Race report from Nina Jensen:
Red Kite Trail Race – best value race in the North East
I entered this race on a whim after getting a flier at another event. At £4 for club runners this was a quarter of the price of the slightly bigger 10k taking place on the same day.
View from the start line
The race started after a ring of a cowbell from the community centre at Dipton near Stanley and after a short run down the front street we turned onto the trails, down gravel tracks, over styles and a long stretch through a grassy field (for some reason I had the timotei ad music in my head at this point).
The downhill stretch continued for some time, although I knew there was a hill or too on route.
The first technical part of the race was navigating a field of cows with calves. Watched on by the farmer we weaved our way from one side of the field to the other before eventually sprinting to the style.
The route then took us along a farm track, over a bridge before turning through the farm yard and up the first big hill.
Having caught my breath at the top it was another long sweep down a field and then a sharp turn into a woodland, and the mud.
Along with the mud was plenty of obstacles to navigate like fallen trees and a cloud of flies, most of which seemed to fly into my hair and stay there!
More mud, fields and undulations then we had to cross the stream. The marshal advised going further downstream to cross as a few people had already slipped. I thanked him for his advice then ran back up the hill and towards the water station which had great support from a young lad handing out juice and jelly beans.
Having poured a cup of water over my head I felt better and continued the second half of the race. More mud, and a great downhill run through the fields and back into the woods (at one point there was a farm dog making sure we went the right way by barking at us!)
The final 2 miles were a slop up some very muddy woodland tracks where shoes were almost lost and a few twisted ankles suffered. Another downhill stretch then another long climb back up to the community centre. No tape or funnels at the finish just the rule that the time doesn’t stop until you touch the tree.
Those who had finished earlier were shouting on to those who were just about to which gave it a great atmosphere at the finish to add to the support of the marshals on route.
A post race offer of tea, coffee, squash, soup, sandwiches and some amazing cakes made it all worth while.
Presentation took place on the terrace at the back of the community centre with a cracking view of the valley.
No prizes for me at this time however I thought the winners trophy which was a polished alder burr from the valley was quite fitting.
I’ll certainly recommend this to other Claremonters who are looking for an alternative to all the 10k road races at this time of year.