“Brutal” seemed to be the most common word used to describe this year’s Coastal Run with “unrelenting” applying to the 30mph+ headwinds, but we all live to tell the tale! This report from Richard Slack:
Early one morning a number of months ago, eager Clarmemonters (and other runners) waited for the coastal entries website to open. Grabbing places at this quickly sold out event and then waiting for the big day out itself. The logistics all booked thanks to Bill and the bus company and endless days of summer sunshine through June and July. Indeed, the only anxiety was how hot the race day would actually be!
Sunday morning dawned grey with the forecast for increasing windy and rainy conditions sweeping up from the South East. A good turn-out of Claremonters happily boarded the bus at The Great North Museum and headed off to Beadnell for the start, joined by others who had made their own way there. The run is linear North-South from Beadnell to Alnmouth. The forecast was right and the coastal run became a battle of endurance in winds up to 40mph coming straight at you along the respective beaches of Beadnell, Newton/Dunstanburgh and Alnmouth. Probably about half the race is over the beaches with the rest shared between the coastal path and a road section near Boulmer. The tide was on the way out, so plenty of hard sand to run on but also a lot of rather large pools left behind by the retreating tide. Once your feet are wet though you give up trying to avoid them and just run through them.
Beyond Newton beach is one of the best walks in Britain towards Dunstanburgh Castle and onto Craster; roughly the half way point. Lovely it may be – but the wind still raged and about this point it was accompanied by rain! Onwards to the coastal path on the second half of the route. From the rain, conditions became a bit slippery underfoot but as it was not the day for PBs you could take some care to negotiate any muddy bits. Emerging from the coastal path, the run then uses a road section which gave some respite from the wind being a little more inland and somewhat sheltered. Soon after, it is back onto the final beach for the last mile or so. Don’t be fooled – Alnmouth beach is effectively in two sections with the finish at the very far end of the beach. This year, for a further challenge, the gap between the two was a bed of seaweed so more care needed!
Well, at least the heat was not an issue and despite the challenging conditions it is still one of the best races in the calendar (or as Richard rather over enthusiastically recited “probably the best race in the world”). Brilliantly organized by marshalled throughout by Alnwick Harriers and celebrated by happy Claremonters all gathered in one of the Alnmouth hostelries.
||Jonathan Gilroy (20th overall)
||Thomas Tinsley (2nd M60)
||Ivone Campos Luna
Full results are here.