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Published on November 11th, 2016 | by Michael


NEHL XC League Report: Druridge Bay – Part Two

As the build up to the Sherman Cup begins to nicely bubble in anticipation , we thought we’d add another PoV take of the recent Duridge Bay XC fixture that took place on the 9th of October. There’s been a bit of break since then, but that all changes on the 19th of this month!

This very entertaining post comes from Birtley A.C.’s very own Brian Brailes, as he takes us through last years race as well as a detailed documentation of the 2016 fixture. 

brianComing in at number two, it’s Druridge Bay – it’s my favourite!

Overall, I think Alnwick is my favourite, but my all-time favourite must be the original Prudhoe course. I loved that course and can remember driving home with one shoe off and a fat foot at the end of my other leg.

I went head-over-heels at that one and remember the famous comment that I often refer to, the coach caught me and asked if I was okay, I responded by indicating that I thought I had broken my ankle and he replied; “ good lad, keep going!”-  I made it to the end, then went to hospital!  It is still my overall favourite.

Last year was really muddy at Druridge, I struggled with it. I was just starting to come back from a nasty injury (not running based) and this year had to be better!  I enjoy my running, but I like to enjoy living as well.  I take it serious as much as I can, comparing my results with previous runs in the season and compare to same course last year. This time, I  went out the night before, for an Italian, but pasta was skipped as I opted for hot and spicy pizza!

I often car share with the ladies from our club and the music they select in the car is dreadful, we have had such a variety ranging from ‘Dros’ to ‘S Club 5′, but this time my son and girlfriend were in the car, so we drove the next 35 miles actually speaking to each other, I am too old for that stuff!

I set the alarm clock for 10 o’clock, leaving plenty of time to get ready for the trip North and at the same time, making sure the rest of the house are up and ready to go. It’s a canny run out to Druridge and we passed through all sorts of weather, just what you need to make a great event,  people, big field and mud – sometimes a of bit snow can make things interesting, but let’s not be greedy.

On arrival, parking seemed better organised than last year.  The one way system worked well for leaving the car park, except for when we were heading along the Coast Road.  I just followed the car in front, all the way to a dead end, just as a few cars followed me.  Back tracking, it turned out some one on the beach had parked their mobile home right in front of the signpost directing us to the main roads!

Anyway, back to the running, it must be hard to get the venue sorted, as the success of these events makes them increase in size and yet, I believe the volunteer committee is the same size as ever.

It’s great to see the young ones running round, a total of 172  finishing for the under 11’s across two races – there’s nothing more natural than kids running round a field is there? This the result of last season when they started racing together and it became so popular, that they now run the boys separate from the girls, almost every bairn I saw ran with a smile on their face.img_0268

Following on from the juniors, we proceeded through the age groups with lots of different opinions coming back about the running surface. It was very much debated whether it was a spikes course, or a running shoe course.  I believe most of our club preferred trainers in the senior men’s race, it seemed like the packs were larger this week, which is great to see.

Before the ladies race, a I made quick stop for a photo call as I was invited to join a team snap of Tyne Bridge Ladies before their run – #photobombed – sorry ladies!

In the end, I was disappointed, I intended to run but after over 30 years running, I still didn’t get my preparation right last night.

The aforementioned spicy pizza left me unwell.  By the time the senior men were lining up, I actually felt OK, but had talked myself out of it.  It was a bit of a shame but to be honest, I may have been more eager if they had managed to sort us with some mud.

Never mind, it was a beautiful day to watch some running and walk around the fields. It was very well organised, so thank you to the volunteers, the runners, and thank you to all the organisers too, I am looking forward to the next one, which I have a feeling is the Sherman Cup in South Shields.

I like that course, but, it’s not exactly a mud fest, and is usually a decent day as well, but I will almost certainly be making an appearance at that one!


Next up: Temple Park – Sherman Cup – NEXT WEEKEND!

XC Fixtures



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Written By Michael