Well that’s 11 down and only one more to go!! Yesterday’s race was a bit different from all the others, not the first time I’d done a race with laps but unusual in that it was all in quite a small area – namely Newcastle Town Moor. Squeezing 26.2 miles into there meant that the race was effectively 5 equal length laps of 5.24 miles. The Moor slopes up quite gently at one corner but nothing you could describe as a “hill” so overall the course is pretty flat. Squeezing in the 5.24 miles per lap was quite neatly done with only one small section of the route being two-way traffic head-on as you’ll see in the map below. You did however, have quite a long stretch with people on the other side of a fence and once we’d all settled into our respective paces you started to see the same faces in the same place on each lap.
As you might expect though, running 5 laps does get a bit tedious after a while and the weather on the day was particularly miserable with intermittent driving rain, a chilly wind and at least two brief showers of hail, which does sting a bit on bare legs! This also had the effect of making the route very muddy in places and on a couple of the sloping tarmac paths I could only describe it as like running up a stream so just as your feet had dried out on one lap you had to give them a good soaking on the next! The upside to short laps though is being able to almost see the entire route so you were always aware of how far you had to go – but I think I’d pretty much had enough by the time I was into lap 4 so crossing the finish line a 5th time was a relief knowing it was the last time round.
So, overall, quite an easy race in the sense of the route being quite flat but certainly a psychological challenge with the number of laps. Pre-race information was good with close-by parking and good facilities. The route was well staffed with some very dedicated people considering the weather and they never failed to give that all-important encouragement on every single lap. The drafted-in burger van next to the race HQ was definitely a good move too.
It’s probably not one I would personally do again as it is really just a run around the part when all’s said and done, but a marathon is a marathon and I did it! If I lived nearby though I would be quite pleased to have such a conveniently measured circuit on my doorstep for training…