Conquering Coquet

I’m not sure what possessed me to sign up for this (I was thinking to myself early on Sunday 2nd July), but having roped two other Wallsend Harrier ladies into it I was compelled to drag myself to the depths of Northumberland to the newly established Run Northumberland Coquet Half Marathon (this is only its second year).

Our half marathon stalwart Mark Summers, having completed the undulating course as part of his epic tour last year, also joined the small but gutsy team.

Us ladies signed up at the last minute, the cooler weather convincing me it might just be doable. I’ve only ever done the Great North Run half marathon. I make it the be all and end all and then have crumbled under the pressure (and heat) the past two years. So I figured doing a different one, earlier in the year, might just help me feel more prepared and less pressurised. Plus I haven’t done enough long runs this season and thought it might just get me motivated.

It started in Rothbury just up from a school and leisure centre at the top of a big hill. There were about 150 runners so it felt nice and relaxed and friendly, a good start for me as it meant I wasn’t too nervous. The first mile was a nice downhill run and I immediately knew I was going to enjoy this. I stuck with Donna (or rather she stuck with me) for the first five miles or so but I knew (despite her protests) that she was holding back so I sent her on her way, happy to have her trade mark cap in the distance as motivation.

The first half was described as ‘mostly flat’ which wasn’t entirely true but the second half (‘more hilly’) was most definitely true! Apparently they had taken the ‘big hill’ out from last year. I can’t imagine what that must have been like! I was pretty much on my own for the second half but whenever I struggled I made sure I looked around me and took in the breath-taking view. It really was a sight to behold. My mini Harriers were at various points along the way to high five me and shout “go on mum”, which I was extremely glad of.

Despite the frequent ascents the miles did seem to tick by nicely and before I knew it I was heading back into Rothbury again. There was a lovely downhill to end on and I could hear the support crew shouting my name as I headed over the bridge with a massive smile on my face and a last minute sprint to finish things off. I was so proud to see Sarah Robson and Donna at the end, coming in second (1hr36) and fourth (1hr 42) – amazing work! I was sixth lady, which put us comfortably at the top of the podium for first ladies’ team prize. Whoop whoop! Mark beat his time from last year by a good four minutes (1hr49).

I was just looking for under two hours but totally surprised myself with a 1hr46. Chuffed to bits and now raring to go for the big GNR in two months’ time.

I would definitely do this one again. I bagged a medal, t-shirt and prize of a new training top so that was a bonus.


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