A Good Idea At The Time – Resolution Run 2016

In the drier days in the autumn of 2015, we decided it would be a great way to see in the New Year to add the Resolution Run on Newcastle’s Town Moor to our Grand Prix again. Little did we know that we would then suffer 40 days and 40 nights of rain…

The day dawned cold, with a touch of frost on the ground and icy windscreens, but not a breath of wind – almost perfect conditions for a race. 8 plucky Frontrunners came to the boathouse by the Exhibition Park lake to register, joining 165 others, mostly from other local clubs – Heaton Harriers (est. 1880), Saltwell Harriers (est. 1880)…all the famous names. It’s always a proud moment to see our young club running amongst the big league sides.

As is traditional for this run, the organiser set it off with the firing of a rocket – the starting signal was when the rocket banged in the sky. We were off, initially on gravel track, but very soon plodging through muddy puddles as we ran around the perimeter of the Moor, in the opposite direction of the parkrun. Unlike parkrun, as we approached the gate on Grandstand road, we turned left and stayed within the Moor, running on the muddy grass for the first time. It was a quagmire – feet sunk in to their ankles in places, and all runners were soon weighed down with what felt like concrete boots. As if this wasn’t enough of a hindrance, we then had to contend with an ascent of both of the Cow Hills, with a sneaky photographer on top of one ready to catch our grimaces and travails on the muddy climb.

The descent in other years has been a mixed blessing for our club – those with standard trainers slip-sliding gingerly down, while Club Chair Russell in his studded fell shoes bounds down. Not this year, as his confidence got the better of him, and he lost a shoe in the mud. Lifted foot up – shoe stayed put – foot landed in mud – tried to put muddy foot into mud-filled shoe, not an easy task. All part of the challenge of a cross-country race though.

The rest of the runners all held on to their shoes, and their dignity, with no-one falling on their rears in the mud, though there were some close calls. And after the second descent and run along the path to the start, it was second lap time. At least we knew what to expect, and some of the other runners started to tire so there was some changing of positions. Russell was especially pleased, having fought a cat-and-dog battle with a young Blackhill Bounder – who trains on hills every day of the week – to beat him in the home straight and get an 18th place for Northern Frontrunners.

There were a number of Personal Bests from NFRs who had run it previously, and slaps on the back all round at the finish, where we all supported each other and took the obligatory muddy-feet-in-a-circle photo. Mark admitted that, whilst he had hated it, he hated it marginally less than the previous year, which is a result in itself. Right now I bet none of us want to do it again next year. Yet somehow I have a feeling that we will…