Downpours cause havoc across parts of the North East

Would-be extreme runners have been left disgruntled after the first 10k event of its kind in Northumberland struggled to get out of the starting blocks in the bad weather

A deserted Tynemouth beach
A deserted Tynemouth beach

Would-be extreme runners have been left disgruntled after the first 10k event of its kind in Northumberland struggled to get out of the starting blocks in the bad weather.

The Norse Challenge was due to see people wade in the North sea, at Druridge Bay, climb towering hay bales and launch themselves down a 150ft mud slide.

It was billed as “Northumberland’s first 10k obstacle race” and garnered interest from around the country with people travelling to the region to take part in its inaugural event yesterday .

But it was cancelled as bad weather set in yesterday, leading many participants to hit out at the lack of organisation. Event organisers, Northumberland-based company Gut Check, last night said the need to postpone was down to the torrential rain experienced in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Via an announcement on their event’s Facebook page the company told angry runners: “Due to poor weather and the forecast for worse weather. After consulting with safety teams we took the decision to cancel today’s event. We have rescheduled for September 8.”

Runner Matt Offer said: “I was one of many who had paid an entry fee yet received no further information from the organisers until two days before the race when we were simply told to turn up on the day. I arrived early to register and found the registration system to be one man who was attempting to register hundreds of runners.

“Many of these spent their morning stood in the inevitable queue in the freezing rain. Those of us who managed to register were then left to wait for an hour and a half in the rain or huddling in the visitor centre with no race organisers or marshals present to pass on any information.

“Eventually a rumour spread that the race was due to start only for an official to appear and say the race had been cancelled.

“Many like me are angry the race wasn’t called off earlier if the weather was to blame rather than continue to accept entries and leave hundreds of people to queue in the rain with no information.”

Scotswood Road was closed
Scotswood Road was closed

The downpours also caused havoc in other parts of the region, with firefighters called to bail out flooded homes in County Durham.

Calls for help with flooding came in from people living in Chester-le-Street, Darlington, Bishop Auckland and Nettlesworth.

A fire service spokesman said: “We have been dealing with a number of flood related incidents across the county. The calls are largely from residents and we were out at a home in Nettlesworth where the water was rising in a basement. In many of these cases where the water level is high enough we will use our equipment to pump it out.”

Scotswood Road and Ouseburn Road in Newcastle were shut off due to excess surface water and parts of Shiremoor in North Tyneside became unpassable by motorists.

In Seaton Sluice fire fighters were called to help a dog walker who’d become trapped in water up to her waist.

A Northumberland Fire Service spokesman said: “We don’t know how or why but a woman had been out and about with her dog in Holywell Dene where there is a small river and got into difficulties. The heavy rain may have raised its levels. She was up to her waist in water and needed help getting out. We took along specialist equipment and used throw ropes and man power to get her out.”

Yesterday’s downpour is unlikely to be the last, though the warm weather enjoyed throughout July will return at times. After a slight drop in temperatures this week the Met Office says it will once again reach 25 degrees by Thursday afternoon but bring with it more heavy showers.


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