This annual event has become a firm favourite, but we do love to have a wee moan about the killer of a hill at 9k (otherwise known as Cardiac Hill).
A very slick organised event with plenty of loo’s (although I did accidentally not notice a HUGE line of runners waiting patiently and happened to nip straight in. Fortunately I was completely oblivious to it, and didn’t realise until informed my Susanne & Helen who were giggling away at my faux pas.
There were a handful of fancy dress entries; a very tall man in a very big padded pink dress with matching hat (thankfully we were all going strong and overtook him) and a storm trooper (who must have been exceptionally hot). The first half of the race is predominantly downhill and allows for a speedy start and then it’s out and back, with the elite crowd at the front making easy work on the return journey whilst the rest of us white, green and pink runners were still on the outward leg. The second half slowed down a little, simply because we were gradually working our way back up the hill.
Great crowd support along the way, a very welcome water shower kindly provided by the fire brigade somewhere around 7k which added to the bottle of water I’d drenched myself with earlier seemed to take the edge off the scorching heat. The final stretch 8-10k I don’t imagine was anyone’s highlight; the incline steps up at 8k with a flat stretch followed by the mother of all hills at 9k, heart sinking moment! From there it was a short hop skip and a jump, okay so the signs said 400 metres, then into the stadium for a sprint finish in front of our adoring crowds cheering us all on in the stands. In previous years it was a full lap of the stadium to the finishing line, so this new shortened mini lap worked much better and saved complete burnout of legs. It also avoided the huge queues once across the line and out of the stadium to collect bags, medals and meet up with loved ones.
All in all a fabulous event, every year I say never again. Every year I’m back. Managed to shave two full minutes off last year’s time, and I know all our Ponteland Runners turned in excellent times – even with the high temperatures. It’s a great race, well organised, nice bling at the end and running into the stadium to Chariots of Fire is always amazing. Happy day for all.