I wasn’t really sure what I was meant to do, and across the car park I spied a similarly perplexed looking individual. Wandering over I asked his advice. He shrugged in a relaxed manner, said it was his first race too, and we assumed, rightly, that by following everyone else, things would sort themselves out.
That was 8 years ago and the stranger in the car park was Phil Owen. Neither of us knew at that time that Elvet Striders existed but even then the purple presence in the race was unmistakable.
Back to yesterday morning and lying in bed a reminder on my phone told me that it was Jelly Tea time. I hadn’t planned on doing this event as, being a point to point, I remembered it being a fiddly business. But closer reading showed that it now started and finished at the same place, and, importantly, there were entries on the day. I could feel another impulse purchase coming on.
It was hot and calm at Hexham Racecourse and the drive up and up from Hexham to the venue were an indication of what we were in for. Much is written about specificity of training and this event has often been a favourite pre-taper 10-miler for those doing the Great North Run. However, as far as specificity goes, it shares little with the GNR. It’s hilly. My word is it hilly! This all new course scours the quiet lanes south of Hexham, where there are an abundance of quiet, steep, endless hills.
After a ropey season I’m still treating races as fact-finding missions, testing myself to see how my form is and what I might expect in the GNR in two week’s time. I didn’t feel lightning quick or fit but I didn’t feel too bad either so I settled down and had an enjoyable 10 miles in the sunshine.
I’m not sure what I think of the all-new course – I think I like it – and as long as you enter in the knowledge that the chances of a PB are negligible, there are far worse ways of spending your day.Download file for GPS