Sunday, 22 April 2012

Wallsend Harriers Terry O'Gara Memorial 5K

Out for 35 miles (a la velo) picking up the local 5k which was shoe-horned into a bright spell in between showers. It started at Segedunum. I quote ...'In A.D.122 the Emperor Hadrian ordered a  frontier system' (big wall and some forts) to be built across Britain to defend the Roman Empire from the barbarians to the North (Perhaps a bit harsh...)
'The result was Hadrian's Wall, a 73 mile barrier stretching from the River Tyne in the east to the Solway Firth in the west. Segedunum stood at the eastern end of the Wall'.  Wonder if the Romans raced around the roads all those millenia ago.  Looked like a double win for hosting club Wallsend Harriers (more photos on flickr).
Results at

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Sweat, Swoon & Wobble

In sporting terms its been an up-and-down week. I hobbled out of last Sundays run after 14 miles with knee trouble. Monday was the same after 9 miles so the latter part of the week has been pretty much mile free albeit that I cruised around Thursday's session of 9 miles around the lanes while those around me sweated, swooned and wobbled (I wasn't doing any of the sprints they were engaged in). I need to start stretching again and booking in some ceiling-licking physio time. To make matters worse, woke up to a tight Achilles today. What a finely tuned athlete I must be!

Tuesday was an easy 23 on the bike and today I buttoned up my Sowesters like the character out of 'Skegness is Bracing' poster and put in a steady 25 on the bike, picking up the back end of the Wansbeck 21 mile time trial. Because of my tardiness and generally fannying aboutness, I arrived late and missed half the field so the photos (see the flickr site) are only of the last half of the field.
The weather was as you would expect of April; but just so much more bizarre - the rain showers, downpours and the sun bursting out in between with steam rising off the pot-holed asphalt and the birds giving it large on the tweeting front. We'll see what tomorrow brings for the long Sunday run. 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Keep it Smooth

I’ve never been overly bothered about the grief I have got from shaving my legs for a bike race. Its not that odd. That’s probably because I hung out with cyclists and it was the norm.  I have never been a very good time triallist. Its all technique and power. Smooth riding to keep aero-dynamic. Its a discipline and my old teacher used to say I was undisciplined. My fastest time for a ‘10’ was a slow 23 in Redcar back in '82 - So long ago I saw it in the antiques roadshow once. 

So it was with some anticipation that me and one of my running partners had entered the Ryton 18mile 2 up – a two man (or woman) affair. It was his idea. But I liked it. As it was, it was pretty chilly on Saturday afternoon when we unloaded the bikes out of the car and checked in at Ponteland. The bikes were good to go, the riders less so. As we looked around at the other 40 or so teams we made some nervous jokes, some about the retro, old skool gear and about whether we’d be caught be Ryton Tri’s Batey Sisters who were the duo setting off 2 minutes behind us. 

Our aim was to finish within the hour. On a very undulating course with stretches of crap surfacing we reckoned that was achievable, but not certain. Last team to set off in this race against the clock, this 'race of truth', included John Tanner, former twice British Road Race Champion. It would be disappointing if we were caught by him. Or would it? After clearing the pungent traces of embrocation left in the air by riders around us from my nose, we lined up at 14:34pm and pulled off following the count-down.  There was a choppy headwind for the first 6 miles as we headed up to the Gubeon turn. Getting a rhythm was difficult owing to the long drags and small rises but at the turn we began to turn a bigger gear and felt some benefit from the sidewind.  There was also a little support for us along the course which was appreciated.

No one had passed us by mile twelve as we leant into the left turn at Belsay, the two marshalls slowing the traffic just enough for us.  But as we pedalled on, I heard the unmistakable whirrr of a disc wheel coming up behind. Was this the sisters? Seemingly not. It was No.39 with no team-mate. He was travelling. But travelling solo. Nice style. He disappeared into the distance in a whirr of lycra.

We were maxed out for gears with a tailwind toward the end, taking it up to around two and a half minute miling and were looking for gears we didn't have on the downward stretches. and then it was over. Good fun and super quad and cardiac workout. Will certainly shoe horn in another next month, maybe down Teesside.  Fifty one minutes for 18 miles and no sign of the Bateys or the Tanner. Did my smooth legs have anything to do with this. Not likely. Mr T. finished in thirty eight minutes though so some way to go still.         

Monday, 9 April 2012

Morpeth Duathlon & another 30 miles

Out for another 30 leg bending miles on the bike after spending half an hour watching the hundred or so duathletes kicking off the inaugural Morpeth event. We cycled round the course in the opposite direction to see them marvelling at their speed and paucity of clothing after the first 7.5km run.
Photos of first run in the gallery

Got the start sheet for this weekends two up Ryton time trial. There's 40 teams in for it. Maybe shoe horn in another couple of bike sessions this week. I've no illusions of doing anything in the race but it'll be good to take part.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

North Tyneside 10k 2012

Forty miles on the bike, two thousand hardy runners at this years 2012 North Tyneside 10k and one hundred and twenty photographs of pain and glory: Photographs up now at

 If you did it, nice one. Have the rest of the day off.
Results at

Friday, 6 April 2012

Elswick Relays 2012

A good turnout today on a cool spring bank holiday for the Elswick Relays 2012 in Newcastle. The course was changed this year to accommodate some pylon refurbishment (yep, even pylons need to look their best) but the flat course was still reported to be around 2.2 miles, so the times should be broadly comparable with previous years. Results coming soon, but some photos in the meantime on the flickr site (click on right hand image). Its might be a busy weekend with the camera  with the North Tyneside 10k on Sunday and the new Morpeth Duathlon on the Monday.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Blyth Valley Transped 10k

After a hard session on Thursday, I opted for an easy Friday and Saturday getting out on the bike for 25 miles both days. The wind direction changed on Saturday morning and me and my budding time trial partner had our first work out yesterday afternoon, the first 14 miles or so into a stiff cross and headwind before an easier cruise back from Druiridge Bay. This morning the sun was up and I thought I may as well have a run out at the Blyth 10k.

Its not a bad course and quite popular but can be quite exposed in places much of it run along the coastlines and through shallow, hummocky dunes. There were plenty of dog walkers out and about and, as just over 400 of us all set off, I only hoped that Fenton wasn't one of them. I had tagged onto an Alnwick runner at 2 miles and stayed behind him till mile 4. I passed the 3 mile mark in 17:25 but with a tailwind . On the way back I began to tire and with a stiff crosswind the runner in front clung to the inside kerb and I couldn't get any shelter and soon dropped back, being passed in the last mile by 2 Wallsenders and a Low-Feller fella.
Finished 37:26 (40th) -  fine.  Grabbed my T shirt, said well done to all, did a slow 2km warm down and made a quick getaway. The boss was on hand to snap a few photos which are on Flickr.  Results are at