Garry exclaimed, as we approached the cattle, “are you sure we should be walking through this field?”
“Yes”, said Andrew, “it’s a public footpath.” He was right…but as the cattle turned and started to charge towards us, and we scarpered left, right and centre (climbing over barbed wire, squeezing through metal fences, or sprinting back to the gate faster than Usain Bolt) we realised that trail running needs a bit of caution.
Newcastle Frontrunners have been back running in groups since July 1st. We have cautiously re-introduced activities, always within England Athletics guidelines. For our main Wednesday evening tempo run, although we miss our mass gatherings at Gosforth Pool for cake and chat, there have even been advantages to meeting in small groups – earlier start times for those that finish work sooner, rather than everyone waiting for a 7pm kick-off.
We continued delivering Strength & Conditioning throughout lockdown, but by video call. It was happening every Monday from March, but mid-August we recommenced alternating Mondays between S&C and Run Development – outside exercise featuring more structured runs – like intervals – to improve speed and strength.
We have even been able to bring back elements of meeting up in larger groups, albeit with safe distances in mind: we held a quiz in groups of 6 in Jesmond Dene, met up for a picnic for the Glasgow FrontRunners HOMErun and ran a timed 5k in mid-September with over 40 taking part and enjoying cake after.
The one element we haven’t formally brought back yet is our longer Sunday runs. Given the range of distance and pace people want to do on a Sunday it’s a logistical nightmare to try and get leaders for each combination, so members have been posting about any runs they fancy doing and inviting others along. One group of our more seasoned runners have been trying out new trails each week – at the coast, around rural Gateshead, or – as with the cattle encounter – north west of the city from Weetslade Country Park.
The lack of contact during peak lockdown means we treasure our meet-ups more than ever – and the enjoyment of running in new places in informal groups mean that longer-term we may never go back to the old timetable – a rare example of positive change coming out of the Covid-era.
Meantime, we will plan our runs to avoid the cows. Although it was good sprint training, it is probably something best not repeating…
LGBT runner or an ally? If you want to give Newcastle Frontrunners a try, email us.We will invite you to a Wednesday night free no-obligation session.