NS Poly Grand Prix, 6th December 2022

Dave Roberts and I had shared a car to Whitley Bay and gave sighs of dismay as it began to rain just before we arrived at the car park. Having plenty of time, we stayed in the warmth of the car for a while before venturing out into the cold, damp, seaside air. We met some of the others and went for a warm-up jog. Unfortunately this was some time before our handicapped starts, so we had to do our best not to freeze again. I can’t have been the only one thinking “Why am I doing this? I could be at home in the warmth, watching the football.” (Why do we do it? Answers on a postcard please.)

Finally it was time to go, and it was a relief to get running. I started with two others, one male, one female. The young lady was fast out of the blocks and sped away, but I managed to keep with the man. It seemed that we had only just passed the Spanish City, when the lead bike passed with Lena Lou just behind. “Already?”, I thought as I managed a wave. Wor Lena is getting back to fitness after illness and injury, so much so that she made light of her handicap. She kept it up and was a clear winner on the night, finishing more than 21/2 minutes ahead of 2nd place.

In my own race, I was still with my starting partner as we went down the ramp and into the pitch black down by the sea. It was here that Paul Robinson and Mark Anderson caught me. Paul and Mark had a great race, starting and finishing together. Hopefully, their friendly competition can help push them to even faster times as the series progresses.

It was also here where my left foot seemed to disappear into a massive puddle, so I felt that I had experienced a bit of what the Blyth Sands runners must have put up with on Sunday. The next shock was as we turned at the top of slope to head back along the road and straight into a headwind. Then it started to rain, so the stretch along the prom was not exactly pleasant. Now, I just wanted it to end! There seemed to be a large group of runners not far ahead and I felt that I should be able to catch them, but it just wasn’t happening. At the end, wet and bedraggled, I couldn’t even be bothered to argue when somebody pushed in front of me in the funnel!

It was straight back to the car to get into some dry clothes – none of this stretching or cool down malarkey! I realised that I had put a change of footwear in, but no socks, so I had wet socks inside dry shoes. Dave had done the opposite – packed dry socks, but no shoes.

Dave is Mr. Consistency when it comes to handicaps, and he sits proudly at the top of the overall rankings after 4 events. Maria Duenas is also well placed in 10th position. The two Claremont teams are doing well – The Full Claremonty remain 3rd overall and Rock’s Stars have climbed up the table to 20th.

Afterwards, most of us went to the Toby Inn to refuel with plates full from the Carvery (thanks for organising, Paul). It was just what was needed

PositionRunnerTeamHandicapRace TimeRun Time
1Lena LouRock’s Stars01:1036:2235:12
15Tara HipwoodThe Full Claremonty11:1040:1529:05
24Paul RobinsonRock;s Stars19:3040:3321:03
25Mark AndersonRock’s Stars19:3040:3321:03
75Dave RobertsThe Full Claremonty17:3041:1823:48
79Janet PalmerRock’s Stars09:3041:2031:50
91Maria DuenasRock’s Stars17:3041:2623:55
102Rachel HurdmanThe Full Claremonty11:3041:3630:06
112Laurie JohnsonThe Full Claremonty19:3041:4422:14
121Tom TinsleyThe Full Claremonty18:5041:5623:03
133Nicki O’BrienThe Full Claremonty16:5042:1325:23
147Rose HawkswoodRock’s Stars03:3042:4039:10
Tom Tinsley -