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Lord Lawson of Beamish

by Val Baxter

May 18, 2015

May Race Reports from Pat Kelly

Les Allcorn 10k
5 May 2015 at 19:00

The sun finally started to shine at about 4pm before the long trek to Alnwick. This was after a cold and wet Bank Holiday weekend. My only thoughts were that if the rain has continued then it would be a lot harder race. The only major issue with the travel was the roadworks starting from those at the Team Valley to those within Alnwick itself.

The race is a hidden gem within the North East Race calendar – hard, scenic and a lot of fun. There is a junior fun run before the main event and the nice thing is the junior competitors receive a T shirt for completion. The race is as expected in a country setting and not urban. It is definitely scenic and well worth the trip, even if it does mean missing a Tuesday training night. The race is wholly held within Hulne Park which is just on the outskirts of Alnwick, and is a multi terrain race covering most types of terrain except sand. The course has changed slightly from the last time I ran it with the start and finish points changed but overall the majority of the course is the same.

The race starts off with undulations covering the first two miles or so – this is along private roads within the Park. The race then goes onto tracks/paths beside the river. The major obstacle in the past with the tracks/paths was the size of the gravel used – it was of a size enough to hurt the soles of your feet. The gravel is now not as bad as it used to be. The final K’s of the race are where the start of the race used to be. It was definitely easier to run this part at the start of the race rather than at the end due to the undulations through the tracks/paths and road to the finish. The overall course was harder than the three previous races completed in April.

The final mile or so was harder than expected (the pace was between three/four minutes slower than the previous mile) but more than made up with the knowledge that I had finished. The pain in the legs after the race and for a few days afterwards was the sign of a hard race and the effort put in.

The overall organisation of the race from Alnwick Harriers was great, straight from before the start of the race with car parking to the marshalling etc., a big thank you to them.

NEMAA Road Relay Championships, Bedewell Park, Jarrow 6 May 15
18:30 – Senior Ladies
19:15 – Senior Men
This was a relay race comprising two laps of the paths around Bedewell Park in Jarrow. The conditions were better than the cross country earlier in the year, albeit slightly windy with overcast conditions. Occasional downpours before, during and after the race did not dampen spirits.

Birtley had two teams competing in the senior Men’s race and one in the senior Ladies race. The Senior Ladies team finished third a marvellous achievement. 11143086_10153287820238007_3516102440501991615_n

The hardest part in registering one of the senior men’s teams was determining ages!

The course was flat and winding, it covered the perimeter of the cross country course. I still had the after effects of the previous days race in the legs and they felt really heavy going round. The time taken to finish the two laps reflected this – but on the night I could not have given any more. Indeed a fine effort from all of Birtley who competed, once again all giving their best.

Thanks once again to Team Birtley for their support to all competitors during the race. Staying around till the last finisher had completed had its compensation with some free cake kindly supplied.

17 May 2015
Raby Castle 10K


There was a choice of races to compete in today. Either the Pier to Pier or the Raby Castle 10K. I entered the Raby Castle 10K before I was aware the Pier to Pier race was on the same day. If I had not then it would have been a very difficult choice to make otherwise.

Pedro and I made the long trip to Raby Castle setting off at appx 8:30. We arrived at Raby Castle with plenty of time to spare before the race began. Even had time to enjoy a cup of tea in the tea rooms before the race. The weather was sunny but with a bit of a wind blowing in the less sheltered parts of the course. There was a strong Birtley AC contingent racing today at Raby Castle and no doubt the Pier to Pier race was also well supported.

The Raby Castle 10K is set within the grounds of Raby Castle. The views from certain parts of the course are breathtaking and well worth the visit.

The course itself is not flat in its entirety. It comprises two laps within the grounds, on tarmac, woodland, grass and road. It starts off with a flat 400m and then there is a long drag up the first hill. The course then turns to the left and passes through one of the farms on the Estate. It is up and down at this part of the course. This is the windiest part of the course and it felt as if you were being pushed backwards. The Farm is a winding part of the course before the downhill part along country road to woodland and then making your way back to the first long drag of a hill. The hardest part of the course was the 200-300m section from the end of the wood to the water feature.

The water feature – provides the most scenic part of the course. The Castle could be seen in its full glory at this stage.

Minimal training in the past two weeks meant the finishing time was not as good as it could be. Saying that it was a hard race with maximum effort put in. Only a minor suggestion to make at the end of the race. Would it be possible to provide a sugar free option for the cake given to all competitors at the end of the race.

Photos of the race courtesy of Karen Newton and John Geddes can be seen on our Flickr page.

Roll on Wednesday night and the Clive Cookson 10K at Monkseaton.

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