Northumberland Coastal Run (14 miles) result and report by Nicky Nield

Race Date: Sunday 24th July 2022

I have Zoe Dickinson to thank for this as she had recommended it some time ago. But it is one of those runs where you have to be by your laptop at the right moment to get a place and it took me a couple of years to work out when that was. Eventually the stars were aligned and I obtained a place in 2020. We all know what happened then. So, I was really looking forward to finally getting to this run. However, I succumbed to Covid (for the second time – I know my time for using this as an excuse for poor performance is now wearing out) two weeks before the race.  The week approaching the race I could just run to the end of our local park if I stopped for a breather every few yards. However, having waited so long and the hotel being booked, I was not going to miss out.

The race is organized by Alnwick Harriers. The start time and route depend on the whims of the tides and the National Trust (nesting terns). The publicity clearly states: “This is not a fun run”. The run sets off from the beach in Beadnell and ends on the beach in Alnmouth. Its length can also be variable, this year being over 14 miles. The cut off time to finish is 3 hours 15 minutes – which seems generous until you know the route.

On the day I avoided the 7.00am coach from Alnmouth to Beadnell and went straight to the start. There were lots of Porta Loos which were really clean and well equipped. I was spotted by fellow Strider, Warren Brown, who was wearing his Striders’ 40th anniversary buff (respect Warren).  The start was from a line in the sand a way down Beadnell beach.  This was the only section where we ran northwards away from the bright sun and head wind before joining the coastal path through the caravan park and the journey due south. It was tough. The route is undulating with long stretches across huge, deserted beaches. There is no avoiding getting your feet wet.  The sandy sections were firm but still hard work on the legs. But the views were fabulous.  Where else do you see oyster catchers and stonechats on a run? And the highlight – dolphins out at sea by Dunstanburgh Castle. There were two water stations on the route, the first at Craster, which alarmingly was only half way. A long section of uphill road towards the end was tedious but rewarded by orange segments as we dropped down onto the beach where we had to clamber over rocks before the final, interminable section down to the finish on Alnmouth Beach. There I was cheered on by Warren wearing a Percy Pud hat. In that weather! I was pleased to finish before the cut-off time, given the circumstances.  And had I run any faster I might have missed the dolphins. Included in the entry fee was a t-shirt (women’s cut and sizes) chosen from designs submitted by local school children, and a surprise bonus backpack.

There were 779 finishers. The winning male was Jarlath McKenna of Bristol and West AC in 1.23.05. First woman was Judith Nutt of Elswick Harriers in 1.45.40. There were two Striders.

Striders Results:

Pos Name Cat Time
139 Warren Brown MV 50 2.00.32
654 Nicky Nield FV 60 2.59.47

Well done, Warren. Sorry you weren’t able to run this year, Zoe. I was grateful for your race tips. Hopefully next year.

Full Results; here

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