A historic horse race
The first Blaydon horse races were held in 1861 on a circular island in the Tyne called Blaydon Island (Dent’s Meadow). Due to the event’s huge success, the organisers decided to hold the event again the following year on the 9th of June.
The well-known Geordie folk song, The Blaydon Races, was written by Gateshead born Geordie Ridley. It chronicled an eventful coach ride from Newcastle, across the Tyne to the Blaydon Races on the 9th June 1862.
First performed at Balmbra’s in the Cloth Market, the folk song has become an unofficial anthem of Tyneside and is frequently sung by supporters of Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons.
The horse meetings continued annually until 1865 and later revived in 1887, but due to improvements to the River Tyne, Blaydon Island had been removed, the track was moved to Stella Haughs.
They continued annually, but due to a decline in popularity and a civil disorder caused by alleged horse race rigging, the last Blaydon horse races took place in 1916.
The modern road race
Created in 1981 by Dr James Dewar of Blaydon Harriers, the Blaydon Race is an athletics road race from Newcastle to Blaydon. Taking place annually on the 9th June, it follows the route of the horse racegoers took in the 1862 Geordie Ridley song.
The first race attracted 212 athletes, with its popualrity growing year on year and it now sells out the 4700 available spots within record time each year.
After the death of Dr Dewar in 2004, Bob Houston took on the role of race director for a number of years, Lynn Craig is the current Club Chairwoman, but due her husband’s retirement is passing the race over to Daniel Flint.