Face of an Angel

The Angel View Run 2018
A report by Aisling

This year’s Low Fell Angel View run took place on a roasting hot Thursday in June, and seven Frontrunners set their sights on conquering the 5.17 mile course.

The race started behind the Angel Inn, with views of Gateshead and the Angel itself creating a fairly dramatic backdrop to the proceedings.

The run is a two and a half loop course, which someone feeling kind described as “undulating” – we all know with that description you should read between the lines and just acknowledge that it’s hilly. The initial hill in the first loop was pleasant enough, and (what goes up must come down) was followed immediately by a quick downhill dip through the underpass, followed by a short ascent on a forest trail path. With a sense of direction such as mine, I had no idea where I was headed, and so was pleasantly surprised upon exiting the forest to be rewarded by a worm’s-eye view (like a bird’s-eye view, but from below!) of the Angel towering above me. It was lovely to experience such an iconic structure from a novel perspective.

A quick trot past the Angel, then it was time to double back along the main road and head back through the underpass towards the second loop.

The second loop was less forgiving than the first, and contained one epic, seemingly never-ending ascent (I should note at this point that most of us had joined in the NFR hill rep session the night before – poor planning or perfect preparation, depending on perspective, or whether you’re at the top or bottom of the hill!). At one point I thought I had reached the top, only to find that there was an additional bit of hill hidden behind the bushes, followed by a football pitch-sized field that you had to run around before you could enjoy the long run back down.
After that, the rest was a breeze. Up and over, through the forest, wave hi to the Angel, and onto the home straight (I did panic slightly at this point when the Marshall told me I still had another lap of hills to go – either he was having a laugh or had a twisted sense of humour!).
The race finished back where it had started, with the Angel in all its glory standing out against the sunset sky. As always, there was a finish line fan club, with the other (faster!) NFR members cheering everyone on as we each made it to the end.
There was time for some mingling and liquid refreshments back at race HQ before a short awards ceremony, a token gesture of a free buffet (insider tip: stand near the buffet table – they refill the chips when they run out!), and a decent sized raffle, in which Stevie G bagged himself a substantial bottle of vodka!
All in all, it was a tough run, but the friendly atmosphere, scenic setting, and sense of smugness at the end made it all worthwhile. Definitely one to put in the diary for 2019!