It was on the 9th of June that world-famous Blaydon Race took place. Ever since the song immortalised it the race has been done on the same day. Our friends (The Coulsons) Stephen and Louise, suggested the race and I like to rise to a challenge.
It was Thursday evening at 7:15 that race officially started today, so I had to try to work backwards to see what I needed to do. This turned in to a bit of a challenge as I was at work til 5pm. We needed to get the Q3 bus from Great Park to be into town for around 6pm. This meant that I had around 20 minutes to get in, get changed and get to the bus stop.
When was I going to squeeze in a snack? It was too close to race time to eat a snack on the bus and there wasn’t time when I got home. Maybe I should have a bigger than normal lunch. Just as I thought about this the front door entry buzzer went. I went down to meet the person and it was a flyer guy. Hand delivering flyers to Pinnacle Gym’s Cafe. They offer a full range of nutritious and healthy meals and snacks. So I jumped into the Van and sped past the flyer guy and headed out along Brunswick Industrial Estate to the mobile Snack Wagon.
Alan “Bacon and Egg in a half Stotties please”
My pre race balanced diet consisted of 3 rashers a fried egg and a healthy squirt of tomato sauce (or as the guy in front of me said “red sauce”).
The Bigg Market
“Ah went to Blaydon Races, ‘twas on the ninth of Joon,
In eighteen hundred an’ sixty-two, on a summer’s efternoon;
Ah tyuk the ‘bus frae Balmbra’s, an’ she wis heavy laden,
Away we went alang Collingwood Street, that’s on the road to Blaydon”
The Big market was heaving. There were people everywhere, wearing next to nothing. To be fair this is pretty normal for the Bigg Market, however the main difference was the toilets.
Firstly, they were placed here just for the event, but secondly everyone was queuing orderly and not pushing in. When people accidentally joined in halfway down the queue, they apologised and relocated. The most civilised toilet experience ever in the Bigg Market.
As the first verse of the song mentions “I took the bus from Balmbra’s”. I felt it was only right I photographed the iconic bar from the song.
The sign reads Balmbras Motown Bar. In my mind it was more of a real ale bar or pub. It sort of made me sad that it wasn’t as iconic as I hoped it would be. It did have a heritage plaque at the entrance though.
We took a right and headed along Collingwood Street past the lord mayor who rang a bell at the starting line. The race was 5 miles (or 9km) and take a straight route to Blaydon. It goes along Scotswood Road, which is very very long and straight.
Usually when running I chat away to me running friends, but this was more serious and I needed to focus. Which also worried me as the distraction of chatting makes the run go quicker. However the race was well organised and there was a three-piece band about a third of the way through. Followed by a Drum Band at about the 2 thirds point.
We crossed over the Scotswood bridge and on along chainbridge road.
At about the 4 mile mark there was a “Watta” station, which was a strange experience. I don’t usually drink when running, but I was parched so I ran past grabbed a cup of ice-cold water and kept running. I slopped it every where and after about two sips decided I couldn’t do it.
The last kilometer seemed to never end and I was very very spent. I knew that every time I saw a gap I should stride forward and move into the next space. All the little gains in space and pace all add up to the final timing.
Usually I run at around 6 minutes a KM, but as I was using Run Keeper to monitor my pace I knew I was well ahead of this.
As I crossed the finish line I received a text.
This equates to an average of 5:33 per km. I was proud of myself and feel like I stepped out of my comfort zone into an event that I thought was mainly for club runners.
I grabbed my swag bag and parked up waiting for Stephen and Louise to finish and meet up.
It contained and quality feeling running T-shirt, a Bottle of Water, Salt and Vinegar Crisps, A Ham and Peas pudding sandwich, A Protein Flap Jack bar and a bottle of Blaydon Race Ale. Where else in the world can you finish a race with a bottle of beer?