Sunderland Strollers Pier to Pier Race
This year's annual Pier to Pier had just short of 1000 participants. The race is hosted by Sunderland Strollers and South Shields Harriers and starts on the beach at South Shields Pier, follows the beach and coastal footpaths to finish about 7 miles later at the Pier on Roker Beach in Sunderland. As is starts on the beach the event date depends on, among other things, the tides!
Starting prompt at 10am the runners were spread out along the beach all vying for best sand to start the race on. Weather-wise, conditions were perfect with a favourable wind following the runners, a lot better than last year's race which had a headwind and snow at the start! With lots of water pools towards the far end of the beach to contend with many runners were somewhat wet by the time they made it onto the headland.
Once off the beach runners were free to decide which route to take – some hugging the coast line whereas others chose a more ‘inland’ route closer to the roads.
A very scenic course along the coast taking in Marsden Rock, Souters lighthouse and even a military firing range, it is mainly on grass however care had to be taken when on the stony footpaths.
With Sunderland Pier in sight from about 4 ½ miles runners know the finish is near. It is not until shortly after this that they make it onto the footpaths making it slightly easier underfoot, once onto the promenade the pace seems to pick up somewhat and it is with a sigh of relief when the final corner is turned and the last half mile is underway – once again on the beach. The sand is much firmer by this time and it makes for a fast finish for those that can muster the energy to the shouts of the waiting crowds.
The Pier to Pier is renowned for its goodies and finishers were not disappointed with plenty of refreshments; crisps, chocolate and a More Mile Runners Back Pack.
Yet again, great organisation with transport facilities from those wishing to park up at the finish and be transported to the start pre-race, a baggage facility and speedy results!!
This year's race was won by local boy Luke Adams of South Shields (the North East Runner nutrition expert!) in a time just outside 37.01. His margin of victory was more than a minute from Andy Burn from Jarrow & Hebburn. Alyson Dixon of Chester le Street (recently profiled by North East Runner) won the ladies event in 40.28 ahead of Michelle Holt of Sunderland.
Full results can be found at the Sunderland Strollers website by clicking here.
Thanks to all those involved in this great event.
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