Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers in action

Burn Road Harriers  in the Durham East Coast Half Marathon. Picture by FRANK REID
Burn Road Harriers in the Durham East Coast Half Marathon. Picture by FRANK REID

Another busy weekend for Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers took them, from the Durham coast to Swaledale and Teesside to the Blaydon Races.

Five Harriers were among hundreds of runners taking part in the inaugural Durham Coast Half Marathon.

The 13.1 mile event organised by the Durham Heritage Coast Partnership and Natural England started at Nose’s Point in Seaham finishing at Crimdon Dene.

The race started at 10am in near perfect conditions.

Overcast and not too warm.

The route was mainly along coastal paths with the odd diversion into the countryside including Hawthorn Dene.

The course was undulating and very challenging in places in particular the steep sets of steps along the route.

The race was won by Gavin Duffy of Billingham Marsh House Harriers in 1:20:53 and the first female was Sharon Bulman of New Marske Harriers in 1:31:09.

Andy Minister, who had been excited for this race having ran smaller stretches of it for years, set out with high spirits. Andy was pleased with his finishing time of 1:25:41, placing fifth of 202 runners.

Andy is using this to kick off his training for the world long distance mountain running championships being held in Poland in August.

Emma Watson, Gail Gould and Andy Lamplough decided to run this race together and treat it as no more than a training run having not ran this distance off road before and not having trained specifically for it.

Emma’s thoughts were echoed by all, that it was a tough and demanding off road course.

Emma completed the taxing route in 2:17:38, with Pauline Ranson crossing the line next in 2:25:28.

Gail and Andy strode in next, with Gail persevering over the second half of the race with a very tight Achilles, made worse by many steep hills and sets of steps. They finished the run in 2:27:30.

Burn Road Harriers have a long association with The Swaledale Marathon and members turn up to run year after year.

This is due to the fact that Stuart Pailor the club’s vice president set up the route during his time with the Swaledale Outdoor club back in 1979.

This race is classed as a challenge walking, fell race or a jog and walk race with 10 hours allowed for completion so no pressure for you to be at the front, everyone who takes part is really friendly and the atmosphere is brilliant.

Among the throng of nearly 500 competitors four hardy Burn Road souls set off from the start line to take on this challenging off road 23 mile up and down race.

Injury, illness and other commitments prevented the usual regulars from the club from competing but the four that did kept the flag flying.

Jason Ellis was the only one who had somewhere near the preparation for this event and his time reflected this.

David Lake, Karl Edwards and Shaun Bruce through various reasons were extremely short of training miles and knew sub four hour times were out of the window.

Jason fought with the heat but coped well and drew on all his resources to get to finish in 3hrs 52 mins for 35th position.

David is a true competitor, knowing that he was short of training this athlete showed his metal and got on with the job in hand. This being his third outing over the course he knew what to expect.

Davey is not one to hold back, knowing it was going to hurt over the last section he just hung on in there to finish in 4hrs 5 mins for 49th position.

Karl Edwards, competing in his 19th event, ran a very controlled race.

He knew his current fitness would not allow him to chase Jason or Davey on this occasion.

Karl walked all the stiff climbs and luckily did not suffer too much over the last section back to Reeth, he finished in 4hrs 13mins (62nd).

He did say “Jason and Davey will have more of a challenge on their hands next year”.

Shaun also knows the race route very well but was in the same boat regarding the training as Davey and Karl.

Shaun is a battler and just thought he would give it a go, he has friends who do this race and always brings his own exuberant support party.

Shaun has several Swaledales to his credit so no surprises in store here either.

Like Karl he knew his limits so ran, walked and jogged sensibly enjoying the craic from fellow runners and marvellous views to finish in 5hrs 11 mins still smiling for 180th position.

Meanwhile in Newcastle, four harriers joined 3485 other runners in the Blaydon Races.

This is a 5.7 mile course, started by the hand-bell mentioned in the song (brought under special guard from the Discovery Museum).

All finishers receive food, local beer and a t-shirt, though some apparently don’t fancy the traditional black pudding and tripe after a hard run.

The race was won by Boniface Kiprop K in 26:22 – only nine seconds outside the course record set in 2006.

The first female was Perendis Lekepana in 29:51.

Dave Wallace crossed the finish line first for the Harriers in 39:05 (409th), another strong performance from Dave who looks set to have a good summer season.

Steven Howe strode in next, proudly taking the retro vest for another swift airing and producing another great run after his previous race at Raby Castle. Steven finished in 45:37 (1,384th).

Lucy Claber entered the race to support her partner round the course and finished in 47:00 (1,594th) and Malcolm Pugh soon followed in 48:19 (1,769th).

At Clairville Stadium, Middlesbrough, the second fixture of the North of England Track & Field League took place.

Tracey Waller showed a brilliant return to form, placing second in the 1500m in 5:04 and first in the 3000m in 10:35.

Paul Wilson came first in the 3000m steeplechase B Race in 11:09 and Ben Ward fourth in the 400m in 56.2 seconds.

Ben and Keith Hutchinson then took part in the 4x400m relay alongside team-mates from Middlesbrough.

They ran the first and second legs and between them opened up a good 40metre gap on their competitors, which was held by Steve Smith and Greg Jayasuriya to place the team first in this event.

The combined team of Hartlepool & Middlesbrough won the day’s fixture and are current league winners.