Feb 072016

by Sumanth Nayak

Desert Double part deux

I hadn’t originally planned to do this race but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try another Gulf marathon and I figured a two week break between races was enough to recover sufficiently compared to last year’s week long gap. Organized by the very friendly Bahrain Road Runners (a club mostly made up of locals – compared to the expat driven clubs of other Gulf countries) and going for over thirty years, it’s the oldest race in the Gulf. Bahrain is a tiny island and you could easily have a point to point marathon from one end to the other if only half of it wasn’t desert!

As it is, the race started outside a beach resort on the southwest coast at 6am and headed out and back twice on a 10km stretch of desert highway. Not the most exciting route with the only landmark being the Sakhir Formula 1 circuit nearby but it was pancake flat and you got to cheer on all the other runners as you passed them by on the return legs. There was a marathon relay for teams of four taking place at the same time which otherwise would have made for a very lonely race as there were only about 80 in the marathon. Bahrain hosts an American naval base and so there were a bunch of British and American marines taking part alongside locals and many other nationalities.



I wasn’t expecting a repeat of last year’s miracle in Muscat and determined to enjoy it instead of obsessing over my Garmin splits and a PB, I paced it slightly slower than Dubai. A proper elite athlete shot off and had a massive lead within a couple of minutes while I was in around seventh place and kept up with one guy for the first 10km leg but when he left me for dead, I ran the rest on my own. The climate is slightly cooler than the Emirates but because there are no buildings or tree cover around the highway, there is absolutely no shelter from the sun so I found it a lot harder going than Dubai.

I was well on the way to sub 3:20 but hit the 35km wall again and ran/walked the rest to finish in 3:25. My worst time in a Gulf marathon in three years but the consolation was I got a trophy for being third in my age category (30+ instead of the usual senior male)! The Bahraini/Moroccan winner ran 2:20 and the runner-up was way behind in just under 3 hours. To run a time like that on a mind numbing course with the sun beating down and nothing but the lead bike for company is just phenomenal! While hanging around near the finish, I spotted a parkrun 50 club shirt. Turns out he was a British marine deployed there and a Portsmouth parkrunner!

A fantastic low key, well organized, value for money marathon. No PBs this time but enjoyable nonetheless.



 February 7, 2016  Posted by at 6:05 pm Race Reports No Responses »
Feb 072016

Newcastle parkrun:

20:01     Roberto Marzo
21:37     Brian Hegarty
21:46     Mungai Wairia
22:52     Colette Whitfield
23:27     Luke Woodend
23:40     Richard Slack
23:49     Robyn Wynn
24:53     Dave Kear
27:27     Lucy Dunbar
29:10     Alice Vialard

Gateshead parkrun:

19:55     Paul Robinson
21:53     Heather Steel

St Helens parkrun:

21:53     Tom Tinsley

http://www.parkrun.org.uk – Free, timed, 5k runs every Saturday 9am

 February 7, 2016  Posted by at 4:27 am Results No Responses »
Feb 022016

Storm Henry decided to pay Tyneside a visit just as we were getting ready for the Winter handicap, so I was glad that I had decided not to run! Still 41 hardy souls did grit their teeth, head off from the Copthorne into the gale as far as Scotswood Road and back again, then tried to convince themselves that it was fun.

Rose Hawkswood certainly seemed to think it fun as she stormed home 11 seconds clear of newcomer Dan Edwards, running his first handicap. Brian Hegarty, Robin Wynn and Dave Beaney were next home. Later, at the presentation at the Old George, Rose was also probably the most enthusiastic recipient of the cup that I have ever seen!

I think the field was slightly more spread out tham last time, which could be due to the conditions but I blame the handicapper.  It wasn’t a night for fast times, but another newcomer, Jonny Evans, recorded an impressive 23:03 to be fastest on the night. Matthew Kingston (25:40) and Paul Robinson (26:06) completed the top 3 speed merchants. Fastest lady was Heather Steel, showing some signs of getting back to her best in 28:32 followed by the Sarahs, Bowen and Kerr in 29:23 and 30:24 respectively.

There were only 3 finalists in the Winter Cup competition as David Reay withdrew due to illness. John Grimshaw made up the ground on Janet Palmer and Luke Woodend to clinch the trophy. The Spring Cup final at the next handicap will be an all-female affair between Sarah Bowen, Leane Salem, Julie Dumpleton and Sarah Kerr. I think some hill training is required, ladies.

Thanks very much to the volunteers and marshals as well as all the runners for turning out on an inhospitable evening.

Full results can be found here.
There are a couple of slight modifications to the printed sheets circulated on teh night – I have amended Heidi’s time to reflect the time that she actually started as opposed to her published handicap. This pushed her up a few places in time order. I have also shown Richard Slack and Chris Carr as a tie by time.

 February 2, 2016  Posted by at 5:32 pm Club Handicap, Race Reports, Results No Responses »
Jan 312016

Newcastle parkrun:

19:59     Luke Jones
22:34     Mungai Wairia
23:35     Colette Whitfield
23:42     Brian Hegarty
24:25     Luke Woodend
26:07     Robyn Wynn
29:15     Alice Vialard

Gateshead parkrun:

20:10     Paul Robinson

Gibside parkrun:

31:09     Elisabeth Stoddart

http://www.parkrun.org.uk – Free, timed, 5k runs every Saturday 9am

 January 31, 2016  Posted by at 4:55 am Results No Responses »
Jan 242016

Newcastle parkrun:

19:45     Luke Jones
20:10     Roberto Marzo
20:28     Alasdair Wilson Craw
21:37     Brian Hegarty
21:40     Mungai Wairia
22:19     David Devennie
23:01     Colette Whitfield
23:11     John Grimshaw
23:27     Chris Carr
24:23     Luke Woodend
24:53     Dave Kear
25:41     Alex Anslow
26:51     Leanne Salem
27:10     Robyn Wynn
41:51     Rose Hawkswood (lead bike)

Gateshead parkrun:

46:19     Lorna Pearson (tail runner)

Whitley Bay parkrun:

25:43     Daisy Martin

http://www.parkrun.org.uk – Free, time, 5k runs every Saturday 9am

 January 24, 2016  Posted by at 6:23 am Results No Responses »
Jan 222016

by Sumanth Nayak

Back in the Gulf sunshine and not a moment too soon, it looks like it got real cold in the NE! After four months of hard training, including brutalizing Monday tempo sessions, I decided to really push myself this time and go for 3:05 – an ambitious 10 min PB but the pace felt quite comfortable after all the training. A great run at the Morpeth 11k on NYD left me feeling quite confident but the following day I came down with some flu/chest infection and the two week taper consisted of zero running. Fresh legs but feeling very lethargic, I canned the ridiculous 3:05 plan and revised my target to something slightly quicker than PB pace.

Same pancake flat, straight line out and back route as last year, only in reverse, and a 6:30am start rather than the usual 7. Guaranteed perfect conditions as always; mild, sunny and a hint of a breeze. A packed elite field including previous men’s winners and Seb Coe here to witness the start, a possible WR was being hyped again. At the start, I met up with Steffen of Tyne Bridge Harriers, running in kilt and slippers (yes, they really are everywhere!). 150 different nationalities represented, a real melting pot.

Unsure whether I would even be able to finish this race, I set off at a quite comfortable 4:35/km (3:13 pace) and managed to maintain the metronomic pacing until 35km when bang! complete meltdown. No cramp but just couldn’t get my legs moving quick enough. Jog/walked the rest, helpfully encouraged by a nice Brazilian guy in the final kilometre, and was astounded to finish in a respectable 3:20:22. Sixteen seconds slower than last year and the end of my Gulf PB streak.

Saw an Indian fellow running barefoot, finshed in 3:02! So, if you want to run a fast marathon, lose the shoes! No further Gulf shenanigans this time, I need a rest!


Steffen and me




 January 22, 2016  Posted by at 4:14 pm Race Reports No Responses »
Jan 212016

by John Grimshaw 

I originally entered this race last year but it was postponed due to ice and I got injured before the postponed race date, therefore I differed the race to this year.

I also entered the race before joining Claremont hence the fact I was down as unattached.

So this years race, I found out was delayed from 11am to midday due to snow, one of the problems of road races this time of year, but checking the website before leaving I noticed the delay and that they would make a further inspection at 9am, this meant I could wait till 9 before setting of and duely checked the website to see promptly a notice saying it was on, it took about an hour to get to Carlisle race course where the start and finish of the race was. It was signposted from the motorway for the race course so easy to find.

Parking was in a field full of snow but was easily accessed across the road from registration, this was in the race course entrance where there were plenty of room, toilets, and hot/cold drinks and snacks for sale.

The course is mainly flat with long undulating banks on B and C roads, some parts of the C roads still had slush on but this was easily negotiated. The course an out and back in a big loop finishing in the race course grounds. There were no chips but it was timed and with only 205 runners it didn’t take long to cross the start.

This was my first race for a couple of month and I had only been back running a week after a month of over Christmas/New Year so I was not expecting too much so very pleased with the 46:59 and 71st (8th in age group)

There was a safety briefing before the race giving all the relevant info and the people were very friendly.

A water station at 3miles was not very busy on such a cold day!

Would recommend it as a different fun race and the countryside made a nice backdrop.

 January 21, 2016  Posted by at 6:16 am Race Reports No Responses »
Jan 182016

Senior and Vet Ladies

Position Leg A Time Leg B Time Leg C Time
50 Nina Jensen 14:49 Julie Dumpleton 14:47 Mandy Herworth 14:06
60 Heidi Swaffield 13:40 Leanne Salem 16:19 Rose Hawkswood 14:53
Mary Martin 15:56 Janet Palmer 17:29

Senior Men

Position Leg A Time Leg B Time Leg C Time
42 Howard MacLennan 13:07 Alasdair Wilson-Craw 12:22 Roberto Marzo 12:22

Some excellent photos:

 January 18, 2016  Posted by at 11:40 am Cross Country, Photos, Results No Responses »