North Shields Poly Grand Prix #2, 4th October 2022

A lovely mild evening greeted the assembled runners for the first ‘proper’ grand-prix handicap race of the season at Whitley Bay, the forecast rain and wind considerately holding fire. A great relief to those who’d experienced the previous October’s fixture, which saw Rose Hawskwood practically swim her way to victory in the heart of a raging storm.

10 of our 16 sky-blues are picking up where they left off from last season, with Ben Hardy and Rachel Hurdman taking on the darkened promenade for the first time tonight. The mainly flat course follows the road past the links, before turning off at Spanish City. After ambling along the promenade for a few minutes, there is a brief dip down to sea level, before surging up the ramp back to the prom, and returning north to the start, this time taking in the beach-side of the links.

It was a strong turn-out for our teams, with only 4 runners absent due to a mixture of injury, work and holidays. The race started at 7pm, with Paul Robinson the final Claremonter to cross the start line at around 7:20. Everyone managed to navigate the ‘black spots’ down by the sea, where illumination is patchy at best, without incident.

Close to 200 people were taking part this evening, making for a crowded final stretch along the prom as various handicaps coalesced. The turn back up to the main road came later than expected compared to last year’s route, which caught a few of us off guard as we were confronted with the finish funnel a good few hundred metres earlier than usual! A welcome change however, as it eliminates the dreaded uphill slog past the Briar Dene pub to the end.

Massive well done to Ben, leading the club home in a fantastic 18th place! Congratulations to everyone on their fantastic runs, hardened veterans and newcomers alike seemed to agree it had been a good one. Especially heartening to see Mark Anderson back, after several frustrating months out with achilles injuries. Despite obvious rustiness, Mark still put in a characteristically swift shift, finishing as 3rd fastest Claremonter.

It may only be 2 races into the series, but some impressive performances (and admittedly better luck with fewer absentees) have left ‘The Full Claremonty’ sitting in a dizzying 2nd place in the overall team standings, with ‘Rock’s Stars’ a little further back.

Special mention to Tara Hipwood and Nicki O’Brien, who’d run half-marathons at Cardiff and Kielder barely 48 hours before, and Nina Jensen for showing up after running the full marathon distance at the latter! As ever, Nina showed little sign of weariness to knock out another quality effort.

There are two sets of results below. The first shows the times and positions in the race itself, and the second shows the Grand Prix positions after the first two events.

Points are awarded according to finishing position (1 point for 1st place, 2 for 2nd etc.) with points penalties for no-show’s (180 points per runner for this fixture).

Race Results
PositionRunnerGun TimeChip Time
18Ben Hardy40:3423:24
39Laurie Johnson41:0122:11
43David Roberts41:0723:57
62Paul Robinson41:2821:38
69Luke Woodend41:3228:22
88Nicki O’Brien41:5024:20
90Maria Dueñas41:5224:22
92Rachel Hurdman41:5629:26
98Nina Jensen42:0326:33
99Mark Anderson42:0422:34
103Tara Hipwood42:0728:37
150Rose Hawkswood44:0837:18
Grand Prix Standings (after 2 rounds)
PositionRunnerTeamPoints (races)
4David RobertsThe Full Claremonty52 (2)
12Laurie JohnsonThe Full Claremonty95 (2)
15Tara HipwoodThe Full Claremonty105 (2)
21Maria DueñasRock’s Stars112 (2)
39Nicki O’BrienThe Full Claremonty141 (2)
58Paul RobinsonRock’s Stars161 (2)
63Ben HardyThe Full Claremonty165 (2)
68Nina JensenThe Full Claremonty174 (2)
109Tom TinsleyThe Full Claremonty225 (1)
120Luke WoodendRock’s Stars230 (2)
173Rachel HurdmanThe Full Claremonty282 (1)
179Mark AndersonRock’s Stars289 (1)
194Rose HawkswoodRock’s Stars306 (2)
211Lena Webster-CostellaRock’s Stars335 (1)
Jacob EastonRock’s Stars370 (0)
Janet PalmerRock’s Stars370 (0)
Grand Prix Standings (after 2 rounds)
2The Full Claremonty297
27Rock’s Stars752
Laurie Johnson -