Photo from: www.alnwickharriers.co.uk
If you imagine a running club, not so dissimilar to our own, organising a race. In order to set up the race, they set up a committee of runners to decide on a route. They want to call it “The Coastal Run” and make it one of the top events in the North East of England’s racing calendar. Ideally, it’ll become so popular that it’ll sell out in hours!
I imagine that the meeting to decide on the route went something like this…
On a cold, winter’s evening, there were all shapes and types of runners huddled around a table in a pub. A running club with a drinking problem – heard that one before! Each runner had something which they wanted from the race:
Barry Geed: It’s got to be cheekier than Nandos and have great craic!
Micky Happy: It’s got to have some fast runners at the front of the pack and be really competitive with good prizes!
Tony Norbett: It has to be longer than a half marathon, it’s not worth getting your trainers on for anything less!
Bill Ball: Has to have some cross country in it! I like me some grass and mud!
Marcus Holling: Can we make some part of it completely bonkers? Like running on sand or something?
Mick Boran: There needs to be a pub with real ale for us to go to afterwards.
Saul Malton: Road. Lovely tarmac… yes.
Diana Atkins: There needs to be cake and coffee at the end of the race too!
Andy Sheep: Some proper peaty, muddy sections would go down a treat!
Following the meeting, all the runners went away and found a part of their local area which contained all the things which they wanted! They put it all together into a run! It turns out that this fictional event must have actually happened at some point because there’s a race called “The Coastal Run” which is ran between Beadnall and Alnmouth. It’s organised by Alnwick Harriers. (http://www.alnwickharriers.co.uk) It covers just over 13.1 miles and is made of every type of terrain you could possibly imagine!
The race started on a beach with the waves and water beneath your feet; the start line crudely drawn in the sand. Some keen looking lads had already scouted the firmer group and were guarding it eagerly. The race countdown began and it was a mad dash across the beach for a mile and a half, leaping over seaweed and rocks. The race then turned onto the road and trails before dropping back onto some windy coastal paths which lead up to the castle ruins.
I took a little wrong turn here and ended up running through some heather and boggy peat at this point but I was having far too much fun to be bothered. The supporters were mainly bemused walkers and tourists who cheered on each sweaty runner as they tried to push through the wind!
The race then took us back onto the beach and sand before a couple of miles of road. The noise and sound of crashing waves was very different to the usual traffic and hustle of towns.
The final mile and a half was on the beach with the finish line tantalisingly close. It was a real challenge to run through the wind and onto the softer sand to finish but it was very satisfying!
A decent More Mile long sleeved top was the race momento along with a much needed bottle of water!
The race was superbly organised with baggage buses for kit, loads of parking, ample toilets and friendly marshalls. Following the race, there was a great pub and café scene to visit or you could, as some clubs did, just party and BBQ on the beach.
The Coastal Run was one of the most memorable and different races I’ve done in ages and I’ll certainly be back next year! The varied terrain meant that you had no chance to be bored or be stuck in one area for long. This race is one for you to mark down on your calendars when entries open next year!