Many thanks to Mike Henry, John Cockburn, Wendy Appleby and the rest of the Harriers who helped organise the hugely successful annual Christmas Parlauf on Wednesday, December 17. Also to Sue Bolam for sorting the delicious post-run food at the Hog’s Head, Alnwick.
The event as always took place on the Willowburn Trading Estate and comprised lots of teams of three, all having to complete two laps each in a relay format.
In past years, the event has been a tight affair with several trios vying for contention right up until the final straight. Not this year though.
Well done to the threesome of Micky Aiston, Denise Drummond and Richard Johnson, who finished miles ahead of their nearest rivals in a shade under 15 minutes. Second place went to Eddie Longstaff, Derek Guthrie and for the second year running Lisa Baston, while third-placed prizes were won by Ross Wilson, Conrad Stewart and new Harrier Jocelyn Bolam.
However, the big winners of the night were the winners of Adam Spiller’s famous wooden spoons, presented to the team which finished the Parlauf last.
Adam is probably sick to death of painted wooden spoons, having made them for a number of years, so it was very amusing to see that Adam was part of the losing trio, thus getting to keep one of his creations. The other two to win the spoons were Tracey Sample and Mark Hume.
The other big presentation of the night was the London Marathon ballot draw. Alnwick Harriers get three places in the race and four members were in with a shout, having previously been rejected via the general ballot.
The three lucky winners were Lisa Baston, Mairi Campbell and Shelley Coates.
Saturday, December 20, saw just a small number of Harriers taking part in a festive Druridge Bay Parkrun, no doubt due to the Christmas Handicap the following day.
First Harrier to finish the 5k round Ladyburn Lake was Graham Crow, just like last week in fourth place.
Among the other Harriers taking part there were age-category wins for Mike Henry (60) and Mark Hume (70). Elsewhere, Gay and Richard Eastoe were both age-category winners at the Workington Parkrun.
Results - Druridge Bay: 4-Graham Crow; 14-Mike Henry 22.48; 19-Conrad Stewart 23.23; 38-Karl Baxter 29.35; 47-Mark Hume 31.25.
Workington: 7-Richard Eastoe 21.36; 16-Gay Eastoe 25.30.
The final Harriers event of the pre-Christmas period was the Christmas Handicap which took place on Sunday, December 21, at Alnmouth.
Before the event, Harriers had provided their best 5k and 10k times of the year and were set off at intervals according to these times, with the fastest runners starting a whopping 19 minutes after the slowest and having only 4.1 miles to catch up.
Yet again this year, 24 of the 27 runners came in within three minutes of each other, which led to a frantic time on the finish line, so thanks to Tim Shepherd for timing.
Mike Henry picked up the male Handicap Trophy after contesting the race for many years, while one of the club’s newest members, Jocelyn Bolam, won the female trophy.
Well done to all for taking part and to Tracey Sample for organising the event.
The final week of Parkruns in 2014 saw a number of top-class performances up and down the country, with great times and age-category wins galore for the Harriers.
While most Harriers were preparing the turkey or nut-roast feasts on Christmas Day, three Harriers were taking part in Parkruns, most notably Ross Wilson who ran the second fastest 5k by a Harrier this year.
Ross took part in the York Parkrun where he finished third in a huge 5k pb of 17.18.
Also that day Steve Patterson and Micky Aiston were in action on the Town Moor at the Newcastle Parkrun, with Steve running a 5k pb of 17.57 to finish in fourth.
Results: York: 3-Ross Wilson 17.18. Newcastle: 4-Steve Patterson 17.57. 53-Micky Aiston 21.08.
A couple of days later, on Saturday, December 27, a decent number of Harriers were taking part in Parkruns at a variety of locations.
Fastest of the lot, in the quickest 5k by a female Harrier this year, was the legend Jo Gascoigne-Owens. Though it was almost 90 seconds outside her club record for the distance, Jo’s time of 19.01 at Druridge Bay beat the previous best by a female Harrier in 2014 which was set by Ella Brown at the same location a few months before.
In the 21 Druridge Bay Parkruns so far, Jo’s time was the third fastest by a female.
There were a host of other noteworthy performances at Druridge Bay such as Graham Syers finishing first in the male 40 category, Jackie Prouse finishing as third female, Alex Reed running a course pb, Mike Henry winning the male 60 category and Eileen Guthrie winning the female 50 category.
Over at Workington, the newly-crowned female achievement award winner Gay Eastoe ran with husband Richard, with both winning their age categories.
North of the border, Druridge Bay regular Karl Baxter ran very well, just missing out on a 5k pb at the Strathclyde Parkrun, while a long way south, Ken Hodson was taking part in the Guildford Parkrun.
Results: Druridge Bay: 5-Jo Gascoigne-Owens 19.01; 7-Graham Syers 19.21; 11-Stuart Morris 20.41; 15-Jackie Prouse 21.26; 28-Alex Reed 23.04; 30-Mike Henry 23.28; 38-Claire Miller-Grossett 25.14; 60-Eileen Guthrie 29.33. Workington: 23-Gay Eastoe 26.32; 24-Richard Eastoe 26.33. Strathclyde: 73-Karl Baxter 26.22. Guildford: 62-Ken Hodson 26.08.
The Alnwick Harriers’ end-of-year awards were given out for achievements in 2014 The winners were: Most Improved Male – Stuart Morris; Most Improved Female – Sarah Gray; Male Achievement of the Year – Bruce Crombie; Female Achievement of the Year – Gay Eastoe; Athlete of the Year – Phil Hemsley.
Last but by no means least, a new trophy was presented at this year’s awards, the Robert Brown Shield. This award is given to the Alnwick Harrier with the highest WAVA score at the Druridge Bay Parkrun and is named after the late husband of one of the event’s biggest supporters, Ella Brown.
The first winner of this award is Peter Grey whose 81.71 per cent score just pipped Adam Fletcher.