Well done to all the Harriers, both Junior and Senior, who took part in the first of the North East Harrier League fixtures at Tanfield on Saturday, September 26.
On an excellent cross country course complete with lots of rolling hills and a cracking water feature, there were some excellent individual performances and some brilliant team placings.
Many thanks to captains Micky Aiston, Jo Gascoigne-Owens and Brenda Mallen for sorting the teams.
The senior women, after their superb promotion last year, were taking part in Division One along with some of the giants of north east running like Gateshead Harriers and Tyne Bridge Harriers.
Thanks to some top class running the women finished fourth of the 10 clubs on the day, an amazing performance. On her Harrier League debut Karen Kelly was first finisher for us, from the Slow Pack, in 18th place. This sees her go straight into the Medium Pack for the rest of the season.
Next up, after a great battle with third placed Ella Brown, was Jo Gascoigne-Owens. Fast pack runners Jo and Ella, despite their four minute Fast Pack penalty, finished 22nd and 26th of nearly 400 runners.
Our fourth counter was Lesley Miller in 47th overall. Lesley has taken off where she finished last year by expertly finishing just outside the Medium Pack once again. She was pushed all the way in a brilliant battle by Pauline Aitchison and Diana Weightman. Lisa Baston was next on her long-awaited Harrier League debut, with Ruth Doctor performing well too.
Recent Druridge Bay Parkrun winner Justine Norman made her Harrier League debut and was not far behind Ruth, whilst Sarah Cross and Jocelyn Bolam completed our team. Well done to everyone.
After their disastrous 2014/15 Harrier League campaign the senior men were looking for a decent start to 2015/16 as they tried get out of Division Three, under new team captain Micky Aiston. A decent start was what they got. Steve Carragher, having his first cross country race since he was a child, finished a brilliant 29th of almost 600 runners and is now promoted to the Medium Pack. He was well supported by Gary Hall and Adam Spiller who were next to finish within a few seconds of each other. Our sole Fast Pack runner on the day.
Graham Simpson, was our fourth counter and was 214th overall. Fifth counter was one of our most improved runners this year Dominic Harris, whilst sixth and final counter was Dave Hindmarsh.
Finishing close to one another were captain Aiston and three Harriers having their debut in the event for the club in Ben Hemmings, Nick Armstrong and Tim Falconer. Steve Studley was another new participant in the series, whilst Andy Stephenson was taking part in his first Harrier League for us after his switch from Morpeth.
Finally well done to Tim Shepherd who kept going despite feeling under the weather. Of the 13 Division Three teams which fielded complete teams on the day our Senior Men were second overall. Well done chaps.
Senior Women: 18-Karen Kelly 31.27 (S), 22-Jo Gascoigne-Owens 31.45 (F), 26-Ella Brown 31.54 (F), 47-Lesley Miller 32.54 (S), 52-Pauline Aitchison 33.03 (S), 56-Diana Weightman 33.13 (S), 82-Lisa Baston 33.47 (S), 153-Ruth Doctor 35.37 (S), 185-Justine Norman 36.33 (S), 233-Sarah Cross 37.58 (S), 324-Jocelyn Bolam 42.11 (S).
Senior Men: 29-Steve Carragher 40.42 (S), 140-Gary Hall 44.12 (S), 156-Adam Spiller 44.25 (S), 214-Graham Simpson 45.28 (F), 225-Dominic Harris 45.43 (S), 326-Dave Hindmarsh 48.00 (S), 349-Ben Hemmings 48.32 (S), 350-Micky Aiston 48.32 (S), 373-Nick Armstrong 49.12 (S), 375-Tim Falconer 49.12 (S), 390-Mark Doctor 49.31 (S), 455-Steven Studley 52.021 (S), 476-Andy Stephenson 52.40 (S), 587-Tim Shepherd 71.24 (S), 588-Mark Hume 79.02 (S).
A quality field of Alnwick Juniors turned out at Tanfield for the first cross country fixture of the season.
It was encouraging to see the smiling faces of both new and experienced runners. Making their Alnwick Harrier cross country debuts were Max and Ben Murray-John, Maddy Hall, Robert Stephenson and Ryan Harrison-Frater. They all performed brilliantly, handled the racing in the right spirit and hopefully will return to represent their teams again.
The U11 boys were first off and the spectators gathered in their dozens to see how deep the river crossing really was. Both Finlay Telfer and Max Murray-John made it look easy and the onlookers looked slightly relieved.
The girls were next up and Millie Breese and Lauren Brown both ran strongly and their confidence to push hard from the beginning earned them excellent finishing positions. Millie crossed the line in an excellent eighth place and Lauren won the third place medal.
Maddy Hall was the club’s sole representative in the U13 girls category but she coped well on her debut and ran a good time.
The boys had a full team represented by Ben Murray-John, Owen Douglas, Max Breese and Ollie Telfer.
In the U15 race Callie Henderson ran strongly from the start and maintained her second place throughout the entire race to win a medal. Sophie Enser showed lots of improvement on last year and clearly has been training hard over the summer.
The U15 boys also fielded a strong team. Harrison Brown who has just moved up an age category ran a great race to finish in 16th place. Daniel Harrison-Frater and Robert Stephenson weren’t far behind contributing to a good team score for the club.
The day was concluded with excellent performances from both Jenny Bolam and Ben Kelly in the U17 age group.
The juniors had a good day, enjoyed the favourable weather and represented their club well. Hopefully we’ll see them all again next time.
U11 Boys: 38 Max Murray-John 6:15, 60 Finlay Telfer 6:56.
U11 Girls: 3 Lauren Brown 5:33, 8 Millie Breese 6:06.
U13 Boys: 22 Ben Murray-John 14:30 (S), 35 Owen Douglas 14:57 (S), 47 Ollie Telfer 15:39 (F), 51 Max Breese 16:03 (S).
U13 Girls: 67 Maddy Hall 19:20 (S).
U15 Boys: 16 Harrison Brown 13.38 (S), 35 Daniel Harrison-Frater 14:15 (S), 43 Robert Stephenson 14:29 (S).
U15 Girls: 2 Callie Henderson 13:32 (S), 28 Sophie Enser 16:24 (S).
U17 Girls: 17 Jenny Bolam 24:12 (S).
U17 Boys: 10 Ben Kelly 27:05 (S).