A race nearer to God…Stanley is often described as such a place. This race is an excellent example of a local club race, run by volunteers and looked after by local officials.
The race headquarters was at the local leisure centre, a very well equipped place with a nice cafe. Three of us had entered, Ian “Robbo” Robinson, Nina Cameron and myself. It was my first time but Nina had raced here many times before. She used to work with a stalwart of the club and returns to race here in memory of him. Robbo and his lovely girlfriend Kirsty Walker (Birtley) had come and recce’d the race route. Sadly Kirsty was feeling unwell and didn’t run, shame as her form has been really improving over the last year.
The route starts on a playing field before heading uphill on the tarmac before dropping down to join the C2C cycleway, a disused railway line and good underfoot. The path has a slight downhill gradient with a few bits of metal work to slow the cycle traffic. You pass over a few bridges before entering woodland terrain. A leftward couple of turns has you racing through woodland, tight twisting turns and then a fast swooping downhill through occasionally boggy patches. Ideal for catching folk and excellent for cross country training. After the long descent its a steady climb back to the main trail before crossing a bridge and up into a field. I took 6 places over this section so was quite chuffed. Out of the field and onto a gravelly path which descended to the C2C again.
A reverse of the route and a steady uphill gradient. Finally the last uphill drag at 9.2 K and it was a so and so. But as gravity, what goes up has to go down. we did and fast..the last half mile is downhill and very fast before re-entering the playing fields. Our esteemed President Mr Venmore was officiating as timekeeper and he seemed happy with our results.
Gemma Soulsby of Durham won the women’s race,
Nina was a close 3rd lady, only out sprinted by Tamsin Imber of Elvet striders in the last few yards, despite racing cheek to cheek all the way round. This bodes well for XC season as both other runners are fast pack runners and Nina is running for the slow pack again this season…
Full results below. Twas a great local race.