National Cross Country Championships: 21st February 2015
Heaton Harriers Town Moor Memorial 10k 2014
North Eastern Counties Athletic Association Cross Country Champs 2014

Venice Marathon 2014

760389-1010-0039sFirst things first, this was not my first marathon neither will it be my last but it was my first abroad. This can cause problems but gives you a greater chance to explore. So why Venice? In short, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and it has a reputation of being a top marathon for overseas runners. Being more overseas friendly was key considering I do not speak a word of any other language other than Geordie and broken queens English.

With getting there on the Thursday, it gave Jo and I a chance to get the tourist bit out of the way first. Best to this before or after the run because trust me, you miss some of Venice’s best bits on the marathon route. Flying is the best way, the public transport from Marco Polo airport is first class and puts the UK to shame. A word to the wise, purchase a rolling Venice 2 or 3 day pass for the transport network, ACTV. Saves you money and you can use the boats and buses at will. Easy for the post-race get back to the hotel trip.

Then you arrive at a question. Where to stay? Either Mestre or Venice itself. Why is this important? For a few reasons.  Firstly, on race day, there is a bus service which takes you to the start area and the fact this is point to point race. The buses run from Mestre station. You finish right in the centre of Venice.  So do you plump for the easy morning start or the easy post-race digs? I would recommend the first option. Furthermore, as with any big city marathon, there is an expo. Basically an excuse to sell you races and sell you tat. More importantly though, to get your kit bag, number and chip. This is based in a park close to Mestre town centre. It is easily accessible from either Mestre or Venice. The transport links are excellent. To summarise, on reflection, Mestre was by far the better choice (which we went for). There was no mad queues on race day taking the stress out of it. It would have been a mega early start if you travelled from Venice. No lugging heavy cases round the tight streets of Venice in the forlorn hope that you find your hotel. Was laughable seeing some tourists trying to do it. Finally, actually getting back from Venice was reasonably easy. Took longer but not that long.  Just increased traffic that’s all.

So to the morning of the race. After an early coffee, we walked the short distance to the buses waiting outside the Mestre Railway Station. It’s not that long on the bus, about 20 mins.  Once you get there, there is limited facilities.  Rap up warm and pack everything you are going to need pre-race as well as post-race. The back drop is an old country estate about 20k outside Mestre.

After an over enthusiastic Italian MC, and the Italian national anthem being played we were off. The handy thing about this race is that there were plenty of pacers. 3 per goal time. They are nuts!!!!. The first 10k you pass through small villages and totally pan flat.  Holland has steeper slopes. Be careful and learn from my mistake. The pacers go out hard and for a good reason. The last 12k kills you. All to get some time in the bank.

Once you pass the villages you come into the most picturesque part of the run. About 5 mile of industrial estates, topped off by a chemical plant. Pass this, and you are now entering Mestre and half way. At this point I knew sub 3 wasn’t on. Fuel was low and the energy drink the run provides was not doing the trick. Hang in there and enjoy it approach was now adopted.

On the entry to Mestre there are long never ending roads until you reach the town centre where it gets a little twisty. The support in this area is something to be experienced.  Blows the hell out of London in that regard.  The Italians embrace the run with complete vigour. There was even a dodgy looking fella on the mic in the town square which was a complete looky likey from happy days.  Yes I am old enough to know what that is.

On exiting Mestre via the underpass beneath the railway station you encounter the first hill. Which as a coincidence, was when it became less about time more about survival for me. The engine and tank was drained and the reserves were on empty. Well I say hill, the underpass on chilly road is steeper.  That’s about it for gradients.

As clearly stolen from an excellent blog about the race by Tony Carter (TBH fame and yes rivalries aside, this was a real help on race day), you enter the ‘parkrun’ section.  Same length, with a bit of an uphill stretch but nothing to raise any skirts about. By this point, the wheels had come off and the progress was tough. Time to zip up the man suit and get it over and done with.

Thus arrives the hardest bit of the run, the bridge of pain, torture and hell.  This bridge is 2.5 miles long and brings you to the last 10k of the run. It is never ending. Just ask anyone who has done it. Run /walk strategy was adopted.  Had nothing left. You can see Venice in the distance like a mirage in the desert.  Not helped by the passing cars and trains on the other parts of the bridge. At least its flat.

Once that is done you have finally reach Venice. The home stretch and 5k to go. Crowds are fantastic here. They even erect a pontoon bridge for the runners and just for the runners. It’s only there on race day. Can’t remember much of this bit. A bit of a blur. More that I would like to completely forget about it. Saying that, the very last bit around St Marks Squares will stay with me for a very long time. Definitely one off the bucket list and must do. The noise and surroundings definitely make it. Now only 5 or so bridges to get over and its done. Oh by this point, I was done too. Legs and engine done in but least it was over. The feeling on the line was more relief mixed with dejection. It was weird to feel that way at the end of the marathon but that’s the way I felt. Almost failure. After months of training not to achieve my goal time is pretty soul destroying. The finishing area staff were great and could not be more helpful. I was in a bad way. Threw up twice. A word to the wise, use the other water bus stations rather than the one at the finish area. You get home quicker with less queues. After a cold beer and rest. The tea went down a treat. Italian of cause. When in Venice……

On reflection, marathons can be like that. You prepare for everything and sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Things to look into are my fuelling for the race. Never get that drained when I do long runs in the UK. Don’t even take water and I am fine. Old school. Will have to find one of those things that is the devils work and try them to find which one works for me. Energy gels!!!! Usually upset my stomach but will have to try. On the race as a whole, would definitely recommend it. Organisation is first class. Great course and the locals coupled with the surroundings make this run a must do for any marathon runner. Would I do it again…..never say never!!!! Next stop Paris and hopefully I can dispel the demons.

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Davison Shield Report

A good turn-out again from Heaton Ladies for this year’s Davison Shield. 13 runners competed in a record field of 314 runners. The conditions were good, if a bit blustery, especially around that interminable football field at the end of the course.

Nicola had a storming run, finishing in 25th position overall. The seniors finished in an excellent 5th place, with Cristina and Ellen being the 2nd and 3rd counters – well done! It was great to have Beth along for her first XC outing with Heaton and a welcome return for Faye. I hope to see both of you out at some future fixtures.

The Heaton vets were out in their droves. Our counters were Heaton stalwarts, Kelly and Jenny. The vets finished as 8th placed team.

It is a strength of Heaton that we have so many ladies willing to turn out week after week. Thanks and well done to Helena, Caroline, Linda, Lisa and Alex (in addition to those already mentioned). It is testament to the strength of the talent at Heaton Harriers that they all finished in the top two thirds of the field.

A strong U13 team meant that Heaton finished 7th placed team in the Davison Shield. There was some great performances in the other junior categories and it’s lovely to see club represented in all age categories, but they need to bring their friends along next year, so that they have the requisite 3 runners to make a team!

Next fixture 22th November.

2015 Club Membership Fees

At the Annual General Meeting on 15th October 2014, members agreed that 2015 renewal membership fees will increase to:
• £25 for renewals by the end of January;
• £30 for renewals during February;
• £35 for renewals during March.

New member or repeat membership fees will increase on January 1st 2015 from £32 to £35 and, for first time members, will continue to include a complimentary club vest.

Membership Secretary
Email: heatonharrierssubs@virginmedia.com

Brampton To Carlisle Bus – Update

The bus leaves the Blue Flames at 9:00 am as the coach company says its could take an hour and a half to get to Brampton.

You can leave your belongings on the bus. We have the bus until you arrive back at Blue Flames.

I have arranged for the bus to be at the Sand Centre, Carlisle an hour after the start of the race so you can get changed etc after the race or fuel up.

That’s all. Have a good one folks. Any questions contact Andrew Bell.

National Cross Country Championships: 21st February 2015

Yes I am early on sorting this one but this will take some organising. The plan is to go there and back in a day on the train.

To wet your whistle ask anybody who did it last year and they will say this event is not to be missed.

Here the official site:-

http://www.englishcrosscountry.co.uk/the-national-cross-country-championships/

After a few phone calls to East Coast Trains I have got a realistic estimate on the price per person to go down to the big smoke. This will come in at around £50 a head. As mentioned previously, the club will pay half this amount for representing the club at this not to be missed event. So what do I require from you the member. As I will need to book the tickets month I will want a deposit upfront to show your commitment to run the race. This is because until I get to the point of booking the trains, I will not know the true amount. In total with a refundable £7 race entry total cost will be £32.

Right to summarise. I need from the member £14 now to run this race. Once I have booked the train tickets the remaining amount will be due.

Any juniors who want to run the race needs to let me know asap as this will affect the times we leave Newcastle for the big smoke.

When giving over the money, if you hold a railcard please let me know and what sort you hold. This is very important as this will save you money!!!!

To pay the £14 pounds, it can be in cash, paypal or direct transfer into the clubs accounts. Contact Andy Bell for payment details.

Rights that’s the lot. I am putting a closing date on this of the 15TH NOVEMBER!!!!!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Come on and support this your club at the FA Cup of cross country.

Junior XC Update

Minors XC – Bedeswell Park Jarrow – Saturday 4th October

After weeks of dry weather, it was wind and rain that greeted our Under 11’s in the first cross country event of the season. Despite the cold and wet conditions we had a great turnout with 19 junior members from years 4 to 6 turning out to run for the club, many for the first time.

Year 4 girls: Francesca Job, Jessie Davison, Scarlett Wallis
Year 4 boys: Aaron Nokes, Cameron Fletcher, James Davison, Oliver Wall
Year 5 girls: Allie Keay
Year 5 boys: Ben Elliot, Isaac Carter
Year 6 girls: Alishia Rushby, Grace Chapman, Kate Lievesley, Naomi Rushby, Olivia Katory, Ruby Fogg
Year 6 boys: Daniel Hall, Harry Fletcher, Jack McLean-Knaggs

Francesca Job, James Davison, Daniel Hall and Olivia Katory all secured top 10 finishes with Olivia picking up a silver medal for finishing 2nd in the Year 6 girls race.

Our year 6 girls finished as first team with our year 6 boys were third team home. The great performances from all our runners helped Heaton to overall joint third place out of the 17 competing clubs not far behind the winners Birtley AC and runners up Alnwick Harriers.

NEHL Fixture 1 – Cramlington Nature Reserve – Saturday 11th October

There was plenty of sun for the eagerly awaited first harrier league fixture of the season at Cramlington.

The highlight of the day was the seventeen runners that turned out for the club in a record field of 159 competitors in the mixed under 11’s race. Olivia Katory was first home for the club in a superb 13th place and she picked up another medal for being the third placed girl. Daniel Hall produced another great run with his trademark sprint finish to be the first Heaton boy to finish in 31st place.

Congratulations to all the under 11’s who competed :-

Alishia Rushby
Allie Keay
Ava Clark (first timer)
Daniel Hall
Ellie Jones (first timer)
Esme Douglas
Grace Chapman
Jennifer Jasper
Kate Lievesley
Katie Dodds
Kennedy Conroy (first timer)
Matthew Green
Megan Darwood (first timer)
Naomi Rushby
Olivia Katory
Oliver Wall
Robyn Harvey (first timer)

The other main highlight of the day was that Heaton managed to field at least one runner in each of the junior age categories for only the second time since the reformation of the junior section of the club.

There were plenty of good performances from our seasoned campaigners and some very promising debuts from those running cross country for the first time. The under 15 girls closed a team finishing in 6th place and the under 13 girls looked on course to close a team too until Maya Lant had an unfortunate fall on the main descent twisting her ankle in the process. Fortunately Maya was fine after a quick visit to the first aid tent.

Congratulations to the following junior members who competed.

Under 13 boys
Brandon Rushby (first timer)
Kiran Perkins

Under 13 girls
Ellen Matheson
Ellie Phillipson
Maya Lant (first timer)

Under 15 boys
Thomas Green

Under 15 Girls
Daisy Tenniswood (first timer)
Holly Matheson
Lily Clark
Molly Walsater-Lowes
Zoe Counter (first timer)

Under 17 girls
Caitlin Sowter

Under 17 boys
James Green

Well done to everyone who ran and we hope to see you all again at the next fixture, The Sherman /Davison Shield at Temple Park, South Shields on Saturday 25th October.

Heaton Handicap 5K – 14th October 2014

Please see below the results from last nights handicap race. Well done to all that took part and a big thanks to George and his helpers.

Position
Athlete
Total Time
Handicap
Actual Time
1Greg Pilgrim28.027.1020.52
2Paul Stutt28.367.0021.36
3Iain McKinnon28.539.0019.53
4Alan Smith29.045.4023.24
5Marshall Leitch29.218.4020.41
6Jane Bilclough29.254.2025.05
7Gary Pattison29.3710.3019.07
8Lisa Boyd29.417.0022.41
9Andy Bell29.4111.3018.11
10Paul Inskip29.449.2020.24
11Jack Shawcross29.487.4022.08
12Caroline Lievesley29.496.0023.49
13Allen Mulliss29.55.0024.50
14Simon Jobe29.5111.0018.51
15Alex Harrison29.526.0023.52
16John Moore29.5311.3018.23
17George Nicholson29.5311.2018.33
18John Marshall29.559.5020.05
19Mark Oliver29.579.1020.47
20Kelly Dodds30.008.1021.50
21Jamie Barbour30.0213.4016.22
22Charlotte Morris30.028.3021.32
23Nicola Roper30.079.2020.47
24Nick Wardle30.089.3020.38
25Pam Gold30.103.2026.50
26Eddie Watson30.122.0028.12
27Dennis Fadden30.168.1022.06
28David Wright30.29.1021.10
29James Green30.2311.0019.23
30Kevin McCarthy30.289.2021.08
31Mark Slade30.298.5021.39
32John Josephs30.325.2025.12
33Paramjeet Bhogal30.339.0021.33
34Patrick Keown30.337.1023.23
35Peter Henderson30.342.0028.34
36James Dagliesh30.359.1021.25
37Mike Coppen30.3910.5019.49
38Reg Checkley30.442.0028.44
39Phil Green30.5211.2019.32
40Ted Baty31.186.5024.28
41Doug Michael31.199.0022.19
42Sam Daley32.1010.1022.00
43Nina Cameron33.378.5024.47

NEHL Cramlington – Ladies Captains Report

The first Harrier League fixture of the season was run under blue skies in unseasonal warmth. The weather brought out the crowds and there was a great atmosphere. The course was the driest I’ve known it and, in consequence, very fast. There was a great turnout from the Heaton ladies, with 16 runners competing. It was good to have Ellen Roberts and Laura Jardine back after their ‘maternity leaves’ – both ran really well from the mediums. Judith Archibold and Nadia Stock made a welcome return to XC after injury. Katie Maxwell and Caroline Lievesley both ran strongly in their first Harrier League race for Heaton and hope that they will come back for more. Thanks to all the ‘regulars’ who turn out event after event and do so much for the club: Alex Harrison, Caroline Billis, Fiona Toland-Mitchell and her socks, Helena Walsater-Lowes, Jenny Friend and Kelly Dodds.

As always, there was great running all round. Our speedy counters were: Nadia (this was only her 2nd XC race), Katie Maxwell (first XC for Heaton) and Nicola Roper, who made up a massive amount of places, running from medium pack. With the new 10% promotion threshold, Nadia goes up to medium pack (well done, but bad luck!). Katie narrowly fell below the promotion cut-off, so will be important for us next time round (no pressure there then!)

Thanks as always to everyone who supported, provided baked treats and organised the tent.

Don’t forget to keep your numbers and I hope to see lots of you at the next race. Perhaps there might be some mud to enjoy by then.

North Eastern Counties Athletic Association Cross Country Champs 2014

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On the Saturday 13th December 2014, Tyne Bridge Harriers are hosting this annual meeting on the town moor. No excuses not to do it. In line with last year, a refundable deposit is required to run this race. £5 for senior men and women. £4 for juniors. You will get this money back on race day if you run the race. I have attached the flyer for the races. If you would like to run, please let Andy Bell have your deposits by either cash, paypal or direct credit into the clubs account. For details, please get in touch with AB. A closing date on this of 7th November 2014 giving time to get the entries in. No excuses. XC 2014 Prospectus