Race Review: Blaydon Race 2023

I’ve always had a bit of a ‘mare at the Blaydon Race in the past (see my 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022 posts), largely due to not being an evening runner. Evening running has traditionally given me a stitch. However, I’ve been practising over the last ten months or so by regularly going to the Monday night TMBR run, so I hoped this would be less of an issue this time.

I’d also never managed sub-hour at the race, even in years when the course was shorter due to aforementioned stitch issues and other things. It was meant to be the same route as last year (which had been about 6.1 miles on my watch) and I’m still two or three minutes away from a sub-hour 10k, so I thought it’d be a close thing (but was hopeful).

I had pasta for breakfast in order to try and rejig my stomach clock appropriately (as the race was due to start at 7:15pm) and nothing else during the day except a small breakfast-type snack late afternoon. I then left for the race with plenty of time to spare so that I could use the baggage bus and hang around with TMBR folks before the start.

It was the usual great atmosphere at the start area, and I was able to chat to plenty of folks I knew from various running groups. Bit of a nervous wait for the start, and I was a bit confused about where the start line was as everyone started running early (so I started my watch about 12 seconds before the actual timing mat!), but once we got going it was a nice fast race and I had to be really careful not to sprint off. This is a real advantage of the new Quayside start – it avoids all the bottlenecks we used to have in the centre of town, although it is a shame it doesn’t quite match the song as well these days!

I managed to hold a slightly faster and steadier pace than I’ve been doing in my 10ks recently – 9:40 min mile average, slowing from about 9:20 min miles at the start to just under 10 min miles by the end. I don’t think this would quite have got me in under the hour if it had been a full 10k, but thankfully the course turned out to be only 5.8 miles by my watch this year (no idea why, it was the same route as last year!) and I finished in 56:24! Finally a sub-hour by some margin, and a 4 min 11 sec Blaydon PB!

I still have a lot of running demons left to slay but Blaydon was a pretty big one. I’ve been trying since 2017 and I finally had a good race.

Of course I’ll be back again next year though – the unique race atmosphere is too good to pass up, especially now I’m finally able to enjoy it properly!

Benchies at Blaydon
TMBR group pic at the finish. Thanks to Rach from TMBR for the photo.

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