June 19, 2016
…does that rhyme?…anyway, by the time i’d written this, my very first report, it became apparent the pro’s had already beaten me to it.
Still not to be outdone, here’s my perspective on my 1st Aycliffe 10k…
With no numbers sent out, the day started early and slightly overcast, we needed to reach Newton Aycliffe before 9.30am for registration and number collection. At 8.20am the knock came, I got lucky and squashed in the back with the lovely ladies, Stephanie and Shannel, with Gary driving and Brian in the front. We needn’t have worried about time, as we set off in Mr Curtis’ Audi time machine and quickly joined the entry slip of the A1 south, we seemed to be travelling so fast that I was convinced we would split the space-time continuum and arrive a whole day early.
With just enough time for some great craic on route, we were suddenly looking for the right turn into the community college car park, with plenty of time to spare.
Comments had been made on arrival of how well organised the race ahead looked. Police and marshals mingled, expensive full road closures already in place, with smiling TM staff waiting by their trucks (on double time no doubt), all this at £13 entry fee! We eventually found the ‘correct’ turn into the car park, found a space with no trouble and decamped and headed to registration, where we collected numbers and electronic chip timers for our shoes no less.
As we pinned, strapped and prepped up inside the school sports hall, we listened to some important new and interesting emergency first aid procedures from Mr Curtis, something about mouth to mouth I think? We casually eyed up the route on the wall before heading out again and immediately bumped into the remaining regular Team Birtley posse, Phil Atkinson, Peter Gill and Mark Hornsby. We all then headed up to the start point, but not before the sharp eyed of us managed to witness the fantastic sight of a Birtley AC vest coming through the finishing line in 1st Place, a certain young Mr Cain Mason proudly winning the 3k race! well done young sir.
photo Karen Newton
With the clouds slowly lifting, we got our first inkling that the weather was warming up and that didn’t suit the majority of us, especially one of the ladies who had enjoyed a curry the night before as proper race fuelling.
We reached the start line and the very gentle warm-ups began. Gary kindly offering to take the now seemingly excessive hoodies back to the car, as he also explained the 1 small lap, 2 big laps scenario that now confronted us. The warmth of the day became even more apparent and a short jog round the corner gave us the first sight of the ‘gently undulating’ route which now lay ahead.
The race began and to say it soon heated up was a bit of an understatement. It had seemed a while since i’d even noticed a water station on a 10k course, such had been my steady improvement, but now I was desperately looking forward to it. I soon looked on in some disbelief as Brian appeared in my left hand mirror and then sped past like he’d seen a vacant portaloo in the distance. As i tried to settle in to the first ‘little’ lap, with already heavy legs, controlled breathing was the best I could manage. I’d covered over 15 miles the day before, so not the best race preparation, nonetheless, I was determined if i turned up, i’d give it my best.
Plenty of support was shouted along the way from the public and marshals alike, as we made our way around each lap of the undulating course, with a regular shout of much needed encouragement from Gary, armed with a camera. After a sterling first half, Brian had eased off a tad and I tagged along with him for a lap, for some mutual encouragement. Acknowledging his first lap pace in this heat may have been a rash decision, he gave me the push to go on ahead, which i somewhat reluctantly did (i was enjoying the company), with just over a mile to go.
More ups and downs later, the end almost in sight, and a final shout from Gary on the home straight to ‘open my hips’? left me running my fastest final lap, as i ran away from him towards the finish line and a much needed drench of water.
After a painful exercise in removing those shoe timers, we gathered on the grass at the finish to see us all home safe, new t-shirts in place, we then found we’d collected a new runner under our wing. A young lady, running solo representing South Shields had joined our posse. She was warmly welcomed to the fold and to join our obligatory group photo,(far left) such is the camaraderie of the Birtley crowd.
photo Gary Curtis
Parting ways after another successful Team Birtley outing, the remainder of Father’s Day beckoned. For some that might mean being pampered for the rest of the day, a Sunday lunch perhaps?, at least a rest for others. ..For me, i’d been made to promise to go and look for a new bathroom suite as my better half was coming to drive me carefully to my next destination…an afternoon on the tiles.
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