Running club hold annual handicap events

BLYTH Running Club Juniors recently held their annual handicap race of two miles of a two-lap course using the beach path and finishing on the promenade.

The runners were all handicapped according to their age and ability so that any one could win.

The conditions for this year’s junior handicap were bright and breezy, with a cold northerly wind for the youngsters to run into for the final mile.

There was just over 40 runners and the first off were some of the youngest members of the club, and 11 minutes later the last two runners, Jake Jansen and Chris Lillico set off.

The race was won by newcomer Josh Fiddaman, who steadily worked his way through the field to build up a commanding lead.

Finishing second was Ellen Keenan, who just beat Natalya in a sprint finish, although Natalya was awarded second position as Ellen hasn’t joined the club yet and was running as a guest. This meant that Connor Marshall was awarded the trophy for third place.

Jake Jansen finished in eighth position and set a new course record of 10:59 for the two mile distance, Charlie Hedley was the was the fastest girl with a time of 13:02.

Two days later the seniors held their own handicap over a distance of 6.5 miles, the route starts at the beach car park, along the beach path, up Collywell Bay Road, past the Delaval Arms pub and then back along the cliff tops and then along the road back to Blyth.

Unlike the juniors race, the conditions were atrocious and can only be described as monsoon conditions, with heavy rain and strong winds for the duration of the race.

With such atrocious weather it was remarkable that 38 club members turned out to take part in the annual event.

The race starters Dave Kitching and Iain Singer set the first runner, newcomer Jane Cassells away at just after 7.15pm as the remaining runners huddled together in the shelter of the Dave Stephens building to keep warm and dry. One by one runners left their protective shelter, until the remaining pair of Robbie Barkley and Jake Jansen were set away some 25 minutes later. Congratulations go to race winner and new member Jon French who won with a time of 46:05. In second place, 23 seconds later was Mal Darbyshire, with Graeme Stewart third, a further 30 seconds adrift.

Fastest time on the night was recorded by Robbie Barkley with 39:37, and fastest lady was Julie Clark in a time of 45:32.

The full set of results are available on the Blyth Running Club web-site:

Blyth Running Club are currently holding indoor mini athletic sessions for the young athletes.

The sessions will take place at Blyth Sports Centre and the aim is to provide young children with a fun and active experience of being part of a sports club.

Children will also have the opportunity to work towards recognised UK:Athletics awards.

The sessions are on Wednesday evenings at 5pm at Blyth Sports Centre, starting Wednesday, May 9.

All sessions will be held by UK Athletics qualified coaches and will last about one hour.

Blyth currently have an expanding and active junior section and are looking to recruit new members, so if anybody between the ages of nine and 17 are interested in running, then if they turn up at Blyth Sports Centre on Monday nights at 6.45pm with their parents then they will be met by a club official or they can send an e-mail to and somebody will contact them.

The club have introduced a new running group for complete beginners, the group will be led by Alison Lowes who has recently become a qualified “Run In England” Leader.

Beginners will take things very much at their own pace, and the group will encourage people of all abilities and ages to try running. Age isn’t a barrier, fitness isn’t a barrier and, with guidance, health issues rarely present a barrier.

Have more fun training in a group with other runners in and around Blyth.

Everyone is welcome to join up, whatever their age, size or ability, and fully trained group leader Alison will make sure that you’re well looked after and having loads of fun.

If you’d like to give it a go or need further information, please contact group leader, Alison on 07792 860740.

Blyth Running Club are well established as one of the leading clubs in the area and as well as the running they also arrange various social nights/activities.

Blyth welcome any new runners of any age/ability, so if anyone is interested in coming along to training nights, or learning more about the club, then leave your name and contact number at Blyth Sports Centre and a member of the club will contact you to discuss, or Blyth Running Club can be contacted by e-mail at Anybody wanting more information should ring (01670) 362668.