hanging back with the tailwalkers and other parkwalker after all (all fellow Benchies so it was nice). We finished in just over 50 minutes so quite a fast field.
A week later, it was NHS celebration day, so I headed down to Jesmond Dene in one of my many blue race t-shirts. It was a lovely day for a run so I took it easy en route and enjoyed the cake afterwards!
Then last week, Geth and I were visiting the in-laws so I was back at Pendle parkrun. Incredibly, after trying and failing to break 35 minutes at Pendle for years, I somehow ran 32:46 without really pushing it! No idea where that came from! Really pleased though.
Finally, this last weekend, I was volunteering at Jesmond Dene – finish tokens in the torrential rain for an hour. What a difference a fortnight makes weather-wise… No photo as it was far too wet for a selfie.
I’m really enjoying a variety of parkruns at the moment and expect that to continue for the rest of the summer and beyond!
Finally got round to photographing the phone boxes along the road from Colne to Skipton. I’ve been meaning to grab these ones for years! There used to be three along this stretch but one seems to have disappeared. Here’s the first remaining one, in Kelbrook.