It was a busy weekend with plenty of Alnwick Harriers in race action, including at the latest cross-country event.
Gosforth Park was a new fixture in this season’s North Eastern Harrier League and provided the stage for the third meeting of the 2018/19 campaign on Saturday.
Rain, snow and wind on the morning of race day threatened to make it a miserable experience, but those hardy Harriers who made the trip down the A1 no doubt breathed a huge sigh of relief when the harsh weather relented and conditions improved somewhat.
And there were some decent performances in the Alnwick vest across all age groups.
For the men, continually-improving Jon Archer carried on his strong 2018 by finishing as first counter.
In what was his last outing before next weekend’s New York marathon, Jon came 32nd overall in 38.14, and with it, securing promotion to the medium pack.
Alnwick’s second counter was fellow slow-pack runner Jason Dawson (MV45) in 39.09, who narrowly missed out on promotion, while slow-packer Phil Hall (MV40) was third home for Alnwick in 40.23.
Adam Fletcher (MV50) was Alnwick’s fourth counter, crossing the line in 40.32 from the medium pack, while fast-pack runner Graham Simpson made decent progress through the hoards to climb up the field and finish in 41.02.
Bruce Crombie (MV45) is enjoying his return to the cross-country this season and he was Alnwick’s sixth and final counter, clocking 41.15 from the medium pack.
Finishing four places behind was medium-packer Paul White (MV35) in 41.18.
Overall, the team finished seventh on the day, leaving them mid-table in Division Two.
One of the regular runners to be missing from the Alnwick pack was men’s skipper Dominic Harris, who conveniently had his wedding booked on the same day as a cross-country fixture (any excuse Dominic!!)! So he swapped his Alnwick Harrier vest for a smart suit. Many congratulations to Dominic and his new wife.
Results: 32: Jon Archer 38.14 (S); 65: Jason Dawson 39.09 (S); 148: Phil Hall 40.23 (S); 159: Adam Fletcher 40.32 (M); 206: Graham Simpson 41.02 (F); 220: Bruce Crombie 41.15 (M); 224: Paul White 41.18 (M); 315: Mike Telfer 42.46 (S); 425: Steve Cowell 45.28 (S); 446: Kevin Mcgee 46.04 (S); 489: Chris Calvert 47.13 (S); 522: Graham Skirrow 48.39 (S).
Meanwhile, for the women, Lisa Baston (FV35) was first home for Alnwick, coming 106th in 32.24 from the medium pack.
Medium-pack colleagues Alice Tetley-Paul and Karen Kelly (FV45) were next back for the north Northumbrians, clocking 32.35 and 33.17 respectively, while Bev Blythe (FV45) was the final counter, finishing in 33.42 from the slow pack.
Others to do well were slow-packer Justine Norman (FV45), who came just behind Bev, in 33.55, while Jo Powell (FV45) put in a decent display on her medium-pack debut. Having moved up from the slow pack after her storming finish at the previous fixture at Druridge, Jo managed to claw her way through the field at Gosforth to finish sixth for Alnwick in 34.01.
Overall, the Alnwick team finished 10th on the day and they sit at the foot of the Division One table, but with three fixtures left, including the Alnwick Castle meet in March, there is still time to turn things around.
Results: 106: Lisa Baston 32:24 (M); 120: Alice Tetley-Paul 32:35 (M); 159: Karen Kelly 33:17 (M); 179: Bev Blythe 33:42 (S); 190: Justine Norman 33.55 (S); 196: Jo Powell 34:01 (M); 298: Emma McGee 36:22 (S); 328: Tania Conway 37:19 (S); 343: Helen Dickenson 37:51 (S); 403: Susan Skirrow 40:39 (S); 412: Sheona Duffy 41:16 (S).
A combination of the weather and the half-term holidays reduced the potential field of younger Alnwick runners and the club was unable to field any full teams from the junior section. However, those who did race were treated to an excellent new course and produced some great racing.
Max Murray John (U13B), running from the fast pack, was fastest Alnwick runner over the 3.2km course, finishing 12th overall in his race in a good time of 12.40.
Harris Hall was next home for the club in a good 41st place.
Anna McQueen was once again Alnwick’s only U17 girl, running well to finish the 5km course in 23min 24s.
Ollie Telfer and Max Breese represented the U17 men and Finlay Telfer and Joseph Godden the U15 boys.
The U15 girls team was reduced by injury and holidays, but Hannah Johnston ran another good race from the fast pack finishing just ahead of team mate Sam Potts.
Lilia Purvis was first U13 girl home for Alnwick with Evie Godden not far behind.
Xara Purvis and Tamsin Hutton Stott were the club’s only U11s competing, but in a large field of runners placed 24th and 38th.
Although a low turnout, the juniors ran well and made the most of what could have been a really tough day.
Closer to home and earlier in the day, a small contingent of Alnwick Harriers competed at the Druridge Bay parkrun, with a number of the club’s veteran runners showing that age is no barrier.
In difficult conditions, the evergreen Peter Grey (VM60-64) was first home for Alnwick, crossing the line in eighth in 20.54, while Carole Page’s (VF55-59) 14th-place finish in 21.41 was enough for her to be first female once again.
Philip Lee (VM 55-59) was celebrating after grabbing a 25.06 PB, while there were also solid runs from Robert Baddeley (VM 50-54) and Neil Hamilton (VM 40-44).
Alice Tetley-Paul (SW30-34) warmed up for that afternoon’s cross-country fixture by running with Georgina Tetley-Paul. The pair embraced the Hallowe’en theme by completing the two-lap course while dressed as a skeleton and witch respectively.
Results: 8: Peter Grey 20.54 (77.43%); 13: Robert Baddeley 21.24 (70.02%) ; 14: Carole Page 21.41 (87.01%) ; 37: Philip Lee 25.06 (63.35%) ; 43: Neil Hamilton 25.33 (53.82%); 109: Alice Tetley-Paul 38.13 (38.77%).
Elsewhere, Kim Bronze (VM55-59) was the 241st finisher at the Hillsborough parkrun, in 29.14.
Meanwhile, Ian and Lorna Stephenson headed to Ripon, North Yorkshire, to take part in the Fountains Abbey parkrun for the first time. Ian (VM55-59) finished 70th in 23.43, while Lorna (VF45-49) was 248th in 31.02.
Racing continued on Sunday, with five Harriers performing well at the Hexham 10k, which is one of the club’s Grand Prix fixtures.
A massive round of applause to the trio of Lisa Baston, Jo Powell and Bev Blyth, who dusted themselves down from the rigours of yesterday’s cross-country to take on the six-mile run in Hexham. They were joined by Mike Henry and Louise Callaghan. All five runners finished in the top 10 of their respective age-gender categories.
Impressively, Mike won the V65 section in 49.23, while Jo was third female V45 in 47.07.
First home for Alnwick was Lisa (V35), finishing in 44.33. Her performance has moved her from 16th to 10th in the Grand Prix.
Her club colleagues Bev Blythe (V45) and Louise Callaghan (V55) can also be proud of their efforts.
Results: 68: Lisa Baston 44.33; 119: Jo Powell 47.07; 151: Michael Henry 49.23; 179: Beverley Blythe 50.35; 205: Louise Callaghan 52.20.Two Harriers ran at the Jedburgh Running Festival, taking part in the 10k.
Leading the way was Steve Patterson, who finished in 40.39. His time was enough for him to secure 13th overall and rank second in the M40 category.
It was a great result for Steve, who has recently returned from GB duty at the 2018 Ibiza ETU Duathlon European Championships, where he finished an impressive 15th in the 40-44 Male AG Sprint category.
Two places behind Steve at Jedburgh was Gareth Pearson (M30), crossing the line in a PB of 41.02.