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by Val Baxter

December 12, 2016

Aykley Heads 2016

This tale started a week early, as we ventured to the course behind Durham County Hall. Sunday run is regularly round Beamish woods but I am under immense pressure from Youngy to find a different route each week, and this was a pre-determined route that I couldn’t be blamed for.

So we met at the back of the new police headquarters, Messrs Newby, Atkinson and Drummond, myself, and the ‘mum’ of the group, Mrs Young. It was surprising when we got to the site how many people had the same idea; the odd dog walker, but several runners trotting round trying to work out the course, we couldn’t quite work it out, but got a general idea.

So, a week later on. I was going to have an easy run Thursday, but club business held me up, and I ended up running almost race pace through to Low Fell and back!! It was a nice day for running, actually may have been a bit warm, but I travelled to the race with Adrian and Chloe. Just Adrian and myself running, Chloe having a ‘knackered knee’. It was a bit surreal when we arrived, to me, there didn’t seem to be many people there, and I mean generally, not just our club.

I jogged the course, with young Mr Turnbull, showing him the extra bit that had been added to make the championship course different to the harrier league course. This was Ian’s second time racing here, but my first. The last twice I have been there I just watched, first time on sticks, second time I just didn’t fancy it. I didn’t have any excuse this time, so we had a look at what to expect.

No cheese cake this week, but once again YB steps up and provides the cake. Showing that I am indeed generally speaking performing the role of being everything to everyone.

I introduced people round the tent to the knife and Xmas cake then set off to the start. I worried before the start cos I am having bother with my big toe, the one on my poorly foot. Feels like I have a stone in my shoe constantly. So twice in 30 yards I stopped on the way to start line to rearrange my spikes.

I started from the back as I do these days, and just took it easy for the first lap, I like to know the course properly before I start working round it. The first lap was actually ok, I managed to get halfway round before I slipped, even with 12mm spikes in. But after the whole lap I realised there was nothing too bad and so started to work harder on the second lap. When the third lap came round I was quite comfortable, Geoff Robinson passed me at the beginning of the lap but no one else got me. I made sure of that by trying to keep up with Geoff, couldn’t though. 😢

There was a big shout from Gary on the last hill that spurred me on and I chased all the way to the finish determined not to get caught in the run in. One of my goals was to not get lapped, failed that one, just on the last hill there were about 4 came storming past me *sigh*

There were about a dozen of us in our race, which is good, as I remember years when there was, like me and two others in a race like this. Strangely, and I could be wrong here, but I think we were all vets apart from Adrian. After the race we wrapped up and went to shout the women through.

We had no one in the final race, so proceeded to eat the cakes and fold the tent away ready for the ‘next one’

BUT, club activities didn’t stop there, 22 of us went to restore energy, and rehydrate at Le Raaj. (other restaurants are available). A great night with great people.

Then, there were only four of us out this morning running… Apart from the youthful athletes, that could either be a measure of the effort put in on the course, or the measure of the night out. 😏

Merry Christmas to all our readers…….YB

Posted in Race report 3 months ago Permalink


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