Race report from Richard Slack:
How run locations alter and the imagery associated with each race – the sub-title of this report “From Vienna to Stockton on Tees”.
Returning to local races and back down to earth, Marie and I ventured down to Teesside for the 10th annual running of the Tees Barrage 10k. There was reason behind this – my Durham office at Queen’s campus, Stockton, is adjacent to the course and I needed to drop some files off that had been strewn around the Slack household. Also I thought it would be good to run directly next to the building where I do most of my undergraduate teaching and will recall this to future students – as part of my annual challenge to get them interested in the Tees Barrage parkrun.
Enough of this waffle and on with the report! Bank holiday Monday was bright, reasonably warm but a bit breezy from the West, but nice not to stand shivering at the start. The race, as the name suggests is around the Tees Barrage starting from Navigation Way and heading East along the south bank of the Tees to the Newport Bridge (about 2km). With the wind behind a small field of runners the early pace was pretty quick and I passed through 2km under 9 minutes – my normal aim for the park run, not a 10k. Then we ran up the ramp and across the bridge onto the north side where you run back West all the way to the Millennium Bridge at Stockton on Tees (about 7km mark). Most of that stretch was pretty much into the West headwind and that is my excuse for my km times falling away (ode to Ben). Nonetheless the open aspect was good to enjoy and scenery of a new venue generally makes the race more interesting. Reaching the Millennium Bridge you run up the zigzag ramp, cross over the river and then down again onto the south side. Ah you think a straight run back to the start area – but a twist in the tail follows. After about 8km, the route then follows one of the newly created river inlets – fine, still flat, but then as you reach the end of the inlet and you think it is a simple out and back to our horror it takes a right angle bend to extend the out and back by another couple of hundred yards. I was running a bit on empty at that point but wearing the sky blue of Claremont could not let the club down – so press on no matter how hard it might seem. As Mo would say, pain is temporary victory is permanent – just need to work on the latter! After that there were no more twists and the route returned to the river where you run east to the finish. Marvellous, wind assisted finish and onto a grassy finishing area for the usual goodie bag – water and T-shirt. Despite fading on the Westward leg my final time was 47.37. Marie also had a good run coming in at 56.54 and just 20 seconds outside her North Tyneside 10k time.
Well marshalled, completely traffic free on riverside paths, pretty flat throughout except for a couple of bridges to cross over and a small field of runners due to the capacity of the paths that the route uses.
Good way to get the bank holiday off to a start and we will do this again.