South Shields parkrun 27/04/13

By Terry Welsh

I am the Claremont record holder for the South Shields Park Run and have the best age graded score of any Claremont Road Runner. Nobody from Claremont has ever been able to beat my time or grade  at South Shields.

The region’s newest Park Run started two weeks ago. It’s got all the spirit and the familiar ceremonies and  rituals of Park Run.  This is what it is like.

It starts in front of the Sandancer pub, beside the seaside and the athletics stadium. You can warm up by running down from the Metro and there is plenty of parking nearby. The course has a fish hook shape. Straight, no laps, start and finish in different positions. You follow part of  the Pier to Pier route along the seafront and the coastal path along the cliff tops. There’s a slight climb after 1k and the ground is rough and lumpy. At Marsden you take the path to the coast road. Then you run back along the pavement on the last mile of the Great North Run. You finish where the Great North Run finishes, in front of the Bamburgh pub.

On Saturday there were 133 runners. The winner did 17.38, the half way point runner did 26.58 and the last runner did 49.28. My Club best time got me 59th position.

On Saturday, this is also what it was like. The wind is not the gentle breeze from Heaven that you get on the Town Moor. This is an undiluted hard core wind, roaring straight over the North Sea from the top end of Muscovy. Raw and sharp, it shot blasts away your kit and tears your skin to shreds. It rips into your flesh and your fibres, it strips the enamel from your bones and it leaves your small intestine exposed. When you run directly into the wind on the Coast Road, it takes the carbon dioxide you exhale and shoves it right back down your windpipe and down into your gullet.

If this sort of thing appeals, and you really want to be a Claremont record holder, then this may be the race for you.

I made up this Claremont Hall of Fame so I could go on it. There will be more things that some of you may want to  put on, such as age and gender categories, and your runs  further afield.

Park Run Best CRR Time Best CRR Age Graded
Newcastle Brendan McMillan    16.26 Joyce Archbold            91.01
Gateshead Brendan McMillan     16.59 Brendan McMillan      76.15
Chester le Street Luke Bryant                17.42 Luke Bryant                  72.88
Whitley Bay Tom Oliphant             20.10 Ben Hull                        76.38
South Shields Terry Welsh                 26.32 Terry Welsh                  60.99
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