The curtain came down on another excellent North East Harrier League cross-country season on Saturday.
Due to parking issues at Prudhoe and the huge rise in numbers taking part in the series, the final race was switched back to Wrekenton.
Unlike the previous muddy Wrekenton fixture in February, this time round the ground was dry and hard, meaning that times were much quicker.
As with all the races this season, a healthy number of Harriers turned up and wore the vest with pride. Well done to team captains Bruce Crombie and Jo Gascoigne-Owens for ensuring that a large contingent from the club took part throughout the six-race series.
Top team on the day was the Senior Men, both in terms of numbers and performances.
First counter was 15th-placed Danny Richardson who was taking part in his final race for the Harriers as he is transferring to North Shields Poly.
Next home was Bruce Crombie, performing superbly as always from the Medium Pack.
Ian Simon put in a good performance to finish as third counter and was followed by Geoff Campbell, Medium Packer Phil Hemsley and Steve Patterson. A superb 19 Harriers took part in this race, in which they finished a very good third of the 11 in Division Two on the day.
For the Senior Women, there was a good turnout of nine Harriers. They were led home by the legend Jo Gascoigne-Owens. Jo finished 10th overall from the Fast Pack and was the second fastest runner on the day.
Ella Brown put in a strong run from the Medium Pack to finish 19th overall, with Tracey Sample finishing as third counter. Sue Skirrow was making her seasonal debut, while Sheona Duffy made her first appearance in a Harriers vest.
The team was sixth of the 30 Division Two teams, a great performance given the absence of Medium Packers Sarah Gray and Pauline Aitchison.
For the Juniors, top performer was Girls’ Under 13 runner Callie Henderson. In her second run as a Harrier, she was second overall.
Rosie Murton ran fantastically as always in the Girls’ Under 17/20 race to finish third of the 24 runners.
Rosie was backed up by Charlotte Baston and debutante Kate Lawson to ensure the team finished second on the day.
Results – U11s Mixed: 21-Ollie Telfer 5.58; 38-Max Breese 6.15; 40-Lauren Brown 6.17; 64-Millie Breese 6.51; 90-Finlay Telfer 7.16; 97-Jack Plumley 7.46; 99-Emma Jackson 8.17.
U13 Boys: 27-Jack Douglas 10.59 (S); 51-Darren Matthews 11.40 (S); 56-Harrison Brown 12.08 (S).
U13 Girls: 2-Callie Henderson 10.33 (S).
U15 Boys: 28-Craig Matthews 10.47 (S).
U15 Girls: 10-Jessica Barnaby 11.12 (S); 11-Amy Thorne 11.13 (F); 16-Lucy Embleton 11.45 (S).
U17 Boys: 11-Daniel Leng 20.36 (F); 14-Adam Shafiq 20.51 (F).
U17/20 Girls: 3-Rosie Murton 21.37 (F); 20-Charlotte Baston 26.06 (F); 24-Kate Lawson 38.14 (S).
Male Harriers: 13-Danny Richardson 35.33 (S); 35-Bruce Crombie 36.12 (M); 56-Ian Simon 36.36 (S); 80-Geoff Campbell 37.05 (S); 95-Phil Hemsley 37.19 (M); 130-Steve Patterson 37.51 (S); 139-Richard Agan 37.57 (M); 142-George Skirrow 38.00 (S); 172-John Horsley 38.27 (S); 216-Adam Spiller 39.15 (S); 217-Graham Simpson 39.16 (M); 271-Andy Squires 40.39 (S); 273-Dave Henderson 40.42 (S); 338-Mark Doctor 43.17 (S); 340-Phil Baston 43.28 (S); 350-Micky Aiston 43.40 (S); 384-Graham Skirrow 46.13 (S); 402-Cris Atwell 47.26 (S); 436-Mark Hume 57.50 (S).
Female Harriers: 10-Jo Gascoigne-Owens 27.59 (F); 19-Ella Brown 28.20 (M); 88-Tracey Sample 29.57 (S); 107-Diana Weightman 30.26 (M); 132-Mary Plumley 31.28 (S); 140-Ruth Doctor 31.53 (S); 162-Shelley Coates 33.30 (S); 183-Sue Skirrow 34.59 (S); 202 Sheona Duffy 39.47 (S).
Over the course of the season the top Harriers team was the Girls Under 15s.
Going into Wrekenton they were top of a very tight division, but were just pipped to the title by a very strong Jarrow and Hebburn team to finish an excellent second.
The Girls Under 17/20 team also finished well up there, in third place with a healthy gap between them and fourth-placed Morpeth.
The other teams performed well too, with top five finishes for the Boys U13s and the Boys U17s. It was also extremely pleasing to see a huge number of U11s taking part in all the races.
In the individual Grand Prix’s Rosie Murton was second in the U17/20 category, whilst Amy Thorne was third in the U15s. Well done to coaches Diana Weightman, Brenda Mallen, Geoff Campbell and Mike Telfer for their efforts throughout the winter.
For the Seniors, the women improved on last year’s sixth-placed finish in Division 2 by taking fourth this year. Brilliant stuff, a favourite for promotion next year? Meanwhile the men showed how consistent they were by finishing fifth in Division 2 for the second year running. Classic mid-table.
For the second year running overall participation has gone up again! Last year 20 different Senior Women took part in the series, this year 24. For the Senior Men, 34 raced in 2013/14 compared to 31 last year. Again a lot of this is down to Bruce Crombie, who was a brilliant sixth in the overall Male Veteran Grand Prix standings, and Jo Gascoigne-Owens. Special mentions should go to Tracey Sample and Phil Baston who have taken part in all six races of the 2013/14 season, a superb achievement! Also well done to Diana Weightman, Mary Plumley, Ruth Doctor, Bruce Crombie, Geoff Campbell, Graham Simpson, Ian Simon and Graham Skirrow who all only missed out on 1 race this year.
Earlier that morning the amazing Baston’s were on the Town Moor taking part in their 100th Parkrun’s!! An amazing feat was made even more amazing when Charlotte scored a 5k PB once again, by knocking three seconds off her previous best time earlier this month. Phil narrowly pipped Charlotte to finish 114th of the runners in 22.11, while Charlotte was 116th in 22.15.
Another PB was scored by Alnwick Harriers’ best cheerleader Tim Shepherd at the Braunstone Parkrun in Leicestershire that morning. Shep knocked over four minutes off his previous best by clocking 29.19.
Later that day Gay and Richard Eastoe took part in the Lorton School 10k near Cockermouth. Gay was 160th in 58.35, whilst Richard was one second and one place further back.
The following day Sarah Syers was once again taking part in the Thirsk 10, a very popular fast and flat race organised by Thirsk and Sowerby AC. Sarah finished in 1.14.00 to take 283rd place in a field of more than 800.