For a long time, the Blaydon Race passed me by. The 9th June was my mother-in-law Joyce's birthday. So while other runners were ganning alang the Scotswood Road, we were usually having a celebratory meal somewhere. Sadly, Joyce died in 2006 and I have run in the Blaydon ever since.
I love the atmosphere around the race - gathering in town, meeting lots of Claremont Road Runners, singing the song and then setting off at a ridiculously fast pace! There is always the point on Scotswood Road where I realise that I have just done 5K as fast as I can do parkrun but still have 2.5 miles to go. The pace takes its toll on Chainbridge Road and it is a struggle through the industrial estate, but you get a lift again with the crowds near the end where the support is always fantastic. Then there is the goodie bag with the very welcome beer, sandwich and crisps - though I always save the beer until later - and the meeting up with the rest of the club and other running friends on the field in Blaydon.
The t-shirts are usually a disappointment, though I like the white one from 2018. That year was one of my favourite runs too - probably because it was a nice, warm Sunday afternoon, I ran faster than in previous years and had arranged to find the Sunderland Strollers group after the race to collect my prize from the Pier to Pier race a few weeks earlier. It was a lovely glass trophy - much better than the usual Start Fitness vouchers! So, happy with my run, re-united with Claremont Road Runners and a brilliant trophy in my hands, it was off for a celebration in the pub!
Then last year, on the shorter route, I had one of my proudest running moments - coming 1st in the over-60s category (again I found this out when we were looking at the results in the pub!). Shame I couldn't defend my title this year!