Thank you to everyone who came along to our AGM at the Ponteland Social Club on 28th Jun 2023.
As with recent years, the AGM followed our Summer club handicap which was a huge success with our largest ever number of finishers (80!)…well done to all and big thanks to Matty and the volunteers for making it possible.
At the AGM, we reflected on yet another successful year, individual and team successes, and welcomed new members who have joined us over the last 12 months. Highlights included: cross country, relays, Parkrun Championship, Club Championship, people smashing personal goals, Go Tri’s, Junior Aquathlon, British Triathlon Awards, and many more.
Our Treasurer gave an overview of the accounts, showing a prudent but healthy financial position, allowing us to invest funds in ensuring members can continue taking part in running, tri, and social activities in the year ahead.
We paid thanks to the many club members who have given their time and support through volunteering and encouraging fellow club members over the year, none of this would be possible without them. We also paid special thanks to Chris and Elaine who stepped down as Run Coordinator and Tri Coordinator respectively – both have paid an incredible service to the club and we are extremely grateful for all of their input and leadership over the years.
The club warmly welcomed Sarah and David as our new Tri Coordinator and Run Coordinator – elected unopposed. We look forward to welcoming them onto the Committee.
It was great to see so many old and new faces there and we’re excited for the year ahead!
So, I had a few days holiday to use up before the end of the year and, with nothing much planned this side of Christmas, what else was there to do but look for another little trip away? After a quick search I found a cracking little half marathon along the shores of Lake Maggiore, north of Milan. With direct flights with Ryanair to Milan (also known as Bergamo which is 30 miles away!) and good bus and train links to get around, everything was booked and I was excited to get going.
Having left Newcastle at 07:15 on the Friday morning, it was fantastic to be eating ice cream in front of Milan cathedral by 1pm, in the sunshine and looking forward to doing a bit of sight-seeing before getting on the train to the lake the next day. The weather was great – not hot, but clear blue skies and sun which was enough to keep it mild and enjoyable just pottering around and thinking about the race.
Although there is a parkrun in Milan, I decided to give this a miss and rest the legs a bit. A lazy breakfast of coffee and croissants was the perfect start for me and I was soon on my way to catch the train north for the half hour or so trip to the race start point and Expo at Arona, at the southern end of the lake. The expo was pretty low key with different bib collection zones for the different races – 10km/21km/33km/42km, and the usual clothing and shoe stalls and race t shirt collection. Nice spot though on the lake and once I’d got my bib and shirt, I was on the train again north following the shore-line and race route to Stresa where I was staying. This is where the half marathon finishes. The full marathon continues beyond Stresa to Verbania.
Race day came and I got the train back down to Arona in plenty of time for the 9:05 start. I say plenty of time but I faffed on in my warm up and messed up so much that I actually missed the start! In the end I was practically the last person to cross the start line! But that was fine, I set off steady and gradually caught the main group of runners. The route headed south first for a few kms before turning round and heading back through Arona and then north alongside the western edge of the lake towards Stresa.
Conditions were perfect – blue sky and sun again, mild conditions and the vibe amongst the runners was great. Not many fun runners in tutu’s though but I got chatting to some randomers – a Brit from Liverpool and a couple of Italians who were interested to see some Brits making the trip. The route was very flat, only some slight inclines which weren’t that noticeable really so I’d say this was a very flat and fast course. I did slow from time to time to take a few photos along the way as the scenery right by the lake with mountains beyond and picturesque villages to run though was stunning. Maintaining a steady pace throughout, I finished in 1:54 and feeling fine really so I was pleased with how I got on.
After some lunch I had some free time for a little boat trip to an island in the lake, and a leisurely evening before catching the train back to Milan and bus to the airport on the Monday.
The half was a fab race, but with 10km, 33km and 42km races too, this would make a good club trip with something for everyone. It’s very accessible from Newcastle with short flight times, not too expensive and a parkrun option too for those who want to get up early! With such good transport links and close proximity to Milan, you could easily base yourself the entire time in Milan and just travel up and back on race day. It’s an event they also do in May if you’re interested!
Anyway, I got back to work and it turns out I have a few more days annual leave remaining which I can carry forward. I don’t have that much planned in the New Year, but then again…! Ciao
Our roving runner Paul has been back on his travels, this time taking part in the Naples City half on 27 February 2022.
Here is his review of the beautiful run…
Well, after the Barcelona half last October the parental controls on my internet connection still hadn’t been blocked and I found the Naples Half in March 2022 on the list of possible races. I fancied a little trip away and although I’d been injured for a few months, I was returning to a bit of fitness again and I’d fancied this race as a target since before Christmas.
With flights having to go via Paris Naples isn’t the easiest place to get to at this time of year. But this wasn’t going to stop me and I was soon booked up and on my way, flying out on the Thursday before the race. I would travel to Positano on the Amalfi coast for a couple of nights first as I’d wanted to hike some of the Path of The Gods trail which I did in glorious sunshine and it was stunning. I recommend this if you’re down in Sorrento or on the Amalfi coast itself.
Then it was back on the local train to Naples on the Saturday and to the Expo to collect my bib and rather nice Azzurri blue shirt. My hotel was on the North of the bay of Naples high on one of the steep hills that surround the city. The benefit of this was superb views across the bay and to the course, with Mount Vesuvius in the background.
A short taxi to the start area and the excitement as always builds and I got myself ready. We were accompanied by some Italian opera as we crossed the start line which was a bit different and the race started. In this out and back course, the first few km’s were slightly downhill, through a long tunnel and eventually we hit the marina. The course took us along the marina with Vesuvius in front of us. From here the course was pretty flat, and led us all around the bay to the turn to head back. The route deviated a little here and ventured in to the old quarter before returning to the marina once again. From there it was back the way we came, this time running back up the slight incline to the finish.
Overall, this was a nice little half marathon, a good course in a stunning location. A time of 1:54 was a decent return to running this distance and it was such an enjoyable weekend of walking and running it was just a great trip. Now, I wonder what’s next!
Another weekend and another XC fixture. This time we had the luxury of a Sunday fixture which brought with it a few hangovers and some unanticipated but very welcome sunshine. Read the full race report from Laura