Blyth Sands Race 5th December 2021
The 61st Blyth Sands race was held on the beach this Sunday. The 5-mile handicap race is usually arranged for the first Sunday of each December. Handicaps are based on age and gender; e.g. ladies over the age of 50 receive 12 minutes start over men under 39.
Julie C, Ken, Alan and Dave L. ran this year. Ken had run it fifteen or so times, it was the first time for Dave, while Julie and Alan had run it more than once.
The weather was not kind, with a strong northerly, wind and rain. Ken considered it was amongst the worst conditions he’d experienced for the race. Fortunately, the rain held off for most of the race, but not the wind.
The race started on the beach running north, into the wind. It wasn’t long before runners had the choice going under, over or round a pipe discharging some type of effluent into the sea.
A little further along, at about half a mile, we U-turned at a flag stuck in the sand. With the wind behind us the next three miles felt much more pleasant. The wind was now favourable but various obstructions (pipes and groins), the sea, water channels and soft sand slowed our progress. A few of the runners, including Ken, lost their balance and went head-first into water in one or more of the deep channels. Eventually, near Seaton Sluice, an oar stuck in the sand indicated the next turning point. At this point we turned, gritted our teeth and headed north into the wind again for the final two miles and the finish line.
It wasn’t the weather to hang around and watch everyone finish so most runners quickly headed for shelter at the end.
Julie finished first followed by Dave, Alan and Kenny. At least some of us (Dave and Alan) missed their start times so ran a little quicker than the official times suggest.
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