It is, without doubt, one of the most popular events in the North East (and probably the country too) with upwards of 4,000 runners competing each year. Indeed, the Blaydon Race, a fixture in the race calendar for nearly six decades, sold all of their allocated entries (4700) in record time for next week (9 June), with many unable to grab a place.
Staged on the same date every year since 1961 (9 June), The Blaydon Race is one of the most hotly anticipated and iconic events in the region. Each year, the run begins began with a recital of the 1862 Blaydon Races song, which opens with 'Aa went to Blaydon Races t'was on the Ninth of June.' This ritual singing of the song takes place at the start, while the starter also uses the handbell referred to in the song.
Competitors on Sunday 9 June will depart from Balmbras in Newcastle and head towards Collingwood Street and along the Scotswood Road past Armstrong’s factory, ending at Shibdon Road playing fields in Blaydon.
Last year saw a thrilling race unfold as Chris Parr, who had been in front for the majority of the race, falling two places at the final stretch as John Beattie (26:39) and Carl Avery (26:42) overtook him, with the Gateshead Harrier a further four seconds behind.
It was more clear-cut in the women’s competition as Wallsend Harriers’ Danielle Hodgkinson (30:47) finished ahead of Stockport’s Elle Baker (31:33) for a convincing victory. Morpeth’s Jane Hodgson claimed third place (32:09).
Keep an eye out for runABC North's race report early next week.