Report from Paul Tranter:
The North East Marathon Club was set up to provide no frills, no fuss, low cost scenic marathons for local runners. Having previously run their Hamsterley Forest Marathon they certainly live up to that ethos. The runs are well organised, friendly and definitely affordable even the South Shields coast path is scenic, looking very different to when it hosts the finish to the Great North Run.
The Leas 6 x 6 is essentially a 6 hour race run over a 6.55 mile course. Most runners were there to complete a marathon, but the option was there to do any distance from 10k to a 50k ultra.
The course is on the coast path in South Shields, running on a mix of grass, gravel paths and tarmac. With the start/finish tent placed in the middle of the course its perfect for picking up food, drink or kit every 2 to 3 miles. Runners set off whenever they are ready. You simply register, pick up a timing chip on a wrist strap, scan on the timer’s phone and off you go. Nothing else to do until you scan in when you have done as many laps as you can or want to.
Sunday’s run for me went pretty well. It started in cold, wet drizzle under grey skies and into a sharp headwind and finished in bright sunshine in gale force winds in excess of 50 mph. Not ideal in the last miles of a marathon, but it’s one of those occasions when you either laugh or cry. Overall, I really enjoyed this race. Marathon number 98 for me and my third since having a hip resurfacing operation, and the most comfortable so far. 4 hrs 41 mins and 55 secs is not fast, but I was there to enjoy the journey and make sure I made it to the end. 51 people completed the marathon distance and I was placed 19 th. First female was Anna Beattie in 3:41:52 and 3 rd overall. First male and first overall was Stephen Kirk in 3:24:31.
The longest runs of the day were by Melanie Horan from the North East Marathon Club who covered 34.7 miles in 5:56:17 and Ole Pederson who covered 30 miles in 4:35:15.
Hats off to NEMC for going sustainable too with a the very nice wooden medal and ‘no cups’ policy at the feed station, something all races should be able to adopt.