RACE ace Ian Harding took the Northumberland Coastal Run title on Sunday for the first time and declared: “I’m ecstatic. It is a race I have always wanted to win.”
The Amble runner snatched the crown away from last year’s winner James Buis, of Heaton Harriers, who had to settle for a second-place finish this time round.
Harding, from the town’s North View, completed the annual Beadnell to Alnmouth run – organised by the Alnwick Harriers and stretching a distance of around 14-miles – in 1:16:27, topping a field of more than 800 runners on the day.
“I am very pleased to win the race,” said the 29-year-old Morpeth Harrier, who added the Coastal Run title to his growing list of victories, which includes the Les Allcorn 10k earlier this year.
“The last time I ran in the Coastal Run was in 2002 and I came 10th that day, so to win is great. It is another one ticked off.”
Commenting on the run itself, he said: “The race was good. I felt comfortable all the way and I was really comfortable with the pace. I could have pushed on if I wanted to but I didn’t know the way so I stuck with James Buis (at the front of the field). But when we got to the beach and I knew 100 per cent where I was going, I pushed on and I kicked for home.”
It was a fine win for Ian, particularly considering he hasn’t really pushed himself that kind of distance this season.
“I have mainly been running 5 and 10ks,” he said. “Even in training, probably the furthest I was going was 10 miles, but not very often. The Sunday prior to the race I had done a 14-mile training run to get endurance into me.”
Birtley AC’s Darren Purvis, who won the race in 2005, was third to cross the line.
Harding’s victory began a good day for Morpeth Harriers, as his female club mate Jane Hodgson nee Mooney won the women’s race.
The Morpeth club also took both the male and female team trophies.
Thirty-year-old Jane, who won the women’s prize in a time of 1:29:56, said: “It is brilliant to win. It is longer than I normally run, as I normally run 10ks, but I have been doing triathlons, including a half Ironman triathlon in June which included a 13-mile run, so I think that has given me the strength to do the longer runs.”
Hodgson, from Low Fell, finished ahead of second-placed female and 2009 winner Deborah Appleton, from Havering Mayesbrook AC, and third-placed Amy Green from Keighley and Craven AC.
Reflecting on the race, she said: “I gradually passed people and I was leading (the women’s race) from about Craster. It is a tough course. Scenic, but tough, and I am really pleased to win.”
There were also some good performances from the host club, including from Geoff Campbell who was the first Alnwick Harrier home, finishing in 19th place overall in a time of 1:28:48.
Campbell, 41 from Alnwick said: “I can’t complain at that, I’m very pleased. It was a difficult run. I was comfortable around the 10-mile mark but I started to fade back after that.”
Mark Miller was the next home runner back, finishing 23rd overall, while third for the hosts was David Henderson, crossing the line in 81st.
Jo Gascoigne-Owens was the first female Alnwick Harrier back and finished as ninth female overall in a time of 1:40:24.
Lisa Sutton and Henrietta Bolton-Carter were the second and third females back for the club respectively.
However, Alnwick Harrier and former Northumberland Coastal Run winner David Kirkland had to withdraw before the race with what was said to be a knee problem.
This year’s run – the 31st of its kind – sold out within two days, with an entry limit of 1,200 runners available online in January.
And the event, which was voted Best Race in Britain in 2007 by Runner’s World, has once again been hailed as a success.
Thanks have been given to the event’s marshals, supporters and sponsors, particularly Eclipse Translations.
The provisional date for the 2012 Northumberland Coastal Run is Sunday, July 22.
Top 10: 1 Ian Harding 1:16:27; 2 James Buis 1:17:10; 3 Darren Purvis 1:19:23; 4 Conrad Franks 1:21:02; 5 Philip Sanderson 1:22:16; 6 Phil Walker 1:23:43; 7 Richard Parker 1:24:58; 8 George Hall 1:26:02; 9 Paul Waterston 1:26:09; 10 Mark Hall 1:26:20.
Top 10 females: 1 Jane Mooney 1:29:56; 2 Deborah Appleton 1:31:43; 3 Amy Green 1:32:44; 4 Kim Simpson 1:36:52; 5 Sarah Lemon 1:37:00; 6 Nik Sutton-Haigh 1:37:00; 7 Karen Bridge 1:37:33; 8 Joanne Lee 1:37:57; 9 Jo Gascoigne-Owens 1:40:24; 10 Clare Cunningham 1:41:29.
Alnwick Harrier results:
19 Geoff Campbell 1:28:48; 23 Mark Miller 1:30:15; 81 David Henderson 1:38:44; 92 Jo Gascoigne-Owens 1:40:24; 140 Mike Henry 1:44:31; 158 Stuart Morris 1:45:59; 161 Nick Gillingham 1:46:04; 178 Graham Skirrow 1:47:16; 209 Lisa Sutton 1:49:39; 215 Jeremy Gray 1:49:51; 270 David Davison 1:53:05; 291 Henrietta Bolton-Carter 1:54:20; 294 John Ross 1:54:25; 341 David Bartrum 1:57:11; 351 Richard Eastoe 1:57:52; 356 Caroline Findlay 1:58:13; 414 Antony Budd 2:00:55; 442 Maureen Bartrum 2:02:58; 445 Anne Allan 2:03:09; 474 Phil Lee 2:04:31; 475 Mel Steer 2:04:31; 492 Mairi Campbell 2:05:44; 498 Dave Coates 2:05:56; 501 Samantha Davie 2:06:08; 567 Ruth Doctor 2:11:11; 611 Janet Murphy 2:14:23; 612 Gay Eastoe 2:14:25; 661 Alan Waugh 2:19:25; 667 Anne-Marie Carter 2:19:47; 752 Claire Gillingham 2:29:24; 793 Andy Squires 2:57:17; 799 Joanne Morrison 3:00:52.
Visit www.alnwickharriers.co.uk for full results and more information.