A group of nine Alnwick Harriers travelled down to York on Sunday to take part in the opening race in the 2017 Grand Prix series, the Brass Monkey Half Marathon, which was brilliantly organised by York Knavesmire Harriers.
The course is renowned for its fast times due to being almost flat, and with the addition of perfect running conditions our contingent didn’t disappoint.
First Harrier home in a superb half marathon best of 1.24.16 was Dominic Harris, knocking almost four minutes off his previous fastest time.
Next across the line, and fourth in the male 55 category, was David Hindmarsh. David was thrilled with his 1.31.59. Richard Johnson used the race to get a training buddy, a personal best, and was home in 1.33.10.
Final male Harrier to complete was Mark Doctor in an unexpected personal best time of 1.34.17, rolling back the years to knock over 30 seconds off his best, which was in the same race in 2014.
Five female Harriers also took part, with Denise Drummond the first to cross the line behind the Ebor Stand at York Racecourse in an excellent 1.48.17, seeing her finish 13th of more than 60 in her age category.
Lisa Williams was next, two minutes behind, whilst Ruth Doctor was home in 1.56. Not far behind, Laura McLean (Jr) pipped Sue Bolam by a second.
Results: 144 Dominic Harris 1.24.16; 325 David Hindmarsh 1.31.59; 350 Richard Johnson 1.33.10; 379 Mark Doctor 1.34.17; 807 Denise Drummond 1.48.17; 864 Lisa Williams 1.50.20; 1050 Ruth Doctor 1.56.00; 1119 Laura McLean (Jr) 1.58.38; 1122 Sue Bolam 1.58.39.
Also that day, three Harriers formed a team to compete in the Durham Cathedral Relay, a cross country race where each member runs a 3,000m leg.
Of the 78 complete teams our trio finished a pleasing 34th.
Diana Weightman was first to go (13.44), handing onto Mary Plumley (15.47) and finally Jo Gascoigne-Owens (11.39). Well done to Jo for being the fastest female 35 runner on the day.
Gay and Richard Eastoe took part in the Carlisle Resolution 10k. Racing together, they clocked 56.13, with Gay finishing one place ahead of Richard in 248th and second in the female 60 category.
The previous day Richard Johnson warmed up for the Brass Monkey by finishing a brilliant sixth of more than 500 runners at the York Parkrun, clocking 18.28 at the Knavesmire course.
Richard Eastoe was 53rd at Workington in 26.39, and Kirsty Steed was 215th, in 38.14, at the Riverside Parkrun, Chester-le-Street.
Seven Harriers took part in the Druridge Bay Parkrun, where Neil Hamilton was first home for the club in ninth place.
Results: 9 Neil Hamilton 21.21; 53 Paul Robinson 25.58; 57 Dominic Harris 26.04; 61 Kim Bronze 26.18 (57.92 per cent); 90 John Ross 29.05; 138 Mary Plumley 32.01; 143 Jayne McKenna 32.46.
• Alnwick Harriers are once again hosting their superb cross country fixture, part of the North East Harrier League series, on Saturday, March 4.
The club needs as many marshals as possible to help out on the day. Help can be in the shape of setting up the course early that morning, marshalling during the races, and tidying up afterwards – or all three. And remember there is the option to race and help out before or afterwards. Marshals will be fed and watered too.
There will soon be a notice on the board at Willowburn to add your names to. Alternatively, you could email Jocelyn Bolam, marshal coordinator for the event, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include your email address and mobile telephone number.