Foam Rollers and Fish & Chips: The JJs North Tyneside 10k

17 April, 2022


 Some might say that running from Bondi to Bronte Beach, Sydney, Australia or along the Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France are the world’s prettiest coastlines to go for a run, but the path leading from the North Shields Fish Quay to St. Mary’s Lighthouse must run close. Which other course offers a sweeping vantage over the glorious North East coast and striking landmarks, namely the Tynemouth Priory, Spanish City and, of course, the lighthouse. Such views are a sure distraction for any runner enduring the point-to-point race.


Poseidon laid at rest as the British weather had certainly taken a turn for the better over the course of the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend. With the favourable conditions – including a gentle breeze on our backs – ensuring that all JJs wore their summer kits. Other than Matty Down who opted for trousers and a long sleeve top! This didn’t hinder his performance though, putting in a very respectable 44:32 to place 5th in his age category. A great achievement considering it was his first race back from injury. However, Matty’s outfit choice wasn’t the only questionable aspect of the day.  As Diggory proceeded to pull out a foam roller amongst the jittery crowd of runners, and to the astonishment (or revulsion) of his JJ counterparts, put himself in some debatable positions that could’ve qualified for an ASBO! I think you get the idea …


The JJs performance was well matched to the surroundings and conditions, characterised by nimble running and a civilised sense of competition.  All 15 members finished under the hour mark and several achieved PBs, proving that the hard work during the deepest and darkest months of Winter were paying off!


The start of the race kicked off at 10am by the Parks Sports Centre. It soon dropped down to the Fish Quay before two short, but steep, climbs up to the Priory and then onto an undulating run lined by spectators. Diggory Slee led the northbound charge, crossing in 36:27 (PB). Tom Dowling followed behind coming 7th in his age category, along with a JJs record-breaking time of 38:02 (PB). Hopefully he can replicate such form at the Sunderland Half in May. No pressure, Tom! The next JJs wave (pun intended) all finished within just over three minutes of each other. Headed by Laura Chapman, sporting her brand spanking new Nike Vapourfly’s, and posting an incredible 42:21 (PB) to come 5th in the senior women’s. Angus Miller, running on his local patch, found form despite recently recovering from the effects of COVID-19 and achieved a time of 43:06. Four more JJs kept under 45 minutes, Emily Langadec ran it home in 44:26 to claim the W40 record off Kate Black. Race day veteran, Simon Wells, matched Matty Down’s chip time of 44:32 and Emily Green sailed around in 44:56 (PB). Geoff Blair, donning a crisp-white pair of carbon-plated shoes, finished at the lighthouse in 45:02, coming 5th in M60 and Alex Leathard, who withheld from his Easter chocolate until after the race, followed closely behind posting a solid time of 45:44. After that, the JJs finished thick and fast. Club legend, Kate Black, swapped one club record for another as she beat the W50’s time by finishing in 49:50. Lottie Rhodes crossed in 50:56, Greame Leathard in 51:57, Rob Dooley 51:36, David Newman 56:15, Martyn Collins 56:16* and Kate Winstanley closed the book in 58:06. All receiving a t-shirt and pair of socks upon completion.


In true JJs fashion, it’s never too late to ‘walk the course’ and eight of the running contingent decided to do so once the race had finished, almost making it back to the start of the race. Perhaps they were already preparing for 2023? On their reconnaissance, Fish Friday became a thing of the past as Fish Sunday’s performances and weather warranted a blissful opportunity to pay tribute to Alf Tupper and refuel on fish and chips: the food of champions. There was also some great JJs support from Hannah Marshall and Phill Carr, so thanks must go to them for giving us one last push to the line.

Diggory Slee