Gateshead Half Marathon – 30th April 2023

by Andy Turnell

This was my second time at the Gateshead Half. Up until last year I limited myself to one Half Marathon a year at Redcar but decided to see how an early season race would feel so opted for Gateshead.

This year I decided to park at Heworth and then jog to the International Stadium for my warm-up. On the way I passed the Dolans (Andrew and Anthony) who looked to be “in the mood for running”. The forecast in the lead up to Sunday had been for dry conditions between 8:00 and 12:00 but it was drizzling as I headed for the start and it didn’t really stop from then on. Fortunately it wasn’t quite as cold as it could have been.

After dropping my bag off I headed round to the start area which was already pretty congested and spotted Steve Mills. He’s actually quite difficult to miss. I knew there were only 4 of us entered in the Half and 5 in the 10k, and I soon spotted Ken and Laura.

Both races started together and we were called to the start line based on predicted finish times, I ended up with Simon, Kelly and Gayle just ahead of me prior to the off.

The course was slightly different this year with an extra loop added north of the swing bridge instead of a short out and back section just after leaving the stadium.

This was the first time that I’d tried to follow a Training Plan for a specific event so I knew what sort of time I was looking for but I still find it difficult to pace myself when the course isn’t flat. This course definitely isn’t flat.

As usual, the first mile or so was pretty congested, especially as there were both half marathon and 10k runners together on the road but the field soon spread out and there was room to settle into a steady pace.

I could see Simon, Kelly and Gayle a few yards ahead of me and, knowing they would only be doing one lap, I was happy just to maintain the gap.

The course heads down past the Sage to the swing bridge and then along the south of the Tyne towards Teams and the turn-round point. It was here that I first saw Steve and Andrew as they headed back towards the swing bridge.

There’s quite a bit of “undulation” along that stretch and I felt I was coping with it better than last year, time would tell. It was somewhere around here that I passed Gayle, and I could still see Simon and Kelly some way ahead.

After crossing the Swing Bridge there’s another loop and it was clear that Stave was “going for it” , I could tell he was working hard.. I’m not sure if the aroma of Sunday breakfasts being prepared in the quayside pubs helped or hindered me.

Once back to the south of the river the climb back up to the stadium began. It’s not continuous but you rise in a number of stages and the uphills seem a little steeper and longer each time.

As I approached the halfway point I was close enough to Simon and Kelly to see them enter the Stadium for their finish, I just had it all to do again with addition of an extra section to make up the distance.

There’s no point me describing the second lap really, it was pretty much the came as the first except slower and Steve and Andrew were further ahead of me at the turns.

I distinctly remember running out of steam towards the end last year and the final climb back up the the stadium was a real slog. It didn’t fell as bad this time so I hoped I was on target to better my previous time.

Finally, back inside the stadium and on level ground I pushed for the finish, passing the 13 mile marker as I went.

My time of 1:50:30 was almost 3 minutes quicker than last year (01:53:29) and my third fastest HM. Plus I finished as 1st V65 winning me free entry into another race.

All that remained was to see Anthony home and then a soggy jog back to the car.

It seems that Steve had a problem with his chip timing and he didn’t appear in the results so his time comes from Strava. He did record a Half Marathon PB though.


~149 Steve Mills 1:37:21
189 Andrew Dolan 1:39:48
386 Andrew Turnell 1:50:30 1st V65
429 Anthony Dolan 1:53:03