In cold, wet and thoroughly miserable conditions, a superb number of juniors and seniors pulled on their club vests to represent Alnwick Harriers at the third of the six North East Harrier League cross-country events on Saturday.
Almost 90 members of the club took part in the Druridge Bay fixture, organised by Blyth Running Club, on a mostly flat but very muddy course.
As with the previous two events this season, there were some superb individual performances, as well as some cracking team results.
All the results and latest league tables can be found at www.harrierleague.com/ results/2015-16
The senior men have started life in division three very well, with excellent numbers taking part, ensuring that the club stood second overall after the Tanfield and Durham meetings, behind Saltwell Harriers.
Some 25 men competed on this 5.75-mile route, and thanks to some brilliant runs, they finished comfortably top of the division three teams on the day.
Alnwick still lie second in the overall standings behind Saltwell, but they have moved further away from Derwentside Athletic Club and Ponteland Runners.
First counter from the medium pack was Steve Carragher, finishing 38th overall, and just behind him were slow pack runners Ian Simon and Wayne Gair.
The top 10 per cent of runners are promoted, and due to there being just over 500 runners taking part, these three finished inside the top 50 and go up a pack.
Gary Hall was fourth counter in 77th place, and Dom Harris had another great run to finish fifth counter in 103rd place. From the medium pack, Phil Hemsley was the sixth and final counter after just holding off Adam Spiller.
A number of Harriers were making their seasonal cross-country debuts, including Jock Bolam, Graham Skirrow and Paul Dellbridge.
Ben Hemmings, only a member of the club for a short time, has probably completed his final race for Alnwick after securing a place in the RAF.
38-Steve Carragher 41.44 (M); 43-Ian Simon 41.50 (S); 47-Wayne Gair 41.56 (S); 77-Gary Hall 42.33 (S); 103-Dominic Harris 42.43 (S); 149-Phil Hemsley 43.37 (M); 153-Adam Spiller 43.48 (S); 286-Micky Aiston 46.29 (S); 291-Adam Fletcher 46.36 (F); 298-Graham Simpson 46.42 (F); 311-Jock Bolam 46.59 (S); 321-Nick Armstrong 47.24 (S); 325-Mark Doctor 47.24 (S); 343-Paul Godden 48.00 (S); 385-Steven Studley 49.17 (S); 397-Andy Squires 49.46 (S); 401-Dave Hindmarsh 49.51 (S); 412-Ben Hemmings 50.13 (S); 429-Graham Skirrow 51.18 (S); 436-Dave Bartrum 51.39 (S); 455-Andy Stephenson 52.15 (S); 500-Dave Coates 57.25 (S); 522-David Charlton 1.01.07 (S); 529-Kim Bronze 1.04.02 (S); 532-Paul Dellbridge 1.06.05 (S).
Meanwhile, the senior women were once again very impressive in division one, finishing fourth on the day, ahead of Durham City Harriers and Tynedale Harriers.
They remain fourth overall and are looking a decent bet to stay in the top flight this season, which will be a very good achievement.
On a short course, just under four miles, Jo Gascoigne-Owens and Ella Brown ran their usual top-class races from the fast pack, with Jo finishing 22nd and Ella 30th.
They were joined as counters by slow pack runners Diana Weightman and Lisa Baston. Karen Kelly and Lesley Miller had a close battle slightly further back, and the biggest smile of the day was from Lorna Stephenson.
Looking at age-category finishes on the day, Ella was the fastest F40 by 3 minutes, and Diana was second F50 and Lesley first F55.
In the overall veteran grand prix standings, Jo is sitting at No 1 and Ella No 2 of well over 400 to have run in that category so far this season.
22-Jo Gascoigne-Owens 28.23 (F); 30-Ella Brown 28.39 (F); 45-Diana Weightman 29.07 (S); 59-Lisa Baston 29.25 (S; 76-Karen Kelly 29.42 (M); 77-Lesley Miller 29.42 (S); 208-Ruth Doctor 32.11 (S); 216-Justine Norman 32.24 (S); 300-Sheona Duffy 36.59 (S); 330-Lorna Stephenson 43.27 (S).
The juniors had probably the worst of the weather conditions, with the howling wind and rain reaching its peak during the early races.
However, there were a number of very good performances, notably from Lauren Brown in the under-11s’ race, finishing second.
Ben Murray-John was sixth in the under-13 boys’ race, Harrison Brown was 12th in the under-15 boys’ run, Callie Henderson was fourth overall and fastest on the day with her fast pack penalty in the girls’ under-15s, and Edris Ramezanpour was sixth in the under-17 boys’ race.
Rebecca Reed crossed the line first in the under 17/20 women’s race but was disqualified due to a mix-up over the pack she ran from.
The star team was the girls’ under-15s, who were second on the day, after Callie was backed up by good runs from Eve Buddle and Sophie Enser.
The highlight, however, was seeing more than 50 juniors taking part.
12-Max Murray-John 5.08; 37-Harris Hall 5.57; 47-Euan Friend 6.21; 53-Gregor Batley 6.28; 54-Finlay Telfer 6.34.
2-Lauren Brown 4.57; 12-Millie Breese 5.33; 27-Evie Godden 6.22; 34-Eve Lewington 6.33; 38-Abbie Davies 6.48; 39-Katie Knight 6.49; 40-Ami Knight 6.52; 42-Olivia Temple 7.02; 43-Chloe Govens 7.03; 44-Katie Lou Friend 7.13.
6-Ben Murray-John 12.40 (S); 19-Max Breese 13.14 (S); 23-Owen Douglas 13.26 (S); 40-Ollie Telfer 14.03 (F); 42-Joseph Godden 14.21 (S); 48-Ryan Harrison-Frater 14.56 (S); 49-Joe Hemsley 15.00 (S); 54-Kristian Atkinson 15.28 (S); 58-Thomas Davison 15.51 (S).
39-Evie Buddle 16.05 (S; 40-Ailsa Batley 16.06 (S); 44-Maddy Hall 16.34 (S); 46-Millie Ellary 16.50 (S); 47-Jessica Swan 16.57 (S); 52-Maddie Clements 18.06 (S); 54-Nell Clark 19.23 (S).
12-Harrison Brown 12.02 (S); 20-Daniel Harrison-Frater 12.31 (S); 46-Robert Stephenson 13.19 (S); 58-Owen Willcox 13.57 (S); 64-Joshua McMeeking 14.46 (S); 67-William Brunger 15.31 (S); 70-Luke McMeeking 15.58 (S); 71-Harry Ellary 17.33 (S).
4-Callie Henderson 13.30 (F); 10-Eve Buddle 13.55 (S); 13-Sophie Enser 14.00 (S); 46-Ciara Healy 15.39 (S); 54-Catherine Jackson 16.32 (S); 55-Ella Hemsley 16.33 (S); 60-Emily Davies 16.38 (S); 61-Emma Hutchings 16.38 (S).
6-Edris Ramezanpour 20.16 (S); 15-Ben Kelly 21.09 (F).
Girls’ under 17/20:
13-Rosie Murton 20.26 (F).
The next fixture is on the Town Moor on either January 9 or 10, to be confirmed in due course.