The Withernsea 5 is one of my personal favourites on the race calendar, it’s relatively short, pleasantly undulating, always well organised and I always seem to do (relatively) well there. This year presented us with a hot and blustery day, which made itself known particularly between the three and four mile markers, as the sun blazed down on our backs and the wind came directly in our faces. This is also the section that has the courses biggest climb, but at least when you’ve turned the corner back towards the coast, you know the worst is over with and it’s just a case of hanging on to the end.
One minor irritation that seemed more prevalent this year was the number of flying insects, I’m told they’re thunder bugs, but I’m no entomologist. They certainly are a pain though and they’re greatly attracted to anybody wearing a yellow/green coloured top. This was especially an issue for anyone wearing a Beverley, Bridlington or Scarborough running vest – not however an issue for the Home runners of Withernsea, or the East Hull Harriers team, at least that is until the end, when we were rewarded for our efforts with a luminous yellow commemorative technical tee, that switched the bugs attention to us, needless to say the shirts were hidden away whilst we enjoyed out customary post race beers and we sat in our sweaty running kit instead.
Perhaps a bigger reward at this race is the unique prize of free fish and chips to all finishers, which creates a massive, but well worth waiting in queue, that reaches well down Queen Street. The fish and chips is one of the reasons I try to push this race to new runners starting from scratch or parkrunners hoping to step up their distance, as an event that will give them a good idea what it’s like to enter a race.
From a personal point of view it was a very good race, as It is the fifth time I’ve done it and the fifth time I’ve improved my time. Running along the prom at the start, I knew I was going well as I had Martin Hardey and Kirsty Wilson just in front of me and Tim Simpson (albeit returning from injury) just behind, this was perhaps a sign that I’d started too quickly, but I resolved to try to hang on and hope I had the reserves to see it through. In fact, I managed to pass Kirsty at around the two mile mark at Hollym and kept in front of her until the final 800 yards or so from the finish line.
It was a cracking day for EHH with prizes going to the following athletes :
- 3rd Male runner : Rob Weekes (27:54)
- 1st Male 45 : Stuart Carmichael (28:38)
- 2nd Lady : Kerry Young (33:48)
- 1st Female 45 Kirsty Wilson (35:32)
- 1st Female 35 Magdalena Zaremba (38:26)
- 1st Female 55 Linda Huart (41:05) – This was a hat trick of wins in the event for Linda.
The event was well attended with what I believe was a record 257 runners, and a good contingent of red vests, here are the rest of our clubs representatives times :
Darren White (31:28), Tony Cross (32:45), Martin Hardey (34:56), Keith Conkerton (35:40), Tim Simpson (35:57), Rob Wells (38:19), Matt Pinder (39:41), Debbie Jacketts (40:01), Dave Dearing – who distinctively ran bare foot (40:34), Suzanne Wesson (41:49), Mandy Davison (43:41), Emma Wells (44:59), Laura Cropper (45:00), Graham Hall (46:56), Richard MacLeod (47:07), Jordan Peacock (47:48), Carol Cooke (52:16), Eileen Deyes (52:38), Sheila Maddison (53:29).
All in all this was a great event on a great day, with friendly and informative marshals and registration/rewards team and with well populated support at the finishing funnel. But my enduring memory of the day is that this seaside town, that used to be the destination for many a weekend break, holidays at my grans, bike rides with my mates from Hull and at least 3 Slade concerts, that has to me, unfortunately, shown signs of decline for a couple of decades or so, finally seemed to be on the up, with plenty of tourists evident and a general buzz in the atmosphere – long may it continue.