JOASIA ZAKRZEWSKI was certainly in a hurry last weekend when she lined up in two events on both sides of the Border.
The Durham City Harrier is noted for having a heavy mileage background, having competed for Scotland in the 2014 marathon in Glasgow as well as representing GB at 50k and 100k.
And while a hill race on the outskirts of Edinburgh, followed less than 24 hours later by an outing in the Heaton Memorial 10k, may be a huge task for some, on reflection it seems just a walk in the park compared to what lies ahead for the GP, who splits the year working as a locum in Durham City and Dumfries in the Scottish Borders.
However, Zakrzewski is equally at home whatever the terrain but next weekend she faces an unknown challenge when she contests a sixday international race in the Oman desert covering a distance of 250k.
Despite being slight of build, the long-distance crusader has no qualms that she can complete the course even though she will have to carry food and change of clothing throughout the contest.
After her victory over a flat Town Moor terrain on Sunday, Zakrzewski explained that, while the Oman ultra challenge is something she hasn’t attempted before, she is eagerly looking forward to taking on the task.
“Even though I’ve competed in numerous ultra-events in my time there’s no doubt this one will be tough and while running through the sand dunes may not be too much of a problem the idea of having to carry everything you need for six days will be a big worry,’’ said Zakrzewski “Having said that, I’m always looking for new challenges and when I was approached to see if I was interested I jumped at the chance and can’t wait to get out there next week and see how things go. “Since accepting the invite I’ve read up a lot on the race which has grown into an international event attracting ultra athletes from many countries so I’m not going to just make the numbers up.’’
Zakrzewski’s decision to take in the Oman contest means that she misses out on this coming weekend’s British and Irish Masters Cross-Country International which is being held in Northern Ireland.
Zakrzewski was named in the Scottish squad after winning the trials but her diary shows she will be many miles away when her teammates take to the country in Londonderry.
“It’s a shame I have to miss the Masters’ cross-country for I’ve ran it three times and it’s a great, enjoyable event,’’ added Zakrzewski, who defended her North East Masters Cross-Country title in Wallsend earlier in the year.
“I have friends competing for both Scotland and England and wish them well and will be checking on the results, if I can, while I am away.’’ IT’S taken 10 years for Peter Newton to win Heaton Harriers’ Memorial 10k Road Race for a second time.
On the first occasion in 2007, as a member of the city-based Claremont club, Newton had to pull out all the stops to see off the challenge of Ryan Stephenson (North Shields Poly) in recording a winning time of 33min 17secs.
Since that November day both athletes then moved on to link up with the powerful Morpeth club.
Newton, especially, posted excellent results not just on the roads but on the track – 29:54.3 when winning the North East Counties 10,000m championship last year – and over the country.
However, it has taken numerous attempts over the past decade to repeat his Heaton success – until last weekend that is.
His victory this time round in 31:09 was just as sweet, if not more so, than it was 10 years ago for he felt the hoodoo had been broken at last.
“I remember winning way back in 2007 and it was windy that day just as it is today,’’ said Newton before receiving his award.
“I’ve ran the race a number of times since then but the likes of Jonny (Taylor) always managed to come out on top.
“Since winning the race 10 years ago I’ve always wanted to come back and try to win it again, and this year I’ve managed to do that.
“While my time is nothing special [Newton has a 10k road best of 30:22 which he posted in Trafford in March] I’m quite pleased to get out there and race, for it was my first competitive outing in some time.’’