20 members took part in this year’s Hetton relays. Race report from Laura Choake – thanks Laura.
Saturday 17 Feb saw 20 Ponteland Runners take on the Hetton Lyons Relays, a challenge of 2.2miles round a serene lake at Hetton Lyons Country Park, a venue that would be ‘ripe for a parkrun’ as suggested by one of our keener members.
Pulling up to the start we were all wearing smiles of excitement and fear as the sun was shining and the swans were gracefully floating by, setting the scene for what was to be a great event. ‘It’s only 2 miles and not in the mud, how hard can it be?’
Well, we soon found out! The course inevitably started with a very fast sprint as many of us failed to calibrate our expectations of the 2-mile distance with our abilities to run at the speed of light! Following the sprint start, we were confronted by the first of 2 winding hills which thankfully slowed the pace down to a more reasonable level, and led us swiftly on to a very welcome downhill and a beautiful view of the lake.
The course then took runners back round to the start to commence the second lap where we all channelled our inner Mo Farrah to look good in front of the crowds, some even managed a smile for the camera! There were very few aeroplanes in sight…
By the end of the second lap, having climbed the hills twice, we were all very excited to see the finish line where the next runner eagerly awaiting their cue to leave for the sprint start. One runner was clearly so excited they almost headed into the woods towards the lake – presumably to add an XC feel to the run – some of us just love a challenge!
Fantastic encouragement was available to both ladies and men’s teams from Stefania and Arran (who apparently got up early enough to pave the course), and we were even treated to a lovely lemon drizzle cake and snacks from Ann-Marie and Abby!
The encouragement obviously worked with the Ponteland ladies teams coming 27th and 18th in their age group respectively, and the Ponteland men’s teams placing 31st and 67th. No mean feat amongst such a fast field. Special shout out to Joanne who ran for Ponteland Runners for the first time and aced the race, and Miv who managed to complete the challenge even though he was unwell – major kudos to you both!
All in all, a fantastic event and a great compliment to XC for those who prefer running on more solid ground. Roll on Good Friday Relays!