Race Report from Claire Peat….
It was a good turnout of six Ponteland teams for the Weetslade Relays on Wednesday evening. Whilst in the morning it was unclear whether we’d be running or swimming our route, by the evening it was dry and a lovely summer’s evening (perhaps a bit too lovely if we’re entirely honest!).
We managed to gather without incident at the start line and begin the negotiations of who was going to take each leg along with completing the 37 trips to the loo per person. It was around then that someone also dropped the H-bomb…yes, there was in fact a hill. Not an incline, not a slope, a hill…at least Heidi Finlay was happy! Miv Chahal at this point started repeatedly mentioning man-flu to suitably manage expectations.
At 7:30 the gun went off and the initial group took off for their 4.1K loop. At this point I mainly started panicking about what I was supposed to be doing but did notice that James Leiper seemed to be fully committed from the start so perhaps not surprising that he posted an excellent 14:49 first leg.
After working out the general vibe of what I was supposed to be doing (effectively have a marshal shouting wait Ponteland, wait Ponteland, GO PONTELAND at me) I took the second leg from our team (my theory being it was the most well hidden leg). Initially it was all good…a bit of grass…a nice little track…some lovely supportive marshals. However, I had spotted that hill and was a little concerned about it – so when I turned a corner and faced what appeared to be a vertical grassy slope I was not a happy bunny. Then the marshal pointed out that no, it wasn’t cross-country, and that wasn’t the way up. Yay, off I skipped around the bottom of the hill to the track further along. The real way up still sucked, but not quite as much as I thought it was going to.
Then the good bit started, a lovely descent down the hill and the knowledge that the worst was over – just needed to get back to let Tony Vick do the final leg. “Go Ponteland” said another lovely Marshal….”then “Go other Ponteland”….”erm, who exactly is this other Ponteland?” I thought to myself (I will leave Victoria Grace and Heidi Finlay to dissect my use of punctuation in that last bit). A few minutes later, as we closed in on the field where the finish line lay, I found out as Nicola Matthews happily bounced past me!
As we turned into the field and the finish line was in sight it was nice to see a gaggle of Ponteland vests (gaggle being the correct collective noun for a group of runners for those who were uncertain) cheering us on. It gave me a final burst of energy and I managed to pull out my best carrot chopping moves for a quick sprint(ish) to the finish – pulling back my position from an unsuspecting Nicola (sorry Nicola, you were still quicker than me though 😉 ) before flopping onto the ground and completely missing the opportunity to cheer Tony off (sorry Tony!).
Once I’d recovered, I dragged myself over to the gaggle to congratulate the rest of the mid-group runners (a special mention to Heidi with her awesome 19:23 effort) and wait for a first team home. I didn’t have to wait for long, with Tim Allsop appearing in a speedy 15:50 to give James, Leiper Laura Choake and Tim Allsop the title of first Ponteland team in – well done! Full results can be seen on the Claremont Road Runners website here.
I think everyone agreed it was a great fun evening. I certainly found out that I like relays! I’m even looking back at the hill with fondness. To finish off we went for a quick beer in the sunshine. Unfortunately at that point some of us realised that we didn’t have any cash (*ahem Victoria, Nicola, Heidi and I*) and poor Matty Bell had to buy us a drink. Some may say that made it all the sweeter, but not me of course….